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As we spend a month looking at the great Stanley Kubrick, we can also look at the filmmakers who were clearly influenced by Kubrick. “Kubrickian” films tend to exercise incredible control of the camera, are extremely ambitious, tend to deal with much weightier themes, and always maintain a sense of mystery, like a there’s an invisible fog always hovering over the film. This list could be sharply focused on about five directors working today but, though a number of these filmmakers appear in this list of 40, we’re spreading the wealth a bit. Let’s get to it.
40. Watchmen (2009)
Directed by Zack Snyder
What makes it Kubrickian? It’s surprisingly cold and detail-oriented, unlike most of Zack Snyder’s other work (well, detail-oriented in a positive way). Watchmen is based on the acclaimed graphic novel of the same name by David Gibbons and Alan Moore, about a desolate alternative »
- Joshua Gaul
Film Independent, the nonprofit arts organization that produces the Spirit Awards and the Los Angeles Film Festival, handed out top honors to 12 Years a Slave, Dallas Buyers Club and Nebraska at this afternoon's 29th Film Independent Spirit Awards. Blue Jasmine, Fruitvale Station, Blue Is the Warmest Color, Short Term 12, This Is Martin Bonner and 20 Feet from Stardom also received awards at the ceremony, which is held in a tent on the beach in Santa Monica.
Highlights from last night's ceremony hosted by Patton Oswalt include: The first ever award delivered via Wild Rabbit's state-of-the-art drone. Mid-show Oswalt also received multiple motivational messages via Skype from Sarah Silverman, Reggie Watts, 'Weird Al' Yankovic and... his parents. Also showcased during the ceremony, the Indie-izer, Patton's newly developed app that turns any Hollywood big budget film into an indie film.
The Spirit Awards were the first event to exclusively honor independent film, »
Director: Andy & Lana Wachowski
Writers: Andy & Lana Wachowski
U.S. Distributor: Warner Bros.
Despite the rather unfair critical reaction to their 2012 sci-fi epic Cloud Atlas (co-directed by Tom Tykwer), the Wachowskis are back with more cosmic prophesying with a film that sounds like a mix of Willow and Elysium. Whatever the criticism, the innovation and sheer ambitions behind any cinematic effort of the Wachowskis is certainly worth a look. We’ll see how the more youthful skewed headlining of this cast will fare in their dystopic vision.
Gist: In a universe where humans are near the bottom of the evolutionary ladder, a young destitute human woman is targeted for assassination by the Queen of the Universe because her very existence threatens »
- Nicholas Bell
Director: Todd Field
U.S. Distributor: Rights Available
Cast: Imogen Poots
Replacing Terrence Malick as the elusive, American filmmaker who takes way too much time between projects and perhaps gets attached to too many of them (through the years there has been mentions for Time Between Trains, American Gothic, Back Roads, Blood Meridian, Buried, The Creed of Violence), In the Bedroom and Little Children director Todd Field will produce, write, direct and possibly hurt our feelings if there are no sighting of him or actress Imogen Poots in Italy later this year.
Gist: Based on the Jess Walter novel that became a bestseller after its publication in June 2012, the story follows an American ingenue who travels to Italy in 1962 during the production of “Cleopatra.” Poots will star as the young actress Dee Moray. »
- Eric Lavallee
Director: Errol Morris
Writer: Andrew Sodroski
U.S. Distributor: Rights Available
Documentarian Errol Morris has signed on to direct not one, but two fiction feature films (he’s only ever done that once before, back in 1991 with the Lou Diamond Philips starrer The Dark Wind). Initially, it looked like the Christopher Walken/Paul Rudd headlining Freezing People Is Easy was set to film first, but now it looks as if it will be Holland, Michigan, set to roll this spring. While that may be cutting it close for a reasonable 2014 release, the 65 year old Morris has an efficient track record, so we shall see. As for Ms. Watts, she’s currently filming with Noah Baumbach for a film set to be released in 2015. This would be her next project, and, then maybe, finally, she’ll get »
- Nicholas Bell
I know that the Sundance Film Festival ended over a week ago, but in the six days I was at Sundance (and on screeners in the days before), I saw 25 movies. I wrote full reviews for 13 of them. My Full Sundance reviews: 'The Internet's Own Boy: The Story of Aaron Swartz' "The Overnighters" "Rudderless" "Fed Up" "Marmato" "Love Child" "Land Ho!" "The Voices" "Happy Valley" "My Prairie Home" "Life Itself" "Mitt" "Web Junkie" But that left 12 movies that I just didn't have the time to write my usual 1000-to-1750 words on. Since getting back from Park City, I've been slowly working my way through capsule reviews for those 12 movies. These are roughly the length of my Take Me To The Pilots entries, which means that in this format, people are going to complain about all of the text and the lack of paragraphs. Sorry. Because I'm just one part of HitFix's awesome Sundance team, »
- Daniel Fienberg
Every year, the Sundance Film Festival premieres a bounty of incredible nonfiction film stories. Many of them find distribution and go on to become box office hits and even Oscar nominees. Others attract Hollywood players with a different kind of exposure in mind. The goal with those stories is to acquire the rights to make a whole new narrative feature, sometimes leaving the existing documentary version by the wayside if it isn’t picked up in its own right. This year it’s the story of the Portland Mavericks, an independent baseball team created in the early 1970s by TV actor Bing Russell and featuring movie star son Kurt Russell on the roster. The doc that tells the story is The Battered Bastards of Baseball. It currently has no deal for distribution, but a remake was announced during the fest to be produced by Justin Lin and possibly scripted and directed by Todd Field, who »
The Hollywood actor on the success of the boisterous documentary about his father's ramshackle baseball team, which debuted to wild applause at Sundance – and why he's delighted to be preserving Russell Sr's maverick legacy
Bing Russell was a B-movie actor in the 50s and 60s who estimated he had been shot dead 127 times in Hollywood westerns and played the deputy sheriff through 13 seasons of Bonanza. But his most lasting legacy came thanks to his role as the founder and frontman of the Portland Mavericks, an independent baseball team inhabited by no-hopers and has-beens and a pitcher whose hat fell off each time he threw the ball. Incredibly, the Mavericks went on to break attendance records and posed a serious threat to their major league rivals.
This forgotten nugget of sporting history has now been unearthed in a boisterous documentary, The Battered Bastards of Baseball, which debuted to wild applause at the Sundance film festival. »
- Xan Brooks
They say you can’t fight City Hall, but surely going mano-a-mano with Major League Baseball is none the wiser. Yet that’s exactly what a charismatic entrepreneur named Bing Russell did in the 1970s, when he started a fully independent single-a ball club in Portland, Ore., that started out as a laughingstock and ended up as a righteous bee in Mlb’s bonnet. This stirring, little-remembered episode of baseball history has been lovingly brought to the screen by co-directors Chapman and Maclain Way in “The Battered Bastards of Baseball,” a fast-paced valentine to Russell and his quixotic vision so rife with underdog victors and hairpin twists of fortune that, if it weren’t all true, no one would believe it. Unsurprisingly, the docu’s remake rights were snapped up at Sundance by Justin Lin’s production company, with helmer Todd Field (real-life former batboy for Russell’s team) attached to direct. »
- Scott Foundas
One of the more talked-about documentaries from this year’s Sundance Film Festival was The Battered Bastards of Baseball. Directed by Chapman Way and Maclain Way, the film chronicles Bonanza actor Bing Russell’s formation of the independent baseball team the Portland Mavericks and the ensuing confrontation with organized baseball. Quite a few people—including our own Matt Goldberg—were fans of the documentary, and it's incredible story led Justin Lin to purchase narrative remake rights with the intention to produce via his Perfect Storm banner. Early word has Todd Field (Little Children) in talks to write and direct, which is perfect since Field was one of the bat boys for the Mavericks and is featured in the documentary. Who better to write and direct the adaptation than someone that saw the events unfold first hand? While at Sundance, I landed an exclusive interview with the Ways and Bing Russell's son Kurt Russell, »
- Steve 'Frosty' Weintraub
Plot specifics are being held under wraps, but the project is original idea by producer Tariq Merhab. It will center on a toy factory that becomes chaotic and is being described as a live-action family adventure movie that is in the same vein as Jurassic Park and Ghostbusters.
The studio is current looking for someone to pen the script. Justin Lin might also direct depending on the script turns out. He is best known for the Fast & Furious films and is set to direct a currently Untitled Jason Bourne Sequel. He also recently picked up narrative rights to the Sundance documentary The Battered Bastards of Baseball, which has Todd Field directing.
No production schedule has been released. »
The independent spirit is alive and well, with Justin Lin (the Fast & Furious franchise) fighting off interest from DreamWorks, Columbia Pictures and Fox Searchlight to acquire the rights to remake The Battered Bastards of Baseball, which screened to great acclaim in the Documentary Premieres section of the Sundance Film Festival on 20 January. Todd Field – who has a personal connection to the subject of the film – is now in talks to write and direct.
The Battered Bastards of Baseball details the rise of the Portland Mavericks – the only independent baseball team in America in 1973, when it was set up by Bonanza actor, and father of Kurt, Bing Russell. Many of the players for the team were rejected or retired from Major League baseball, but their independent team proved naysayers wrong by smashing attendance records and launching careers. Kurt Russell himself became a player and Vice-President of the team, while the career »
- Sarah Myles
The Mavericks lasted three years before they were pushed out of Portland by the returned of the Major League-backed Beavers.
Source: Deadline »
- Garth Franklin
I just walked out of a screening of the Sundance documentary Battered Bastards of Baseball to find that Fast Five director Justin Lin has acquired the rights to turn the story into a feature film. He will produce the film, and they are looking to hire Todd Field to write and direct the movie.
While I was watching the doc I was thinking to myself how awesome of a movie this would make, and I have to say that I'm so happy that a movie is coming. This is such a great story, and the documentary was amazing. I'm not even a fan of baseball, but this doc gave me more of an appreciation for the sport.
- Joey Paur
The Hollywood Reporter reports that Justin Lin has acquired the remake rights to the documentary The Battered Bastards of Baseball, which premiered at Sundance earlier this week. The doc tells the story of actor Bing Russell in 1973 creating the Portland Mavericks, a professional baseball team that was not affiliated with any major-league organization. The result was a real motley crew of a team. (EW has a story about how crazy it was.) It included Bing's son, Kurt Russell (yes, that Kurt Russell), who played and served as VP. Todd Field (In the Bedroom, Little Children) is in talks to write and direct, which is especially fun because Field was the team's batboy. When the story is rewritten to be about how the batboy — after a fluke arm injury — becomes the star pitcher and leads the ragtag group unexpectedly to the World Series – Rookie of the Year style, »
- Jesse David Fox
One of the more talked-about documentaries from this year’s Sundance Film Festival was The Battered Bastards of Baseball. Directed by Chapman Way and Maclain Way, the film chronicles Bonanza actor Bing Russell’s formation of the independent baseball team the Portland Mavericks and the ensuing confrontation with organized baseball. Quite a few people—our own Matt Goldberg included—were fans of the documentary, and Russell’s son Kurt Russell was onhand to talk about the film. News broke earlier today that Fast & Furious director Justin Lin has acquired remake rights to Battered Bastards with the intention of producing a narrative feature film adaptation for writer/director Todd Field (In the Bedroom), making Steve’s recent interview with Kurt Russell all the more relevant. During Steve’s interview with Russell earlier this week about the documentary, the actor discussed a possible narrative adaptation of the story and whether he would »
- Adam Chitwood
Lin will self-finance and produce the pic through his Perfect Storm banner.
The docu follows Bing Russell who in 1973 created the only independent baseball team in America at the time, the Portland Mavericks.
Lin is repped by CAA and Cinetic Management. Field is repped by CAA.
- Justin Kroll
In his director’s statement, first-time helmer Blake Robbins speaks eloquently of his desire to privilege “the moment” and to let nothing interfere with the primacy of the actors’ performances, nixing clapboards, calls of “cut” and lighting setups. That’s all very fine, except that in “The Sublime and Beautiful,” the only actor profiting from such largesse is Robbins himself, foregrounded in every scene as a college professor who loses all three of his children to a drunk driver and prowls around in tight-lipped grief thereafter. Empathetic viewers may infer volumes from Robbins’ dazed interiority, but most audiences (and distribs) will likely pass.
Coming late to the lamentation-filled dead-children genre that flourished in Hollywood some years back, Robbins brings nothing new to the table, relying on his thesping and viewers’ identification to fill in the script’s gaping blanks. Brief scenes establish the matter-of-factly affectionate relations among teacher David Conrad »
- Ronnie Scheib
The Portland Mavericks baseball team were more than just mavericks. They were outlaws. In 1973, Hollywood actor Bing Russell roared into Oregon and established the Mavericks as an independent minor league team, meaning he had to recruit players that the Major Leagues franchises had rejected, a scrap heap that included a fair share of burn-outs, head-cases, and outright degenerates. “Guys were gambling in the back of the bus, there was drugs, there were women everywhere,” says Oscar-nominated director Todd Field (Little Children). “These guys were pirates.”
Field didn’t write or direct the Battered Bastards of Baseball, the documentary about the »
- Jeff Labrecque
Before anyone thought of The Bad News Bears, Slapshot, and Major League, there were the Portland Mavericks. In 1973, after professional baseball had abandoned the Oregon city, Hollywood actor Bing Russell — Deputy Clem on Bonanza — jumped at a chance to organize the only independent minor-league team in the country. Facing skepticism from a city that had been hoping for an actual major-league team and starting from scratch without any players, Russell held open tryouts for any has-been or never-will-be. “He put this team together of misfits, a ballclub made up a bunch of crazy individuals,” says Bing’s son, Kurt Russell, »
- Jeff Labrecque
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