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If there is anything that I love doing as a film buff, it is recommending overlooked films. Films that, for whatever reason, did not get a fair shot in theatres but are worth seeking out. They may not have played at a lot of places or their runs might have been cut short due to financial reasons. Whatever the reason is, these are those little buried gems that you want to promote to all your friends. These ten films, in no particular order, are films that you will not be seeing on most year end lists, with the exception of one film. However they are all deserve a chance, if not in the theatres, than on DVD.
Directed by Alejandro Amenabar
Movies about ideas rarely get any play in this marketplace so it would have been silly to think that Alejandro Amenabar’s ambitious film would get a wide release. »
- Josh Youngerman
Leni Riefenstahl's terrifying, infamous doc raises some important questions about the structural workings of art. Sitting at my computer, deliberating about the film I first tentatively, then firmly decided to choose as this week's Retro Pick, I flashed back to a telling moment from Ryan Fleck and Anna Boden's Half Nelson. The morning after spending the night with Social Studies teacher Dan Dunne (Ryan Gosling), his date - and colleague - asks Dunne about his political inclinations. 'Are you a communist?' she asks him. 'I saw you have Che in Africa, The Communist Manifesto...' Dunne's response is, 'If I had Mein Kampf, would you ask me if I was a Nazi?' Works of art, be they books or films, can be important to examine even when devoid of any actual merit as artworks. Sometimes they are symptomatic of a certain era; sometimes they are object-lessons »
Debra Granik's Winter's Bone went two for four at the 2010 Gotham awards claiming Best Ensemble and the coveted, top prize of Best Feature beating out the much-liked other Sundance titles in Blue Valentine and The Kids Are All Right and Tiff titles Black Swan and Let Me In. I think many indie film insider would agree that this was Winter's Bone award to lose, and with tomorrow's Indie Spirit nominations unveiling (where we should expect more mentions) 2010 will have been quite the comeback year for Debra Granik, whose debut film Down to the Bone would critically do well but pretty much disappeared from the map straight-after. The Roadside Attractions summer released film was produced by Anne Rosellini and Alix Madigan-Yorkin. Other Noms: Black Swan Darren Aronofsky, director; Mike Medavoy, Arnold W. Messer, Brian Oliver, Scott Franklin, producers (Fox Searchlight Pictures) Blue Valentine Derek Cianfrance, director; Jamie Patricof, Lynette Howell, »
With no clear favorite in the category, I would have guessed that the screenwriting-turned helmers Glenn Ficarra and John Requa ballsy comedy might have a slight advantage, but the film's troubled path to distribution certainly didn't help. Instead director Kevin Asch (Holy Rollers) beats out a pair of fellow filmmakers who premiered their film at Sundance, and Lena Dunham (SXSW). Asch was influenced by my favorite cinema when he filmed Holy Rollers. He mentions in his interview with us, "I always planned the style to be a mix of cinema verite and Italian neo-realism. Film aesthetics are incredibly important to me and something I take very seriously starting in development. I made a comprehensive look book early on, that has served as the creative blueprint for about two years leading up to pre-production." Winner: Kevin Asch for Holy Rollers (First Independent Pictures) Other Noms: John Wells for The Company Men »
No movie springs from a vacuum. There are always influences from past examples of the genre, from the previous work of the filmmakers and stars, even from similar films that don’t quite work. If you want to understand where a movie is coming from, take a look at where it’s coming from. In It’s Kind of a Funny Story, a confused and depressed teenager (Keir Gilchrist) checks himself into a hospital psych ward, where he finds friendship, with confused and depressed Zach Galifianakis, and romance, with confused and depressed Emma Roberts. This flick sprang from (among other films): • One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest (1975), about grownup patients led by Jack Nicholson who take over their asylum in order to drive the sadistic Nurse Ratchet (Louise Fletcher) crazy. • Taking Over the Asylum (1994), if you have access to Region 2 DVDs; in this BBC miniseries, a young man (David Tennant »
- MaryAnn Johanson
There are plenty of movies that depict drug use, but often it's just a prop, a shortcut -- a character does drugs on screen because he or she is bad, or out of control, or doomed, or simply not to be trusted. The effects are exaggerated, the consequences over the top or unrealistic. And so we felt driven to make this list, to sort through countless films to find drug scenes, some famous, some not, that have a ring of authenticity to them. The 30 scenes we picked are funny, sad, outrageous and sometimes awful, and they're certainly not all depictions of drug use as fun, but we feel pretty certain of their legit greatness. In other words? No "Reefer Madness" here.
[#26-30] [#21-25] [#16-20] [#11-15] [#6-10] [#1-5]
30. Creedence Car Crash
"The Big Lebowski" (1998)
Directed by Joel Coen
White Russians may be the Dude's poison, but it is a simple joint that nearly proves to be his »
There’s nothing really wrong with Craig (Keir Gilchrist), except that he’s a teenager: He doesn’t fit in anywhere, he feels like he can’t quite measure up to his genius athlete best friend, he even longs for the beautiful girl that best friend is with. But he’s got it into his head that he’s so depressed that he’s in need of psychiatric assistance, so he checks himself into his friendly neighborhood nuthatch. I don’t mean to diminish the seriousness of mental illness by being flip... it’s this oddly pitched little flick that does that in part, I fear. “I wanna kill myself,” Craig tells the triage nurse. “Fill this out,” she tells him boredly, handing him some paperwork. Okay: *snort.* But there's no satire here: the film -- by writer-directors Anna Boden and Ryan Fleck, based on the novel by Ned Vizzini »
- MaryAnn Johanson
The Scottish virtuoso makes a welcome return after eight years but a remastered David Lean classic is stealing the spotlight
This year's London film festival saw the most keenly anticipated comeback in British cinema – perhaps only the next movie by Lynne Ramsay is as impatiently awaited. Peter Mullan is the Scottish film-maker and actor whose 1997 debut picture, Orphans, was a film of intestine-tangling emotional power. Following that, The Magdalene Sisters – about the institutionalised abuse in Ireland's notorious Magdalene laundries – was a tremendous triumph, winning the Golden Lion at the Venice film festival and confirming Mullan as a directorial heavyweight.
That was back in 2002. Since then, his admirers have been left wondering when his next film would arrive, with Mullan reportedly experienced some frustration getting backing for the films he wanted to make. In the meantime, he gave some great acting performances in works such as 2006's Children Of Men and the Red Riding TV trilogy, »
- Peter Bradshaw
This is the first trailer It's Kind of a Funny Story, directed by Anna Boden and Ryan Fleck. The film stars Keir Gilchrist, Emma Roberts, Viola Davis, Lauren Graham, Jim Gaffigan, Zoë Kravitz, and Zach Galifianakis. One of the patients, Bobby (Zach Galifianakis of The Hangover), soon becomes both Craig’s mentor and protégé. Craig is also quickly drawn to another 16-year-old displaced to the adult ward, the sensitive Noelle (Emma Roberts of the upcoming Scream 4), who just might make him forget his longtime unrequited crush Nia (Zoë Kravitz of the upcoming X-Men: First Class). With a minimum five days’ stay imposed on him by the adult ward’s staff psychiatrist Dr. Eden Minerva (Academy Award nominee Viola Davis), Craig is sustained by friendships on both the inside and the outside as he learns more about life, love, and the pressures of growing up. »
- Dan Higgins
Title: It’s Kind of a Funny Story Directed by: Anna Boden, Ryan Fleck Starring: Keir Gilchrist, Dana DeVestern, Lauren Graham and Zach Galifianakis (The Hangover 2) Sometimes movies have the perfect setup to be the next great American icon that will leave audiences talking about them for years to come. ‘It’s Kind of a Funny Story’ seemed like it would be one of those movies, as it stars such famous actors as Zach Galifianakis, Emma Roberts, Viola Davis and Lauren Graham. Plus, it’s based on the 2006 novel of the same name, which itself was inspired by author Ned Vizzini’s own experiences after hospitalized for depression in late 2004. Unfortunately, the film adaptation, [...] »
Robert here with the final entry in my series on great directors.
A full year after starting my Directors of the Decade series that eventually evolved into Modern Maestros, I can declare that no man should besmirch the state of movies today. We've discussed 47 directors who are consistently putting out films that are original, interesting, exciting and often masterpieces.
With each piece I've come to love even more each director and what it means to be a lover of film in this day and age. Even though the series won't go on, I know it could. There are still many directors worth celebrating.
There's Oliver Assayas and his ability to direct a wide variety of films from the heartwarming to the hopelessly cool. The Brothers Dardenne with their Bressonian influence continue to pop up and find success at festivals every few years. Turkish prince of detachment Nuri Bilge Ceylan has thus far been under-the-radar, »
Juliette Lewis is known for some great roles in great movies – What’s Eating Gilbert Grape, Natural Born Killers, and Husbands and Wives, just for starters. And I would be lying if I didn’t think that National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation deserves to be up there, especially as my family annually worships that movie so.
With the Oscar-nominated actress’ latest performance, Lewis dials down the screen time, but ups the supporting character ante in Conviction. In the film she plays Roseanna Perry, a subject in the trial who holds a key to the truth about whether Betty Anne Waters’ brother, Kenny, really did commit murder in 1983. Lewis is in the movie for a total of maybe ten minutes, but her performance is memorable after the film is over.
I had the chance to discuss with the rebellious actress what it was playing this character, how this role fits into her diverse filmography, »
- Nick Allen
Anna Boden and Ryan Fleck heard this a lot as they did press for their new film, but it's true: It's Kind of a Funny Story, which opened last Friday, is a big shift for the directors of Half-Nelson and Sugar, not just in scale and content, but in the simple fact that it employs a cast of actual, trained actors. Boden and Fleck became indie darlings for their verite, very serious previous films, which tackled topics as different as a drug-addicted teacher in Brooklyn and a Dominican kid who moves to the United States to become a baseball player. It's Kind of a Funny Story isn't just their first adaptation, based on Ned Vizzini's semi-autobiographical novel, but their first film to really qualify as a comedy-- and that's without even mentioning the glitzy musical number set to "Under Pressure." Catching up with Fleck and Boden at the Toronto »
Sixteen year-old Craig (Keir Gilchrist), after dreaming of one too many suicide attempts, checks himself into hospital for depression. However, the child wing is being renovated so he finds himself in the adult psychiatric ward for a minimum of five days. There he meets a collection of quirky characters who help him put his life into focus.
It's Kind of a Funny Story is the latest feature from indie darlings Anna Boden & Ryan Fleck, a pair known for dealing with serious topics in a smart, heartfelt yet humourous way. The film opens on (what I believe is) the Brooklyn Bridge, with our protagonist Craig (Keir Gilchrist) walking out onto a metal beam, about to commit suicide. Suddenly his family shows up and chide him for not taking better care of his bike, »
Filed under: Giveaways
'It's Kind of a Funny Story' (now in theaters), was adapted from a 2006 novel of the same name. The new comedy-drama comes to us from writer/directors Ryan Fleck and Anna Boden, and it stars promising young actor Keir Gilchrist, funny man Zach Galifianakis and the impressive Emma Roberts.
The film surrounds Craig Gilner (Gilchrist), a 16-year-old boy frustrated with the demands of being a teenager, who checks himself into a mental health clinic. There he befriends two fellow patients, Bobby (Galifianakis), who becomes both Craig's mentor and protege, and Noelle (Roberts), a sensitive 16-year-old.
Continue Reading »
- Moviefone Staff
It's funny how one brilliant scene can turn a film around. Midway into his stay at a Brooklyn hospital psych ward, Craig (Keir Gilchrist) joins the only other teen on the floor, the pretty but scarred Noelle (Emma Roberts) and the rest of the patients for music exploration class and a karaoke version of the Queen and David Bowie song "Under Pressure." Forced to sing lead by his instructor, the usually nervous Craig closes his eyes and imagines he and his fellow patients in a '70s Glam Rock band complete with feathery costumes, platform heels and Noelle's facial scars brought to beautiful life via glitter. At this wonderful, sparkly moment, the troubled teen Craig comes alive and the same thing happens to filmmakers Ryan Fleck and Anna Boden's sweet-natured adaptation of Ned Vizzini's classic teen novel "It's Kind of a Funny Story." It's as if Fleck and »
Max Thieriot in Wes Craven's My Soul to Take (top); Keir Gilchrist, Zach Galifianakis in Ryan Fleck and Anna Boden's It's Kind of a Funny Story (bottom) Katherine Heigl-Josh Duhamel's Life As We Know It in 2nd; Diane Lane's Secretariat in 3rd: Box Office At no. 4, Zack Snyder's Legend of the Guardians: The Owls of Ga'Hoole earned $7.01m this weekend at the North American box office, down only 35.1% according to studio estimates found at Box Office Mojo. Cume: $39.4m after ten days. Cost: $80m. Additionally, Legend of the Guardians has taken in $25m overseas. Wes Craven's My Soul to Take opened at no. 5 with only $6.91m. Featuring Max Thieriot, the $25m 3D horror flick about a bloodthirsty serial killer averaged a meager $2,690 per venue. For comparison's sake: Craven's last solo directorial effort, Red Eye, grossed $16.16m on opening weekend back in 2005, when »
- Zac Gille
9 October 2010 7:00 AM, PDT | The Hollywood Reporter - Movie News | See recent The Hollywood Reporter - Movie News news »
And they're off: In what's shaping up as a closely contested weekend, Warner's "Life As We Know It" took the early lead, bolting out of the gate ahead of the weekend's two other new wide releases: Disney's "Secretariat" and Universal's "My Soul to Take."
But Sony's "The Social Network" also showed continuing strength as it entered its second weekend. While it followed front-runner "Life" in second place for the day, positions at the top of the pack could still change as the weekend race plays out.
"Life," a baby-centric rom-com starring Katherine Heigl and Josh Duhamel, took the early lead. Appearing in 3,150 theaters, the PG-13-rated movie, co-financed by Village Roadshow, collected an estimated $5.3 million in North America.
"Network," Sony's drama about the founding of Facebook, continued to attract friends as it dropped just 39% from its opening Friday gross of $8 million. In the first day of its second heat, it »
- By Gregg Kilday
Oct 08, 2010
They may not get the headlines of some of their flashier colleagues, but Anna Boden and Ryan Fleck are two of our most interesting young directors working today. They broke through with one of the best debuts of the last decade in the masterful Half Nelson and completely disproved the theory of the sophomore slump with the spectacular Sugar. After Ryan did a stint directing several episodes of HBO's excellent In Treatment, he reunited with Anna for this week's It's Kind of a Funny Story, starring Keir Gilchrist, Zach Galifianakis, and Emma Roberts. Gilchrist ...Read more at MovieRetriever.com »
There's a pretty eclectic assortment of new movies hitting theatres this weekend, from the Disney horse racing movie Secretariat to Wes Craven's latest teen slasher flick My Soul to Take to the Katherine Heigl / Josh Duhamel romantic comedy Life As We Know It. Anna Boden and Ryan Fleck's It's Kind of a Funny Story is also expanding this weekend, and in select theatres we have the I Spit On Your Grave remake, John Lennon biopic Nowhere Boy, and the financial crisis doc Inside Job. Will The Social Network hold strong for a second week, or will it succumb to more mediocre fare? My Soul to Take  Secretariat  Life As We Know It  It's Kind of a Funny Story  (semi-wide) I Spit on Your Grave  (limited) Inside Job  (limited) Nowhere Boy  (limited) Stone  (limited) Tamara Drewe  (limited)  http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0872230/  http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1028576/  http://www. »
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