18 items from 2015
I know, I know... it's early in the year and the Oscars just ended and Oh my God what are you doingc Yet, the wheels keep turning and I like to be ahead of the game rather than playing catch up at the end of the year so I'm trying to make sure the database is locked and loaded for Oscar 2016 and I just got done adding a few contenders, contenders such as... Luca Guadagnino's A Bigger Splash, which Fox Searchlight just acquired for distribution starring Matthias Schoenaerts, Tilda Swinton, Ralph Fiennes, Dakota Johnson and Aurore Clement. The pic centers on a high profile couple, a famous rock star and a filmmaker (Schoenaerts and Swinton), vacationing and recovering on the idyllic sun-drenched and remote Italian island of Pantelleria are disrupted by the unexpected visit of an old friend and his daughter (Fiennes and Johnson) - creating a whirlwind of jealousy, »
- Brad Brevet
The question on everyone's lips at this year's Sundance Film Festival was, of course, "What's the new Whiplash?" Now that Damien Chazelle's 2014 Sundance favourite has landed a Best Picture nomination (alongside four other Oscar nods), the industry stakes for Robert Redford's indie fest have never been higher.
Digital Spy takes a look at nine of the buzziest movies coming out of this year's Sundance.
1. Me and Earl and the Dying Girl
Here's your answer to the Whiplash question. Alfonso Gomez-Rejon's oddball teen drama pulled off the same double-whammy that Whiplash did at last year's awards, winning both the Grand Jury Prize for drama and the Audience Award.
Described by Rolling Stone as "The Fault in Our Stars for people who like a dose of quirk with their Ya weepies", Earl follows an awkward high schooler (Thomas Mann) and his partner in student filmmaking (Rj Cyler), who befriend »
Variety’s top film critics have selected their favorite movies of the 2015 Sundance Film Festival, which screened over 123 features in its 17th edition. All three of them agree: grand prize and audience award winner “Me and Earl and the Dying Girl” was one of this year’s finest achievements in Park City.
Justin Chang: Another Sundance has come to a close, and I think it’s safe to say that this year’s edition was a particularly fine one — distinguished, first and foremost, by a U.S. dramatic competition that offered the jury plenty of opportunity to spread the wealth. I had a bit of a hunch that “Me and Earl and the Dying Girl” might sweep both the grand jury prize and the audience award, in the now de rigueur winner-takes-all manner of “Whiplash,” “Fruitvale Station” and “Precious” before it (or rather, “Fruitvale” and “Push: Based on the Novel by Sapphire, »
- Justin Chang, Peter Debruge and Scott Foundas
Title: Mississippi Grind Directors: Ryan Fleck and Anna Boden Starring: Ryan Reynolds, Ben Mendelsohn, Sienna Miller, Analeigh Tipton, Alfre Woodard, Robin Weigert Gambling can be a serious addiction, and as a result it is used as the subject of a number of films. The rush of the bet and the endless cycle of owing money to loan sharks and other creditors is rarely a positive or optimistic situation, but the characters involved are often fascinating people. Mississippi Grind, the new film from Half Nelson directing duo Ryan Fleck and Anna Boden centers on two gamblers, Gerry (Ben Mendelsohn) and Curtis (Ryan Reynolds), each with different vices that make them a [ Read More ]
The post Mississippi Grind Movie Review appeared first on Shockya.com. »
In "Mississippi Grind," Gerry (Ben Mendelsohn) is a gambling addict who doesn't know when to cash his chips in and call it a day; Curtis (Ryan Reynolds) is a flighty traveler who likes to gamble for fun and doesn't care about winning or losing. United by the appreciation of a rainbow, they develop a great friendship. But Gerry's dangerous lifestyle begins to catch up with him when his loan shark gets impatient with his lack of payments. Believing that Curtis brings good luck, Gerry asks him to come along on a trip on a gambling tour in Mississippi to pay off his debts. Directors Ryan Fleck and Anna Boden ("Half Nelson") return to Sundance with a road trip that explores the back roads of America and ventures into the dark rooms where high stakes gambling takes place. It soon becomes clear that Gerry is burning out, as he continues to »
- Sterlin Johnson
A24 has secured distribution rights to gambling drama “Mississippi Grind,” Variety has confirmed.
The film is the latest collaboration from “Half Nelson” directors Anna Boden and Ryan Fleck and offers another look at people struggling on the edges of society. Ryan Reynolds stars as a charismatic drifter who forms an unlikely bond with a down-on-his-luck gambler played by Ben Mendelsohn. Sienna Miller co-stars as Reynolds’ sometime girlfriend.
The picture debuted to a warm response at this year’s Sundance Film Festival. In a review in Variety, critic Justin Chang said the film’s commercial prospects are limited, though he liked the picture.
“The moody, measured intelligence and exceptional skill with actors long evinced by filmmakers Ryan Fleck and Anna Boden (‘Half Nelson,’ ‘Sugar’) once again serves them well in ‘Mississippi Grind,’ a bittersweet, beautifully textured road movie that plays like a conscious throwback to the lost souls and open highways of 1970s American cinema, »
- Brent Lang
A24 has acquired U.S. rights to the Ryan Reynolds-led drama Mississippi Grind, The Hollywood Reporter has confirmed. The acquisition was made in partnership with DirecTV. A source pegged the deal at $2 million. See more The Scene at Sundance Film Festival 2015 Co-directors Anna Boden and Ryan Fleck's (It's Kind of a Funny Story) film centers on a slick poker player and his friend who embark on a road trip to a high-stakes card tournament in New Orleans. See more Stars at Sundance: Exclusive Photos of Kristen Wiig, Jack Black, Ethan Hawke and More Ben Mendelsohn,
- Tatiana Siegel
I am at my second Sundance Film Festival.
These are my reviews.
Sundance Film Festival 2015 Reviews
U.S.A., 2014, 108 min., color
Plot (courtesy of Sundance): Gerry is a talented poker player whose habit is getting the best of him. He convinces younger player Curtis to join him on a road trip, and they begin gambling their way toward a highstakes game in New Orleans. During their journey, true motivations are revealed, and the two bond.
Review: Four aces is an almost unbeatable poker hand. This film is about gambling (one ace). Mendelsohn is an amazing greasy actor (emotionally and with most of his characters, visually) and there is almost no one I’d rather watch in a poker movie besides Matt Damon and Ed Norton (another ace »
- Jeff Bayer
The first shot of the film is a rainbow: The rainbow becomes a sort of plot device for Gerry (Ben Mendelsohn), a down and out gambler who strikes up a friendship with drifter Curtis (Ryan Reynolds) and the two head out on a road trip through the South to win back Gerry’s losses in writers/directors Anna Boden and Ryan Fleck’s character driven road trip. For them the rainbow is a symbol of their friendship, a sign of good luck for bets, and ultimately what both are searching for – the beauty after the rainy storm both of them are experiencing.
Mississippi Grind is a fine film, but would be pretty forgettable without Ben Mendelsohn. Mendelsohn has built a small empire on playing varied scumbags in his career, but here he plays something entirely different – he plays someone tragically sympathetic. »
- Dylan Griffin
Gambling addict Gerry (Ben Mendelsohn) is down on his luck. He’s got nothing left to lose. He has all his cards on the table. He’s gotten a bad hand. He’s rolling the dice. All those cliches? They apply to Gerry, because they’re true (that is, after all, how something becomes a cliche — it’s true first and then true a lot). But although Ryan Fleck and Anna Boden‘s Mississippi Grind tackles a well-worn cinematic storyline (remember The Gambler? that came out mere weeks ago!), the atmospheric and and beautifully crafted feature mostly overcomes its genre brethren to pump fresh blood into the material, with stellar turns from both Mendelsohn and Ryan Reynolds bolstering the material still further. Gerry is a loser of the highest degree — a loser who might actually enjoy losing — and he’s gambled his life away until he’s got next to nothing to show for it. His »
- Kate Erbland
Park City - It feel like Altman is in the air these days. There was, after all, a giant coffee table book about him that ended up under the trees of many a film nerd this Christmas, and little by little, his films are making their way onto Blu-ray, and Netflix just recently added a documentary that is a look back at his remarkable career. This fall also saw the release of "Inherent Vice," and while that is an adaptation of a Thomas Pynchon novel and very much a Paul Thomas Anderson film, there are more than a few echoes of Altman's "The Long Goodbye" in there. Now we've got the latest film from Anna Boden and Ryan Fleck, who have had an uneven career as filmmakers so far. They co-wrote "Half Nelson" together, and then started co-directing as well. I sort of like "Sugar," their first film as co-directors, »
- Drew McWeeny
Some men are just born to lose. And some men deserve second chances. But the beautiful losers of “Mississippi Grind” abuse the limits of luck landing in their favor beyond reparation in Ryan Fleck and Anna Boden's uneven fourth feature. These American indie filmmakers got their start at Sundance with their arresting debut drama “Half Nelson” with Ryan Gosling. Subsequent efforts have been only semi-successful. The baseball drama “Sugar” is more politely admired than actively loved, and the comedy “It’s Kind Of A Funny Story” was their first real misfire. The talented storytellers meld all of their gifts for this humanist gambling drama and two-hander, but as a rambling, should-be plucky riff on ‘70s-style shaggy losers on the road (see “Fat City,” “California Split”), “Mississippi Grind” can never quite deal itself a winning hand. Starring Ryan Reynolds and Ben Mendelsohn, “Mississippi Grind” begins with one drunken fateful evening. »
- Rodrigo Perez
The moody, measured intelligence and exceptional skill with actors long evinced by filmmakers Ryan Fleck and Anna Boden (“Half Nelson,” “Sugar”) once again serves them well in “Mississippi Grind,” a bittersweet, beautifully textured road movie that plays like a conscious throwback to the lost souls and open highways of 1970s American cinema. Starring a never-better Ben Mendelsohn as a desperate poker player who embarks on a high-stake gambling trip through the South with his personal good-luck charm (Ryan Reynolds) in tow, this low-key but emotionally rich journey may not deliver the narrative oomph that some audiences may crave from their tales of addiction and redemption, spelling modest commercial impact. Still, discerning arthouse-goers will warm to the film’s superb performances, haunting sense of place and willingness to meander, as well as its sly rumination on the mysterious interplay of fate and friendship in shaping an individual’s destiny.
Arriving just »
- Justin Chang
Appearing in Filmmaker‘s 25 New Faces list back in 2004 after their home run of a short, Gowanus, Brooklyn, Ryan Fleck and Anna Boden have had what, from the outside, looks like one of the steadiest careers in American independent film. While others from that list struggle to make their second or third films, Boden and Fleck have moved from feature to feature, first turning that short into a well-received debut starring Ryan Gosling (Half Nelson), essaying the life of an immigrant baseball player in Sugar for HBO; and then adapting Ned Vizzini’s acclaimed memoir It’s Kind of a Funny […] »
- Scott Macaulay
Scott Davis on films to look out for at Sundance 2015…
It’s the most wonderful time of the year, when many of Hollywood’s big hitters gather together to be awarded a variety of different prices on the Awards circuit, culminating with the 87th Academy Awards on February 22nd. But on Thursday weekend in west USA (namely Utah) the Sundance Film Festival kicks off again, and many of the world’s best independent films will get their debuts to the public, and the press, over the next few weeks.
Staff Writer Scott Davis takes a look at some of the films making their debuts, and digs deep to find the next gems that could be coming out way in 2015.
When an aging travel writer sets out to hike the 2,100-mile-long Appalachian Trail with a long-estranged high school buddy, the duo learn that some roads are better left untraveled. »
- Scott J. Davis
The 2015 Sundance Film Festival kicks off Thursday and with it come some of the most groundbreaking, experimental, and challenging independent films from Hollywood and around the world.
From films about infamous psychological experiments to degenerate gamblers, and the post-apocalyptic worlds to ill-fated emotional journeys, these are the nine films from this year's Sundance Film Fest that we can't wait to watch.
Sundance Film Festival
What It's About: The Stanford Prison Experiment tells the real life story of an infamous psychological study examining the effects of imprisonment. Two dozen student volunteers are randomly assigned to be guards or prisoners in this mock jail and, as the experiment unfolds, the students begin to disturbingly fall into their roles.
Why We Want To See It: The real experiment was a frightening yet fascinating examination of psychological conditioning and the man who ran the »
Buyers will be out in full force this week in Park City but with so many options to choose from, it helps to have a cheat sheet to prioritize the must-see acquisition titles at Sundance. After talking to buyers and sellers alike, here are the 10 most promising titles with the loudest buzz heading into this year’s festival.
The Bronze (WME)
What’s the Deal?: The highlight of Sundance’s opening night lineup is this raunchy comedy from director Bryan Buckley featuring co-writer Melissa Rauch in what could prove to be a star-making performance. The “Big Bang Theory” actress plays a washed-up Olympic gymnast whose local celebrity is threatened by the arrival of a promising young gymnast seeking a mentor. Sundance describes the foul-mouthed protagonist as “a lovably loathsome character who makes Tonya Harding look like Grace Kelly,” so perhaps this will be the next “Bad Words?”
First Screening: Thursday, Jan. 22, 9:30 p.m. – Eccles
What’s the Deal?: Jake Johnson and Rosemarie DeWitt play East L.A. parents on the verge of a nervous breakdown as they juggle marital and parenting duties. Things get weird when she enjoys a night on the town with her girls and he takes the opportunity to invite his buddies over for smoking, drinking and carousing. Joe Swanberg’s latest may be his most commercial film yet, and it certainly features his most high-profile cast. Between Anna Kendrick, Orlando Bloom, Brie Larson, Sam Rockwell, Chris Messina, Jenny Slate, Melanie Lynskey, Timothy Simons, Ron Livington, comedian Mike Birbiglia and veterans Sam Elliott and Judith Light, there’s someone for everyone.
First Screening: Monday, Jan. 26, 9:45 p.m. – Eccles »
- Jeff Sneider
The Sundance Film Festival’s Premieres section is “A showcase of world premieres of some of the most highly anticipated narrative films of the coming year.”
Mississippi Grind — Image courtesy of The Sundance Institute
From the writing and directing duo that brought us Half Nelson and It’s Kind of a Funny Story comes Mississippi Grind, starring Ryan Reynolds and Ben Mendelsohn as a pair of desperate gamblers on the road. Anna Boden and Ryan Fleck have thus far earned a solid indie reputation, so there’s not much reason to doubt that they’ll deliver engaging content even if one’s unsure of the acting team that’s being put to task. Reynolds’ name may suffer from overexposure in big studio flops like X-Men Origins: Wolverine and The Green Lantern, whereas Mendelsohn’s growing respectability flies well below pop culture’s radar. »
- Lane Scarberry
18 items from 2015
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