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Welcome, fellow fiends! Another year come and gone & it was quite a year for independent cinema. Not a single “studio” picture on my list, which isn’t surprising, considering some of the greatest horror films of all time – Halloween, The Texas Chain Saw Massacre, Blair Witch Project, etc – were all innovative low budget independent efforts. If you’ve listened to the latest episode of Killer Pov, then you’ll already know my picks, but I didn’t want that to deter from my annual tradition here on Icons. So without further adieu, here we go! My top 10 horror picks of 2014!
10 – Cheap Thrills
The definition of what we personally consider “horror” has changed and evolved so drastically over the years. Granted, I’m guilty of constantly claiming certain “fringe” titles are Not horror. But the older I get, true horror to me are the things that people do to each other. »
- Rob Galluzzo
Actresses Riley Keough, Jena Malone and a supporting cast comprised of Brooklyn Decker, Amy Seimetz, Marshall Chapman, Ryan Eggold and Rosanna Arquette have all boarded Lovesong, So Yong Kim’s fourth feature film. Deadline reports the road trip romance will film in Tennessee, and will be produced by Alex Lipschultz, Bradley Rust Gray, David Hansen, and Johnny Mac. Mynette Louie, Laura Rister, and Gamechanger Films’ Julie Parker Benello, Dan Cogan, Geralyn Dreyfous, and Wendy Ettinger will executive produce.
Gist: Co-written by Kim and hubby Bradley Rust Gray, this is the tale of best friends Sarah (Keough) and Mindy (Malone) who take off on an impromptu road trip with Sarah’s young daughter in tow and see their deep BFFship develop into a surprising romance – despite the fact that Mindy is about to get married.
- Eric Lavallee
Exclusive: For Ellen helmer So Yong Kim has set Jena Malone and Riley Keough to lead Lovesong, the tale of best friends Sarah (Keough) and Mindy (Malone) who take off on an impromptu road trip with Sarah’s young daughter in tow and see their deep BFFship develop into a surprising romance – despite the fact that Mindy is about to get married.
Kim wrote Lovesong with frequent collaborator Bradley Rust Gray, whose own features Jack and Diane and The Exploding Girl were produced by Kim. Lovesong reunites the duo with Keough, who starred in Gray’s Jack and Diane and also starred in a short film Kim directed for designer Miu Miu earlier this year, Spark and Light. Malone appeared in both Jack and Diane and For Ellen.
- Jen Yamato
We’re only half a month away from 2015, and it’s time to look back on the year, jump on our soap boxes, and crank out our “Best of the Year” lists. 2014 may have been a weak year for theatrical horror films, but the independent circuit was booming. I saw films in 2014 that have become lifetime favorites, and had some of the most fun watching films that I’ve had in a long time. As always, this is my *~*~opinion*~* on the fifteen best horror films of 2014.
Admittedly, this is sort of a cheat. If you follow me on twitter or Instagram, you’d know that thanks to my wonderful man-candy, my house is a proverbial shrine to Clive Barker’s Nightbreed. Foreign posters, original artwork, old theatre advertisements, figurines, the film on »
- BJ Colangelo
From the apparent death of the romantic sitcom to the resurgence of superhero shows, there have been a lot of developments in television over the year. But if there is one trend that has defined 2014 in television, it has been the migration of directors to the small screen for season-long projects. While not an idea that’s unique to the year, as the Jane Campion-helmed first season of Top of the Lake signalled the trend in 2013, this year’s television firmly established the migration as something more than a novelty.
Of course, big name directors hopping in for an episode or two of shows they are executive producers on is nothing new. Martin Scorsese’s direction in the pilot no doubt convinced some people to give Boardwalk Empire a chance, as did Neil Marshall’s work on the pilot of Constantine »
- Deepayan Sengupta
It started with an infographic. Then more infographics. And some think pieces. And some brief TwitterRage. Over the last year and a half, women’s role in cinema, specifically Hollywood cinema, has become a lightning rod for discussion and debate, and more so than any time in the past, people are approaching film a little more critically in regards to how women are portrayed. The statistics are mind-numbingly bleak, with women representing a fraction of the work force behind the camera, from director to CEO to the best boy. Women in front of the camera rarely fair much better, with roles such as “beautiful and always understanding girlfriend/wife to the hilarious schlub” and “girl with cleavage that shoots guns in tight clothes”.
Last week I happened across a piece about the Best Actress race for the upcoming Academy Award Ceremony and the author talked about how the Actress race »
- Jae K. Renfrow
The competition movie line-up has been revealed for the 2015 Sundance Film Festival, which runs from January 22nd to February 1st 2015. Below the announcement video you'll find the U.S. and World Competition categories, as well as the Next section.
Out of the 12,166 submissions that the festival received this year only 185 were selected. It looks like there are going to be a lot of great films this year. I always enjoy going to Sundance because you never know what film gems are just waiting to be seen.
U.S. Dramatic Competition
Presenting the world premieres of 16 narrative feature films, the Dramatic Competition offers Festivalgoers a first look at groundbreaking new voices in American independent film.
Advantageous / U.S.A. (Director: Jennifer Phang, Screenwriters: Jacqueline Kim, Jennifer Phang) — In a near-future city where soaring opulence overshadows economic hardship, Gwen and her daughter, Jules, do all they can to hold on to their joy, »
- Joey Paur
The 2015 Sundance Film Festival just announced the films that will be screening in the Next Category. The fest declares that their Next programming consists of pure, bold works distinguished by an innovative, forward-thinking approach to storytelling populate this program. Digital technology paired with unfettered creativity promises that the films in this section will shape a “greater” next wave in American cinema. And now we've got the first images and synopses from the following movies that will be playing in that category. Entertainment - Directed by Rick Alverson; written by Rick Alverson, Gregg Turkington and Tim Heidecker; starring Gregg Turkington, John C. Reilly, Tye Sheridan, Michael Cera, Amy Seimetz, Lotte Verbeek. James White - Written and directed by Josh Mond; starring Chris Abbott, Cynthia Nixon, Scott Mescudi, Makenzie Leigh and David Call. Nasty Baby - Written and directed by Sebastian Silva; starring Sebastian Silva, Tunde Adebimpe, Kristin Wiig, Reg E. Cathey, »
- Evan Dickson
Today the first wave of titles playing at the 2015 Sundance Film Festival were announced and while the majority of the titles are new to me the names in front of the camera most certainly are not as you'll see the likes of Michael Fassbender, Nicole Kidman, Saoirse Ronan, Guy Pearce, Cobie Smulders, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Margot Robbie, Chris Pine, Kristen Wiig, Jack Black, James Marsden, Billy Crudup, Ezra Miller, Jemaine Clement, Sarah Silverman, Toni Collette, Vincent Cassell and many, many more among the titles featured. I have collected several photos from many of the films playing the festival, which will take place from January 22 - February 1 in Utah next year. Today's selection includes the U.S. Dramatic Competition, U.S. Documentary Competition, World Cinema Dramatic Competition, World Cinema Documentary Competition and Next program. I'll be adding a few more pictures soon enough, but for now, have a look and see what stands out. »
- Brad Brevet
America’s hottest and most eagerly anticipated film festival is nearly upon us! Running January 22 to February 1, 2015 in Park City, Utah, the annual Sundance Film Festival has launched its initial lineup of in-competition films in the Dramatic, World Cinema, Documentary and Next slates. In all, 66 films were announced in this initial lineup, with the Premieres and Documentary Premieres arriving December 8 and the Short Film slate arriving December 9.
Among the lineup, as always, are some intriguing prospects. The Us Dramatic Competition features films starring stars such as Chiwetel Ejiofor, Margot Robbie, Chris Pine (Z for Zachariah), Jack Black, James Marsden, Kathryn Hahn, Jeffrey Tambor (The D Train), Bel Powley, Alexander Skarsgård, Christopher Meloni, Kristen Wiig (The Diary of a Teenage Girl), Adam Scott, Taylor Schilling, Jason Schwartzman (The Overnight), and Sarah Silverman (I Smile Back), among many others, and new films from recently hot directors including Alfonso-Gomez Rejon, Andrew Bujalski, and Craig Zobel. »
- Brian Welk
The Sundance Film Festival, whose 2015 edition runs from January 22 through February 1, has announced the lineups for its U.S. and World Cinema Dramatic and Documentary Competitions and the out-of-competition Next section. Highlights include Kristen Wiig in Marielle Heller's The Diary of a Teenage Girl, John C. Reilly, Michael Cera and Amy Seimetz in Rick Alverson's Entertainment, Andrew Bujalski's Results, Sean Baker's Tangerine, Kris Swanberg's Unexpected, Chiwetel Ejiofor in Craig Zobel's Z for Zachariah, new documentaries by Kim Longinotto, Michael Madsen, Bobcat Goldthwait and Bill Ross and Turner Ross. » - David Hudson »
Last year’s Next section introduced us to new breed of filmmakers in Desiree Akhavan, Sydney Freeland, Madeleine Olnek, Ana Lily Amirpour, Malik Vitthal and Gillian Robespierre while re-introducing us to the likes of Alex Ross Perry, Tim Sutton, Michael Tully, Mark Jackson, Martha Stephens & Aaron Katz. With the likes of Josh Mond (see James White pic above), Rick Alverson, Sean Baker and Matt Sobel, the section comprised of ten films (with two non-world premieres in the Locarno preemed Christmas, Again and Venice Film Festival shown H.) distinctly feels avantgarde. Here are the batch of ten films.
Bob and the Trees / U.S.A., France (Director: Diego Ongaro, Screenwriters: Diego Ongaro, Courtney Maum, Sasha Statman-Weil) — Bob, a 50-year-old logger in rural Massachusetts with a soft spot for golf and gangsta rap, is struggling to make ends meet in a changed economy. When his beloved cow is wounded and a job goes awry, »
- Eric Lavallee
A funny thing happened on the way to Park City: The general upsurge of comedians in the independent film world wound up playing a major role in shaping the 2015 Sundance Film Festival program, per fest director John Cooper and director of programming Trevor Groth.
The effect can be felt across all aspects of the feature lineup, which boasts a total of 118 films (103 of them world premieres), but especially among the 16 titles set to screen in the always buzzy U.S. dramatic competition. That’s one of the four juried slates (including U.S. documentary, World Cinema dramatic and World Cinema documentary) unveiled today along with the festival’s noncompetitive Next section.
“There are probably more comedies in the dramatic competition than ever before,” Groth said, citing such titles as “Results,” a romantic laffer from mumblecore auteur Andrew Bujalski, with Guy Pearce and Cobie Smulders as a pair of personal trainers; Patrick Brice’s “The Overnight, »
- Justin Chang
Sundance Film Festival director John Cooper and head of programming Trevor Groth have unleashed their first volley of films in what will be a 118-strong line-up overall culled from 12,166 submissions. Of these, 103 features are world premieres. The festival will run January 22 to February 1.
Us Dramatic Competition includes Craig Zobel’s post-apocalytpic tale Z For Zachariah starring Chiwetel Ejiofor and Chris Pine; Jack Black in comedy The D Train; and Kristen Wiig in the 1970s San Francisco-set coming-of-age story The Diary Of A Teenage Girl.
Other likely highlights are Kyle Patrick Alvarez’s The Stanford Prison Experiment starring Billy Crudup and Ezra Miller; and Saoirse Ronan in Stockholm, Pennsylvania, about a young woman who returns to live with her parents after she is freed from her abductor of 17 years »
- email@example.com (Jeremy Kay)
How important is the Sundance Film Festival's Next program? The yearly slate of edgier fare has led to critically acclaimed art house hits such as "Obvious Child," "Listen Up Phillip" and "Sound of My Voice." It also has inspired the Los Angeles-based Sundance Next Festival, which just wrapped up its second edition this past August. So while it may not have the prestige of the U.S. dramatic competition, Next films are something any movie lover should pay attention to. Along with the top competition categories, the Sundance Institute announced the Next slate for the 2015 Sundance Film Festival and it features some indie star power. Kristen Wiig stars in Sundance alum Sebastian Silva's "Nasty Baby" (which makes it back-to-back festivals for the "Skeleton Twins" star), John C. Reilly and Michael Cera appear in the comedy "Entertainment" and former "Girls" star Chris Abbott and Cynthia Nixon star in Josh Mond's "James White. »
- Gregory Ellwood
Directors Darren Grodsky & Danny Jacobs Growing Up And Other Lies stars Adam Brody (The O.C.), Josh Lawson (House of Lies), Wyatt Cenac (The Daily Show), Amber Tamblyn (Two and a Half Men). After living for years as a struggling artist in New York City, Jake is calling it quits and returning home to Ohio. On his last day in the city, he persuades his three oldest friends to help him retrace their greatest adventure together: a walk down the entire length of Manhattan. The film shows Sat. »
- Michelle McCue
“So many fantasies are fear based, so I can understand why you’d want Ronald Reagan shoving cake in your mouth,” said Amy Seimetz. She was responding to a particular fantasy from an anonymous audience member after a screening of Josephine Decker’s Thou Wast Mild and Lovely, nearing the midway point in its one week run at the Ifp Media Center. Seimetz and Decker, along with Mild and Lovely d.p. Ashley Connor, Ry Russo-Young, Emily Carmichael, and Celia Rowlson-Hall were all in attendance for an interactive panel on Female Sexual Fantasies in Film. The filmmakers began with a discussion that centered on the […] »
- Sarah Salovaara
Like great existentialist fiction, films noir have used death to explore the finitude of existence. However, a great many of these have used the death of a character to explore the way the past makes itself felt in the present, or the return of the repressed. The most dramatic and unsettling way death is used in film noir is when they explore how a past death, coded as a traumatic event, affects the present. Two recent neo-noirs, Sun Don’t Shine (2012) directed by Amy Seimetz and Between 2 Deaths (2006) directed by Wago Kreider, explore the noir death trope in radically different ways, depicting how the past can never be entirely repressed.>> - Cody Lang »
Amongst the plethora of television thrillers, mysteries and detective stories, the Nordic Noir genre is undoubtedly the one of the moment. As people turn away from your standard city cop thriller, a bleak Scandinavian vibe is satisfying the urges and they’re slowing down the pace in favour of character-led drama – where people actually have to work things out.
Originally a Danish series called Forbrydelsen, the Us version of The Killing, written and produced by Veena Sud, took all the good things and thankfully kept them (including the knitwear) in this equally exciting and absorbing television drama. Just as season four of the Emmy-nominated The Killing comes to Netflix, we’re excited to share the news that you can pick up seasons 1 to 3 on DVD and Blu-ray for the first time as one complete collection and also as single disc releases, with season 2 and 3 making their UK home entertainment debut this week. »
- Dan Bullock
Is John Gallagher Jr. getting Catfished in this trailer? Let’s back up a bit. Part drama, part thriller to a smaller degree (or mystery, perhaps), “The Heart Machine” is about a man living in New York City who begins to suspect that his long-distance girlfriend who he met on the Internet has been living in the Manhattan the whole time, instead of Berlin like she claims. Of course, he sets out to find her. The movie stars John Gallagher Jr. of “The Newsroom” and Kate Lyn Sheil, an indie darling known for Amy Seimetz's "Sun Don't Shine," the early films of Alex Ross Perry (including a brief turn in his latest "Listen Up Philip") and “House of Cards.” Here’s the official synopsis: Tracking two parallel journeys that show how digital media complicates modern love, The Heart Machine explores the evolving relationship between physical and emotional intimacy, isolation in the urban hive, »
- Edward Davis
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