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Sundance Review: Nick Hornby-Scripted 'Brooklyn' is Beautiful But Unfulfilling

5 hours ago

Director John Crowley's period drama "Brooklyn," based on the novel by Colm Toibin, stars Saoirse Ronan as Eilis Lacey, an Irish immigrant who comes to American in the 1950s in search for a better life. She leaves behind her loving sister and mother, without knowing if or when she will ever return home. When she arrives in America, she find a home in a boarding house with other Irish immigrants in Brooklyn. As winter comes, she struggles to adjust to her new life; even though she has plenty of help from the people around her, she still feels homesick. That changes, however, when she meets Tony (Emory Cohen), an Italian American with a love for the Dodgers. The two fall madly in love, and it seems all is well, until tragedy strikes at home in Ireland. Forced to leave New York, she returns home to a very different Ireland from the one she left earlier. »


- Sterlin Johnson

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Sundance Review: Jemaine Clement, Jessica Williams and More Shine in 'People, Places and Things'

5 hours ago

Writer-director James C. Strouse's first two films, "The Winning Season" and the John Cusack vehicle "Grace Is Gone" both explore fatherhood, but Strouse never seemed to find a way make his dramatic interests succeed in a narrative form. Now going as Jim Strouse, has finally discovered his groove with his latest project, "People, Places, Things." Anchored by a stellar cast and a hilarious script, Strouse balances dramatic elements with quick-witted comedy. The heart of the film is the performance of Jermaine Clement ("Flight of The Concords") as Will Henry, a depressed graphic novelist and single father trying to put his life back together after catching his wife cheating on him with Gary (Michael Chernus), a monologist, on his twin daughter's birthday. A year later, Will is living a small Queens apartment, expressing his anguish through his drawings. His ex-wife Charlie (Stephanie Allayne) is pregnant getting married to Gary. His. »


- Sterlin Johnson

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Sundance Review: Bobcat Goldthwait's 'Call Me Lucky' Puts Barry Crimmins in the Spotlight

6 hours ago

If comedian Barry Crimmins' own words in Bobcat Goldthwait's documentary "Call Me Lucky" are to be believed, he has only two simple requests: to overthrow the government of the United States, and to close the Catholic Church. One clip featured in the film has him opening his act by puffing on a cigar, before proclaiming that he's "been on a bit of a health kick lately." That revealing observation is one of only a few moments where this complicated unsung hero of his craft speaks for himself. It's unfortunate that the film doesn't include more footage of his performance skills, to the extent that viewers experiences more commentary about his comedy than the work itself. At the same time, the approach speaks to the obscurity of Crimmins' career — and it's just as well, given how many angles of his life the film is interested in exploring — but the »


- Ibad Shah

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Watch: Exclusive Clip from Slamdance Documentary Short 'Dolphin Sex'

6 hours ago

Kareem Tabusch's documentary short "Dolphin Lover" received an honorable mention at last night's Slamdance Film Festival awards ceremony in Park City. "Dolphin Lover" tells the unbelievable yet very true story of a man that engaged in a year-long sexual relationship with a captive bottlenose dolphin. In this exclusive clip from the film, the man explains his first sexually-charged encounter with the dolphin. Check out the clip below, exclusively on Indiewire. Read More: Promising New Filmmakers Recognized at Slamdance Film Festival Awards »

- Shipra Gupta

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Sundance Review: '3 ½ Minutes' is a Timely Statement on an Age-Old Issue

7 hours ago

Black Friday, 2012. Dusk had barely fallen in Jacksonville, Florida. The neighborhood was respectable. Seventeen-year-old Jordan Davis was with friends, driving to music, and pulling up at a gas station just blocks from home. And yet the circumstances weren't safe enough: Mere minutes later, he was shot dead by a stranger. Taking that tragedy as its starting point, documentarian Marc Silver's "3 ½ Minutes" is an extraordinarily powerful dissection of those final moments of Davis life. At issue is the heated verbal tussle he experienced with Michael Dunn, the 47-year old white male who fired the shots that killed him in an act claimed as "self defense" over a disagreement about the volume of the music in Davis's car. Anchoring the documentary in the trials that followed the incident, Silver intersperses the footage with archival footage of the ensuing media coverage, conversations with Davis's family and friends, and recorded phone conversations between an. »


- Anisha Jhaveri

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Sundance Review: Sebatian Silva's Tense 'Nasty Baby' is a Subversive Delight

8 hours ago

The follow-up to Sebastián Silva’s 2013 efforts "Crystal Fairy & the Magical Cactus" and "Magic Magic," "Nasty Baby" follows a gay couple — Freddy (Silva) and Mo (Tunde Adebimpe) — as they try to conceive a baby with their friend Polly (Kristen Wiig), deal with a neighborhood menace ambiguously named "The Bishop," and set up Freddy’s experimental art show, all within the constraints of gentrified Brooklyn. Freddy is a conceptual artist, fleshing out a performance art project called "Nasty Baby" for a collective art show at a local gallery. The abstract concept — which we’re preemptively confronted with at the very beginning of the film — finds him stripping his clothes and returning to a primal, infantile state. Essentially, this entails lying naked on the ground, cooing, crying, and writhing around in his best imitation of a newborn. Part of the inspiration for the project stems from Freddy’s preoccupation with conceiving »


- Eric Kohn

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Meet the 2015 Sundance Filmmakers #77: Marielle Heller Gives Coming-Of-Age Angst a Feminine Spin in 'Diary of a Teenage Girl'

9 hours ago

After participating in the 2012 Sundance Screenwriting Fellow and the 2012 Sundance Directing Fellow, Marielle Heller finally made her long-awaited return to Park City this year with a huge breakout in her back pocket. Heller's debut feature, "The Diary of a Teenage Girl," stars newcomer Bel Powley as a teen artist living in 1970's San Francisco who enters into an affair with her mother's boyfriend. Premiering to vast critical acclaim (read our glowing review here), "Diary" formally announces Heller as a major talent to watch, which is especially encouraging given how hungry audiences are for more female filmmakers in Hollywood. Meet the Sundance hit maker here: What's your film about, in 140 characters or less? The film is a coming-of-age story about a fifteen-year-old girl who is growing up in the haze of the 1970s in San Francisco and having an affair with her mother's boyfriend. Now, what's it Really about? It's about the way it. »


- Zack Sharf

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Meet the 2015 Sundance Filmmakers #76: Kim Farrant is Compelled to Get to the Raw Truth in 'Strangerland'

9 hours ago

The bulk of attention that has gone towards Kim Farrant's "Strangerland" has focused on the gritty Nicole Kidman turn at its center. But the Aussie filmmaker's rigorous cinematic methods merit a glance or two, as well. Farrant grew up in a "radical, forward-thinking" household in which expression and openness were principally encouraged. She brings that approach to "Strangerland," a dark and unsparing family tragedy that cuts bone-deep. A jittery, dust-clouded visual style and an uncompromising thematic vision should allow the director's work to stand out in this star-studded production. What's your film about in 140 characters or less? It's about a couple, the Parkers (Nicole Kidman and Joseph Fiennes) who move to a remote Australian desert town, soon after their two teenage kids go missing before a massive dust storm. With the town suddenly shrouded in a wall of dust, the townsfolk band together to search for the children lead by local cop David. »


- David Canfield

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Meet the 2015 Sundance Filmmakers #75: Tony Vainuku Shows Journey of Polynesian High School Footballers With 'In Football We Trust'

9 hours ago

Despite having only a small population with a short history in the U.S., Samoans and Tongans are 28 times more likely than any other minority group to play football for the NFL. Over four years, filmmakers Tony Vainuku and Erika Cohn followed the journey of four accomplished Polynesian high school football players, struggling toward achieving their lifelong, and probably life-changing, goal of professional recruitment. Impassioned, hard-working, and determined, the players' love for their families is equalled only by their love of this great American sport. Their evolution from childhood to adulthood in the competitive world of collegiate football is captured with incredible detail, revealing some of the severe pressures to succeed stemming from within the tightly knit Polynesian community. The constant threat of gang violence, addiction, and poverty could stand between these boys and their dreams. Even with loving mothers, siblings, and »


- Anya Jaremko-Greenwold

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Meet the 2015 Sundance Filmmakers #74: In 'Chuck Norris vs. Communism,' a Generation Falls in Love With Movies During the Cold War

9 hours ago

Many of us have fond memories of parents and children gathered around the Vcr to watch a rented movie on a Friday night. Before the fall of the Iron Curtain, however, Romanian families could only get their VHS tapes on the black market, making American action icon Chuck Norris a symbol of freedom and rebellion not only on-screen but in real life. These illicit movie-marathons are at the heart of Olinica Calugareanu's "Chuck  Norris vs. Communism." What's your film about in 140 characters or less? In 1980s Romania, thousands of Western films smashed through the Iron Curtain opening a window into the free world for those who dared to look. A black-market VHS racketeer and a courageous female translator brought the magic of film to the people and sparked a revolution. Now what's it Really about? I was 6 years old in 1986 and my parents found a way to borrow a Vcr. »


- Elizabeth Logan

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Meet the 2015 Sundance Filmmakers #73: Prashant Nair Spans Continents for Indian Drama 'Umrika'

9 hours ago

Competing in Sundance's World Cinema Dramatic Competition, Prashant Nair's "Umrika" focuses on the small Indian village of Jitvapur, where new traditions and community debates arise after letters from abroad paint a picture of foreign American life in the 1980s. For Nair, a director who has traversed the globe, the film was an opportunity to use continental culture to punctuate his subjects, something the director believes film is a vital tool for. Now that film is screening at Sundance following a hectic production shoot, it couldn't be a better time to get acquainted with Prashant Nair. What's your film about, in 140 characters or less? A tiny Indian village begins to transform when letters start arriving from one of their own describing the marvels and eccentricities of life in 1980s America. Now, what's it Really about? It’s about the mythology of America and, more generally, how cultures perceive each other: the stereotypes, »


- Zack Sharf

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Meet the 2015 Sundance Filmmakers #72: 'Most Likely To Succeed' Questions America's Education System and Proposes an Alternative

9 hours ago

The most oft-repeated line about America's archaic education system is to point out that the Agrarian Model (children have the summer off to help their parents work the fields) is hardly necessary or helpful in today's economy. But what about the other ways in which public education in this country is out of date? There hasn't been a school system overhaul in over a century, though the world has certainly changed mightily since then. "Most Likely To Succeed" examines the problem of updating how we learn and how we teach for a new generation, focusing on parents, teachers and students, rather than politics. What's your film about in 140 characters or less? Our current education system was invented in 1893 and designed with the needs of our emerging industrial economy. The world and our economy has changed but our education system remains the same. If it did change, our film explores what it could/should look like. »

- Elizabeth Logan

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Meet the 2015 Sundance Filmmakers #71: 'Being Evel' Examines the Extreme Life Behind the Extreme Stunts of Evel Knievel

9 hours ago

There's no combination of artifice and real danger quite like the stunt. It's purposefully over-the-top, but unless it has a certain amount of reality in it, it doesn't hold the audience's imagination or attention. No one knew this better than the high-flying, death-defying Evel Knievel, whose tricks and triumphs captivated people of all ages in the '70s. Now, a new documentary takes a look at the man behind the rhinestones. What's your film about in 140 characters or less? "Being Evel" is the complex story of American daredevil and icon Evel Knievel. Now what's it Really about? A generation grew up worshipping self-styled American hero Robert "Evel" Knievel -- watching him every Saturday on Wide World of Sports and buying his Ideal toys. For producer / subject Johnny Knoxville and so many others, he was the ultimate antidote to the disenchantment of the 70's. But few knew the incredible and often »


- Elizabeth Logan

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Springboard: Meet the Breakout Star of the Sundance Hit, 'Diary of a Teenage Girl'

9 hours ago

In her American feature film debut, "Diary of a Teenage Girl," 24-year-old British actress Bel Powley is so convincing playing a 15-year-old teenager in San Francisco in 1976 that you'll swear it's an autobiographical role and she's somehow time-travelled from the '70s. "It's rare to witness a young girl so openly express her need for physical intimacy in a coming-of-age movie, but 'Diary' bravely endeavors to fill a gaping hole in contemporary portrayals of female adolescence," wrote Anisha Jhaveri in her review of the film for Indiewire.  Read More: Dp Brandon Trost on Shooting Sundance Darling "Diary of a Teenage Girl" Adapted from Phoebe Gloeckner’s graphic novel of the same name by writer-director Marielle Heller, "Diary" follows 15-year-old Minnie (Powley) as she explores her sexuality by losing her virginity to her mother's boyfriend (Alexander Skarsgard). Kristen Wiig plays Minnie's fun-loving, irresponsible mom in the »


- Paula Bernstein

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Samuel Goldwyn Films and StyleHaul Team Up to Snag Hip-Hop Fashion Doc 'Fresh Dressed'

10 hours ago

Samuel Goldwyn Films and StyleHaul have jointly acquired "Fresh Dressed," Sacha Jenkins' documentary about the history of hip-hop and urban fashion.  The film, which premiered to positive reception last week at Sundance, intrigued buyers for its dutiful albeit colorful historical recounting. It tracks the evolution of dress from southern cotton plantations to '70s gangs in the South Bronx to, now, corporate America and everywhere in-between. According to Peter Goldwyn, Senior Vice President of Samuel Goldwyn Films: "We are proud to be partnering with StyleHaul on the release of Sacha's film.  There is no better partner to help us bring his creative and distinctive film about the evolution of hip-hop through the lens of fashion to audiences around the country, and we feel having the film on Vimeo will help it reach a much broader audience it so rightly deserves." "'Fresh Dressed' eloquently chronicles the evolution of street style, »


- David Canfield

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If Netflix and Amazon Want to Dominate Sundance, They Need to Show More Than the Money

10 hours ago

In the month leading up to the 2015 Sundance Film Festival, Netflix and Amazon were on fire. Both streaming services won big at the Golden Globes. Netflix's original documentary Liz Garbus' "What Happened, Miss Simone?" premiered in the opening night slot at Sundance. And right before the festival began, news broke that Amazon had signed veteran producer Ted Hope to lead its Amazon Original Movies division.  However, neither company managed to edge out established independent distributors such as Sony Pictures Classics and Fox Searchlight -- or even newcomers such as The Orchard and Broad Green Pictures. As Mashable reports, Netflix and Amazon both came to Sundance ready to buy -- but are leaving with something like egg on their faces. Netflix bid $5 million for "The Bronze," but lost to Relativity Media, even though they offered more money for the comedy. Though Netflix signed Mark and Jay Duplass, the prolific filmmaking brothers. »


- Paula Bernstein

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6 Great Insights From George Lucas at the Sundance Film Festival

10 hours ago

It may sound weird now, but when George Lucas made "Star Wars," he was taking a big risk. In Park City for the Sundance Film Festival yesterday, Lucas joined Robert Redford and moderator Leonard Maltin for a panel discussion entitled "Visions of Independence." While Lucas' name may be synonymous with commercial success, he made a number of salient points that reflected his independent past. Here are some of the highlights. Check out Matlin's recollections from moderating the event here. Lucas was initially opposed to commercial cinema.Initially inspired by the experimental film scene in San Francisco during the late 1960s, Lucas had no interest in making big studio projects. "I wasn’t really into dramatic filmmaking at all," he said. "We hated the establishment. I didn’t like the studios. I was very much against all that." Some of that skepticism is still with him today. "I grew up »


- Shipra Gupta

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Why 'Game of Thrones' in IMAX Is Worth Your Money, and Why It's Not

11 hours ago

Nothing can really prepare you for the first moment of seeing that all-too-familiar HBO static logo — complete with pop-and-whizz sound effects — on an IMAX screen.  A sound and image so closely tied with decades worth of great, intimate television, projected onto a 72-foot tall screen in surround sound... I confess, I laughed out loud. But immediately afterwards I was drawn into the epic adventure and brutal drama of "Game of Thrones," having shelled out for a matinee ticket to HBO's one-week premiere of two episodes, plus an "exclusive" trailer. (Of course, the trailer leaked online hours before I even arrived at the theater.)  Why did I go? To tell you whether it was worth your time and money. After all, thanks to your cable subscription or DVD addiction, you already spend some serious cash each month to watch "Game Of Thrones," so why should you plunk down $13+ to essentially watch »

- Liz Shannon Miller

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Sundance Review: 'Take Me to the River' Announces the Arrival of a Promising New Filmmaking Talent

11 hours ago

In "Take Me to the River," Logan Miller excels as a young gay man at once comfortable with his sexual identity while concealing it from an extended family largely for the comfort of his parents. Miller, who also appears in the Sundance title "The Stanford Prison Experiment," nails every note of his character’s disaffection and chronic discomfort at a chaotic family reunion in Nebraska. Writer-director Matt Sobel's quietly engaging debut is one of the great discoveries of the 2015 Sundance Film Festival: His fish-out-of-water observations have a personal edge — the film is shot partly on his own extended family's Nebraskan property — but it soon builds to a place of nightmarish psychosexual revelations. The film starts with 17-year-old Ryder (Miller) pleading to his parents, played by Robin Weigert and Richard Schiff (Toby on "The West Wing"), to allow him to tell his extended family at their reunion in Nebraska that »


- Ibad Shah

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HBO Greenlights 'Lewis and Clark' Miniseries with Casey Affleck, Produced by Brad Pitt & Tom Hanks

11 hours ago

HBO is moving ahead with another miniseries, this one produced by an all-star team of acting talent. Tom Hanks, Brad Pitt and Edward Norton join producers Dede Gardner and Gary Goetzman as executive producers on "Lewis and Clark," HBO Programming President Michael Lombardo announced via press release on Friday.  "In 'Lewis and Clark,' we can see American idealism and the breathtaking natural beauty of the continent, as well as the complexities and tragedies of what came to be known as America's 'manifest destiny'," Lombardo said. "We are tremendously excited to bring together this incredible group of talents to tell a seminal American story." Casey Affleck is set to star in the series as Meriwether Lewis, with Matthias Schoenaerts — best known for "Rust and Bone, last seen in "The Drop," and soon to be appearing in "The Loft" — playing his friend William Clark. John Curran ("The Painted Veil") will direct, »


- Ben Travers

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