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17 articles


6 Things to Know About Sexy Sundance Breakout 'Diary of a Teenage Girl,' Part of Sundance's Women's New Wave

7 hours ago

Female sexuality is one of those things that few people get right in movies. And male directors don't help the cause. Which is one reason why "Diary of a Teenage Girl" is such an exhilarating ride. Debuting director Marielle Heller, working with the graphic novel by tk, gets it right. The movie is by far my favorite at the festival--and I am not alone. The early buzz was right: the movie played like gangbusters. And sure enough the movie landed distribution from Sony Pictures Classics, which picked up rights in North America, Latin America, Australia, New Zealand, Eastern Europe excluding Russia, Asia, Scandinavia and Germany. Here are six things to know about "The Diary of a Teenage Girl": 1. The film gets away with its underage sexuality because it's set in the free-wheeling '70s. I can testify to the film's authenticity; they get the period right. Although I grew »


- Anne Thompson

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Sundance: 'David Robert Mitchell on 'It Follows,' Std Anxiety, Childhood Nightmares

10 hours ago

I first met David Robert Mitchell at Cannes 2010 when his first film "The Myth of the American Sleepover" played Critics' Week, after earning raves at SXSW and ahead of its 2011 opening via IFC. Well, the Cannes programmers still like his movies, screening his sophomore effort "It Follows" as well. The film has played fests including Toronto, Fantastic Fest, AFI Fest and plays the Park City at Midnight section this week at Sundance. RADiUS-twc opens the film stateside March 13, 2015. Shot again near his hometown of Detroit, Michigan, Mitchell brings the same dreamy tone to a horror tale, taking full advantage of the destroyed Michigan landscape (as does Ryan Gosling's Cannes entry "Lost River"). Mitchell wants to scare us, pulling us into his likable characters' romantic entanglements and then puts us on edge as we wonder who's following who. His greatest skill as a filmmaker is immersing us in his characters' points-of-view--we're bobbing in a. »


- Anne Thompson

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Watch: Trailer for Sundance Sensation 'Dope' Feels Like '90s "Hood" Classics on Speed

11 hours ago

In one of the buzziest buys of the Sundance Film Festival so far, Open Road Films and Sony Pictures jointly won the bidding battle for "Dope," Rick Famuyiwa's hip-hop-addled, coming-of-age comedy for the millennial set. Trailer below. "Dope" centers on the subcultures, gangsters and drug dealers dwelling in a hardscrabble Inglewood, CA. Shameik Moore plays Malcolm, frontman of a nerdy punk band called The Bottoms, who's pulled into a debauchery-filled netherworld of offbeat characters and bad behavior after scoring a chance invite to a big underground party. Drawing comparisons to "Superbad," "Go," "Pulp Fiction," as well as "Boyz n the Hood" and the "Friday" series, the film has already captured strong reviews and great word-of-mouth. TWC, A24, Fox Searchlight and Focus were among distributors bidding into the wee small hours this weekend. Deadline pitches the Open Road/Sony deal at $7 million, and with »


- Ryan Lattanzio

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Sundance: Magnolia Buys Sean Baker's 'Tangerine,' Shot Entirely on an iPhone

11 hours ago

Sean Baker's hotly buzzed Sundance Next entry "Tangerine" has sold worldwide rights to Magnolia Pictures, which will distribute nationwide in theaters later this year. Baker's followup to 2012 fest darling "Starlet," "Tangerine" follows trans actresses Mya Taylor and Kitana Kiki Rodriguez as two working girls looking for a pimp on Christmas Eve in Hollywood. Co-written by Baker and Chris Bergoch, the film was executive produced by Sundance MVPs Mark and Jay Duplass, and produced by Through Films and Baker's longtime collaborators Darren Dean and Shih-Ching Tsou. Shot entirely on an iPhone 5s by Radium Cheung, this marks Magnolia's second acquisition of the fest after Andrew Bujalski's "Results." Reviews have been stellar for "Tangerine," with Indiewire noting that Baker "manages to match underrepresented faces in American cinema with material that lets their personalities shine." »


- Ryan Lattanzio

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Sundance Raves About Ewan McGregor as Jesus and the Devil in 'Last Days in the Desert'

12 hours ago

Early critical praise bodes well for Sundance premiere "Last Days in the Desert," which had its first official screening over the weekend in Park City. Writer/director García moves from the tangled women's tales of his earlier films ("Nine Lives" and "Mother Child" among them) to this male-driven, imagined chapter of Jesus' 40 days of fasting and praying in the desert, where he confronts the Devil. Ewan McGregor plays both roles in this hotly buzzed drama lensed in just five weeks by "Birdman" cinematographer Emmanuel Lubezki, who reunites here with "The Tree of Life"'s Tye Sheridan, costarring alongside McGregor and Ciaran Hinds. Here's what critics are saying so far. While decidedly noncommercial, the film is likely to be a controversial gotta-see-it among Christians and adventuresome moviegoers. Screen Daily: "A powerfully meditative experience that grapples with themes of faith, destiny, death, and fathers and »


- Ryan Lattanzio

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What to Expect from This Year's Music-Filled Oscars Show

13 hours ago

As hoped, Oscar producers Craig Zadan and Neil Meron, now in their third running, will be delivering a most musical Academy Awards this year.  The longtime movie musical impresarios have announced that host Neil Patrick Harris will perform an original song-and-dance number penned by the "Frozen" team. Oscar winners Kristen Anderson-Lopez and Robert Lopez are currently writing a multimedia musical sequence titled "Moving Pictures" for Harris, who tweeted the news Tuesday morning.  Lopez won Tonys and Grammys for his button-smashing Broadway musicals "Avenue Q" and "The Book of Mormon," and is working on the upcoming stage musical "Up Here" along with "Frozen" co-writer Anderson-Lopez. Golden Globe winners John Legend and Common will also perform their Oscar-nominated "Glory" from "Selma," sure to be a big emotional moment on the Oscars telecast. Legend recently stopped by the Sundance Film »


- Ryan Lattanzio

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Oscar Loves Diseases and Disorders: 6 Contenders and the Hard Truths They Don't (or Do) Ignore

13 hours ago

Oscar often has a soft spot for an acting gimmick, something that proves that the performer has somehow shown themselves worthy of a gold statue by virtue of the physical and mental demands of their role. Extreme weight loss or gain has been a popular way to capture the attention of Academy voters. Christian Bale is the current champ at this form of acting, taking over from Robert De Niro, whose 60-pound weight gain for his Oscar-winning boxing role in 1980’s “Raging Bull” is the stuff of legend. In the past, the six-footer has packed on muscle for 2000’s “American Psycho” and for his Batman films. But, in between, he dropped an alarming number of pounds to achieve a rail-like physique in 2004’s “The Machinist” and 2006’s “Rescue Dawn.” But all his yo-yo dieting finally paid off with Oscar success when Bale won supporting as a crack-addict boxer in 2010’s »


- Susan Wloszczyna

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Watch: Jason Segel on Playing David Foster Wallace in Sundance's 'End of the Tour' (Exclusive Interview)

26 January 2015 4:15 PM, PST

A24 picked up, sight-unseen, three-time Sundance director James Ponsoldt's two-hander "The End of the Tour," which world-premiered Friday night at a rousing screening at the Sundance Film Festival. Based on David Lipsky's 375-page memoir "Although Of Course You End Up Becoming Yourself: A Road Trip with David Foster Wallace," the film tracks Rolling Stone writer Lipsky's five-day 1996 immersion with writer Wallace, who was uncomfortable with all the kudos he was getting for his postmodern novel "Infinite Jest." Jesse Eisenberg plays the alert and slightly envious novelist Lipsky opposite lanky Jason Segel as Wallace, who fought depression and resisted fame until he took his own life in 2008. Lipsky told me that he was relieved at the time that the interview was never published, as other things came up and pushed it aside. The movie opens as Lipsky hears of Wallace's death, unearths the tapes and puts fresh batteries into his. »


- Anne Thompson

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Filmmakers, Give Us Your Numbers! Sundance and Cinereach Unveil The Transparency Project

26 January 2015 1:19 PM, PST

The Sundance Institute understands that information is power. For filmmakers, producers, exhibitors and distributors, knowing how to crunch the numbers can make all the difference in getting films made at the right production level and sold to the right distributor. There's a lot of guesswork and mystery around the real returns from the multiplatform releases that are so prevalent today. So the Sundance Institute's Executive Director Keri Putnam and Chris Horton, Director of Creative Distribution and Artist Services, along with consultant Brian Newman of Sub-Genre are finally presenting The Transparency Project to the industry, first at the Art House Convergence last week, and on Monday at the Sundance Film Festival's annual Artist Services workshop. Cinereach's Executive Director Phillip Engelhorn and Producer in Residence Paul Mezey are also involved in the project which launched with a pilot study in December, 2013. Their goal »


- Anne Thompson

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Sundance Review: François Delisle's Family Tragedy 'Chorus' Stuns in Black-and-White

26 January 2015 1:14 PM, PST

Beginning with an unsettling, long-take interrogation scene, the first moments of François Delisle's "Chorus" establish a lethally entwined triptych of souls: an incarcerated pedophile who confesses to an appalling crime, handsome but visibly haunted Christophe (Sébastien Ricard) adrift in Mexico, and Irene (Fanny Mallette), a Montreal choir singer perpetually moments away from a full-bore panic attack. These delicately stitched, emotional telegrams reveal that Christophe and Irene are ex-lovers, estranged for a decade since their eight-year-old son vanished inexplicably. Christophe leads a dissolute life of empty sex and self-numbing habits, as seen in a jaggedly cut sequence that recalls Steve McQueen's "Shame" as a picture of one man's dismal sexual reality: the naked woman sleeping in his bed is replaced by a sudden vision of Christophe's presumably dead son. Meanwhile, the medicated and deeply depressed Irene trudges through the days, »


- Ryan Lattanzio

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Ava DuVernay Confirms Untitled Hurricane Katrina Film with David Oyelowo

26 January 2015 11:40 AM, PST

Out of Sundance, Ava DuVernay and Participant media have confirmed that the celebrated "Selma" director will indeed be writing, directing and producing a yet-to-be-titled romantic murder mystery set in the time of Hurricane Katrina. "Selma" star David Oyelowo, also featured in DuVernay's 2012 Sundance breakout "Middle of Nowhere," is in negotiations to produce and star.  "The story we're interested in will explore the complexities of intimate relationships within times of chaos, while also examining the chaos itself. I'm looking forward to the journey," said DuVernay, who garnered cheers at this morning's Sundance Women's Brunch among the likes of Lynn Shelton, Jane Fonda, Lily Tomlin and more. Jeff Skoll and Jonathan King of Participant Media, which took "Middle of Nowhere" to a Sundance Best Director win, will serve as executive producers. Read More: Ava DuVernay Rides the "Selma" Surge »


- Ryan Lattanzio

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Radar Pictures Awakens 'Night of the Living Dead' Origin Story from Cameron Romero, Son of George

26 January 2015 11:31 AM, PST

Radar Pictures has announced from Sundance that the company will produce "Origins" from writer/director Cameron Romero, a prequel origin story to his father George Romero's seminal low-budget horror "Night of the Living Dead." That black-and-white genre benchmark grossed over $30 million worldwide upon its 1968 release, and spawned five more "Living Dead" entires. Slated to begin production later this year, "Origins," which is currently out to cast, is centered at the height of the 1960s Cold War, where one scientist's military-funded attempt to save the world from itself unleashes its worst nightmare. From a screenplay by Cameron Romero, Darrin Reed and Bryce C. Campbell, the partly crowdfunded "Origins" will be produced by Radar’s Ted Field along with Aldo Lapietra, Bryce C. Campbell, Darrin Reed, and Romero. Executive producing for Radar is Mike Webber and Thomas van Dell. Producer Reed's tough-looking drama "Lila »


- Ryan Lattanzio

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Sundance Sex Comedy 'The Overnight' Lands at The Orchard After Bidding War

26 January 2015 10:58 AM, PST

Emerging indie distributor The Orchard took North American rights to raunchy sex comedy "The Overnight" this morning after a heated after-hours bidding battle-- and to the tune of $4 million (says Deadline). Netflix, A24, Bleecker Street, Roadside Attractions and Lionsgate were all rumored to be courting the film amid this unexpectedly fierce Sundance market. Executive-produced by Sundance MVPs Mark and Jay Duplass, and starring Adam Scott, Jason Schwartzman and Taylor Schilling (who's hot off a SAG Ensemble win for "Orange Is the New Black"), this Dramatic Competition entry marks The Orchard's most high-profile acquisition to date after 2014 Sundance entry "What We Do in the Shadows." Read More: Sundance Market Explodes with "Me and Earl and the Dying Girl" and "Diary of a Teenage Girl" Scott and Schilling play a young couple new to Los Angeles, who spend an increasingly bizarre and kinky evening with the swinger parents of »


- Ryan Lattanzio

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Sundance: Meet Damián Szifrón, Director of Oscar-Nominated 'Wild Tales' (Exclusive Video)

26 January 2015 9:53 AM, PST

From writer-director Damián Szifrón, 39, "Wild Tales" was scooped up by Sony Pictures Classics out of the Cannes 2014 competition and plays in Park City this week before a limited Us run beginning February 20. Among all the dark explorations of the human spirit on display on the festival circuit, this tour-de-force collection of six insane, utterly identifiable tales of human beings pushed to extreme "primal instinctive behavior" (per the director)--from road rage-gone-wrong and a righteously precise explosive expert who fights a corrupt towing company, to the ultimate disastrous wedding--had universal appeal and was hugely entertaining.  Each carefully wrought jewel of story is more delicious and outrageous and hilarious than the last. Think Almodóvar on Tarantino steroids. With a Gustavo Santaolalla score. (Almodóvar's Spanish company El Deseo produced.)  Sure enough, this hilarious movie hit big »


- Anne Thompson

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For the Love of God (or Country), Start Watching 'The Americans'

26 January 2015 9:36 AM, PST

In the season three premiere of FX's "The Americans," Elizabeth Jennings (Keri Russell) goes to church with her teenage daughter, Paige (Holly Taylor). They fold flyers advocating for nuclear disarmament and Paige exchanges furtive glances with her latest crush, but the most potent image may be that of Elizabeth, committed atheist, joining in a hymn. "O what peace we often forfeit, O what needless pain we bear," the lyrics caution, as though to acknowledge the series' heightened stakes. Combining white-knuckle suspense and family drama, "The Americans" is, now more than ever, a brilliant chronicle of the Cold War at home. As Elizabeth and her husband, Philip (Matthew Rhys), Soviet spies posing as an American couple in the environs of Washington, D.C., confront the dilemma of their handlers' latest command -- to recruit Paige as a "second-generation illegal" -- the first four episodes of season three see their potential for causing collateral. »


- Matt Brennan

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Sundance Market Explodes with 'Me and Earl and the Dying Girl' and 'Diary of a Teenage Girl'

26 January 2015 12:12 AM, PST

Sure, Fox Searchlight and Sony Pictures Classics are the last studio specialty houses still standing. And yes, they've landed some of the most commercially viable titles of the Sundance 2015 Film Festival. But. Distributors are paying prices that haven't been seen in a few years for such $7 million buys as Open Road's "Dope." Why the heated market? More players and newbies willing to pay sky-high prices to eager to enter the market. While early reports were hyperbolic, Fox Searchlight is partnering with producer Indian Paintbrush in the mid-seven figures, they say, to nail down worldwide rights to the Sundance competition entry from Alfonso Gomez-Rejon, Sunday debut "Me and Earl and the Dying Girl." Adapted by Jesse Andrews from his 2012 young adult bestseller, the Pittsburgh movie brought the Eccles to laughter and tears, as an awkward young teen (breakout narrator-star Thomas Mann) is initially forced by his mother »


- Anne Thompson

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Screen Actors Guild Awards: 'Birdman' Takes Ensemble, Julianne Moore and Eddie Redmayne Win Leads

25 January 2015 5:17 PM, PST

The Screen Actors Guild showed that the Oscar race is wide open as "Birdman" took Best Ensemble--the movie is about acting, after all. With its Producers Guild win Saturday, "Birdman" is showing some serious Oscar momentum. That does not mean that the Academy will go the same way, but the Actors branch does dominate the voters numerically. Eddie Redmayne's SAG win for his twisted performance as Stephen Hawking in "Theory of Everything"--following his Golden Globe drama win--means he's a real competitor for the Best Actor Oscar too. (In his acceptance speech he mistakenly mentioned Bradley Cooper, who wasn't nominated for "American Sniper," but landed an Oscar nom.) As expected, Julianne Moore won Best Actress for her professor with Alzheimer's in "Still Alice," fourth generation actress Patricia Arquette won Best Supporting Actress for playing the mom over 12 years in Richard Linklater's "Boyhood" and favorite J.K. »


- Anne Thompson

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