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Traditionally, the Premieres section at Sundance is a bit of a mixed bag, with some films by good directors but with a premium put on star power over actual quality. The 2014 Premieres lineup announced today is, however, packed with movies that, at least on paper, are genuinely exciting. There’s Calvary, the latest from The Guard‘s writer/director John Michael McDonagh, Ira Sachs’ Love is Strange, starring Alfred Molina and John Lithgow as longtime lovers who finally tie the knot, and Mike Cahill’s followup to Another Earth, the sci-fi I Origins. “25 New Face” Sara Colangelo’s debut feature Little Accidents (starring […] »
- Nick Dawson
An unusually strong international flavor pervades the Sundance Film Festival’s Premieres slate, with new pictures from British helmer Michael Winterbottom, Irish directors Lenny Abrahamson and John Michael McDonagh, Dutch filmmaker Anton Corbijn, Welsh-born action maven Gareth Evans and Iranian-born French auteur Marjane Satrapi figuring prominently among the 17 world-premiere titles unveiled today alongside the Documentary Premieres section.
See Also: Sundance Unveils 2014 Competition, Next Lineups
For director of programming Trevor Groth, the flowering of international auteur talent in Premieres is the result of a considered effort that began shortly after he and fest director John Cooper launched their first edition in 2010. While their immediate focus was on beefing up the dramatic competition as a showcase for new filmmakers, broader international outreach across all sections of the festival became a similar priority.
“I think we’ve really built the dramatic competition up in a way that it’s firing at the level we always hoped it would, »
- Justin Chang
Festival top brass announced on December 9 the Premieres and Documentary Premieres sections.
Gareth Evans returns with The Raid 2, Anton Corbijn makes his first appearance at Sundance with the John Le Carré adaptation A Most Wanted Man, while Michael Winterbottom brings his comedy sequel The Trip To Italy starring Steve Coogan and Rob Brydon (pictured).
The line-up includes I Origins, Mike Cahill’s follow-up to Sundance 2011 prize winner Another Earth, as well as new work from Park City perennials Lynn Shelton with Laggies and Ira Sachs with Love Is Strange.
Documentary Premieres include the indefatigable Alex Gibney’s Finding Fela, Happy Valley from Amir Bar-Lev, the Roger Ebert portrait Life Itself from Steve James, the George Takei film To Be Takei and Joe Berlinger’s hot-off-the-press Whitey: United States Of America v. James »
- firstname.lastname@example.org (Jeremy Kay)
Last week saw the Sundance Film Festival reveal a slew of films playing at next year's event including the competition titles and Park City at Midnight entries. Today the festival unveiled the anticipated Premieres lineup. Among the narrative highlights: Lynn Shelton's Keira Knightley-fronted coming-of-age story "Laggies"; Ira Sachs' follow-up to "Keep the Lights On," "Love is Strange"; Anton Corbijn's starry adaptation of John le Carre's bestselling book "A Most Wanted Man"; the sequel to the Indonesian smash hit actioneer "The Raid"; Mike Cahill's second film following "Another Earth," "I Origins," again starring Brit Marling; and the Michael Fassbender vehicle "Frank." Over in the documentary section, notable selections include the latest from prolific documentarian Alex Gibney, "Finding Fela," Steve James' tribute to Roger Ebert "Life Itself," and "Happy Valley," the new film from Amir Bar-Lev ("The Tillman Story"). Below are the announced films. Check back tomorrow for. »
- Nigel M Smith
Fans of Mike Cahill’s feature, Special Jury Prize winning debut Another Earth (Sundance ’11) were elated when it was announced that Cahill and Brit Marling would re-team for I: Origins. Safe to say that Cahill’s sci-fi drama starring Marling, Michael Pitt, Astrid Bergès-Frisbey (and a strong supporting cast) is well prepped for a festival preem in Park City — production ended in April this year in NYC and we think what will be served up is the early dark horse candidate for the festival’s Alfred P. Sloan Prize.
Gist: This connects the lives of the most unlikely people from around the globe. One doctor on the brink of a scientific discovery which will have historical ramifications, travels in search for the one person, a young girl, who can prove or disprove his theory. The story follows the incredible journeys which bring these strangers together, and proves there is no »
- Eric Lavallee
Writer/producer/actress: Brit Marling is the kind of triple threat we like. She’s carved out her niche in Hollywood with a Diy attitude. Why wait for someone else to give you opportunities when you can create them yourself? She co-wrote “Sound of My Voice” with indie director Zal Batmanglij and “Another Earth” with Mike Cahill, and both landed in the festival circuit in 2011 and instantly launched her career. Offers came pouring in, including working alongside Tom Cruise in the big-budgeted sci-film film, “Oblivion.” It would have been a justifiable role to take; indie actress makes good and takes a paycheck as a reward to keep herself going. Instead, she turned down the role and has only made smart supporting choices in its place, including writing and starring in 2013’s eco-terrorist thriller “The East” with Batmanglij once again. Marling has proven, if you’ve got the ideas and the gumption, »
- Edward Davis
These days, you can watch pretty much any movie online. Yet there's still one thing the magical wonders of instant streaming haven't solved for indecisive movie-lovers: what the heck to watch! Moviefone is here to recommend the best streaming movies from Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon Instant and new digital releases from iTunes and Vudu each week in Moviefone's Digital Download.
This week's Digital Download picks range from Disney nightmares and obsessive teachers to awakened evil spirits and FBI agents turned beauty queens. Check out our suggestions below, and happy streaming!
Comedy: 'Miss Congeniality' (2000)
America has been wowed by Sandra Bullock's death-defying role in "Gravity," so what better time for a good ol' Sandie throwback? Messy FBI agent Gracie Hart hasn't been on a date (or brushed her hair) in years, and she's one of the funniest female characters in recent comedy history. From watching her learn how »
- Erin Whitney
Indian-born actor who brought his ingenuous charm to the hit films of Wes Anderson
Some film-makers have lucky-mascot actors who are occasionally to be spotted in small roles in their movies – for instance Dick Miller in the work of Joe Dante or Jack Nance returning repeatedly to David Lynch. It's a film geeks' in-joke, a cinephiles' game of Where's Wally? For Wes Anderson, one of the most original Us film-makers to emerge in the last 20 years, that position was filled on four occasions by the delightful and guileless Kumar Pallana, who has died aged 94.
Pallana appeared in Anderson's first three, reputation-forging movies. He played the useless safecracker Kumar in the director's 1996 debut, Bottle Rocket ("Man, I blew it," he sighs memorably as the police close in. "I blew it, man.") He was the school caretaker Mr Littlejeans in Rushmore (1998), Anderson's masterpiece. And he took his most prominent role as Pagoda, »
- Ryan Gilbey
Danny Boyle is keeping busy in TV these days. In the U.S., he’s teamed with FX and his Slumdog Millionaire writer and producer Simon Beaufoy and Christian Colson for 10-part WWII miniseries Telemark. Closer to home, he’s readying a pilot for Channel 4‘s straight-to-series police comedy/drama Babylon. BAFTA winners Sam Bain and Jesse Armstrong are scripting the pilot which Boyle will direct. Brit Marling (Another Earth, Arbitrage) has now been cast in the lead as Liz Garvey, a new-media savvy American who’s parachuted in to revolutionize the PR department of London’s police force. James Nesbitt (The Hobbit) plays Chief Constable Richard Miller. Also in the ensemble cast are Paterson Joseph (Peep Show), Jill Halfpenny (EastEnders), Adam Deacon (Kidulthood), Daniel Kaluuya, Jonny Sweet, Andrew Brooke and Bertie Carvel. Described as “razor-sharp and visually audacious,” Babylon takes a wry look at the people and politics »
- NANCY TARTAGLIONE, International Editor
Brit Marling is a unique character in modern cinema. She is ethereally beautiful, yet far more than just a pretty face; she has not only starred in unusual independent films such as Another Earth and Sound of My Voice (both released in 2011), but also co-written those films’ screenplays. In a world where substantial and complex roles for women on the big screen can be thin on the ground, and where a pretty young woman can be repeatedly typecast as the girlfriend or the victim (or both simultaneously), Marling writes the roles she would like to play, ensuring that she gets a chance to let her talents shine. The latest of these roles is that of undercover intelligence agent Sarah Moss in The East.
- Lee Jutton
Every actor has a discovery story. Sometimes it's crazy, and sometimes it's just about being at the right place at the right time. In the case of Kumar Pallana, the Indian actor who had small but memorable roles in Wes Anderson films like The Royal Tenenbaums, Bottle Rocket, The Darjeeling Limited and Rushmore, he was at a coffee show owned by his son when the quirky filmmaker took notice. Though he didn't become a box office sensation, his participation in Anderson's films got him noticed. But today, we say goodbye to Pallana, as The Av Club has learned that he sadly passed away yesterday at age 94. Read on. Pallana is perhaps best known as Gene Hackman's sidekick in The Royal Tenenbaums, seen here: But in addition to his work with Wes Anderson, Pallana had the honor of working with Steven Spielberg in a significant supporting role in The Terminal. »
- Ethan Anderton
Anderson, who discovered Pallana at a diner that he and confederate Owen Wilson frequented, cast him in his feature film debut "Bottle Rocket" (Pallana was 80 at the time). Pallana would follow up that performance as the groundskeeper Mr. LittleJeans in "Rushmore" and Gene Hackman's sidekick and spy Pagoda in "The Royal Tenenbaums." He later had a brief role in Anderson's "The Darjeeling Limited."
As the Av Club notes, Pallana was born in colonial India and first made a name for himself as a vaudevillian known as Kumar of India, appearing on "Captain Kangaroo" in 1961 (he was spinning plates, of course). By the time Anderson rediscovered Pallana he was working in his son's coffee shop in Dallas, Texas.
- Drew Taylor
Directed by James Ward Byrkit.
On the night a comet is passing near Earth, a dinner party takes an odd turn. When the power goes out, eight friends discover that the only house on the street left with power also holds many secrets.
Coherence is a tremendously difficult film to describe without the help of some diagrams and a great deal of time, so it’s best to keep it simple. Eight friends meet at a dinner party (though for various reasons some of them don’t like each other all that much) a comet flies overhead, and then everything gets weird. In essence, the comet creates multiple versions of the house and the friends at the party. The film explains itself with the analogy of Schrodinger's cat, where a »
- Gary Collinson
Chicago – We hit your calendar and your wallet earlier this week with a special TV-only edition of What to Watch and now we’re back to fill in the films that were released this week on DVD, Blu-ray, and streamimg services that may catch your attention. Want to watch a movie this weekend? Why not make it one of these five? If I had to rank them in order of preference, here’s how it would go…
Photo credit: IFC Films
Adam Leon’s debut comedy captures a certain we-can-do-anything attitude that’s not only common to youth but has a unique flavor in New York City. Presented by Jonathan Demme, this festival hit (and Independent Spirit Award winner) has an energy that can best be described as infectious. The loose style of narrative and approach to character can be a bit frustrating but »
- email@example.com (Adam Fendelman)
Two years after "Another Earth" and "Sound of My Voice" catapulted her to indie icon status at Sundance, Brit Marling reunited with her "Sound of My Voice" director and co-writer Zal Batmanglij for the Fox Searchlight thriller "The East," now available on DVD and Blu-ray. The film centers on an ex-fbi agent (Marling) who infiltrates an anarchist collective known as The East suspected of attacking corporate CEOs. Once embedded within the group (headed by a shaggy Alexander Skarsgård), however, she soon finds herself on their side. Read More: Brit Marling and Ellen Page Deconstruct 'The East' and Explain Why Robert Redford is an 'Anarchist Thinker' In a video, below, exclusive to Indiewire, Marling and Batmanglij dish on how they made "The East" look like it was made for a much higher budget than it actually was (the reported budget for the film is just over $6 million). »
Chicago – Robert Redford has slowly become that grandfatherly figure who spends his time in the corner at family gatherings, lecturing nearby whippersnappers on the importance of challenging authority, while reminiscing about the war protests of generation’s past. He’s a well-meaning guy, but his crusty words of wisdom could use a shot of adrenaline.
Redford’s latest work is virtually unrecognizable from his 1980 directorial debut, “Ordinary People,” a phenomenally acted, delicately nuanced family drama that notoriously beat out “Raging Bull” for the Best Picture Oscar. There’s more tension in the scenes between troubled Timothy Hutton and his icily removed mother than there is in all 122 minutes of the sleepy-eyed thriller, “The Company You Keep,” a talky mystery fueled by the same finger-wagging preachiness that marred Redford’s 2007 effort, “Lions for Lambs.”
Blu-ray Rating: 2.5/5.0
Yet since Redford is a living legend, not to mention the creator of America’s most influential film festival, »
- firstname.lastname@example.org (Adam Fendelman)
After sampling Us writer, filmmaker and producer Nicholas Jarecki's thrilling narrative debut, Arbitrage (2012), featuring the acting talents of Richard Gere, Susan Sarandon, Brit Marling and Tim Roth, CineVue's Russell Cook had some questions for the man behind the lens (and pen, in this instance). Despite the film's serious tone concerning the global economic crisis, family betrayal and criminal deception, it turned out that Jarecki's also quite the character - making our questions about his steering of the directorial ship all the more colourful. We caught up with the inimitable Jarecki to discuss his first foray into fiction, working with legendary Hollywood stars Gere and Sarandon, and his next film, entitled Fuel.
Russell Cook: Do you have any fond memories from the making of this movie, seeing as this was your first full feature?
Nicholas Jarecki: The rehearsals actually. Richard would come over to my place everyday and »
- CineVue UK
More and more women in Hollywood are fed up being typecast as ditzy girlfriends or chainsaw fodder and instead are becoming screenwriters as well, writing their own films
A couple of years ago, I interviewed Kristen Wiig, who is something of a heroine of mine, and spent much of the time circling around a question that begged to be asked: how come an actor as brilliant as her is consigned to bit parts and lame roles? I didn't quite put it like that, but it's a question that regularly comes up with women actors and the answer is invariably the same. "It's not that there aren't good roles for women, there just aren't enough," Wiig replied, trying not to sound too whingey. She was, after all, promoting Paul, the blokey alien comedy in which she gamely played Simon Pegg's underwritten "love interest". But Wiig revealed she was taking matters »
- Steve Rose
To mark the release of Arbitrage on DVD and Blu-ray 15th July, we’ve been given 2 copies to give away on DVD.
When we first meet New York hedge-fund magnate Robert Miller (Richard Gere – An Officer And A Gentleman, Pretty Woman) he appears the very portrait of success in American business and family life. However, behind the gilded walls of his mansion Miller is in over his head, desperately trying to conceal an affair with French artist Julie Cote (Laetitia Casta – Gainsbourg) whilst racing to complete the sale of his trading empire to a major bank before his fraudulent dealings are revealed. When a tragic accident complicates things further, attracting the unwanted attention of NYPD detective Michael Bryer (Tim Roth – TV’s Lie To Me, Pulp Fiction), and the net tightens around him Miller realises that the suspicions of not just the police but also his loyal wife (Susan Sarandon – Robot & Frank, »
Best Friends Forever was recently released on VOD and digital services, and is an apocalyptic road trip movie starring Brea Grant and Vera Miao, who also wrote the screenplay together. I recently had a chance to interview the two of them and they talked about the challenges of getting this movie made, their love of apocalypse stories, and Brea making her directorial debut:
Thank you very much for taking the time to talk with us. How did this idea of a post-apocalyptic buddy comedy come about?
Vera: Because we love genre films and are actors, we decided to write a horror film that featured two women and bring our own spin on it. About halfway through, we realized, oh, since we were going to make this movie ourselves, it’s going to be a particular kind of torture. Why don’t we write a script where we don’t also »
- Jonathan James
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