6 items from 2015
“Me and Earl and the Dying Girl,” Alfonso Gomez-Rejon’s visually inventive comedy-drama about the friendship between a misfit teenager and a classmate diagnosed with leukemia, received both the grand jury prize and the audience award at the 2015 Sundance Film Festival on Saturday night. Part cancer-themed tearjerker and part tribute to obsessive movie love, “Me and Earl” was acquired by Fox Searchlight earlier this week in one of the festival’s biggest deals.
This marks the third year in a row that one movie has taken both top prizes at Sundance, following the lead of “Fruitvale Station” in 2013 and “Whiplash” last year. “Me and Earl’s” victory was even more noteworthy given what many considered one of the stronger U.S. dramatic competitions in recent memory, with strong critical and audience buzz for “Dope,” “The Witch” and “The Diary of a Teenage Girl,” all of which also received prizes.
- Justin Chang
"Christopher Abbott bailed on playing the doormat boyfriend to Allison Williams's Marnie after season two of Girls," begins David Rooney in the Hollywood Reporter. "Watching his bruised, bristling performance as the rudderless title character in James White, it's natural to assume that choice was dictated by the actor's hunger for a darker exploration of his considerable range. The opportunity is provided in this extraordinarily intimate drama, which marks an arresting feature debut for writer-director Josh Mond of Borderline Films, the New York-based indie production collective behind such projects as Martha Marcy May Marlene and Simon Killer." We're collecting more reviews. » - David Hudson »
For close to a decade, the filmmaking collective known as Borderline Films has produced eerie dramas brought to life with complex techniques: Antonio Campos' "Afterschool" and "Simon Killer" followed alienated men driven to killer impulses, while Sean Durkin's "Martha Marcy May Marlene" involved a woman reeling from her time spent in a cult. Borderline's third member, Josh Mond, has largely maintained a producorial role—until now. With "James White," Mond displays the same engrossing narrative sophistication found in his colleagues' work, while at the same time reaching for more profoundly affecting depths. Mond's feature-length debut as writer-director bears many of hallmarks found in previous Borderline efforts: It focuses on a troubled young adult battling his internal demons and explores his conundrum through a series of precise cinematic devices. But unlike other Borderline efforts, "James White"—essentially a movie in which a »
- Eric Kohn
Calling card movies usually serve their casts or their directors, they seldom favour both. James White, however, is a rare exception: a story that showcases subtlety and technique on both sides of the camera. But what’s just as surprising about such a tender and emotional project is that it comes from Borderline Films, a New York based trio whose excellent output to date has tended towards the dark, with the likes of Afterschool, Martha Marcy May Marlene and Simon Killer – the latter two also premiered at Sundance – dealing with subjects such as teenage morality in the internet age, modern-day cults and twisted male sexuality, in that order.
- Damon Wise
Filmmaking careers are born at Sundance, as evidenced by directors Kevin Smith (“Clerks”), J.C. Chandor (“Margin Call”) and Damien Chazelle (“Whiplash”). This year’s festival features plenty of returning artists as well as new voices with something fresh to say. TheWrap talked to buyers and sellers before whittling down this list of 10 buzzworthy filmmakers on the eve of Sundance. Something tells us we’ll be hearing about them for years to come.
Nikole Beckwith, »
- Jeff Sneider
Working with the likes of Bonello, Östlund, Assayas, Hansen-Løve and Baumbach, when you count the 2014 festival release year alone, actor Brady Corbet (Mysterious Skin; Funny Games U.S.; Simon Killer) has built quite the impressive resume working with the auteur set. While The Childhood of a Leader is his feature length directing debut, this counts as back to back years working in the filmmaker capacity when you take into account his writing creds in Mona Fastvold’s overlooked ’14 title, The Sleepwalker, and the soon to be premiered Sundance short Rabbit, by filmmaker Laure De Clermont-Tonnerre. Initially announced as starring Juliette Binoche (Corbet’s co-star from Clouds of Sils Maria), she was later replaced by Berenice Bejo. It goes without saying that most of the attention will be placed on Robert Pattinson, continuing his tour of difficult, auteur driven and inspired cinematic projects, »
- Nicholas Bell
6 items from 2015
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