1-20 of 23 items from 2015 « Prev | Next »
Peter Debruge: Here we are, approaching the end of the Sundance Film Festival, and let me just say, having spent the last year attending festivals abroad, I miss American independent cinema, far too little of which lands overseas distribution. Sundance is the place where we can all stock up on all those squirrely, hard-to-categorize movies that come out between the blockbusters and cookie-cutter releases the rest of the year, and this year’s bounty leaves me optimistic — and for more reasons than just sheer entertainment value.
This is the most diverse Sundance lineup I can remember, featuring new films from black, Asian and Lgbt filmmakers set in their respective communities (“Dope,” “Seoul Searching” and “I Am Michael”), and while hardly a minority — except in Hollywood — a wealth of films directed by women, including the terrific, sexually liberated coming-of-age movie “The Diary of a Teenage Girl.”
But more interesting than that »
- Peter Debruge, Scott Foundas and Justin Chang
Joe Swanberg continues his march toward the mainstream even as he deepens his signature brand of hangout film in “Digging for Fire,” a lovely slice of everything and nothing centered on a housesitting couple who discover possible evidence of a murder. There are feints toward a bona fide mystery plot, but that genre element is just a pretext for a stealth marital drama. The film is held together through strong improv, tight editing (by Swanberg himself), moody cinematography and a synth score (from Dan Romer) that parties like it’s 1991. This is Swanberg’s starriest picture to date — even if some appearances, like Jenny Slate’s, amount to glorified walk-ons — making breakout success eminently possible.
Concerning the adventures of married parents Tim (co-screenwriter Jake Johnson) and Lee (Rosemarie DeWitt), “Digging for Fire” opens with the two of them and their son, Jude (played by Swanberg’s toddler, Jude, the finest »
- Ben Kenigsberg
Many of this year’s early standouts have come from strong female and minority voices
As the first weekend of the 2015 Sundance Film Festival closed with a concert featuring the music of Nina Simone and a Main Street toga party to celebrate the National Lampoon documentary “Drunk Stoned Brilliant Dead,” it’s safe to say that the buzzword diversity fits this year’s festival in more ways than one.
The festival’s hefty contingent of female and minority filmmakers has allowed Sundance to take a victory lap at the same time that the Motion Picture Academy has been reeling from »
- Steve Pond
Back-to-back wins for Alejandro Inarritu’s daring comedy at SAG and Producers Guild Awards help throw awards season into disarray
This was supposed to be the weekend that would clear things up in the Oscar race. Instead, it was a weekend that threw the race into disarray, sending one contender soaring and another faltering.
Richard Linklater’s “Boyhood,” which was considered the leader of the race mostly by default even though it didn’t look anything like a typical Best Picture winner, had a chance to seal the deal but turned out to be a shaky frontrunner instead. »
- Steve Pond
Sundance Institute said today that Stephanie Langhoff will receive this year’s Red Crown Producer’s Award. She is producing partners with the prolific filmmaking team of Jay and Mark Duplass and also has produced films including The Skeleton Twins and Safety Not Guaranteed. But Langhoff is at Park City this year with The Bronze, starring Melissa Rauch as an embittered and foul-mouthed gymnast who finished third at the 2004 Olympics and still lives in her small Midwestern hometown. Now a promising young gymnast is threatening her local celebrity status.
The Red Crown Producer’s Award and its $10,000 prize goes to an emerging producer of a Sundance pic who shows “bold vision and a commitment to continuing work as a creative producer in the independent space.” Past recipients include Elisabeth Holm (Obvious Child), James Johnston & Toby Halbrooks (Ain’t Them Bodies Saints) and Josh Penn & Dan Janvey (Beasts of the Southern Wild »
- The Deadline Team
CreativeLive, an online learning platform founded in 2010, has signed Michael Gottwald to teach their first live-streamed course as a part of their new education channel. Gottwald's course, "Producing An Indie Film From The Grassroots, Up" aims to teach its students how to produce with optimum proficiency, and it will to cover everything from source material, to modes of fundraising, to careful production planning, all the way to distribution and marketing. Read More: What the Obama Campaign Can Tell Us About Grassroots Film Outreach Gottwald has considerable experience and great success in the area: "Beasts of the Southern Wild," which he produced, won the Camera d'Or at the 2012 Cannes Film Festival and was nominated for four Academy Awards. He also produced "Ping Pong Summer," which premiered at the 2014 Sundance Film Festival, and is currently producing new cycles of the hit web series "High Maintenance." His latest project, »
- Rosie Narasaki
Raunchy comedy “The Bronze” and documentary “What Happened, Miss Simone?” kick off the festival
Robert Redford, John Legend and Nina Simone were all part of opening night at the 2015 Sundance Film Festival, but the festival’s kickoff may end up better remembered for a deliciously raunchy and ridiculously gymnastic sex scene.
The scene came near the end of “The Bronze,” a comedy directed by Bryan Buckley, a filmmaker best known for his Super Bowl commercials. The story of a bitter gymnast trying to hang onto glory years after winning a bronze medal at the Olympics, it features an acrobatic hotel-room »
- Steve Pond
If you’re attending the Sundance Film Festival (or just paying attention to excellent coverage of the festival, much like you would find right here at Film School Rejects, cough cough), you’re most likely looking for new projects, people, and productions to get excited about. Sundance may (somewhat bizarrely, when you really think about it) take place in the dead of winter in a tiny town mostly dedicated to ski tourism, but that early jump on the festival year allows the fest to set the tone for the rest of the year. This is the place you come to when you want to see something new, and this year looks poised to deliver that, in spades. Sundance has often played home to the breakout roles of big stars (hello, Jennifer Lawrence), and although finding the next big talent is mostly a guessing game, fingers-crossing adventure, we’ve got some idea as to who just might emerge »
- Kate Erbland
The streets of Park City are already bustling with critics, corporations, patrons, over 1,800 scarlet and grey jacketed theater volunteers, and filmmakers for Sundance 2015. The 31st anniversary of the festival is taking on the hoards of theatergoers with innovative technology that will include a second year of using an electronic waitlist to check into a film up to 2 hours before a showing and cumulative updates from Twitter that will calculate what the most talked about films of the festival currently are. There will be a retrospective on the film Paris is Burning- which premiered here 24 years ago. Independent films here that are looking for distribution may go on to worldwide accolades like Whiplash or Beasts of the Southern Wild while others may simply begin a limited public reception on the festival circuit and then go straight to a streaming service if they’re lucky. A few pass holders and members »
- Lane Scarberry
Festival resurges as launch pad for awards contenders while sales agents are prepared for healthy market
Those up in arms over Hollywood’s limited roles for women and minorities should be excited for the diversity of the 2015 Sundance Film Festival, which kicks off Thursday with no shortage of films that address the broad range of human experience, while renewing the festival as a key launch platform for awards season hopefuls.
- Jeff Sneider
When it comes to the world of independent film, all roads lead to Sundance. Not only does the Utah-based film festival kick-start the year in indie cinema, but it’s also now a breeding ground for Oscar movies. Last year’s Boyhood and Whiplash both premiered at Sundance, and have since gone on to receive multiple Oscar nominations including Best Picture. They join other recent films like Beasts of the Southern Wild, Winter’s Bone, 20 Feet from Stardom and Before Midnight in the growing list of Sundance films that have gone on to become among the year’s most talked-about movies. So what Sundance movies will we be talking about this year? With the festival kicking off on Thursday, we break it down for...
- Erik Davis
Michael B. Jordan in “Fruitvale Station.” Miles Teller and Shailene Woodley in “The Spectacular Now.” Oscar nominees Quvenzhané Wallis and Abigail Breslin in “Beasts of the Southern Wild” and “Little Miss Sunshine,” respectively.
All of those performances were once the talk of Sundance, where stars threaten to break-out each year. The 2015 edition of the frosty festival is no different, with no shortage of young stars poised to launch their careers in Park City and make a name for themselves in Hollywood. »
- Jeff Sneider
When it comes to the world of independent film, all roads lead to Sundance. Not only does the Utah-based film festival kick-start the year in indie cinema, but it’s also now a breeding ground for Oscar movies. Last year’s Boyhood and Whiplash both premiered at Sundance, and have since gone on to receive multiple Oscar nominations including Best Picture. They join other recent films like Beasts of the Southern Wild, Winter’s Bone, 20 Feet from Stardom and Before Midnight in the...
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“The Grand Budapest Hotel” returned to theaters Friday and “Birdman” doubled its run, as Fox Searchlight looked to take its bounty of Oscar nominations to the box-office bank.
Wes Anderson’s elegant, zany period comedy will be in around 35 theaters across the country, even though “Budapest” has been available on DVD since June. And director Alejandro G. Iñárritu’s surreal showbiz sendup “Birdman” will be in more than 450 locations over the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday weekend, then look to double that next weekend.
- Todd Cunningham
While "Selma" did land Best Picture and Best Original Song nominations, many were not happy with yesterday's Oscars announcement. A day after director Ava DuVernay and star David Oyelowo were snubbed, President Obama is hosting a screening of the film at the White House. (Variety reports.) In the past, Oscar nominees "Lincoln," "Beasts of the Southern Wild" and "Slumdog Millionaire" have been screened by the President, who has long revealed himself to be a pop culturally savvy figure. (Indiewire's Eric Kohn argues here that he is, in fact, a cinephile.) Cast and crew are expected to attend this private event at the presidential 40-seat Family Theater. A White House screening will certainly help boost the profile of this film, which may be gaining momentum with viewers but not, it seems, among Oscar voters. Critics took to Twitter yesterday, igniting fierce debate over the nature of the snubs. Read More: Why "Selma" Didn't. »
- Ryan Lattanzio
And the Oscar nominees are ... the whitest since 1998.
That's the truth as far as the acting categories are concerned. For the first time in 17 years, not a single person of colour stands to win an acting Oscar. [The Atlantic says the last entirely white Oscar nomination list was in 1995. We'll let them duke out which year it is.]
We here at Moviefone Canada looked at Oscar winners and nominees from the past decade to see how they stack up against the upcoming 2015 ceremony. We restricted ourselves to the acting, directing and screenwriting categories.
The definition of "people of colour," of course, varies widely. But when it comes to Oscar nominations, we largely considered people who don't come from an all-white heritage within the last couple of generations.
We plugged the numbers ... and 47 out of 350 nominees in the past 10 years went to people of colour.
That's 13 per cent ... and it's not enough. Especially when U.S. government statistics show that white people (excluding Hispanics or Latinos) make up only 62.6 per cent of the country's population. »
- Jesse Ferreras
Update: Academy President Cheryl Boone Isaacs reacted to diversity criticism Thursday, telling Vulture, "The good news is that the wealth of talent is there, and it's being discussed, and it's helpful so much for talent — whether in front of the camera or behind the camera — to have this recognition, to have this period of time where there is a lot of publicity, a lot of chitter-chatter."
Despite a diverse year in film, the pool of Academy Award nominees is very narrow. That is to say most of the nominees are straight white men.
“Have you heard about this hot new trend called ‘white men’?” – The Oscars
— Kevin O'Keeffe (@kevinpokeeffe) January 15, 2015
Even more disappointing is the fact that not one person of color was nominated for an acting award. David Oyelowo, who earned tons of accolades and praise for his portrayal of Martin Luther King, Jr. in Selma, was snubbed in the Best Actor category. His co-star »
Everything is not awesome.
The Oscar nominations are always full of snubs and surprises, but the one that's probably causing the most gasping and eyebrow-raising after Thursday morning's announcement of the nominees is the absence of "The Lego Movie" from the Best Animated Feature list. If ever there were a gimme in your Oscar pool, that would have been it.
Of course, there are plenty of other shockers -- notably, that "Selma" was ignored in every category except Best Original Song and still managed to eke out a Best Picture nomination, and that "Gone Girl" was shut out of every category except Best Actress. And there were many other unexpected inclusions and disappointing omissions, as you'll see below.
The Academy, which may pick between five and 10 Best Picture nominees, has chosen nine for the last few years, but this year, it only picked eight. The biggest oddity here is the inclusion of "Selma, »
- Gary Susman
By Anjelica Oswald
Screenwriter Dan Gilroy made his directorial this year with Nightcrawler, which stars Jake Gyllenhaal as a corrupt freelance crime reporter who will do anything to get a story. Since the film’s premiere at the Toronto Film Festival, it’s garnered Oscar buzz and has been compared to best picture winner Crash (2004). It holds a 95 percent positive rating on Rotten Tomatoes, was named one of AFI’s top 10 films of the year and received four BAFTA nominations, as well as three Critics’ Choice Awards. Gyllenhaal has earned Golden Globe, Screen Actors Guild and Critics’ Choice acting nominations. If Gilroy were to earn a nomination for best director, like Crash did, he would become the sixth director in the 21st century to achieve that accolade.
- Anjelica Oswald
By Anjelica Oswald
By separating the dramas from the musicals and comedies, the Golden Globes present an opportunity for a wider range of films to be recognized. The Globes also provide a place where expected nominees may be cast aside for relatively-unknown films. Some categories, such as those involving musicals or comedies, are harder to fill due to blurred definitions. Every year there are surprises — some thrilling and others confusing. Here are five of this year’s strangest nominations:
Waltz was previously nominated for — and won — Golden Globes for his supporting roles in Quentin Tarantino’s Inglourious Basterds (2009) and Django Unchained (2012). His nomination for Tim Burton’s Big Eyes is his first lead actor nomination. Waltz portrays Walter Keane, painter Margaret Keane’s husband who took credit for his wife’s iconic paintings. The Hollywood Reporter’s Todd McCarthy said, »
- Anjelica Oswald
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