Sun Don’t Shine

heart machine still

Spoiler warning: If you haven’t watched the first ten episodes of this season of House of Cards, there are some small potential spoilers ahead. One of the strange things about small screen programming and binge-watching is that opinions can form, break, change, and reform in a matter of days and hours, not over the course of whole weeks and months. Earlier this week and on the tail of watching just the first episode of the second season of House of Cards, I happily penned a bit of a rating system for who viewers should be rooting for this season, and although I won’t detail just how and by whom I have been disappointed, mere days later, I’m already scoffing at my own early predictions and hopes for a season that has become more about diminishing returns than building up good stories and good characters. But although plenty of House of Cards has crumbled into soap opera-styled twists and double-crosses that are increasingly hard to believe, there is one plotline that continues to maintain both intrigue and interest – the near-imprisonment of former prostitute Rachel Posner (Rachel Brosnahan), who has unexpectedly found solace in a close new friend, in the form of Kate Lyn Sheil as the strangely soothing Lisa Williams. The duo met early in the second season, when Lisa reached out to Rachel on the bus to query her about her musical choices. For Rachel, so long trapped by Doug Stamper (Michael Kelly), the concept of a friend was […]

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Lovett banjo 1

There are two main challenges with most independent films – time and money. But whether you are dealing with a big budget studio blockbuster or small independent fare, music is usually the last thing to be added and usually puts composers up against tight deadlines with little money left to work with. Brian Tyler, who recently composed the music for Iron Man 3, commented that no matter what kind of movie you are working on, “It’s a race and there’s really no time to second-guess yourself on a movie, regardless of the scale, when the time crunch is upon you.” This race against time is a common adversary for almost all composers, but this time crunch seems especially heightened when it comes to independent films. To dive in to this issue further, I spoke with Ben Lovett who composed the music for two independent films released last year, Sun Don’t Shine and Black Rock. Independent films can be a double edged sword allowing for great creativity (thanks to fewer “cooks in the kitchen” that come with studios), but with less funds and time to work within.

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On Demand: Jack Reacher

Back after a week of self-reflection, our patented, custom-built supercomputer known as the Video On Demand Power Ranker is back in action. This week it’s all crime thrillers, time-lapsing epics and stories about people with a screw (or seven) loose. And a movie about your uncle’s favorite band, The Eagles.

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postmodem-borscht

Halfway through the 2012 Borscht Film Festival, a documentary screened titled Rising Tide: A Story of Miami Artists. In the film, which offers a basic guide to the growing art scene in the city, local paper sculptor Jen Stark acknowledges the way the digital world allows contemporary artists to flourish outside of major art centers. “Ever since the Internet came out,” she says, “ I never thought I had to be in New York or wherever.” It was a resonating quote to hear in the middle of an event so devoted to both regional communities and how they can come together as a broader, networked collective of filmmaking scenes. The central occasion for Borscht, which was held last weekend, is a screening of shorts either made by local filmmakers or commissioned by the Borscht Corporation and at least shot in Florida. Many of the films involve an overlapping of talent, and by the end you’ve seen 20 works that have given you a good sense of what’s happening with the underground “Miami New Wave.”

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Picture-11

Many of us wish we could go back and see certain films again for the first time. Or, maybe we’d like to be hypnotized and made to see a favorite film as if we’d never seen it before. Yesterday, actress/filmmaker Amy Seimetz tried an experiment at Miami’s Borscht Film Festival where she was able to watch her new, Gotham Award-nominated feature Sun Don’t Shine from the perspective of her audience, specifically those of us seeing it for the first time. She cried the whole way through, apparently, and her primary reaction was that, as critics have stated, the beginning is pretty slow. Afterwards, she was unable to answer certain questions from the crowd due to her hypnosis interfering with the fact that she actually wrote and directed the movie. But it also allowed her to see how interviews and Q&As are such bullshit. While Seimetz got to experience her own film anew, I at least got to experience a film festival screening unlike any I’ve ever known. Sure, there was a gimmicky aspect to it, and I didn’t particularly enjoy Sun Don’t Shine on its own, but the whole package was fresh and fun and weird, which is on par with the very intimate and very strange Borscht experience overall — so far anyway. I’m here in Miami through the weekend, invited down by the festival, which is why FSR’s weekend content will be a tad light this week. I wanted to get one quick post on what’s going on, […]

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Kicking off this week with its Opening Night Gala for Hitchcock, Hollywood’s own AFI FEST effectively wraps up the year’s film festival-going season (a season that lasts approximately eleven months). Such calendar placement means that AFI FEST comes late enough in the year to serve as a last hurrah for titles that have been playing the festival circuit as far back as January (at Sundance) or as far away as France, Berlin, and Venice, and is the perfect opportunity for Southern California-based film geeks (or those willing to put some miles on their passport) to catch up on films they’ve been anticipating for months. Of course, of the 136 films playing at this year’s festival, we’ve managed to catch nearly a fifth of them at other fests, and we’re quite pleased to use this opportunity to remind you as such. Confused over what to see at the festival? Be confused no more! After the break, jog your memories of our always-extensive festival coverage with reviews for twenty-eight films set to play at this week’s AFI FEST that we’ve already seen (and, you know, reviewed). It’s like getting your festival coverage whole days early!

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We open with a gasp. Amy Seimetz’s feature directorial debut, Sun Don’t Shine, kicks off with its lead actress (Kate Lyn Sheil) fighting for breath under the blazing Florida sun, thanks to a knock-down-drag-out fight with her boyfriend (Kentucker Audley) in an empty slice of wetland far from any prying eyes. The two struggle in the mud and sand, until the scuffle is finally over and they resume driving far away from something very bad, very bad indeed. An understated take on the classic Bonnie and Clyde trope with a mumblecore vibe, Seimetz’s film centers on two runaway losers who need to get somewhere far from home – and fast.

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South by Southwest is our favorite film festival not just because it’s in our own backyard (relatively speaking) or because it affords us a chance to eat BBQ on daily basis or even because it means we can sit in the Drafthouse all day but because – wait, no, it’s our favorite film festival for precisely those reasons. What else could you possibly want from a film festival? Good films? Fair enough. Luckily, finding good films at SXSW isn’t hard, not even remotely, which explains why our list of Our 16 Most Anticipated Films came together with no overlap – there’s truly something for everyone. For Rob Hunter, that means a lot of guns and violence, for Dear Leader Neil Miller, he just wants to stop being the last person in America who hasn’t seen The Raid. We even let Jack pick some films too. Sixteen in total, these films encapsulate the variety that makes SXSW so great – stick with this list and you probably can’t go (too)  wrong. Why sixteen films? Because we’re sweet. Or just suffering from anticipatory exhaustion from our favorite film festival. Check out all the movies we’re aching to see after the jump.

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