Sundance

IL FUTURO

If you’re attending Sundance this year and have already started thinking, “man, I would really love to see a dramatic feature that stars Rutger Hauer as an aging and blind B-movie star who is also a hermit and who was also Mr. Universe and who also lives in a rococo mansion in Rome,” then we have got the only film you’ll need to see at this month’s film festival. Based on Roberto Bolano‘s novel “Una Novelita Lumpen,” Alicia Scherson‘s Il Futuro stars Hauer as, well, an aging and blind B-movie star who is also a hermit and who was also Mr. Universe and who also lives in a rococo mansion in Rome – but wait! there’s also romantic intrigue here! Co-starring Manuela Martelli as a recently-orphaned adolescent who is tricked by her dirtbag friends into seducing Hauer’s Maciste, the film centers on the unexpected relationship that blossoms between the pair. The film will have its World Premiere later this month at Sundance and, as such, has rolled out that lovely new poster above, which we are pleased to premiere here on FSR. The future is now! And, also, retroactively back then!

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Sundance Logo 2013

Just when we thought the 2013 Sundance Film Festival was done rolling out exciting new cinematic gems for us to get, well, excited about, the festival has just announced four late-breaking additions to the January festival. These titles include a newly struck preservation print of Robert Rodriquez’s El Mariachi (which premiered at the 1993 festival and will show as part of their “From the Collection” series), the world premiere of music doc Muscle Shoals, and yet another new Sebastián Silva joint (Magic Magic). The film is actually the second Michael Cera-starring Silva film we’re getting at the festival (what a bromance!), as the pair’s Crystal Fairy was previously announced as an in-competition title. Though Magic also centers on some American kids on a road trip in Chile, Crystal Fairy is classified as a comedy; Magic Magic, a horror flick that will show as part of Park City at Midnight, sounds like its nightmarish cousin. Now that sounds like it could be a good time. And then there is Wrong Cops, Quentin Dupieux‘s still-in-the-making New Frontier film, which sounds bonkers in only the best way. The Wrong and Rubber filmmaker again returns to the festival with the new feature, starring Mark Burnham, Marilyn Manson, Steve Little, and Eric Wareheim, which centers on a Los Angeles that’s so crime-free that it’s the cops who have to break the law. Yes. Basically, just yes. Check out the full list of the just-added titles after the break.

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Ashton Kutcher in jOBS

While some of might still be holding out for that Aaron Sorkin-penned Steve Jobs biopic, there’s still Joshua Michael Stern‘s Sundance-premiering, Ashton Kutcher-starring jOBS to look forward to. Yet, surely, no one is looking forward to this one quite as much as Kutcher, who looks tickled pink to not only be starring in what sounds like a quality film (sorry, Just Married!), but pretty excited by how much he looks like the Apple founder, as evidenced by a brand new still from the film. We can’t wait for Kutcher to fill out those black turtlenecks later in the film, however. jOBS will serve as the Closing Night Film of the 2013 Sundance Film Festival, and its official fest synopsis tells us: “The true story of one of the greatest entrepreneurs in American history, jOBS chronicles the defining 30 years of Steve Jobs’ life. jOBS is a candid, inspiring and personal portrait of the one who saw things differently.” The film also stars Dermot Mulroney, Josh Gad, Lukas Haas, J.K. Simmons, and Matthew Modine. The film was just picked up for Canadian distribution by Remstar Films, in collaboration with Entertainment One. The film also has Swiss and Italian distribution lined up. While there is no word yet on domestic distribution or release, it seems like a safe bet that won’t last soon, as jOBS will surely sell very soon, likely before it even bows at Sundance. [ComingSoon]

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Sundance Logo 2013

And with that, that Sundance Film Festival ended a week of truly exciting programming announcements. The venerable fest has now released the full listing of their Short Film program, and it’s rounded out with all sorts of recognizable names (including Nash Edgerton, Spencer Susser, Kat Candler, and Morgan Spurlock) and a pack of up-and-comers that might just be The Next Big Thing. The shorts run the gamut in terms of subject matter – synopsis-friendly buzzwords that pop out us include “metal band,” “problem child,” “tragic consequences,” “cinematic tweets,” “fallen-from-grace artisan,” and “self-serving fantasies” – so there’s definitely something here for everyone. We’re most excited about those cinematic tweets, truth be told. After the break, check out all a comprehensive listing of all the short films that will show at the upcoming Sundance Film Festival, including U.S. Narrative Shorts, International Narrative Shorts, Documentary Shorts, Animated Shorts, and New Frontier Shorts.

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Upstream Color Teaser Trailer

If you were that expecting the first teaser trailer for Shane Carruth‘s newest film to answer any questions you may have about the filmmaker’s first project since he gave the world Primer, well, you might want to go back and watch Primer again, just to remind yourself what you’re dealing with here. Carruth’s latest film, Upstream Color, will premiere at Sundance in January, and while the project certainly didn’t need to put out such a stunning, unsettling, foreboding, intriguing, and just flat out well-made first teaser trailer to get cinephiles on board with the new film, we’re not complaining that such a teaser trailer exists. After the break, get a look at what Carruth has cooked up for us this time and, don’t worry, you don’t need to avert your eyes.

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Sundance Logo 2013

While today’s movie news has been dominated by all manner of 2012 awards and nominations, the Sundance Film Festival implores us to look forward to 2013, rolling out a fresh new announcement of Premiere films for the fest’s 2013 edition. And while this may sound like old hat after the one-two punch of last week’s programming announcements, what a wonderful list. The list of Premieres titles is rife with returning Sundance stars, including Richard Linklater, Julie Delpy, Kate Bosworth, Drake Doremus, Ben York Jones, Felicity Jones, Zal Batmanglij, Brit Marling, David Gordon Green, and many (no, seriously, many more). The programming list is also packed with genuinely unexpected treats, such as the premiere of Joshua Michael Stern‘s jOBS, Park Chan-Wook‘s Stoker, and a one-screening-only showing of Jane Campion‘s six-hour seven-part series Top of the Lake (a screening that I am fully prepared to build my entire schedule around). Consider our Sundance excitement level to be at already-boggling heights. After the break, take a look at the full list of Premieres bowing at the 2013 Sundance Film Festival.

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Sundance Logo 2013

Hot on the heels of yesterday’s massive announcement of programming picks for the 2013 Sundance Film Festival, the fest has rolled out yet another listing of titles that will screen in Park City in January, including the Spotlight, Park City at Midnight, and New Frontiers sections. While Sundance usually plays host to new films premiering for the first time, the fest’s Spotlight section is comprised of films that have screened elsewhere, in service to being “a tribute to the cinema we love.” Park City at Midnight is a frisky spin on Midnight films, as it’s made up of more than just horror flicks, but movies that “defy any genre.” Sundance’s ever-expanding New Frontiers section continues to both push and explore boundaries, with films and “experiences” that center on artistic convergence of all sorts. Some of the most eye-catching of these programming picks include Jeff Nichols’ Mud (Nichols makes his return to Sundance after the success of his 2011 entry, Take Shelter), Pablo Larraín‘s No, Ben Wheatley‘s Sightseers (yes!), Sarah Polley‘s Stories We Tell (the actress and director’s first documentary, which we’ve covered quite often already), everyone’s S-VHS (that’s another big “yes!”), and Jim Mickle‘s English-language remake of We Are What We Are (you know, the family-o-cannibals movie). Programming for the feature-length films in the Premieres and Documentary Premieres sections, along with picks for the Short Film section, will be announced soon. Check out the just-announced list of film selections (with cast lists and synopses!), including the Spotlight, Park City at […]

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Sundance Logo 2013

Cue the giddy glee of film nerds everywhere. With the Sundance Film Festival lingering just over the horizon, the festival has today announced their first wave of programming – and they’ve pulled absolutely no punches when it comes to this first big wave of information. Today’s announcement includes the in-competition films for the U.S. and World Cinema Dramatic and Documentary sections, along with the out-of-competition films of the NEXT <=> section. Make no mistake, this is a giant swath of programming, a list filled to bursting with titles that will be the talk of the festival come January. These are the big guns, kids. While we attempt to tone down our excitement, here are a list of titles that immediately pop out at us from today’s list: David Lowery‘s Ain’t Them Bodies Saints (starring Rooney Mara and Casey Affleck), Kyle Patrick Alvarez‘s C.O.G. (Alvarez first earned our admiration with his Easier With Practice, now he’s bringing us the first film adaptation of a David Sedaris story), Lake Bell‘s In a World… (the actress’ feature directorial debut), James Ponsoldt‘s The Spectacular Now (the Smashed helmer returns with a surefire winner), Shane Carruth‘s Upstream Color (the director finally follows up his Primer with a new film), Lynn Shelton‘s Touchy Feely (it’s Shelton, come on), 99% – The Occupy Wall Street Collaborative Film (co-directed by Audrey Ewell and Aaron Aites, the filmmakers behind the wonderful and underseen Until the Light Takes Us), Martha Shane and Lana Wilson‘s After Tiller, Greg Barker‘s Manhunt, Sebastián Silva‘s […]

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Compliance-Pat-Healy

Actor Pat Healy doesn’t have an easy role in Craig Zobel‘s Compliance. In the controversial Sundance hit, Healy is mostly seen alone in his scenes, doing one of the most dull cinematic acts around: talking on the phone. Not only that, the character’s reasoning is all a mystery, motivations which Healy has to completely internalize. Those feelings he has to capture aren’t the most pleasant ones as well. “Officer Daniels” (as he likes to go by) is a self-loathing emasculated man who revels in power, or at least that’s how Healy sees him. Zobel doesn’t give plain answers for the many of the characters’ bone-headed and disturbing actions. Compliance could be about how far misogyny can drive an emasculated dweeb or, as our Kate Erbland put it, an “exceedingly well-made interpersonal drama that hinges on the limits (and, oftentimes, depths) of human nature and people’s response to certain carefully calibrated psychological tricks.” Here’s what actor Pat Healy had to say about having to carry around feelings of self-loathing, why he couldn’t do his scenes in his pajamas, and the childlike wonder of Werner Herzog:

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Craig Zobel Interview

Compliance caused quite a stir at this year’s Sundance. Many labeled the film exploitative, finding its subject matter too much to bare. There were also other viewers, such as our Kate Erbland, who perfectly described the film as “an exceedingly well-made interpersonal drama that hinges on the limits (and, oftentimes, depths) of human nature and people’s response to certain carefully calibrated psychological tricks.” It’s a fine line between exploitation and conveying the harsh reality of the true story, but that’s not the sole challenge director Craig Zobel faced. A majority of Compliance features one of the most dullest acts to watch on screen: characters talking on the phone. There’s rarely anything cinematic about it, but Zobel managed to make every phone call ooze with dread, which probably helped him land a pretty nice gig with Tobey Maguire… Here’s what Compliance director Craig Zobel had to say about the film’s exploration of authority, never giving clear answers for the truly terrible decisions made in the film, and making one long phone call between a psycho and an average joe manager exciting:

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Compliance

Buried in my viewing notes from Craig Zobel‘s Sundance premiere, Compliance, is a one-line note from a fellow journalist. Scrawled out, almost angrily, it reads “no one is this stupid!!!” Oh, but they are. Zobel’s film was one of the most controversial of the festival – subject to walk-outs and heated Q&A sessions – but it was also one of the absolute best productions unveiled in Park City this past January. The film is based on a true story (no matter how confounding and bizarre that story may be) and one that Zobel distills down into one singular event. Compliance centers on fast food worker Becky (Dreama Walker) and her generally nice (if a bit of overbearing) boss Sandra (Ann Dowd). On a day like any other, Sandra receives a phone call from a police officer who says he’s working on a case that involves Becky, and would Sandra be so kind as to help him detain Becky until he can get there? And could she possibly search Becky? And she possibly help him out with a full strip search of Becky? And…well, you get the idea. Compliance is as uncomfortable and riveting as cinema gets, and so is its first trailer. Get ready to get uncomfortable, and check out the first trailer for Compliance after the break.

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Lokitty!!!!!!

What is Movie News After Dark? Tonight, it’s hanging on by a thread, as we enter Day Four of Dear Leader Neil Miller’s Mental Health Break Staycation. While he’s off eating the finest BBQ that FSR’s hometown of Austin, Texas has to offer and Instagraming all the way, the rest of us are slaving over our keyboards and monitors to bring you the best content we possibly can. Of course, for tonight’s round of MNAD, that includes kitty GIFs, Battleship love letters, and something about the world’s most green soda missing the boat on a marketing opportunity and saddling up with the wrong superhero (to super-sad effect). It’s Movie News After Dark! And, man, is it tired. I won’t bury the lede here, folks, some people love Peter Berg‘s Battleship. Our Cole Abaius is not one of them. But guess who is! Huffington Post’s Mike Ryan! The scribbler has penned a love letter to the film, and while I can’t quite agree with the sentiment, he brings up some interesting and articulate points. And, as Ryan is both a friend and a colleague, I can assure you – he’s not joking and he’s not trolling.

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Liberal Arts Movie 2012

Multi-hyphenate Josh Radnor has had a real nice time at the Sundance Film Festival. His debut film, happythankyoumoreplease, premiered at the festival in 2010, and he just brought his second feature, Liberal Arts, to Park City this past January. Both films star Radnor as a shiftless twentysomething who is, for a variety of reasons, unhappy with his current lot in life. But whereas happythankyoumoreplease tended to feel too twee, too naval-gazey, too unformed, Liberal Arts showed a tremendous progression in Radnor’s talents and execution. And now you can see it, too! IFC will release the film just in time for back to school on September 14 of this year. The film also stars Elizabeth Olsen, Richard Jenkins, Allison Janney, and Zac Efron, and should be the perfect way to ease back into fall drudgery after the fireworks of the summer season.

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trailer_beasts of southern wild

Beasts of the Southern Wild received mostly acclaim from its Sundance debut earlier this year with several critics already calling it the best film of 2012. Our own Kevin Kelly called it “magical and moving” and “utterly amazing” in his review, and that guy’s only occasionally wrong. The film follows a young girl living in a a small, rural community just to the left of reality that receives word of an impending disaster caused by flood-ravaged levees. She sets out an adventure that sees imagination and the real world collide as she tries to save her father and town. And that’s even before the prehistoric porcine creatures arrive on scene. The trailer’s release has reportedly brought some bloggers to tears as they watched the images play across the screen, but while you (and I) may not have the same reaction there’s no denying its visual appeal. Think Spike Lee’s When the Levees Broke meets Spike Jonze’s Where the Wild Things Are and you’ll have an idea what to expect. Maybe. Check out the trailer below. Just be sure you have some Kleenex handy. Or…not.

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poster-xlarge

To say that I have been eagerly anticipating Zal Batmanglij‘s Sound of My Voice is the understatement of the year. I’ve been rabid about seeing this thing ever since it premiered at last year’s Sundance Film Festival (where everyone loved it) and then followed that up with a run at last year’s SXSW Film Festival (where everyone loved it), and though I attended both festivals, I could never manage to fit the film in to my schedule. I even remember standing outside the Alamo, heartbroken and thunderstruck, after I missed a screening of the film by a mere five minutes. Batmanglij co-wrote the film with star Brit Marling, and while I’ve more than taken my lumps for hating Marling’s other Sundance 2011 film, Another Earth, I’ve been assured that I will love Sound of My Voice, so perhaps my indie cred isn’t dead just yet. That all said, the film stars Christopher Denham and Nicole Vicius as a couple/documentary filmmaking team who attempt to break into a Marling-led cult for a project, only to find themselves pulled under her sway. The film will finally hit theaters this April, and marketing is just beginning to roll out. Snap on over to Apple to watch the film’s first two minutes, and if that intrigues you (hint: it will), mark your calendars for Thursday, when you can watch the first twelve minutes (comprising the first of ten “chapters” that make up the film) of Sound of My Voice at the film’s official site […]

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Reject Radio

With the Oscar nominations out terrorizing the community, we turn to IMDB Managing Editor Keith Simanton to discuss why the Academy Awards still matter, how the voting environment works, and why Harvey Weinstein always seems to control the conversation. Plus, Landon Palmer explores the death of the movie star and the rise of franchises. Could it help the revival in independent filmmaking? As if that weren’t enough, Cinema Blend‘s Editor-in-Chief Katey Rich squares off with Hollywood.com Movies Editor Matt Patches in a Movie News Pop Quiz that will change everything. Download This Episode

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John Hawkes in The Surrogate

John Hawkes has quickly became one of my favorite actors by giving my favorite supporting performances of the last two years. First he was the oddly intimidating Uncle Tear Drop in 2010’s Winter’s Bone, and last year he was the strangely charismatic cult leader in Martha Marcy May Marlene. Both of those films made their initial splashes at Sundance, and seeing as this year Hawkes returned to the festival, this time in a leading role, with the movie The Surrogate, I think there’s a good chance he could give my favorite performance of the year overall in 2012. That is, if reports of the film getting lengthy standing ovations and the glowing review of our own very helpful Allison Loring can be believed. The thing that strikes me about Hawkes is the absolute authority he’s able to command his characters with. He’s a slight man, but he made me fear him completely as Tear Drop. He’s not a pretty man, but he sold me completely on the spell he had those girls under in Martha Marcy May Marlene. In The Surrogate he plays Mark O’Brien, a poet who suffers from Polio, which has left him with a severely curved spine. Hawkes gave a pretty lengthy interview about the movie to Vulture, and the most interesting bits of it, to me, were the parts where he talks about how taxing it was physically to bring this character to life. It sounds like we’re getting another Hawkes performance where he goes all in.

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SundanceRocchi

This year, we’re dedicated to bringing Sundance straight to you, dear reader, and that includes getting to know some of the faces that make up a stellar Sundance – critics (new and returning), publicists (ever-ready clipboard in hand), producers and distributors (looking for the next big hit to bring to a theater near you), and basically whoever else we stumble upon on the slick (and charming) hill that comprises Main Street. There may be hobos and inanimate objects included as interview subjects, but you’ll just have to wait and see on that one. First up, Sundance stalwart, James Rocchi. A dear personal friend and an impeccable professional mentor, the twelve-year (maybe?) veteran of the fest has covered Sundance for a variety of outlets, including MSN Movies, Cinematical (R.I.P.), Netflix, IFC, and Indiewire. This year, he’s back to cover the festival for MSN Movies and their magical The Hitlist blog (I say magical, because, hey, I write there too!) and Indiewire’s The Playlist. After the break, check out ten questions (and answers) about Sundance expectations and experiences with James Rocchi, the dapper, hat-wearing gentleman critic most likely to open a door for you while you discuss George Orwell, even in the middle of a blizzard.

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save-the-date-01062011

The annual week I spend in sleepy Park City, Utah, carousing with the rest of the online film criticism glitterati, eating criminally overpriced pizza, barely sleeping, and consistently worrying about early on-set frostbite is my favorite week of the year. Not just for the pals, the pizza, and the sleep deprivation, but for (shockingly!) the movies. I’ve been lucky enough to see some truly great stuff at Sundance over the past two years – The Freebie, Winter’s Bone, Martha Marcy May Marlene, and Take Shelter all come to mind quite quickly, particularly because those films all stuck with me long enough to make it on to my top ten lists for their respective years. That’s staying power, and that’s the power of Sundance – seeing films in January that stay top-of-mind (and top-of-top-ten-list) for eleven months (and beyond). So which films from this year’s Sundance will prove to be long-range winners? While I can certainly make some very educated guesses, there’s no way to know for sure until my eyeballs meet Park City’s theater screens. That said, it’s probably safe to assume my ultimate favorite is somewhere on the following list of my ten most anticipated films for this year’s Sundance Film Festival.

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ThatsWhatSheSaidFilmStill1_MarciaDeBonisAnneHecheVIAscreengrab

It’s about time more lady-centric comedies popped up in theaters, and the success of Bridesmaids (and what appears to be an insatiable demand for a sequel) should usher in a bit of a golden age for the mini-genre. If that’s so, it’s no shock that such a female-driven sex comedy would show its goods at this year’s Sundance Film Festival. Carrie Preston‘s That’s What She Said will surely be the butt of many jokes around Park City come next week, so it’s fitting that we’re getting the film’s first trailer to warm up the Michael Scott in all of us. The film stars Anne Heche as DeeDee (Heche was at last year’s Sundance with Cedar Rapids) and Marcia DeBonis as her best friend Bebe (you might recognize DeBonis as Jennifer Garner’s put-upon assistant from 13 Going On 30). Both unlucky in love, DeeDee is trying to heal herself up with bad habits (lots of smoking), while hopeless romantic Bebe thinks she might have finally met her match. A pretty standard plot, right? Well, that’s probably why Maeby Fünke herself, Alia Shawkat, gets tossed in with her own messed up notions about love. Shawkat’s Clementine is a sex addict, and it looks as if her boundary-pushing just might force DeeDee and Bebe to rethink their own choices. Plus, you know, sex and cigarettes. That’s What She Said will have its World Premiere at Sundance on Friday, January 20, with three additional screenings throughout the festival. Check out the film’s official trailer […]

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