Sarah Polley Stories We Tell

When I first saw Stories We Tell I was stunned. When I saw it again, I knew that reaction was warranted. And when I talked to the film’s director, everything was further illuminated. That director is Sarah Polley, who is probably best known for roles in films like Go and Dawn of the Dead. Polley is undeniably great in those movies, but after seeing her third feature film Stories We Tell, there’s no doubt she’s an even better director.

Polley approaches Stories We Tell with brilliantly layered execution. On the surface, it’s a personal documentary about her family history, featuring accounts from her brothers, sisters, parents, and friends. The basic story follows how her mother and father met, and started a family. From there, Polley questions the construction of story and truth. She breaks down the structure, turning the camera on herself. Finally, Polley uses this pleasant, thought-provoking documentary to pose surprising questions regarding the essence of cinema. Stories We Tell is now playing in select cities nationwide, so you can finally see what I mean for yourself.

Which brings us to a warm May morning poolside at a Beverly Hills hotel. I was lucky enough to sit down with Polley to discuss her wonderful film and ask all the burning questions I had after seeing it. You can read the conversation below. Read More »

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Joss Whedon‘s last directorial effort, The Avengers, was a massive affair all around. The culmination of Marvel Studios’ ambitious years-long Cinematic Universe effort, the summer blockbuster boasted an all-star cast, a $220 million, and, eventually, a $1.5 billion box office take. So as a palate cleanser, he went super-duper-small for his next film.

Shot over just twelve days at Whedon’s own home during a break in The Avenger‘s post-production period, Much Ado About Nothing reimagines William Shakespeare‘s classic play as “noir comedy” set in present-day Santa Monica. Whedon alums Amy Acker, Alexis Denisof, Nathan Fillion, Clark Gregg, Sean Maher, and Fran Kranz all star. Watch the first trailer and check out a poster after the jump.

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The calendar might only say “March,” but I doubt I’ll see many movies this year better than Sarah Polley‘s Stories We Tell. Since I saw it at Sundance (read my review here) I haven’t been able to stop thinking about it, or accurately convey to people – without spoilers – just why it’s so great. What I’ve been saying is Polley’s documentary is, on one level, a exploration of her family history. At the same time, it’s a commentary on how she’s telling that story as she cuts between traditional documentary scenes and footage of her shooting them. But even that’s not everything.

Thankfully, Roadside Attractions has finally released a trailer that’ll do a much better job of selling the movie than I could. Stories We Tell opens in New York on May 10 and then starts rolling out on May 17. Check out the trailer below.
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Sundance 2013 ended almost a month ago, but some of its films are still riding the wave of popularity that rose during the fest. The latest is In A World, the directorial debut of Lake Bell, which tells the hilarious story of a young woman breaking into the competitive world of movie trailer voice-overs. Roadside Attractions will distribute the film in the US and Sony will handle international markets. Read our review here.

Bell not only directed but wrote and stars in the film, along with Demetri Martin, Michaela Watkins, Nick Offerman and Tig Notaro. It won the Waldo Salt Screenwriting Award at the festival.  Read More »

Sarah Polley‘s documentary Stories We Tell is absolutely brilliant. I don’t use that word lightly, but I’ll say it again: brilliant. The actress-turned-director trains the camera on herself in a movie exploring not only her own family, but how people tell stories. She focuses on the truths embedded in them and different points of view. To help bolster that approach, Polley films not only her family, but herself filming the documentary, and cuts between the two seemlessly.

So while we’re hear Polley’s family history — how her mother and father met, got married, had kids, went through terrible trials, tribulations — we see the family, we see archival footage, we hear different points of view from all parties involved, and we see Polley behind the camera doing this, manipulating and prodding her subjects. And from there things get even more amazing.

After premiering at Berlin and playing Toronto and Telluride, Stories We Tell hit the slopes of the 2013 Sundance Film Festival and just might be the best film at the festival. Read More »

Last week, Tommy Lee Jones picked up an Oscar nomination for playing Thaddeus Stevens in Lincoln. This week, we have a trailer that shows him playing another famous historical figure in Peter Webber‘s Emperor.

Jones inhabits the role of General Douglas MacArthur, who finds himself the de facto ruler of Japan following the nation’s surrender at the end of World War II. He brings in an expert in Japanese culture, General Bonner Fellers (Matthew Fox), to help determine whether Hirohito, the Japanese emperor, should be hanged for war crimes. Fellers’ investigation is colored by his memories of a relationship with beautiful Aya (Eriko Hatsune), a Japanese exchange student he met in the U.S. before Pearl Harbor. Watch the trailer after the jump.

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It’s a big deal when the new movie arrives from the director of one of the biggest movies ever to set box office receipts blazing. But this time it’s a little bit weird, too. Because the director is Joss Whedon, whose film The Avengers became a massive success early this past summer. His next film, however, is something very different: a black and white adaptation of William Shakespeare‘s comedy Much Ado About Nothing. Whedon shot the film with friends on off days from The Avengers; it’s a true indie.

Now Roadside Attractions and LiosnGate have decided to release Much Ado About Nothing in a few markets on June 7, 2013, with a wide release to follow on June 21. It could be an interesting experiment, to open the film essentially opposite DC and Warner Bros.’ Man of Steel. Read More »

Though Joss Whedon has floated the idea of releasing Much Ado About Nothing over iTunes if the film couldn’t find a theatrical distributor, in truth it seemed unlikely that the man behind the $1.5 billion Avengers juggernaut would be unable to find some studio, somewhere, willing to strike a deal. And indeed, Lionsgate / Roadside has now stepped up to release the film. The company also released Drew Goddard’s Whedon-scripted Cabin in the Woods earlier this year. More on the Much Ado deal after the jump.

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