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 »

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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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There are actors one suspects can do a lot more than what they’ve been given at any particular point. People might have thought that about Aaron Paul before Breaking Bad gave him the chance to stretch. And Mary Elizabeth Winstead has been a bright spot in several projects so far, but we’ve suspected that she’d eventually get a chance to really do something great.

Smashed features both actors, as a married couple that hits a wall with their drinking and partying, and based on reactions out of Sundance it is Winstead’s big breakout turn. Check out a newly released trailer below to see a taste of her performance. Read More »

Although its limited rollout starts in just six weeks, James Ponsoldt‘s Sundance fave Smashed has yet to offer a traditional trailer. Instead, Sony Pictures Classics is rousing some buzz with four new clips that showcase star Mary Elizabeth Winstead‘s acclaimed performance.

Winstead and Breaking Bad‘s Aaron Paul star as a young married couple united by their love of booze. When their habit spirals out of control, however, the wife decides to seek help. The stellar supporting cast includes Octavia Spencer and Parks & Recreation‘s Nick Offerman and Megan Mullally. No wonder the drama won the Special Jury Prize at Sundance this year. Watch the scenes after the jump.

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It’s July 4 and a coastal playground in the Northeastern US is under attack from something that comes from the water. Familiar as that premise sounds to Jaws fans, this is something different. The Bay is from Barry Levinson (Wag the Dog, Rain Man) and is a found-footage assembly that looks at what happens when pollution-mutated parasites start burrowing into people.

This is like a grand found-footage mash-up, featuring viral horror, zombie-like aftereffects, and an obvious updated influence from Jaws, in at least the film’s first act. Check out the trailer below. Read More »

Sundance was several months ago, but for those of us who didn’t attend, these next few months are going to be a good time to catch up on this year’s crop of Sundance hits. Safety Not Guaranteed has already landed theaters in some cities, Beasts of the Southern Wild is hitting tomorrow, The Queen of Versailles is due out next month, and Robot and Frank is slotted for August. Add to that list Nicholas Jarecki‘s white-collar thriller Arbitrage, which is now getting the word out for its September release.

Richard Gere stars as a billionaire CEO whose success turns out to be built on little more than lies and deceit. When a horrible error threatens to expose him for a fraud, he finds himself sinking to ever-more-despicable depths to try and cover up his mistake. Susan Sarandon, Tim Roth, and Brit Marling also star. Watch the trailer after the jump.

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