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When you think Lucasfilm, you probably think of two things: Star Wars and Indiana Jones. Both creations of filmmaker George Lucas, those two franchises put Lucasfilm on the map and made the company what is today: an entity that cost Disney $4 billion. But Lucasfilm isn’t only Star Wars and Indiana Jones. Proof of that hit theaters this past weekend as they released Strange Magic, an animated fairy tale Lucas himself conceived and produced.

That got us thinking, what else has Lucasfilm done? What are they without their two big superstars? The answer is “a lot” and “something pretty special.” Below, read our ranking of the 10 best Lucasfilm movies, minus Star Wars and Indiana Jones. Read More »

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Going Clear Movie Review

Going Clear: Scientology and the Prison of Belief is a good primer for, and a very damning and powerful indictment of the church of Scientology. Unfortunately, the film provides little in terms of new revelations, and viewers who have researched the church will find most of the documentary to be familiar ground. Read my Going Clear movie review after the jump.

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Me and Earl and the Dying Girl review

On paper, Me and Earl and the Dying Girl doesn’t seem particularly exciting. An adaptation of a book by Jesse Andrews, it’s the story of a high school senior who is forced to become friends with a school acquaintance who is diagnosed with leukemia.

Interesting, yes but not that exciting. Thankfully, Me and Earl and the Dying Girl isn’t merely on paper. It’s a film — in fact, a film that loves film, celebrates film, and is very much about the medium – with beautiful shot composition, tense long takes and elaborate tracking shots. It tells a touching and incredibly funny story with very realistic, honest characters and enough self-awareness to make it all feel modern. Directed by Alfonso Gomez-Rejon and adapted by Andrews, Me and Earl and the Dying Girl had its world premiere at the 2015 Sundance Film Festival this weekend. Read our Me and Earl and the Dying Girl review here. Read More »

Dope review

Four days in, Rick Famuyiwa‘s Dope is the best film I’ve seen so far at the 2015 Sundance Film Festival. A coming of age story for the “post hip hop generation” best described as a mix of three films: Doug Liman’s Go, Greg Mottola’s Superbad and John Singleton’s Boyz n the Hood.  I’m posting this review the morning after the premiere and its being reported that six studios are rabidly bidding to distribute this film — its insanely accessible movie for a Sundance film and will sure to be a hit that lives on past its festival and theatrical runs. Read my Dope review after the jump.

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Finders Keepers review sundance

On Friday I screened the first great film of the 2015 Sundance film festival. Finders Keepers is a hilarious, bizarre and sometimes devastating documentary about the true life story of two men. Shannon Whisnant purchases a storage unit at auction and is surprised to find a severed human leg inside a used bbq grill. The other man, John Wood, wants his leg back, but Whisnant isn’t about to let that happen.

Read the rest of my Finders Keepers review and see a clip from the film, embedded after the jump.

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It Follows 700

Sometimes, the scariest thing isn’t what’s around the corner. It’s what’s right in front of you. In It Follows, writer director David Robert Mitchell has created a simple, perfect, and bone-chillingly terrifying horror conceit that doesn’t need blood or jump scares. It doesn’t even, necessarily, need special effects. In It Follows a normal person, walking, is enough to scare the living crap out of you.

Below, read our It Follows review which will tell you why it’s one of the scariest horror films in years. Read More »

Why We Go To The Sundance Film Festival

Sundance Marquee

NOTE: We ran this article in 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014 and have updated it for 2015.

The Sundance Film Festival is the best known film festival in the United States. Say the word “Sundance” to anyone, film lover or not, and chances are they’ve heard of the festival. As a movie blog though, the problem with covering Sundance is that virtually all of the movies are brand new. We haven’t heard of them, you haven’t heard of them, so why would you even care about them?

More than any of the casting news, trailers or film stills that we post on a daily basis, what happens in that small corner of Utah for a little over a week in January is probably the most important movie event of the year. Even so, talk to the most seasoned movie fan and they don’t spend half as much time focusing on what’s going on at Sundance as they do bitching about movies that came out three years ago. Plain and simple, the best films that you will see in theaters for the next 12 months are being shown at Sundance over the next week and a half. And while you probably haven’t heard of them in January, you’ll definitely have heard of them by December. Don’t you want in on the ground floor?

For the next 7 days myself, Russ Fischer and Peter Sciretta will be in Park City, Utah at the Sundance Film Festival. And while you might not be eager to click and read about a movie you haven’t heard of yet, we urge you to do so. Some of the films that people hadn’t heard of when they played Sundance in the past are films like Saw, The Blair Witch Project, Donnie Darko, 28 Days Later, Napoleon Dynamite, Memento, Bottle Rocket, Clerks, Reservoir Dogs and The Usual Suspects. Think of all the movies that have been made since because filmmakers like Christopher Nolan, Wes Anderson, Kevin Smith, Quentin Tarantino and Bryan Singer broke out at the Sundance Film Festival. Who is the breakout star this year? You’ll have to follow our coverage to find out.

Still not convinced? We’ve compiled even more films that you know and love that got their start at Sundance after the jump. Read More »

The Best Movies Of Sundance Film Festival History

Yesterday I posted part one of my two-part look at the best movies of Sundance Film Festival history. Today I return with the second installment, which takes a look at the best movies from the last 15 years of the festival as Park City became not only the mecca of American independent film but the launching pad for hundred million dollar award contenders.

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