The Best Movies Of Sundance Film Festival History

The Sundance Film Festival isn’t just a film festival, but a look into the future of cinema. As we travel to Park City Utah this year, I thought it would be nice to take a look back at the last 30 years of the festival. Today I begin part one of my two-day, two-part look at the best movies of Sundance Film Festival history. In part one I will focus on the first 15 years of the festival* as the small independent film festival grew into the launching pad for new filmmakers and ground zero for the independent movie boom of the 1990’s.

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Slow West

Even if you aren’t going to the Sundance Film Festival, reading through the movies that are playing there is indescribably exciting. There are films about any subject you can imagine, in every genre you can imagine, featuring new filmmakers, young filmmakers, A-list actors, rising stars and so much more.

The 2015 Sundance Film Festival kicks off later this week and /Film will be on the scene, attempting to see as many movies as possible to tell you what you should be on your radar later this year. Last year, it was little films like Whiplash, Boyhood, The Skeleton Twins, Obvious Child and The Guest. What is it this year? Below check 30 films that we think sound awesome at the 2015 Sundance Film Festival. Read More »

American Sniper header

Editor’s Note: This review originally ran on November 12. We’re bumping it up now that American Sniper is in wide release.

Director Clint Eastwood has great aspirations for American Sniper. First and foremost, he hopes to make a movie paying tribute to the most deadly sniper in the history of the United States. That’s the late Chris Kyle, played by Bradley Cooper. He also hopes to show Kyle not as only a heroic solider, but a complex man confident in his actions and concerned about of their results. The film paints a grim picture of post-traumatic stress disorder and what it does to our veterans, especially in regards to their families. Finally, there’s also a drive to keep things exciting, so there are many gun battles in the deserts of Iraq.

Yes, American Sniper is an incredibly ambitious film with many moving parts. All of those parts work in certain instances, but only on rare occasions do they all come together at once. The disconnection makes the film fall just short of those great aspirations.

American Sniper had its World Premiere on Veterans Day at AFI Fest presented by Audi and you can read the rest of our review below. Read More »

2015 Oscar Snubs

We expect the annual announcement of Academy Awards nominations to come with a healthy set of surprises, and usually a few snubs for films that arguably deserve to be in the final round of contention for one of the biggest arts awards in the world. This year’s set of snubs was more pronounced than most, with a set of nominations that ignores the diversity of great filmmakers and films that hit theaters in 2014. We know the Academy is made up of old (less than 14% under 50), white (94%) men (77%),  but even with that understood, this year’s crop of nominees is sadly, even pathetically homogenous.

Granted, there are some pleasant surprises, too, if not nearly as many as there are snubs. Here’s a list of twelve major 2015 Oscar snubs and surprises.

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Paddington movie review

Paddington is a PG-rated family film about a talking bear who moves from the jungles of Peru to London. That premise, based on a popular series of children’s book by Michael Bond, is obviously silly. Yet writer director Paul King‘s adaptation is so on the money, so well-done, so deceptively simple, heartfelt and flat-out entertaining, it make movies with far more plausible plots seem silly by comparison.

Below read the rest of our Paddington movie review, which talks about what the movie does right that others should take note of. Read More »

Project Almanac set visit

We’ve all seen time travel, but we’ve never seen time travel the Michael Bay way. Bay is one of the producers of Project Almanac, a found-footage time travel movie described as Primer meets Chronicle. In the film, time travel is raw, gritty and painful. Bay’s time travel is pretty unique, and will be handled by the film’s director Dean Israelite.

“I’m South African, so I fly to South Africa all of the time and I’m totally f****d up after a twenty-four hour flight,” said the first time director. “And I haven’t time travelled. So If I’m f****d up just going on a plane, what are these characters going to feel like when they go back in time?”

He went on to describe how, in Project Almanac, time travel involves weightlessness, electromagnetic fields, and all sorts of environmental craziness. In short, this isn’t time travel you’re used to seeing in other films that may or many not have been set in this year.

But, to be frank, we didn’t see it either. Much of that time travel visualization will be done in post. When we visited the Atlanta, GA set of Project Almanac on July 1, 2013, Israelite was shooting the most important time-travel excursion of the film. In it, a tight-knit group of friends go to the bathroom during school and travel back in time to go Lollapalooza. Girls in bikinis and guys in chain mail, peacock feathers, leis, neon tank tops, beer hats, body paint, rainbow wigs and all the madness you’d expect at a music festival were on set. It was a crazy scene, one that plays a pivotal role in the January 31 film, and a great example of how Project Almanac is doing time travel in a very modern, 2015-ready way.

Below, read more of our Project Almanac set visit.
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2015 Academy Awards Nominations

2015 academy awards nominations

The wait is over. Early this morning, Chris Pine, J.J. Abrams, Alfonso Cuarón, and Academy president Cheryl Boone Isaacs gathered to announce the nominees for the 87th Oscars.

Get the full list of 2015 Academy Awards nominations after the jump. Read More »

The Best Movie Animal Performances of 2014

Best Animal Performances of 2014

I was watching Gone Girl for the fourth time and admiring how David Fincher (and his cinematographer Jeff Cronenweth) majestically shot Ben Affleck‘s character Nick Dunne’s cat and I began to wonder about the cat’s true role in the story. The cat is featured too prominently to be just a background prop. What did the cat mean?

As I thought about this I began to realize that there had been a lot of big screen kitties this year. The New York Times notes in their review that “cats are the new dogs,” and judging from the list of animals in this article, they might be right. But as I started to think about it more, it wasn’t just cats but dogs and some actually amazing performances by other animals in this past year of film. So the list of best animal performances of 2014 grew and grew. After the jump you will find my examination of why 2014 was the year of animal movie performances and what it all means. Read More »

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