NOTE: We ran this article in 2011, 2012, 2013 and have updated it for 2014.
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 »
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After much anticipation, Star Trek Into Darkness is finally out this weekend. Peter and Germain have weighed in with their mostly-positive takes, and you guys have also chimed in with your thoughts. I personally enjoyed watching the movie from beginning to end, and got a kick out of seeing these characters come to life once more, as played by the immensely talented cast. It’s a non-stop thrill-ride, a riveting experience that may leave you scratching your head at certain points, but never leaves you bored.
About those head-scratchers: yeah, this movie definitely made pretty bizarre decisions, several of which continued to nag at me days after I’d seen it, even though my overall memories of the film were ones of fondness. So, in the grand tradition, you’ll find some of my issues after the jump. As always, feel free to respond with your own and/or correct me in the comments.
MASSIVE SPOILERS FOR STAR TREK INTO DARKNESS FOLLOW.
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I saw Iron Man 3 this past week, and I enjoyed the film well enough. Shane Black injects some pretty hilarious moments into the franchise and the action beats were more impressive than those in the second film.
But this film is as dumb as a bag of door knobs. It does not rise above the level of popcorn entertainment, and I don’t get film critics who can overlook its myriad of issues. So in the grand tradition of needlessly nitpicking things to death, after the jump you’ll find some of my issues with the film. Feel free to let me know in the comments whether you agree with any of them, as I’m sure you already will. Thanks to Matt Singer for his inspiration (and some of his copy!) in writing this piece.
Massive spoilers for Iron Man 3 follow.
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Amid all the rumors and speculation about what Disney and Lucasfilm will be doing with the Star Wars franchise, there’s one simple idea that hasn’t often been brought up. This idea doesn’t involve spinning off characters from the original trilogy nor does it involve continuing the story after the original trilogy. No, this is an idea that takes place before all that. An idea that, in today’s Hollywood and knowing the history of Star Wars, seems much less crazy than it initially sounds.
Remake the prequels.
It’s a thought previously relegated to fan forums and blogs, yet it’s becoming more plausible than ever. Not any time soon, but eventually. Right now, Star Wars fans have plenty to look forward to with J.J. Abrams’ Episode VII, Episodes VIII and IX should we get to them and any number of spin-offs or character one-shots. But down the road, maybe 15 years, when a Star Wars movie a year has become as expected as Christmas, I think people will be ready. And it could elevate the franchise to new heights. Read More »
J.J. Abrams is directing Star Wars Episode VII. If you’re like me, you’re going to have to let that one sink in for a bit. My first thought is happiness. Abrams is a huge fan of the franchise and a proven great director with a flare for the Spielbergian. My second thought is confusion. Not that Abrams is doing it after saying he wouldn’t, just that one man would be brave enough to tackle two monster franchises, first Star Trek and now Star Wars. Whenever anyone asked me if I wanted Abrams to direct Episode VII I always said, “We’ve already seen J.J. Abrams’ Star Wars film. It’s called Star Trek.”
But that got me thinking. Abrams has been very vocal that his Trek was influenced by Wars. The narrative is thematically very similar to A New Hope. So with a second Trek film out later this year, you’d have to imagine there has to be something specifically different to make him do a third space movie with “Star” in the title, right? What could that be? Read More »
Posted on Tuesday, January 15th, 2013 by David Chen
[The following article contains spoilers for Zero Dark Thirty]
In the past month or so, it feels as though two opposing camps have been battling it out over Zero Dark Thirty: the film critics who laud it as one of the best films of the year, and commentators who believe that it in some way endorses torture or depicts it as effective. The latter group have also given time and effort to slamming the film (for example, by articulating that it “kind of sucked.”). These opinions especially have inflamed film critics in a variety of ways; Scott Mendelson (a writer who I deeply respect and admire) recently wrote on the “moral outrage” that has resulted from Bigelow getting snubbed for a Best Director Oscar nomination due to the growing controversy over her film.
I think both parties have a point.
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Posted on Friday, December 28th, 2012 by David Chen
I was delighted to finally have the chance to catch Tom Hooper’s Les Misérables last night and despite a few significant missteps (e.g. Russell Crowe as Javert), I found it totally brilliant and engrossing. Nonetheless, I’ve been reading a bunch of criticism on the internet about Hooper’s directorial decisions, most pointedly regarding the look and sound of the film.
In Anthony Lane’s slam of the film in the New Yorker, Lane writes, “The actors were recorded live as they belted out the big numbers, and Hathaway, in particular, takes full advantage, turning in precisely the sort of performance, down to the last sniff, that she would be the first to lampoon on ‘Saturday Night Live.’” Over at The Atlantic, Christopher Orr writes, “The second or third time we watch a face fill the screen with notes tender or tragic, the effect is genuinely arresting. The 22nd or 23rd time…” Critics all over are having a ball blasting the unconventional directorial decisions made in the film. As someone who loved the movie, I thought I’d take a moment to reflect on some of these decisions.
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Dan Aykroyd is as sick and tired as you are when it comes to Ghostbusters 3. For years he’s been not only answering questions about the proposed film, but actually developing it for free in hopes one day it would get made. That’s all he wants, to get a movie made, and he’s had to constantly change his concept with new writers coming aboard and his co-star, Bill Murray, refusing to play ball.
Then, several months ago, it seemed like the film was ready to go. Things quickly cooled off and that seemed to be the final straw. Aykroyd has had it. He’s now publicly given Sony an ultimatum about making the film.
In an interview with Esquire, the co-creator, co-star and de-facto mouthpiece for the successful franchise not only calls for Sony to make the film now, or forever hold their peace, he talks about the scripts Office writers Gene Stupnitsky and Lee Eisenberg did, the one by Etan Cohen, Bill Murray’s non-interest and potential ideas for sequels. Why would he talk about sequels to a movie that hasn’t been made yet? Because he all but guarantees a nine-figure hit if Sony makes the movie. The guy is on a marshmallow man fueled rampage and I love it. Read his quotes below.
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