Jordan Vogt-Roberts skull island - Storytelling In The Social Media Age

Last night, filmmaker Jordan Vogt-Roberts went off on a Twitter rant about his worries that content and quality might be the losers in our modern society when it’s the easiest it’s ever been to create and share filmed stories and content. I thought this rant was worth sharing, not just because it comes from a filmmaker whom I admire (this Sundance breakout The Kings of Summer was great) or because he’s currently finishing a big blockbuster franchise film (Kong: Skull Island), but because his point is interesting to consider.

Browsing YouTube or the bevy of short films we get sent on a weekly basis, I often wonder the same things. So after the jump I present to you Jordan’s complete rant in a more readable configuration.

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Zack Snyder Directors Cut

Last week I watched Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice Ultimate Edition. I’m sure you’ve read about this — it’s Zack Snyder’s three-hour director’s cut of the film. The Ultimate Edition has had quite a few positive reviews as opposed to the half-hour shorter theatrical cut which was eviscerated by critics and moviegoers. The Ultimate Edition is a better film than the theatrical cut, I’m sure of that. So why did they release an inferior version of the movie in theaters? Why can’t the Zack Snyder release his director’s cuts theatrically?

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MoviePass Statistics

MoviePass is a great idea, a monthly membership (starting at $30) that gives you access to see up to one movie a day in one of its 33,000 qualifying screens nationwide. It has basically been marketed as Netflix for movie theaters, and if it worked that simply it would be amazing. Unfortunately, I have found there are many sticking points in using this service. And it seems like MoviePass is finally trying to address some of them.

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Why Do We Choose the Movies We See?

iron man

Chatting with /Film Managing Editor Angie Han, I recently came to the conclusion that she chooses the movies she wants to see based on a much different criteria than me. What follows is a chat transcript between us, exploring why we choose the movies we do. We would love to hear your thoughts and what goes into your movie decisions.
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blocking phones in the movie theaters

Apple has patented a new technology that blocks the iPhone’s camera feature, which would reportedly allow venues like concert venues to use an infrared beam to disable a mobile phone’s camera, preventing its users from taking videos and photos.  According to the Telegraph, Apple’s patent says that the phone would display a “recording disabled” message when users take photographs or videos. Apple has not officially announced this feature so it’s unclear if and when it will roll out.

But who’s to say that movie theaters wouldn’t also be able to take advantage of this new technology when it’s released? And maybe this is just a first step towards something I theorized about five years ago.

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star wars rogue one opening crawl

Does Star Wars: Rogue One need an opening crawl? This is a conversation I had with friends months ago, but its now come to the forefront thanks to recent comments from Lucasfilm head Kathleen Kennedy. So let’s dive in and explore the reasons I believe that Rogue One should have an opening crawl.

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Finding Dory

Finding Dory is out in theaters this weekend, and it looks on track to break the record for largest opening weekend ever for an animated film. The film currently sits with a 95% rating on Rotten Tomatoes and /Film’s Peter Sciretta has called it “more emotional and funny than its predecessor.”

I enjoyed Finding Dory, though I certainly didn’t find it a better film than its predecessor. It borrows story beats liberally from the first film (as well as other Pixar films), but what it lacks in originality it tries to make up for in heart. It mostly succeeds, but there is one bothersome element of the film that I just can’t seem to let go of. Some spoilers for the film follow. Read More »

Oscars Asians

Lost amidst all the stories about how Chris Rock ripped into the Academy last night is how poorly people of other races were treated who weren’t black or white. I think it was about two hours into last night’s broadcast when the first mention of Asians or Hispanics even happened: during a remote video segment from a man-on-the-street interview Rock conducted in front of a theater.

“This should not just white. It should be Asian, Hispanic. There’s so much talent out there of all races,” the man says, while holding an Oscar statue and delivering a mock acceptance speech.

I wish the rest of the presenters and producers had taken this message to heart.
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Star Wars Force Awakens anticipation

Mark Hamill knows a thing or two about Star Wars. As Luke Skywalker, he was not only the star of the original trilogy, he’s reprising the role over thirty years later in December’s ultra-anticipated Star Wars: The Force Awakens. However with many months left until release, the actor has some advice for fans who are eagerly awaiting the film. Fans like me, you, pretty much anyone reading this site. His advice is to “relax” and “forget about it.” “It will be here before you know it,” he says.

Sorry, Mark, that’s not going to happen.

Read Hamill’s full quote about Force Awakens anticipation, and our response, below. Read More »

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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 »