Produced by Grammy winner Alicia Keys and co-starring Oscar-winner Jennifer Hudson and American Idol Jordin Sparks, The Inevitable Defeat of Mister and Pete might sound like a kiddie movie. Quirky title, popular names, and two child leads make that assumption easy. But this one, written by Michael Starrbury and directed by George Tillman Jr. (Notorious, Faster), is anything but kids’ stuff.
While the film dramatizes the ultimate childhood wish fulfillment, spending a summer without parental supervision, it does so with brutal honesty in the harsh realities of modern Brooklyn. Mister (Skylan Brooks) and Pete (Ethan Dizon), two young boys whose mothers are both MIA drug addicts, decide that living on their own and scavenging for food, medicine and soap, is better than being brought to a boys home.
The Inevitable Defeat of Mister and Pete features two beautiful lead performances and solid supporting turns by Hudson, Sparks, Anthony Mackie, Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje and Jeffrey Wright. It is an emotionally effective, if not particularly resonant addition to the 2013 Sundance Film Festival. Read more after the jump.
Read More »
Please Recommend /Film on Facebook
The typical image of a “Sundance movie” often conjures up one of two things. A long, drawn-out burn with great characters, or the independently-financed comedy destined for box office glory. This post contains my thoughts on two 2013 films in the latter category.
In a World is the feature directorial debut of Lake Bell and it is a film about movie trailers. Seriously. Bell, who is best known for her roles in romantic comedies, not only directed, but wrote and also stars in this film about a woman who makes her way up in the world of Hollywood voice overs. It co-stars Dimitri Martin, Rob Corddry, Ken Marino, Tig Notaro, and Nick Offerman.
The Way, Way Back is also a directorial debut, for Oscar-winning screenwriters Nat Faxon and Jim Rash. Steve Carell, Toni Collette, Allison Janney, Sam Rockwell, AnnaSophia Robb, Maya Rudolph, Rob Corddry (again) and Amanda Peet all help tell the story of a young man coming of age over a summer at the beach.
Both films are incredibly funny, very sweet and worth your time. Read more after the jump. Read More »
Dirty Wars is a movie that you’ll watch, and which will compel you to watch your back after you’ve seen it. Paranoid viewers might think the CIA should have a list of all the people who’ve seen the film, directed by Richard Rowley, because they now know unspeakable, horrific truths about America.
In Dirty Wars, Rowley follows investigative reporter Jeremy Scahill deep behind enemy lines. He travels across the Middle East, Africa, and other regions to talk to people whose families — women, children, babies — have been killed by the American military. Over the course of the movie, one incident leads to another, and eventually a pattern is revealed. It seems like America is fighting an unstoppable World War against an enemy we’re creating ourselves, in countries that we aren’t at odds with.
Dirty Wars is a focused, fascinating and frightening look at war in the 21st century, and a film you’re sure not to forget. Read more below. Read More »
Zal Batmanglij and Brit Marling made huge names for themselves at Sundance a couple years back with the release of his low budget sci-fi thriller Sound of My Voice. I loved the film, and while it got a small release by Fox Searchlight, not many people saw it in theaters (the horrible title probably didn’t help). It definitely wasn’t a movie for everyone — the story followed a couple who infiltrates a cult run by a leader who claims to be a time traveler from the future, and the execution played on the many mysteries in the same way the television show Lost did, sometimes not offering answers. But underneath it all was a very clever concept and some really good storytelling. Searchlight and Ridley Scott apparently recognized this enough to give them a budget dozens of times larger than their debut.
The East shares some ideas with Sound of My Voice, following someone who goes undercover to infiltrate a cult-like organization. The ever likeable Brit Marling plays Sarah, a new-hire agent for a Washington DC private security film who is tasked to infiltrate an anarchist group calling themselves “The East” (think Project Mayhem from David Fincher’s Fight Club). The film opens on the mansion of the head of a huge oil company which recently spilled gas in the Atlantic, killing a ton of wildlife and polluting the Earth’s waters. The East breaks in and creates their own oil spill all over his home, releasing a video online and making headline news around the world.
Read More »
The title Stoker suggests vampirism, as a play on the name of Dracula creator Bram Stoker. But the monsters in this film are purely human — people warped into terrible shapes by neglect and jealousy.
For his English-language debut, Oldboy direcotor Park Chan-Wook chose Stoker, a script by actor Wentworth Miller that revolves around a family suffering the pain of change after a significant death. Evie Stoker and her daughter India barely have a moment to come to terms with the untimely passing of husband/father Michael, when his long-lost brother Charlie shows up. Charlie is so long-lost that the rest of the family barely knew of his existence. But it isn’t long before he has insinuated himself into the broken household, and is toying with the affections of lonely Evie and rapidly maturing India.
There’s an influence from Hitchcock – the imposition of a long-lost Uncle Charlie can’t help but conjure thoughts of Shadow of a Doubt — but Stoker doesn’t feel like a Hitchcock film at all. Unfortunately, it doesn’t feel much like a classic Park film, either. There’s lush cinematography to spare, and a strikingly vivid color palette, yes. As a story or character portrait, however, Stoker is resoundingly hollow. Read More »
We’ve all heard tales of huge online companies trying to use our knowledge for profit. We scoff at Facebook or Instagram when they update their privacy settings and get creeped out when Gmail gives us ads for things we’re discussing with our friends.
Google and the World Brain, a new documentary by Ben Lewis, is about that but on an even more frightening scale. It focuses on Google Books, and the company’s attempt to complie the entire printed history of the world into a single database. That sounds like a noble and worthwhile cause but, after watching Google and the World Brain, you might think otherwise. You might think Google has an agenda worthy of Dr. Evil. Read More »
With Before Sunrise and Before Sunset, director Richard Linklater and stars Ethan Hawke and Julie Delpy created two amazing films about love, romance, relationships and fate. Films that were exceedingly simple visually, but incredibly powerful and complex in character, dialogue and performance. The first began the tale of an American named Jesse (Hawke) and a French woman named Celine (Delpy) who met on a train and fell in love while spending a day together in Vienna. The next was shot and set nine years later, and showed the couple rekindling the relationship during an encounter in Paris. Before Midnight takes place nine years after that, and continues the story of these two characters.
Since the film just premiered at the 2013 Sundance Film Festival and much of it remains a mystery, we’ll start with this: Linklater, Hawke and Delpy have created a complex, engaging and wholly satisfying third entry into this series. To explain more about it would mean to get into a few small spoilers, and we’ll do that after the jump. But if you wish to remain unspoiled, know that Before Midnight lives up to your wildest expectations of what the film could be. It’s among the best third films in a trilogy ever. Read More »
Cool Posts From Around the Web:
Independent film is filled with dreamers who are too naive to believe in the impossible — filmmakers who don’t concern themselves with the millions of reasons not to make a movie. Some of the best works of art are created from this naivety.
Escape From Tomorrow is a movie that takes place during a family vacation to the Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando, Florida. Not only do the filmmakers make no attempt to hide or obscure the location, but the Disney theme park and costumed characters play a huge part in the story. Most of the movie was shot in Magic Kingdom, Epcot and Disneyland without the knowledge or permission of Disney. This is a film that, from a conventional perspective, should never have been created, never mind screened at the top independent film festival in the United States. But it was, and after the break we’ll tell you how it was done. Read More »