With three days remaining, A.C.O.D. is my favorite film of the 2013 Sundance Film Festival. Directed by first-timer Stuart Zicherman, it’s about “Adult Children of Divorce” and stars Adam Scott as Carter, a man whose parents (Richard Jenkins and Catherine O’Hara) had a brutal breakup on his 9th birthday. Decades later his brother (Clark Duke) decides to take the plunge into matrimony and it brings up some major issues caused by the traumatic breakup. Amy Poehler, Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Jessica Alba and Jane Lynch are also along for the ride.
Co-written by Zicherman and Ben Karlin, the script for A.C.O.D. is a Swiss watch. Everything is economical, hilarious, perfectly-paced and never in-your-face obvious. There are loads of big laughs wrapped around unexpected plot points, resonant emotion and great character development. The cast all bring such vigorous life to the film that it almost makes a sad and touchy subject, divorce, into something to be envious of.
A.C.O.D. is a special, miraculous film and the exact reason why you come to the Sundance Film Festival. It’ll leave you happy and high on the power of comedic cinema. Read more after the jump and watch a video blog. Read More »
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Today at Sundance saw the premiere of Upstream Color, the second film from Primer director Shane Carruth. Trailers for the movie position the film as an enigma, and while the film is hardly mainstream, I would argue that the feature isn’t nearly as impenetrable as those first looks suggested. That said, this film is quite a puzzle, and a very rewarding one.
It has been nine years since Primer made its festival debut, and in that time Carruth has polished his skills as a filmmaker. Upstream Color begins with a base in science fiction, but the sci-fi element is really just a launching pad for a story about two people trying to rebuild their identities after suffering severe trauma. It is an adventurous film, often playing with little dialogue, instead letting strong audio and visual components tell the story.
After the screening Germain and I recorded a video blog to get our first impressions on record. This isn’t a full-fledged review by any means; there’s a lot to think about, and a process to working out how to properly give the film its due without spoiling the mysteries within. That said, I’ve been thinking about Upstream Color constantly since the screening ended, and I don’t think my very positive view of the film is likely to change.
Check out the video below. We dance around the plot quite a bit in the video, and there isn’t anything given away here. Read More »
Movie fans have long known that Joseph Gordon-Levitt is a great actor. With Don Jon’s Addiction, the world will now see that he’s a talented writer and director too.
The film, his feature debut, focuses on a New Jersey-based ladies man who is hopelessly addicted to online pornography. A heavy and potentially uncomfortable topic for sure, but Gordon-Levitt handles it with an honesty and energy that makes it fun as well as easily digestible. The supporting cast, including Scarlett Johansson as a New Jersey princess-type, Tony Danza, Julianne Moore and Glenne Headly, only helps a film about objectification and media consumption feel so effortless and entertaining.
Don Jon’s Addiction is a high end Hollywood comedy masquerading as a Sundance film. Read the rest of my review, and watch a video blog featuring Peter Sciretta and Russ Fischer, below. Read More »
If for some crazy reason you forgot why you loved J.J. Abrams‘ 2009 reboot of Star Trek, you’ll be quickly reminded in the sequel Star Trek Into Darkness. The first nine minutes of the film are visually impressive, exciting, incredibly surprising, and will be playing in front of select IMAX prints of The Hobbit starting December 14. We were lucky enough to get a sneak peak.
The film starts off soft, mysterious, and quickly jumps into a huge, exciting, colorful action scene that reintroduces you not only to all of your favorite Enterprise crew members - Chris Pine as Kirk, Zachary Quinto as Spock, John Cho as Sulu, Zoe Saldana at Uhura, Karl Urban as Bones, etc – but puts Michael Giacchino‘s brilliant score front and center. Even though the film is called “Into Darkness,” there’s obviously still plenty of humor and fun in this movie. Or, at least in the first nine minutes.
After the jump, read more about the 3D IMAX footage and watch a video blog reaction. Read More »
The 23rd film in the James Bond series premiered in the UK on Friday, and we have an early spoiler-free video blog reaction. I recorded my thoughts alongside Alex Billington from FirstShowing, a huge Bond fanatic who balances out my ambivalence to much of the series.
I think the latest entry into the Bond franchise will please both Bond fanatics and casual viewers, striking a great compromise between old Bond feel and contemporary action and seriousness. For me the highlight was Roger Deakins‘ cinematography, beautiful, striking, the best looking Bond film to date. There is one sequence in Shanghai which looks and feels like a contemporary Blade Runner but with the action of the Mission: Impossible series. Watch our complete video blog embedded after the jump to hear more.
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The best sci-fi movies aren’t defined by their sci-fi elements. Hovercars, cool guns, time travel and other sci-fi tropes are merely used to put a unique spin and visual style on a story with themes universal to almost any genre. And if it does that by blowing your mind with some cool stuff? All the better.
Rian Johnson‘s Looper is very much in that vein. A time-travelling, sci-fi movie to be sure, ultimately the film features very unexpected, yet welcome, fundamental themes. It almost becomes something that feels out of place in a world of time-travelling assassins and hover bikes which, of course, is exactly the point. Johnson hooks you with big action and reels you in for bigger ideas and that’s why Looper is so damn good.
After the jump, continue reading my review of the film, which opens September 28 and just premiered at the Toronto Film Festival, and watch a 100% spoiler-free video blog about Looper. Read More »
Disney Animation Studios latest short film, Paperman, has been generating a ton of buzz since screenings began earlier this summer. Directed by John Kahrs, the film uniquely blends hand-drawn and computer generated animation to create a strikingly beautiful vision of mid-century New York City. There, “a young man relies on his heart, imagination, a stack of papers—and a little luck—to win the girl of his dreams.” It’ll hit theaters nationwide November 2 as the short film attached Disney’s featured animated film, Wreck-It Ralph.
/Film was lucky enough to see Paperman at an early press day for Wreck-It Ralph (which we’ll have MUCH more on in the coming days) and figured it was worth a video blog. After the jump watch myself and Ben Pearson from FirstShowing.net discuss Paperman. Read More »
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Since Batman rode off into the light at the end of 2008′s The Dark Knight, fans have been clamoring, craving, and digesting every little thing they can about its eventual sequel. That film is finally here. The Dark Knight Rises, Christopher Nolan‘s conclusion to his Batman series, opens on Friday and reactions to the film have set the internet a fire.
Peter and I were lucky enough to finally see the highly anticipated film, of which almost 600 articles have been written about on this site since 2008, and before we write our full reviews, though you might be interested in our immediate, totally spoiler-free, feelings about it.
Check out the video blog after the jump. Read More »