Foxcatcher

This morning, the official selections for the 2014 Cannes Film Festival were announced. Now in its 67th year, the event is still considered one of the highlights of the cinematic calendar, and lineups like this one are why. The list runs all over the place, in a good way.

Among the featured filmmakers this year are David Cronenberg, Jean-Luc Godard, Bennett Miller, David Michôd, Xavier Dolan, and Michel Hazanavicius — and Ryan Gosling, finally making his directorial debut. As expected, Olivier Dahan‘s Grace of Monaco is serving as the (out of competition) opener. And How to Train Your Dragon 2 will be to Cannes 2014 what Madagascar 3 was to Cannes 2012.

Read the full Cannes 2014 lineup after the jump.

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raid-2-trailer-header-1b

Editor’s Note: The following review was originally published on January 22nd 2014 after the film’s premiere at Sundance. The review is being republished as the film is being released in New York and Los Angeles this weekend, and expanding in the coming weeks.

In the case of an action movie like The Raid, I can’t fault anyone who wants to set plot aside and simply enjoy the action. With The Raid 2, that approach becomes impossible. Writer/director/editor Gareth Evans puts lofty goals fully on display in this sequel, which expands in every direction relative to the original. The action is bigger and more diverse, the story is more complex, and more emphasis is placed on dramatic performances even as the film’s physical demands intensify. Where the first was a tightly controlled action film that jettisoned all but the skeleton of a plot, this sequel is a huge crime tale featuring several criminal organizations competing for power, the police trying to catch up, and one young cop caught squarely in the middle.

Premiering the film at Sundance in a prime slot is a strange experiment of sorts. The Raid 2 isn’t a thing for general audiences; this is a hardcore genre movie. The swirl of Evans’ dramatic ambitions are punctuated by ultra-violent choreography, like a machine-gun snare drum tracked into a piece of classical music. It’s a tricky balancing act. The Raid 2 navigates the test awkwardly at best, because the story never connects as solidly as do the film’s thousand punches. Read More »

Sundance sci-fi The Signal

The Sundance sci-fi The Signal, almost a mystery as much as it is a science fiction piece, played really well at the festival this year. While I didn’t get to see it, Peter loved the film, and it was quickly set for a summer release by Focus Features. But The Signal remains a mystery to most potential audiences — and that’s where these new images and a viral video come in. None of these materials will give away what’s going on in the film, but they probably will make you a lot more curious about seeing it. Read More »

Starry Eyes Red-Band

The SXSW film festival has been ramping up its Midnight programming over the past few years, to the point where each new iteration of the fest sees the debut of at least one or two very worthy genre entries.

Two of the Midnight films this year are 13 Sins and Starry Eyes, and short, violent and intense trailers are available for each. (That’s an excerpt of the spectacular Starry Eyes poster above; see the full image below.) Read More »

Chef (4)

When Jon Favreau released the first Iron Man, he was still seen as an exciting young director on his way up despite having credits like Made, Elf, and Zathura. Then came Iron Man 2 and Cowboys & Aliens, and his name started to elicit more eye-rolls than smiles. But at SXSW this year, he unveiled what seems to be a return to form: a crowd-pleasing indie called Chef.

In it, Favreau plays a once-acclaimed chef rebuilding his life after a heavily YouTubed incident sends his career on the skids. He’s also dealing with a gorgeous ex-wife (Sofia Vergara) and an adorable moppet of a son (Emjay Anthony). So how does this latest effort stack up against some of Favreau’s critically scorned tentpole output? Get the word from SXSW and check out some first-look photos after the jump.

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The Signal release date

Focus Features has announced a release date for their Sundance film: The Signal‘s release date is set for Summer 2014. This shows tremendous confidence in  William Eubank‘s sci-fi thriller, which was one of my favorite films from this year’s Sundance Film Festival.
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Meet the Vertical Cinema Movement

Vertical Cinema 1

Vertical vs. horizontal is a huge debate in the online community. Due to YouTube aspect ratios, most people believe all videos should be shot with your phone on its side, creating the familiar horizontal image like you’d see in a movie theater. If you shoot the footage vertically and then upload to the web, there are huge black spaces on either side, making the footage look amateurish and small.

But there’s a movement embracing the vertical format, and nowhere is it seen better than Rotterdam in the Netherlands. There, a group of filmmakers have started the Vertical Cinema project – a traveling film festival featuring movies specifically shot with a vertical orientation.

Below, read more and see additional images and trailers for some of the films screened in the festival. Read More »

The-Zero-Theorem-Image-01

While we wait for Terry Gilliam‘s new film The Zero Theorem to hit theaters in the US (which will happen… sometime) we’ve got a few new tidbits for you to check out. One is a “making-of” featurette on that film, showing some of the means with which Gilliam, his crew, and stars Christoph WaltzMelanie ThierryLucas HedgesBen Whishaw, Tilda SwintonDavid Thewlis, and Matt Damon brought the story’s weird vision to life.

Even as that movie moves towards theaters, Gilliam is really going back to shoot The Man Who Killed Don Quixote once more. He’s scorned the idea of using Kickstarter to finance the film when asked about such an idea in the past, but now seems to be more open to the process. Quotes on that are below, too. Read More »

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