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There are many things wrong with mega-conventions, and the team behind MondoCon is going to try and fix them. At many conventions the food sucks, it’s too crowded, and the lines are too long. These are problems Mondo knows about, and seeks to improve upon for the company’s first con. The stuff they won’t be able to fix — in fact, what Mondo might make worse — are the many geek Sophie’s Choices fans constantly have to make.

MondoCon, the first Mondo-centric pop culture convention, takes place September 20-21 in Austin, Texas. (That’s during the opening weekend of Fantastic Fest.) Tickets go on sale Wednesday June 4. An initial press release giving some general idea about the convention came online Monday but it raised many more questions than it answered. I got on the phone with Mondo’s Creative Director Justin Ishmael to get more answers. We talked about questions such as, how Mondo will handle the lines, what kind of events will be at the con, which artists are attending, and exactly how big the event will be.

Ishmael was able to answer some of those questions, as well as others. The prevailing feeling I got speaking to him is that, much like Comic-Con, MondoCon is going to have so much excellent stuff happening simultaneously that fans will have to make some really tough decisions on what they want to do over the course of the two days. Read more about MondoCon below. Read More »

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SIFF 2014: Making a Movie for $6,000

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This weekend, I saw a movie at the Seattle International Film Festival that had a budget of $6,000. Joshua Caldwell’s Layover, which had its world premiere here, was shot in 11 days in Los Angeles and takes place during the course of a single evening, as a itinerant frenchwoman Simone (played by Nathalie Fay) re-connects with a friend from her past. Layover is a film in the tradition of Linklater’s Before series, and I found that it perfectly captured the paradox encountered by many a millenial: feeling trapped, while also realizing that the possibilities for your life are still endless. It’s a beautiful, moving, and wistful film.

But what goes into making a film with a budget that’s slightly more than the cost of the camera you’d need to shoot it on? I spoke with Caldwell about how he shot the film and why he went the low-budget route. Find our conversation after the jump, watch the film’s trailer, and be sure to check out the Indiegogo campaign for Caldwell’s next two films.
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Clouds of Sils Maria trailer

As nice as it was to see Juliette Binoche in Godzilla last weekend, we were disappointed to see that she didn’t get nearly enough to do. Thankfully, she has a much meatier role in Olivier AssayasClouds of Sils Maria, which debuts at Cannes this week.

Binoche plays aging actress Maria Enders, who returns to the play that launched her career decades ago. But this time, instead of playing the sexy ingenue, she’s playing the suicidal older woman. Chloë Grace Moretz stars as the self-absorbed starlet who’s taken on the younger role, and Kristen Stewart is Binoche’s assistant. Watch the Clouds of Sils Maria trailer after the jump.

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Foxcatcher

It’s far too early to throw around phrases like “best of the year.” But it’s not too early for the phrase “best of Cannes,” and superlative reviews for Foxcatcher suggest that the Bennett Miller drama has already earned that label.

Steve Carell reportedly puts in a career-changing performance as eccentric millionaire John du Pont, who becomes the benefactor to two American wrestlers — brothers Dave (Mark Ruffalo) and Mark Schulz (Channing Tatum). The real-life tragedy that took place between them makes for a sensational story, but Foxcatcher, by all accounts, is more of a slow burn, and all the better for it.

Hit the jump to get the Foxcatcher early buzz, plus a new teaser.

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Boyhood

This week marks the start of the 40th annual Seattle International Film Festival, a 3-week movie extravaganza featuring over 270 feature films. That is, by any measure, an ungodly number of movies, and the whole thing can be pretty damn overwhelming. This will be my third year attending the festival I’m really looking forward to seeing a bunch of films, but I’ve narrowed it down to the five that I’m most looking forward to. Find them after the jump.
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Mr. Turner trailer

This year’s Cannes Film Festival is just getting started, but it already seems to have one notable success story Mr. Turner. The Mike Leigh-directed biopic, which stars Timothy Spall as British painter J.M.W. Turner, has been attracting smashing reviews and even some early awards buzz following its world premiere this morning.

When the film will get a general U.S. release remains to be seen — crowded in with the other prestige dramas this fall, perhaps? — but for now you can feast your eyes on the first Mr. Turner trailer after the jump.

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Kevin Smith

Kevin Smith has just revealed a bunch of details for his Christmas horror anthology. Once called Comes the Krampus, it’s now been re-titled Anti-Claus, and filming will start in September. Smith will be joined in the film by Justin LongHaley Joel Osment, Genesis Rodriguez and Michael Parks, all of whom appear in this year’s Tusk. Parks and Long have also worked with Smith before that.

Below, see an early concept of the Kevin Smith Krampus and read some more of Smith’s thoughts. Read More »

In Your Eyes review

Despite hitting it big with the billion-dollar smash The Avengers in 2012, Joss Whedon hasn’t lost his taste for smaller indies. One of his latest in that vein is In Your Eyes, a supernatural romance that Whedon wrote and then handed off to Brin Hill to direct.

The film boasts a juicy premise that seems straight out of Buffy. Michael Stahl-David and Zoe Kazan play two strangers who share an unexplained psychic link. Since childhood, they’ve occasionally been able to experience each other’s senses. When she gets into a sledding accident as a kid, for example, he passes out in a classroom thousands of miles away.

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