Skeleton Twins

Three more high-profile films just joined the ranks of 2014 Sundance Film Festival titles that will receive theatrical distribution. The latest deals involve Lionsgate and Roadside Attractions splitting the Bill Hader/Kirsten Wiig dramedy The Skeleton Twins; IFC purchasing Jim Mickle‘s genre-bending thriller Cold In July, starring Michael C. Hall; and the star-studded God’s Pocket, directed by John Slattery. Read more below. Read More »

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The Raid 2

The world premiere screening of Gareth Evans‘ highly anticipated sequel, The Raid 2, just finished at the 2014 Sundance Film Festival and the response was electric. We’ll have a review and video blog soon but, for now, we’ve compiled a bunch of tweets from movie bloggers and filmmakers alike to give you an idea of what you can expect when the film hits on March 28. Here are two to get the ball rolling:

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Calvary

A noble, wise priest is told he’s going to be killed in a week simply because he’s good. That’s the start of Calvary, written and directed by John Michael McDonagh (The Guard), which had its world premiere this week at the Sundance Film Festival. The film, which stars Brendan Gleeson, generated solid buzz for its mix of pseudo-detective story and philosophical rumination. And now, you’ll all get a chance to see it as Fox Searchlight acquired it for domestic distribution. It’s their second Sundance purchase, following I OriginsRead More »

Sundance 2013

It’s staggering to think of the incredible films we now consider classics that had their premiere unveilings at the Sundance Film FestivalSaw, The Blair Witch Project, Donnie Darko, 28 Days Later, Napoleon Dynamite, Memento, Bottle Rocket, Clerks, Reservoir Dogs and The Usual Suspects are just a few of them. This year, Sundance is celebrating their legacy in front of every single screening with a 2 minute short that takes audiences through the history of Sundance. If you can’t be here, watching this is the next best thing. Check out the video below. Read More »

Life After Beth

Most everyone has been through a breakup that took place for a reason, but still left at least one person pining for a chance to do things over. Life After Beth seems as if it wants to be a zombie-filled fable exploring that situation. Dane DeHaan is Zach, whose relationship with Beth (Aubrey Plaza) dies along with her. But Zach gets a second chance with Beth when she returns home, seemingly alive — only to find that she is quickly losing whatever shreds of humanity she had left.

Not only does Life After Beth offer a confused and somewhat gross take on relationships, it wastes a great comic cast (Matthew Gray Gubler, Cheryl Hines, John C. Reilly, Molly Shannon, Paul Reiser, and Anna Kendrick) with comedy that is as sloppy as splattered brains. Read More »

Obvious Child star Jenny Slate

Obvious Child is a charming romantic dramedy about love and abortion in New York City. The humor feels like a mix of the crudeness and sharp teeth of Sarah Silverman’s comedy and the grounded snappiness of Lena Dunham’s Girls. At center stage is comedian Jenny Slate, with one of the breakthrough performances of this year’s fest.

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Rudderless

Just when you thought you’d seen William H. Macy do everything, he steps behind the camera with his feature debut Rudderless. Macy co-wrote and directs a complex story of love, loss, friendship and music. Billy Crudup stars as Sam, the successful father of a boy who dies in a school shooting. After years of grief, Sam comes to realize his son was a very talented budding musician. With the help of another young musician named Quentin (Anton Yelchin), the two bring his music to the public.

Rudderless starts like an upbeat, uplifting film. It doesn’t finish there, however, instead delving into much darker issues along the way. These deeper themes definitely distinguish the film from the usual fare, but Macy’s direction in both parts doesn’t feel cohesive. The change is jarring and some of the goodwill the film has earned goes away at the shift. Still, it’s touching movie with a fantastic lead performance and even better music. Read More »

wetlands_promo1

There’s one really good reason to see the German film Wetlands, and her name is Carla Juri. She’s a firecracker; I keep hearing people refer to her as “the German Greta Gerwig,” and the comparison is easy to see. But Juri has her own skills and appeal, and her performance is the most watchable one I’ve seen so far at Sundance this year.

That’s saying something, as the subject matter of Wetlands can be… off-putting. The story hinges on — and there’s no delicate way to put this — an anal fissure suffered by Juri’s character Helen during a grooming session gone wrong. Helen is a young woman who has an unusually deep body consciousness; she’s more intimately in touch with her body than any young woman in a recent film. While she’s a prat clearly damaged by her parents’ divorce, Helen is still a promising, even inspiring character. By the end, however, Wetlands throws away her potential in favor of a too-familiar quirky love story.
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