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 »
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Whether you like to be scared, grossed out or just made to scream at the top of your lungs, you’re going to love S-VHS. The film, a sequel to 2012′s VHS, once again is an horror anthology, loosely linked by the story of a two people watching random VHS tapes, all of which include some of the most horrifying, disgusting and terrifying imagery imaginable, all from different talented genre directors.
Directors Gareth Evans (The Raid) & Timo Tjahjanto (Macabre), Eduardo Sanchez (The Blair Witch Project, Lovely Molly) & Gregg Hale, Jason Eisener (Hobo With A Shotgun), Adam Wingard (You’re Next, A Horrible Way To Die) and Simon Barrett (You’re Next, A Horrible Way To Die) have taken the formula from the first film, streamlined it and pushed the envelope even further. What remains is not only a horror anthology better than the original, but proof positive this franchise has some serious legs.
After the jump, watch our video blog review which contains no spoilers. Read More »
Sound City was a recording studio outside Los Angeles, and a dump by all accounts. But it housed a dedicated staff and some incredible gear. The hit-machine incarnation of Fleetwood Mac met in those halls, and the 1975 album they recorded at Sound City put the studio on the map. Dozens of great rock records were cut in the studio’s two rooms. Years later, when the shift to digital recording had almost killed the studio, Nirvana showed up to record Nevermind in the big room, and the joint found life again.
Sound City is the first film from Nirvana drummer and Foo Fighters leader Dave Grohl. Grohl takes a shot at crafting a comprehensive history of the studio, but this is really a nostalgic look at a unique part of rock history, loaded with earnest testimonials from the likes of Rick Rubin, Neil Young, and Trent Reznor.
The material is all filtered through Grohl’s own deep fondness for the studio, and tied up as a tidy parable about rock music as an inherently personal means of communication. It tells a unique aspect of rock history from an accessible insider perspective, and features blistering performances that will raise the pulse of any rock and roll fan. Read More »
At the 2009 Sundance Film Festival, I was blown away by a film called (500) Days of Summer. When I interviewed director Marc Webb in Park City that year, he exclusively revealed that he was working with the 500 Days writing team of Scott Neustadter and Michael H. Weber on a adaptation of Tim Tharp‘s The Spectacular Now. Then, hot off the success of Summer, Webb got pulled away to do some little superhero movie reboot.
Cut to the 2010 Sundance Film Festival: Smashed became one of the top buzz films of the festival with a critically acclaimed tour de force performance from Mary Elizabeth Winstead and an incredibly raw filmmaking style that put director James Ponsoldt on our must-watch list. So when it was announced that Ponsoldt would be taking over as director on The Spectacular Now, we were excited. And the movie does not disappoint.
The Spectacular Now is everything I hope a Sundance movie to be. It has heart, many laughs, story twists that will jolt you from your seat, and most importantly, the film speaks to a deep truth. It is an honest coming of age film about growing up and facing the great unknown that comes after high school, something we can all remember and relate to. But it tells that story without the forced nostalgia of other Hollywood films.
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Friday is the first real day of the 2013 Sundance Film Festival and I spent the afternoon in the Eccles Theater (aka the Park City High School auditorium) watching two films: Jerusha Hess‘ adaptation of Austenland starring Keri Russell, and Kill Your Darlings starring Daniel Radcliffe as Alan Ginsberg. After the jump you can find my mini reactions and a video blog I recorded with Steve Weintraub from Collider.
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Posted on Friday, January 18th, 2013 by Angie Han
Whether you’re actually at Sundance or just jealously reading tweets from people at Sundance, you’re probably starting to hear some buzz about the year’s most promising indies. The difference is that those in the former category get to watch (or re-watch) those titles in the coming days, while the rest of us have to wait months or even years for them to hit theaters.
This year, however, the programmers are kindly throwing us non-attendees a bone by allowing us to watch some of this year’s short film debuts from home. The Sundance Institute has posted twelve shorts from the festival in their entirety, and you can watch them for free right now. Hit the jump to find out more.
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Michael Cera has crafted a recognizable outsider persona since his breakout gig on Arrested Development, and this latest role hones the edge of his gawky, lovelorn screen ego from brightly earnest towards something more viciously awkward. In Crystal Fairy Cera looks like Gene Wilder playing Abbie Hoffman, and he gives his funniest adult performance by dropping all self-conscious comic pretense.
At a house party somewhere in Chile, Jamie (Cera) takes drugs and retreats into the bathroom, where he comes face to face with ‘The Garden of Earthly Delights‘ by Hieronymus Bosch. The wild triptych points to the few days ahead, in which a quest for an elusive psychoactive cactus will lead Jamie to understand what an ass he can be. That might not sound like a lot of fun, but the odd, meandering Crystal Fairy has a loopy honesty paired with the uncomfortable laughter Cera provokes throughout. And Gaby Hoffmann, known to fans of Uncle Buck, Field of Dreams, and Sleepless in Seattle, gives an all-out provocative performance.
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There’s probably a way to cut a work-safe trailer for kink (the lower-case “k” is intentional) but that would be so boring. Not that this first trailer is all that explicit, but the film is a documentary about the filmmakers at fringe and BDSM porn site Kink.com. Or are they smut peddlers? Or experimenters in human interaction? The doc might answer some of these questions.
The trailer paints most of Kink’s employees and contract performers as regular ol’ folks who just happen to get paid making films that feature whips and ball gags. And that’s a good start for the subject, since that’s the case for the bulk of the people who enjoy the website’s content, too. I don’t know how much depth (er…) director Christina Voros and producer James Franco manage to capture in the film, but I’m hoping for the best. Read More »