Fish Tank Movie Trailer

fish tank quadOne of the things I really love about my film festival trips is that I get to discover some great small indie gems to share with you guys. Films that probably wouldn’t otherwise get exposure on a mainstream film blog like /Film. The film which most fits that bill from this year’s Telluride Film Festival is a coming of age movie titled Fish Tank. The film is from Academy Award-winning short film writer and director Andrea Arnold, who won the 2006 Cannes Jury Prize with Red Road. Here is the official plot synopsis for Fish Tank:

In Fish Tank (which is not about Fish or tanks for that matter), 15 year old Mia’s life is turned on its head when her mom brings home a new boyfriend. Arnold casts the same unflinching, unprejudiced gaze and touches on the themes of her Oscar-winning short Wasp to create an original and unsettling tale for our age.

Following his acclaimed central performance in Hunger, Michael Fassbender (300, Inglourious Basterds) stars opposite talented newcomer Katie Jarvis. Rounding out the principal cast are BAFTA-nominated Kierston Wareing (Ken Loach’s It’s a Free World), Harry Treadaway (Control, Brothers of the Head) and 12 year old Rebecca Griffiths making her film debut.

The film is an outstanding character piece with powerful performances, more than anything else — which is to say that if you require a story with big plot points, this may not be your thing. It’s a coming of age story with a strong female protagonist, something you don’t often see in Hollywood now-a-days. The film hits theaters in the UK on September 11th 2009, but IFC has yet to announce details about the U.S. release. You can watch the trailer embedded after the jump.
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This is what festivals are for, even if you’re not able to attend. Scanning the Telluride coverage that came in over the weekend, a few films really stand out. Most of them are known quantities: Up in the Air, An Education, A Prophet. We knew those were ones to watch. But there’s another entry in the must-see column out of Telluride. Or, rather, three entries. Suddenly the trilogy of UK films collectively called Red Riding is getting massive praise and buzz. Read More »

The Road

It has been a lot busier here at Telluride this year than I’ve expected, which has prevented me from finding enough time to write about some of the film’s I’ve screened. I’ve been trying to keep the video blog reactions coming, as they are much easier to record in the 20-30 minute gap between films. I’d prefer to call them reactions over reviews because they basically capture our unedited thoughts immediately after seeing a film, before we’ve really had a chance to really think about it. Below you will find the newest video blog, a reaction to the behind the scenes Disney documentary Waking Sleeping Beauty (you can red my written review here) rand the big screen adaptation of The Road. Regular guest star Alex from FirstShowing joins in once again. Watch the video embedded after the jump.

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Movie Review: Waking Sleeping Beauty

Waking Sleeping Beauty

This afternoon I had the chance to see the documentary Waking Sleeping Beauty, the directorial debut of Oscar-nominated Disney producer Don Hahn (The Lion King, Beauty and the Beast). The film is an honest look at the behind the scenes going-ons of Disney Animation, from the years 1984 to 1994, a resurrection of sorts, producing a staggering output of big hits – Who Framed Roger Rabbit, The Little Mermaid, Beauty and the Beast, Aladdin, The Lion King and more.

The film tracks the interesting tale is the story behind the creation of those films, and the growing power struggle between Jeffrey Katzenberg, Michael Eisner and Roy Disney. We learn about how creativity somehow thrived in this environment of corporate chaos. The film is not your typical talking head doc, and is wisely presented almost entirely using archival footage cut from over 250 hours of footage, photos, and cut with narration from newly recorded audio interviews. A lot of the footage has never been seen before, in any film or making of doc, ever.

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Movie Review: Jason Reitman’s Up in the Air

Up in the Air

Jason Reitman‘s Up in the Air was one of the sneak preview premieres at this year’s Telluride Film Festival. You might recall that Reitman’s last film Juno also surprised at Telluride, and Reitman was again hoping to start the buzz in this small mountain town. So did he? My thoughts after the jump.
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Up in the Air

I just got out of the special sneak preview premiere screening of Jason Reitman‘s third feature film Up in the Air, at the 36th Telluride Film Festival. In short, I loved it and it beat my expectations, which is saying a lot. My written review will be up later tonight, but right now you can check out this reaction/review video blog I recorded “up in the air” on the gondola with Eric Vespe (Quint of Ain’t It Cool News), and the usual video blog guest star Alex from FirstShowing. I also recorded a secondary video blog with Alex after the fact, also embedded below, as I felt there were a lot of things I was unable to say during the short gondola ride. Check out both clips after the jump.

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Fish Tank

So, I’ve been at the Telluride Film Festival for about 24 hours, and have found little time to post any updates. I’ve decided to record a quick video blog with Alex from FirstShowing while in line to get into the sneak preview premiere of Jason Reitman‘s Up in the Air. We talk about the hype going into Reitman’s third film, which is evidenced by the three plus hour long line. We also discuss two films we liked.

  • The first of which is the uk coming of age drama Fish Tank, directed by Andrea Arnold, who won an Academy Award for her 2003 short film Wasp.
  • The second of which is A Prophet (which I incorrectly call “The Prophet” in the video), a french crime film which can be simply described as “Scarface in a French Prison”.  The film won the Grand Prize of the Jury at Cannes this year.

Both films are recommended, and the more I think about Fish Tank, the more I would love to see people discover this wonderful indie character drama. Watch the video blog embedded after the jump.

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Telluride Video Blog: Day 1 – The Arrival


Two plane rides and a two and a half hour car ride later, I’m in Telluride Colorado for the 36th Telluride Film Festival. I attempted to record a video blog on the car ride, but it became too dark too fast. So I instead recorded an introductory video blog on the gondola which takes us over the mountain and into downtown Telluride. Alex from FirstShowing joined me to provide a very simle overview as to what to expect. You also get a glimpse of my fear of heights, and an explanation of “the festival beard,” (partly inspired by Darren Aronofsky).

I’ll be recording video blogs throughout the festival, giving you some thoughts on the films playing at this year’s festival, and insight into the experience. I’ll also be trying to get other critics and filmmakers in front of the camera to join in on the fun. Who knows what will happen.
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36th Telluride Film Festival Lineup Announced


The neat thing about the Telluride Film Festival is that the films in play are kept unannounced until just as the fest is beginning. Even as the festival runs, more secret screenings are announced as the weekend rolls on. Peter is on his way up there right now, so it’s fitting that the lineup has just been announced. There’s a lot here that steals some thunder from TIFF, as Cannes notables like An Education, A Prophet and The White Ribbon are all in the lineup, alongside newer pics like Werner Herzog’s Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call New Orleans. The full list, from the festival’s press release, is after the jump. Read More »