The Sundance Film Festival isn’t just a film festival, but a look into the future of cinema. As we travel to Park City Utah this year, I thought it would be nice to take a look back at the last 30 years of the festival. Today I begin part one of my two-day, two-part look at the best movies of Sundance Film Festival history. In part one I will focus on the first 15 years of the festival* as the small independent film festival grew into the launching pad for new filmmakers and ground zero for the independent movie boom of the 1990’s.
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With all the superhero movies hitting theaters each year, audiences are getting a little sick of origin stories. But in the Sundance selected film Sleight, we get a movie that takes a homegrown approach to the superhero origin thanks to some ingenuity and street-level drama.
Sleight follows a young high school boy named Bo (Jacob Latimore) who must take on the responsibility of caring for his younger sister after a family tragedy leaves them alone. Barely getting by with the money he gets from strangers for doing street magic, he can’t help but get involved with some of the wrong people, for the sake of his family. That creates all sorts of problems, but he just might have the right tricks to get out of them.
Watch the Sleight trailer below. Read More »
Almost five years ago, what should have been an escape to the movies for a group of people in Aurora, Colorado turned into a nightmare when a gunman opened fire in a theater showing The Dark Knight Rises. He killed 12 people and injured more, leaving a scar on the suburban community. Now a new impressionistic movie loosely based on that incident gives us a portrait of a community that is made all the more haunting by the tragedy that we know is awaiting them.
Dark Night debuted at last year’s Sundance Film Festival nearly a year ago. The understated drama from Memphis director Tim Sutton doesn’t try to obviously pull at your heartstrings, so much as try to show just how much violence like this can disrupt our everyday lives.
Watch the Dark Night trailer after the jump. Read More »
Recently Michael Fassbender has played a mutant on a mission, a man with a Macintosh, and Macbeth. Now he finds himself in a caravan family of criminals in a new indie thriller.
Trespass Against Us sees Michael Fassbender as Chad Cutler, one chain in three generations of a family who have been outlaws living in the country for decades. Brendan Gleeson plays his father who proudly passes the mantle down, but it appears there’s a kink in the chain as Chad realizes he doesn’t want his son Tyson to follow in his footsteps. Though he’s attempted to stop his criminal ways, he can’t help but take on one last job from his father in order to finally leave it all behind.
Watch the new Trespass Against Us trailer after the jump. Read More »
Posted on Wednesday, January 4th, 2017 by Angie Han
Stop me if you’ve heard this one before: a longtime couple finds that the spark has gone out of their marriage, and begin seeking satisfaction in outside affairs. One thing leads to another, the new relationships grow more serious, and it looks like the marriage is about to be over for good. So far, so familiar, right?
But then Azazel Jacobs‘ The Lovers throws a curveball. In this film, the couple, played by Tracy Letts and Debra Winger, unexpectedly find that their extramarital activities have rekindled the passion within the marriage. It’s not long before the spouses find themselves cheating on the people that they were cheating on each other with (played by Aidan Gillen and Melora Waters. Watch The Lovers trailer below. Read More »
Posted on Tuesday, January 3rd, 2017 by Angie Han
Ben Mendelsohn has made quite a name for himself playing villains, criminals, deadbeats, and other unsavory types in everything from Animal Kingdom to Rogue One: A Star Wars Story over the past few years. But Una may give him his most unsettling role yet.
Directed by Benedict Andrews from a script by David Harrower (who also wrote the play it’s based on), Una stars Rooney Mara as a young woman who sets out to confront the man who abused her years ago. Mendelsohn plays that man, who has since managed to rebuild his life under an assumed name. Riz Ahmed co-stars as his co-worker. Surprise! Bet you weren’t expecting a Star Wars reunion in a harrowing sex abuse drama. Watch the Una trailer below. Read More »
Romance is a staple of cinema. But while movies about love have often painted a portrait of happily ever after, some filmmakers have decided to deliver more realistic portrayals of romance — the good and the bad, the whimsical and the disappointing. Between Us is another one of those films.
The indie romance from Mexican director Rafael Palacio Illingworth focuses on Ben Feldman (Superstore) and Olivia Thirlby (Juno), a couple that has been together for six years and feels the pressure of settling down so much that they decide, perhaps too fleetingly, to tie the knot. They soon find that the “forever” part of their marriage vows is more of a struggle than they anticipated.
Watch the Between Us trailer after the jump. Read More »
Posted on Wednesday, December 28th, 2016 by Angie Han
Never one to shy away from controversy, James Franco takes on the ex-gay movement in his next release. Directed by Justin Kelly, I Am Michael recounts the true story of Michael Glatze, a prominent gay activist who made headlines when he suddenly announced that he was renouncing his homosexuality, and went on to marry a woman and become a fundamentalist pastor.
Zachary Quinto plays Michael’s boyfriend, Bennett, and Emma Roberts is Michael’s eventual bride, Rebekah. Gus Van Sant served as executive producer. Watch the I Am Michael trailer below.
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Posted on Tuesday, December 13th, 2016 by Angie Han
Last month we got the very welcome news that Richard Linklater‘s Before trilogy would be joining the Criterion Collection. While the director’s Slacker, Dazed and Confused, and Boyhood are all part of the lineup already, it took Criterion a while to get around to tackling this one. But then again, Before fans are surely used to waiting — after all, it took nine years to get from each chapter of Jesse and Celine’s love story to the next.
Now, the wait is almost over. With just a couple of months to go until the trilogy hits shelves, Criterion has released the cover art for all three movies as well as the box set. Check it out below. Read More »
Sleight was one of my favorite movies of this year’s Sundance Film Festival, which is saying something because Sing Street and Hunt For The Wilderpeople were some of the other movies in Park City this past January. It’s also in my top 10 magic movies of all time.
I’ve described the film as Doug Liman’s Go crossed with Now You See Me, with a side of Chronicle. Smart, fun, and thrilling, JD Dillard‘s feature film that wowed at the 2016 Sundance Film Festival with some great high concept ideas at a micro budget, earning an acquisition by Blumhouse and WWE Studios. Watch the first Sleight teaser trailer now embedded after the jump.
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