NOTE: We ran this article in 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014 and have updated it for 2015.
The Sundance Film Festival is the best known film festival in the United States. Say the word “Sundance” to anyone, film lover or not, and chances are they’ve heard of the festival. As a movie blog though, the problem with covering Sundance is that virtually all of the movies are brand new. We haven’t heard of them, you haven’t heard of them, so why would you even care about them?
More than any of the casting news, trailers or film stills that we post on a daily basis, what happens in that small corner of Utah for a little over a week in January is probably the most important movie event of the year. Even so, talk to the most seasoned movie fan and they don’t spend half as much time focusing on what’s going on at Sundance as they do bitching about movies that came out three years ago. Plain and simple, the best films that you will see in theaters for the next 12 months are being shown at Sundance over the next week and a half. And while you probably haven’t heard of them in January, you’ll definitely have heard of them by December. Don’t you want in on the ground floor?
For the next 7 days myself, Russ Fischer and Peter Sciretta will be in Park City, Utah at the Sundance Film Festival. And while you might not be eager to click and read about a movie you haven’t heard of yet, we urge you to do so. Some of the films that people hadn’t heard of when they played Sundance in the past are films like Saw, The Blair Witch Project, Donnie Darko, 28 Days Later, Napoleon Dynamite, Memento, Bottle Rocket, Clerks, Reservoir Dogs and The Usual Suspects. Think of all the movies that have been made since because filmmakers like Christopher Nolan, Wes Anderson, Kevin Smith, Quentin Tarantino and Bryan Singer broke out at the Sundance Film Festival. Who is the breakout star this year? You’ll have to follow our coverage to find out.
Still not convinced? We’ve compiled even more films that you know and love that got their start at Sundance after the jump. Read More »
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Update From Editor Peter Sciretta: In 2005, Disney and Pixar were gearing up to split ways and was Disney Animation was creating its own and very different version of Toy Story 3 without John Lasseter and gang. A ton of new images have found their way online from the abandoned version of Toy Story 3. Hit the jump to see the abandoned Toy Story 3 concept art images now.
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Last year, we published a fantastic video by Fourgrounds Media Inc. called The Auteurs of Christmas which reimagined the magic of Christmas morning through the eyes of 10 famous filmmakers. They have returned with a sequel for 2014: The Auteurs of Christmas 2, which features Christmas morning as directed by 10 more filmmakers: Charlie Chaplin, Quentin Tarantino, Terrance Malick, Alfred Hitchcock, Christopher Nolan, Jean-Luc Godard, Morgan Spurlock, David Lynch, M Night Shyamalan, Michael Bay. Watch both videos embedded after the jump.
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(Note: this review originally ran in January during the Sundance Film Festival; we’ve republished it now as the film opens in theaters and on VOD this weekend.)
The Babadook is one of the best horror movies in years, a vigorous and hellishly intense story about a family on the edge of sanity. This isn’t a gore showcase, but a wild emotional roller coaster. (If you need a tonal touchstone, look to Polanski films such as Repulsion and The Tenant.) There is a monster of sorts, but the movie would almost be just fine without him — the actors put each other through fire and pain, and writer/director Jennifer Kent drops us right in there with them. Read More »
So say we all. Whether you’ve seen Battlestar Galactica before, or have been meaning to see it, today is the day to pull the trigger. This week’s Amazon Gold Box Deal of the Week is 70% off Battlestar Galactica: The Complete Series on Blu-ray or 64% off the DVD box set, which means they’re only $89.99 or $72.99 respectively. What the frak are you waiting for?
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Update from editor Peter Sciretta: The following review was published by Germain Lussier on January 19th 2014 from the 2014 Sundance Film Festival. The movie is out in theaters this week:
The films by director Adam Wingard and writer Simon Barrett always have one thing in common. They are obviously influenced by an intense passion for movies, but are not overtly obvious about referencing those movies. In that sense, The Guest might feel like something you’ve seen before. It’s got the basic feel of a stalker film from the late ’80s or early ’90s, but filtered through the action of Quentin Tarantino, the music of John Carpenter, the ideas of James Cameron and almost too many others to mention. There’s action, sci-fi, horror, comedy… you name it, this movie has it. The result is a fresh, fun film that crescendos from title to credits with suspense, laughs and violence. Read More »
Editor’s note: This is our review of The Skeleton Twins from this year’s Sundance Film Festival. It opens in limited release this weekend so we are rerunning.
When Bill Hader and Kristen Wiig were building their careers on Saturday Night Live, they played multiple characters every single week. That took incredible acting chops. Though they’ve since left the show and are concentrating mostly on comedy films, Craig Johnson‘s second film The Skeleton Twins proves these skilled comedic performers can be dramatic as well.
The Skeleton Twins is about estranged siblings, Maggie and Milo, who haven’t spoken in a decade. After they are reunited by tragedy their relationship is quickly rekindled, but deep old wounds re-open. That may sound overly solemn and, at its heart, The Skeleton Twins is certainly a drama. But you don’t cast Hader and Wiig just to cry and be depressed. The chemistry they built for years on TV sizzles on the big screen in characters with an exuberant realism. The movie itself is good, but Hader and Wiig make it great. Read More »
UPDATE: Ben Affleck is currently shooting Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice. We’ve seen photos of him on set, he appeared at Comic-Con to promote it, but not much has changed in regards to his feelings.
In September 2013, the actor praised the script’s unique take on the character, the work of director Zack Snyder, and discussed how he got cast – with Warner Bros. showing him clips of previous superhero casting backlash. Now, in a new interview with Entertainment Weekly, he said all of this again. We’ve got the new Ben Affleck Batman quotes, along with the old ones (and a video), below.
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NOTE: Life Itself is now in theaters and on demand. To mark the occasion, we’re republishing our interview with director Steve James that took place following the film’s premiere at the 2014 Sundance Film Festival.
Steve James credits Roger Ebert with launching his career. It was Ebert’s championing of James’ first film Hoop Dreams, at the 1994 Sundance Film Festival, which put that film on people’s radars. James scored an Oscar nomination and the film enjoyed a successful box office run. Afterwards, the two remained friends and James was eventually tasked with directing Life Itself, a documentary based on Ebert’s memoir.
Soon after filming began, Ebert tragically passed away. James endured and finished the film in time for the 20th anniversary of the beginning of his relationship with Ebert, the 2014 Sundance Film Festival. It’s a gorgeous, heartbreaking look at the career of the man many consider to be the most influential film critic in history.
During Sundance I was lucky enough to talk to James about the film. We discussed his approach to the story, balancing the tragedy with humor, the relationship between critic and filmmaker, and the choice to include Gene Siskel’s story. Check it out below. Read More »