Why We Go To The Sundance Film Festival

NOTE: We ran this article in 2011, 2012, 2013 and have updated it for 2014.

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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Bottle Rocket

Earlier this month, we wrote about Matt Zoller Seitz‘s new book The Wes Anderson Collection, a book examining the work of writer/director Wes Anderson. Pulitzer Prize finalist Zokker Seitz had been following Anderson’s career since the very beginning, which begins with the short film that spawned Wes’ first feature Bottle Rocket. Matt has teamed up with editor Steven Santos to bring the book to the web in a documentary/video essay format. The first two chapters, on Bottle Rocket and Rushmore, are online and available to view after the jump.

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Just when you thought the Alamo Drafthouse was done with their 2011 Texas Rolling Roadshow, they’ve added one more stop and this one has a higher purpose. The Days Inn in Hillsboro, Texas was a major location in Wes Anderson‘s feature debut Bottle Rocket and it’s in danger of shutting down. So, the Drafthouse has teamed up with several partners to host a fundraising screening for the hotel on Saturday July 9 that will be paired with a limited edition poster by Rich Kelly. Read more about the event, the hotel and see the full poster after the jump. Read More »

Movie Playlist: Michael Cera’s Must See List

Which movies and television shows does Michael Cera recommend? The following comes from Intervals of Awesome:

My cousin, Harvey, randomly ran into Michael Cera at a London coffeeshoppe. Cera and Harvey hit it off and ended up having a 2 hour conversation over lunch. Cera wrote a list of stuff Harvey should see. I didn’t believe this story 100% until I got a hold of the list (which is v. good and everyone should see these films/shows) As Harvey’s most media-saavy relative, I’m helping him by lending/finding these movies/shows for him. This made his London trip.

Click over to IOA to see the full list.

via: buzz

Last year we featured Ibraheem Youssef‘s minimalistic movie posters for the films of Quentin Tarantino. The Toronto based designer/art director has returned with a new set of simple and clean poster art focusing on the films of Wes Anderson: Bottle Rocket, The Royal Tenenbaums, and The Life Aquatic. Youssef plans to complete the series with posters for Rushmore, The Darjeeling Limited and Fantastic Mr.Fox. I particularly love the poster design for Tenenbaums. Check out the designs after the jump. You can also purchase prints on the artist’s official website.

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HaHa: Tenenbaum FAIL tumblr

fail1

Imagine if FAIL Blog was a hipster blood bath sponsored by the Criterion Collection. The nascent but incredibly popular tumblr, Tenenbaum FAIL, posts abhorred photos of people dressed up like the famously stylized, overly fetishized characters from Wes Anderson‘s filmography. Crappy facsimiles of Steve Zissou and Max Fischer await. The site also accepts anonymous photo submissions. Whoever is behind this, Slashfilm likes you. A few more pics after the jump…

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Many people were surprised when King of Kong director Seth Gordon signed on to direct Four Christmases, the Vince Vaughn/Reese Witherspoon romantic comedy which comes out this Wednesday. I think everyone expected Gordon would either work within the world of documentaries or work in the realm of geek-focused films. Gordon revealed on last night’s The /Filmcast After Dark that he was gunning for the new He-Man live-action movie.

“I read a He-Man script that was really good,” Gordon said of Justin Marks’ screenplay Grayskull:  The Masters of the Universe. “It’s great. It’s pretty awesome. It’s already been snatched up… I was too slow to get to it, but its gonna be great. He-Man’s origin story? C’mon, that’s going to be great!”

This also confirms LatinoReview‘s report from last week that Kung Fu Panda co-director John Stevenson might now be attached to the project. I haven’t seen Four Christmases yet, but I hope that Gordon doesn’t become attached to too many romantic comedies. He recently got attached to a new project called Suicide Squad, which sounded to me like a losers version of Oceans 11. Gordon described the film on the podcast:

“Suicide Squad is basically like Bottle Rocket but set at the Kentucky Derby, where a bunch of misfits, barely, get away with a heist. And its about the Shenanigans that lead up to that.”

The comparison to Bottle Rocket definitely gets me excited. And if you’ve seen Wes Anderson’s debut film, then you know what I’m talking about.

On November 25th 2008, Criterion will finally be releasing a Director-Approved Double-Dic Special Edition of Wes Anderson’s first feature film Bottle Rocket. If you haven’t seen Bottle Rocket, than you are really missing out. It is Anderson before he too eccentric to tell a totally relatable story. And don’t get me wrong, I love Anderson’s work. But you have to admit, film by film, they got weirder, quirky, more involved to the point that it becomes hard to relate to three brothers taking a spiritual journey through India, when it’s really just the same story of family he’s been telling through all his films. That said, I’ve also grown to love Darjeeling too. Anyways, back to Bottle Rocket. The official plot synopsis follows:

“Wes Anderson first illustrated his lovingly detailed, slightly surreal cinematic vision in this witty and warm portrait of three young middle-class misfits. Fresh out of a mental hospital, gentle Anthony (Luke Wilson) finds himself once again embroiled in the machinations of his best friend, elaborate schemer Dignan (Owen Wilson). With the aid of getaway driver Bob (Robert Musgrave), they develop a needlessly complex, mildly successful plan to rob a small bookstore—then go “on the lam.” Also featuring Lumi Cavazos as Inez, the South American housekeeper Anthony falls in love with, and James Caan as local thief extraordinaire Mr. Henry, Bottle Rocket is a charming, hilarious, affectionate look at the folly of dreamers. Shot against radiant southwestern backdrops, it’s the film that put Anderson and the Wilson brothers on the map.”

Here is the list of features from the upcoming release:

  • New, restored high-definition digital transfer supervised and approved by director Wes Anderson and director of photography Robert Yeoman
  • Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack
  • Commentary by director/co-writer Anderson and co-writer/actor Owen Wilson
  • The Making of “Bottle Rocket”: an original documentary by filmmaker Barry Braverman featuring Anderson, James L. Brooks, James Caan, Temple Nash Jr., Kumar Pallana, Polly Platt, Mark Mothersbaugh, Robert Musgrave, Richard Sakai, David and Sandy Wasco, Andrew and Luke and Owen Wilson, and Robert Yeoman
  • The original thirteen-minute black-and-white Bottle Rocket short film from 1992
  • Eleven deleted scenes
  • Anamorphic screen test, storyboards, location photos, and behind-the-scenes photographs by Laura Wilson
  • Murita Cycles, a 1978 short film by Braverman
  • The Shafrazi Lectures, no. 1: Bottle Rocket
  • A booklet featuring an essay by executive producer James L. Brooks, an appreciation by Martin Scorsese, and original artwork by Ian Dingman.

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