colossal and little shop of horrors

(This post contains major spoilers from Colossal.)

Nacho Vigalondo’s new film Colossal begins with a novel high concept: what if a kaiju-style monster attacking innocent civilians was the manifestation of a random, unknowing stranger thousands of miles away? Anne Hathaway portrays that random stranger, whose growing awareness that her drunken exploits are inadvertently causing mayhem in South Korea causes a change in her lifestyle. But as the film progresses, Vigalondo reveals the wild card up his sleeve: this is less a monster movie and more a character study about the so-called “nice guy” in town (Jason Sudeikis) becoming unable and confronting the failure of his hapless dreams and choosing to wreak havoc instead. In this way, Colossal is a modern, dark flip-side to another monster-movie pastiche, the musical adaptation of Little Shop of Horrors.

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2017 sxsw film festival in review

The 2017 SXSW Film Festival is over, and it was an exceptional year for an always exceptional film festival. It’s rare to attend a movie fest and leave every single screening with something to talk about, but even the movies that I didn’t love have stuck with me in some way or another. This year’s line-up was a lot of things, but boring was certainly not one of them.

So let’s recap everything we saw. Let’s run down the best films and the best performances, the movies that almost worked and the movies that barely missed the mark, the bad movies you should see for yourself and the bad movies you really have to see.

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Colossal Trailer

Giant monster movies have been around for a long time, and so have indie movies about thirtysomethings trying to get their life together. Somehow, one movie has managed to combine both of those subgenres into a single movie that is refreshing, entertaining and positively great.

Colossal follows Anne Hathaway as a young socialite who isn’t doing anything valuable with her life. She’s just drinking the night away with her friends, and her boyfriend (Dan Stevens) is sick of it. So he kicks her out of his apartment, and she heads back to her hometown in a sad attempt to sort her life out. There she reconnects with an old school friend (Jason Sudeikis), and it seems like it’s just like any other indie movie. But then Hathaway discovers that she is somehow tied to a mysterious giant monster who has been appearing in South Korea and is perplexing people as it wreaks havoc.

Watch the Colossal trailer after the jump. Read More »

sundance 2017

The /Film team of Angie Han, Ethan Anderton, and myself have returned from the 2017 Sundance Film Festival. Over the six days we were in Park City, we screened over 36 movies (with only one movie having been watched by all three of us). Here are 15-second capsule reviews of all the movies we saw at the 2017 Sundance Film Festival.

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Anne Hathaway in Colossal teaser

Even if you’re a monster movie aficionado, it’s likely you’ve never seen one quite like Nacho Vigalondo‘s ColossalAnne Hathaway stars as Gloria, whose charm helps paper over the fact that she’s a total mess. Unemployed and freshly single, she moves back to her hometown and reconnects with an old friend (Jason Sudeikis) who becomes her new drinking buddy.

So far, it sounds like just another quarter-life crisis indie dramedy, right? But Gloria, it turns out, shares a mysterious connection to a giant monster that’s been rampaging through Seoul. As the truth of the situation dawns on her, Gloria must figure out how to stop it from spiraling completely out of control. Watch the Colossal teaser below. Read More »

fantastic fest 2016 awards

You never know what you’re going to get at Fantastic Fest, the Austin-based genre film festival that takes great delight in immersing attendees in the strangest, wildest, and most unique movies from around the globe. Over the course of eight days, I saw 27 movies. I saw some of the best films I’ve seen all year. I saw oddities I will never forget. I saw some things I wish I could forget. As is always the case, I missed a few big titles, like Paul Verhoeven’s Elle, the divisive The Greasy Strangler, and the crowd-pleasing Bad Black.

But now, it’s time to put a bow on this year’s fest. Sure, the festival itself has juries on hand to recognize films in the line-up, but there’s only one awards ceremony that really matters here – the one that I create out of thin air to throw imaginary accolades at my favorite movies from the line-up.

So, without further ado, let’s dive in the best, weirdest, funniest, oddest, scariest, etc. movies to emerge from Fantastic Fest 2016.

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Everything We Saw at Fantastic Fest 2016

fantastic-fest-2016

When the smoke cleared, I ended up seeing 27 movies over eight days at Fantastic Fest 2016. The Austin-based genre film festival always has a strong line-up of odd, unusual, and unique movies from around the world, but this year was truly exceptional – I saw very few movies I wouldn’t recommend in some capacity. I even saw a handful of movies that are in serious contention for my end-of-the-year top 10.

For the sake of completeness, I have compiled all of my Fantastic Fest coverage into one place, with links to my reviews and smaller capsule reviews for everything that didn’t get their own post. If you’re looking for a something terrifying or unique or action-packed or tear-jerking or just plain unusual, there is something here for you.

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Anne Hathaway in Colosssal review

Movies about giant monsters descending upon cities are a common sight, as are movies about chronic screwups trying to get their lives back on track. But if a movie has ever combined those premises before, I haven’t seen it.

Written and directed by Nacho Vigalondo, Colossal stars Anne Hathaway as a hard-drinking, unemployed thirty-something who hits rock bottom when she gets dumped. But her messy life takes an even crazier turn when she realizes that she’s somehow connected to an enormous creature that’s begun terrorizing Seoul. It’s a bizarre conceit that works against all odds, anchored by strong performances from Hathaway as Gloria and Jason Sudeikis as Oscar, Gloria’s childhood friend.  Read More »

Dan Stevens Colossal

Production is underway right now on Colossal, the next film from Spanish director Nacho Vigalondo (Timecrimes, Open Windows, Extraterrestrial). The film is shooting in Vancouver with Anne Hathaway on board the project that has been described as Lost in Translation meets Godzilla (we’ll explain that below). And now one more cast member has just been added.

The Guest star Dan Stevens has taken one of the male leads in the film that has a very strange premise that seems to somehow blend romance and monster movies. Find out more about Dan Stevens joining Colossal and just what the movie is about after the jump. Read More »

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Anne Hathaway has done all kinds of movies over the course of her 15-year career, but even so this one sounds like a pretty offbeat choice for her. The Oscar-winning actress has just been set to star in Colossal, the latest movie by Timecrimes and Open Windows director Nacho Vigalondo. In simple terms, the film is being described as Godzilla (okay) meets Lost in Translation (wait, what?).

Get all the bizarre details on the Anne Hathaway Nacho Vigalondo Colossal project after the jump.  Read More »