American Hustle

Following SAG and the PGA, the Writers Guild of America has just unveiled its list of nominees for the 2014 nominees. For anyone who’s been watching the awards race, the list won’t contain many surprises. The WGA likes American Hustle and Dallas Buyers Club just as much as everyone else does. Additionally, several of the most notable absences can be chalked up to disqualifications. 12 Years a Slave, considered a favorite for the Best Picture Oscar, was deemed ineligible, as was Golden Globe nominee Philomena.

One that did qualify but failed to secure a nomination nonetheless was the Coens’ Inside Llewyn Davis, which similarly struck out with both SAG and the PGA. And one unexpected outcome was a nomination for Peter Berg’s Lone Survivor, which hasn’t come up in too many awards seasons conversations as of yet.

Hit the jump to read the full list.

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Any film fan should make it a point to attend the Sundance Film Festival at least once. Words can hardly describe the beauty of Park City, the camaraderie of the attendees, the smooth running machine that plays dozens of movies a day on screens all over town. And those movies. Oh, those movies. Some of the best films of the past 25 years have debuted at the Sundance Film Festival. The list has been well-documented and 2013 is likely to add at least a few to that incredible legacy.

At this year’s festival, I saw 34 movies. Not a staggering, superhuman number – remember I have to eat, sleep and write about these things – but a number to be proud of none the less. I saw comedies, dramas, foreign films, Hollywood films, sports films, happy films, sad films, black and white films, sex films, kids films. You name it; one of the movies I saw fits nearly any description you can muster.

I’ve picked my ten favorite films of the festival, with an asterisk. Though I saw 34 films, I missed probably 100 others, so this isn’t by any means definitive. But out of the movies that I thought looked interesting, or were buzzed about on the streets of Park City, these were the ten that I most enjoyed. Read More »

Dirty Wars is a movie that you’ll watch, and which will compel you to watch your back after you’ve seen it. Paranoid viewers might think the CIA should have a list of all the people who’ve seen the film, directed by Richard Rowley, because they now know unspeakable, horrific truths about America.

In Dirty Wars, Rowley follows investigative reporter Jeremy Scahill deep behind enemy lines. He travels across the Middle East, Africa, and other regions to talk to people whose families — women, children, babies — have been killed by the American military. Over the course of the movie, one incident leads to another, and eventually a pattern is revealed. It seems like America is fighting an unstoppable World War against an enemy we’re creating ourselves, in countries that we aren’t at odds with.

Dirty Wars is a focused, fascinating and frightening look at war in the 21st century, and a film you’re sure not to forget. Read more below. Read More »

A few days after the kickoff the 2013 Sundance Film Festival, deal-making is in full swing. The well-reviewed drama The Spectacular Now, by Smashed director James Ponsoldt, is headed to newish distributor A24, while the crowdpleasing comedy Austenland, from Napoleon Dynamite writer Jerusha Hess, is nearing a deal with FilmDistrict. Michael Winterbottom and Steve Coogan‘s The Look of Love had a mixed reception, but that’s not stopping IFC Films from closing in on a deal; the distributor also released the pair’s last comedy together, The Trip. Meanwhile, Anchor Bay has picked up two narrative features so far, the Dermot Mulroney-starring The Rambler and Leland Orser‘s Morning. (The latter is not playing at Sundance.)

Over in the world of documentaries, music-centric films seem to be doing quite well. Showtime has acquired the broadcast rights to the two-part documentary History of the Eagles, which will air on the channel February 15 & 16. Also headed to television is Pussy Riot — A Punk Prayer, which has been snapped up by HBO Documentary Films. Finally, Twenty Feet From Stardom, which follows some of popular music’s greatest backup singers, will get a theatrical release by RADiUS-TWC. And in non-music news, AMC’s Sundance Selects has grabbed Dirty Wars, about America’s covert wars, and The Summit, about climbers scaling the most dangerous peak in the world.

Hit the jump to read descriptions of the films mentioned above.

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