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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Los Angeles residents are incredibly spoiled when it comes to pop culture art events. Most of that is because Jensen Karp and Katie Cromwell opened not one but two Gallery 1988 locations in the City of Angels. Every few weeks, a new art exhibit goes on the walls celebrating either an artist or subject, usually with a pop culture theme. Lost, Breaking Bad, Edgar Wright, Judd Apatow, the list of awesome Gallery 1988 subjects goes on and on. If you don’t live in Los Angeles, usually you can’t experience these for yourself.
That’s why, in 2011, Cromwell and Karp released a beautiful coffee table book called Crazy 4 Cult, based on the Gallery’s signature exhibit. Next week, they’re releasing the sequel, Crazy 4 Cult 2, and we got Karp to exclusively explain some of his favorite images in the book. They’re based on Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, Shaun of the Dead, Rushmore, Pee Wee’s Big Adventure, Donnie Darko, Willy Wonka, Coming to America, Back to the Future and Wet Hot American Summer. Read More »
Gallery 1988 Los Angeles will be holding their fifth annual Crazy 4 Cult art show on July 8th 2011, and we have an exclusive first look at art created by Robert Brandenburg for the show. Brandenburg has a very interesting style, taking pieces of existing art or advertising, and giving is a unique pop culture twist. You’ll see what I mean after the jump with his two Crazy 4 Cult pieces based on the films Donnie Darko and Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory. We also have a few pieces from Brandenburg’s solo show which will be happening in 2012, which includes takes on War of the Worlds, Toy Story and Winnie The Pooh.
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Pajiba has edited another wonderful montage of movie clips, this time compiling the 100 greatest movie insults of all time in under 10 minutes. Watch the video now embedded after the jump.
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As you probably know by now, Gallery 1988 will be holding their third annual pop culture art show Crazy4Cult 3D from July 16th (TONIGHT!!!) to August 8th in Los Angeles. Gallery1988 has given us permission to run an exclusive preview of some of the cool artwork which hasn’t been seen yet, that will be available at the show. After the jump we’ve included over 30 pieces of the awesome art you’ll see at the show. If you’re interested in buying any of the original art — make sure you’re there! If you want to order any of the prints, you can email Gallery 1988 at firstname.lastname@example.org or call them at 323 937 7088.
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This Week in DVD is a column that compiles all the latest info regarding new DVD releases, sales, and exclusive deals from stores including Target, Best Buy and Fry’s.
Please don’t take the commentary on the movies and TV shows too seriously, as they’re meant not to be reviews but rather previews that include the general thoughts and ramblings of a twice-committed DVD addict. The categories represent solely the author’s intentions towards the DVDs at hand, and are in no way meant to be a reflection on what he thinks other people should rent or buy. So if he ends up putting a movie you like in the “Skip it” section without having seen it, please keep in mind that the time you could spend leaving a spiteful but ultimately futile comment could instead be used for more pleasant things in life. Like buying DVDs.
(Available as single-disc Extended Cut and 2-Disc Extended Cut)
They just don’t make movies like Taken anymore. It’s as straight-forward a thriller as they come: bad guys kidnap girl, dad isn’t happy about it, dad f**ks up the bad guys. But as this film proves, simplicity isn’t always a bad thing. There aren’t many things more rewarding in life than watching the always awesome Liam Neeson laying the smackdown on an endless array of evildoers. Combine that winning formula with director Pierre Morel’s raw, visceral style and co-writer Luc Besson’s to-the-point and totally badass screenplay, and you have yourself one of the most satisfying 90 minutes of ass-kicking goodness to come out in quite some time.
Notable Extras: The single disc includes an extended cut of the film and no extra material. The 2-disc includes the extended cut, commentary with director Pierre Morel, writer Robert Mark Kamen, and cinematographers Michel Abramowicz and Michel Julienne, a making of featurette, an Avant Premiere feature, and a Inside Action: Side by Side Comparisons feature which looks at 6 different sequences.
|Amazon – $16.99|
*Does not include 2-Disc Edition, which costs $22.99 at each of the listed stores (including Amazon).
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Do you remember S. Darko, the Donnie Darko spin-off film we wrote about a while back? You know, the one which follows Donnie’s sister and features no involvement from the original director Richard Kelly? Yeah, that one. The good news is that the film will not play theatrically and will instead go direct-to-dvd on April 28th from MGM’s home entertainment. Film School Rejects reports that the trailer for the film will be screened at the New York Comic Con this weekend (where I assume, and hope, fans will express their outrage by “booing” loudly). When the trailer is released online, we will attempt to do the same in text form (if possible).
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Remember that horrible sounding Donnie Darko sequel we told you about a couple weeks back? The one in-which Richard Kelly has no involvement or even support? Well that movie just added two more names to the roster. How about Oscar nominated Jake Gyllenhaal? Nope. Or how about Golden Globe nominated Maggie Gyllenhaal? Wrong again. Maybe, uh, Oscar nominated Mary McDonnell? Nope, these are two brand new cast members not featured in the original film.
So what “talented” duo of actors were hired?Â Elizabeth Berkley, who many remember from Saved by the Bell and Showgirls, and Briana Evigan, who was in Step Up 2: The Streets, have boarded the Darko sequel/spinoff. According to THR, Berkley is playing “a speed freak-turned-Jesus freak whose sentiments about ridding the world of its exponential sin are rivaled only by her infatuation with her dreamy pastor.” They will join the already announced cast of Ed Westwick (Gossip Girl, Justin Chatwin (The Chumscrubber), and Daveigh Chase (Donnie Darko) in Utah where production has already begun.
The sequel picks up seven years after the first film and Donnie’s death when his now 18-year-old sister Samantha Darko (hence the title S. Darko), and her best friend Corey go on a roadtrip to Los Angeles, where along the way they are plagued by bizarre visions. Yeah, nothing about this movie sounds good.
I’m a huge fan of Donnie Darko. Richard Kelly‘s debut film is not only one of my favorite films of 2001, but it’s probably somewhere on my list of favorite films of all time. So when I learned this morning that a sequel was being made, I seriously began to doubt my commitment to sparkle motion. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not anti sequel at all. I’ll be happy to see Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, and enjoyed watching Live Free or Die Hard. If the original people are involved, and it doesn’t suck as a movie (forget about comparisons to the original) then I’m in. But that’s where the sequel to Donnie Darko goes wrong.
Apparently the sequel is being made completely without the involvement of Richard Kelly. The press release reads:
“Producers have spoken to Richard Kelly about the project but he is not involved in any official capacity at this stage.”
But I’m guessing that this is just PR speak for Velvet Octopus probably called Richard Kelly, who explained he was not interested in being involved in a sequel. I just sent an email to someone I know over at Darko Entertainment, and they assured me that “Richard, Sean, and every ounce of Darko Entertainment are 150% NOT INVOLVED”. This can’t be good.
“Why do you wear that stupid Woman suit?”
The sequel follows Donnie’s younger sister, Samantha Darko, a role reprised by Daviegh Chase (of such direct to dvd classics as Beethoven’s 5th: Big Paw and the animated Stich! The Movie). The story picks up seven years after the first film and Donnie’s death when his now 18-year-old sister Samantha and her best friend Corey go on a roadtrip to Los Angeles, where along the way they are plagued by bizarre visions. And if that doesn’t sound bad enough, guess what they’re calling it? Donnie Darko 2? Nope. S. Darko! What? They couldn’t even call it Samantha Darko?
But they probably nabbed an unknown filmmaker who has an incredibly unique vision, and ability to think outside of the box. Someone who was discovered in the world of music videos or some other visual medium, right? They wouldn’t have hired a hack to direct the sequel, would they? They have. Chris Fisher, who previously made Nightstalker and Rampage: The Hillside Strangler Murders, will direct.
Producers told ScreenDaily that “Donnie’s not in [the new film] but there are meteorites and rabbits.” Oh, great. The budget is pegged around $10m, and production begins on May 18th. The supporting cast includes Ed Westwick (Son Of Rambow, Gossip Girl), Briana Evigan (Step Up 2) and Justin Chatwin (Dragon Ball). Fox has already nabbed the North American distribution rights. Avoid at all costs.