/Filmcast Ep. 257 – Fruitvale Station

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Dave and Devindra get a rundown on the best of Sundance from Germain Lussier, discuss the documentary Mitt on Netflix, and grapple with how Fruitvale Station blurs the line between fact and fiction. Be sure to check out Jessica Testa’s piece on Jodon Romero and Slate’s breakdown of the facts behind Fruitvale.

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Before Midnight 12

If you’re both 1) desperate for some distraction from the holiday hubbub and 2) eager to get a leg up on the rest of your office for the annual Oscar pool, here’s a way to kill two birds with one stone.

Over thirty screenplays for some of 2013′s top films have just been made available, legally and for free, through the studios. Highlights include John Ridley‘s 12 Years a Slave, Richard Linklater, Ethan Hawke, and Julie Delpy‘s Before Midnight, Terence Winter‘s The Wolf of Wall Street, and many more.

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I was very moved by Ryan Coogler‘s film Fruitvale Station when it played Sundance under the title Fruitvale. Michael B. Jordan stars as Oscar, a young man detailed by police at an Oakland, CA BART station after a brawl on a train early on New Year’s Day. The night ended in tragedy, and the cell phone cameras carried by many witnesses documented an almost inexplicable display of police force.

The film succeeds by drawing a portrait of Oscar as a troubled young man with ambitions rather than pretending he was a saint. Jordan’s performance is impressive and he displays an incredible ability to express himself in bursts of energy without going outside the tone that Coogler generally strives to maintain. This first trailer gives you a good look at all of Oscar’s characteristics, from his serious problems to his best moments. It comes right up to the line of showing precisely how the night ended, and is a good primer for the film. Read More »

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