Even as a young suburban kid growing up in the 1990s, the music of A Tribe Called Quest found its way into my life. Their smooth rhymes and lyrical beats wore out my cassette player, CD player but then they seemingly disappeared for a while. At the time, without the internet or viable entertainment news, finding out what happened to the hip hop legends wasn’t the easiest thing. This summer, you’ll find out in a theater near you.

One of the most entertaining documentaries to play this year’s Sundance Film Festival (read my glowing review here) Beats, Rhymes & Life: The Travels of a Tribe Called Quest, directed by Michael Rapaport, will enjoy a limited release on July 8 and you can see its first trailer after the jump. Read More »

.

Please Recommend /Film on Facebook

While Beats Rhymes & Life: The Travels of a Tribe Called Quest isn’t the best documentary I saw at the 2011 Sundance Film Festival, it’s far and away the most fun. Directed by actor Michael Rapaport, it tells the rise, fall and rise again, of one of the most influential hip hop groups of all time: A Tribe Called Quest. Infused with their music, behind the scenes footage and deeply personal and revealing interviews, Rapaport has crafted both a love letter to Tribe while also telling the simple story of what success does to friendship. Read More »

2009 Sundance Film Festival Competition Films Announced

The Sundance Institute has announced the first half of the line-up for the 2009 Sundance Film Festival. Included in the first press release are the films in competition in the Drama and Documentary segments. 3,661 feature-length films were submitted this year, which is 37 more films than last year. For the 2009 Sundance Film Festival, 118 feature-length films were selected including 87 world premieres, 19 North American premieres, and 4 U.S. premieres representing 21 countries with 42 first-time filmmakers, including 28 in competition. Before we get into the full list, I would like to point out some of the films that particularly interest me. Also, now should be the time for me to admit that I focus more on English-language films, so my foreign picks will probably be lacking.

The Wrestler screenwriter Robert Siegel makes his directorial debut with Big Fan, which stars Patton Oswalt as a parking garage attendant and hardcore New York Giants football fan who struggles to deal with the consequences when he is beaten up by his favorite player. Michael Rapaport also stars. I loved the humor that Siegel brought to The Wrestler, and with Oswalt in the lead – this one is a no brainer.

The Office star John Krasinski makes his directorial debut with a big screen adaptation of David Foster Wallace‘s book Breif Interviews with Hideous Men. The story follows Julianne Nicholson as a doctoral candidate in anthropology who “tries to remedy the heartache” of being dumped with little explanation, by interviewing men about their behavior. Krasinski, Dominic Cooper and Timothy Hutton also star.

In Cold Souls, Paul Giamatti stars as a famous American actor who in the midst of an existential crisis, “explores soul extraction as a relief from the burdens of daily life.” Okay, doesn’t have the best plot description but Giamatti is involved, as well as David Strathairn, Emily Watson, and Lauren Ambrose.


Emmy Rossum stars in Adam Salky‘s feature directorial debut Dare, about “three very different teenagers discover that, even in the safe world of a suburban prep school, no one is who she or he appears to be.” IMDB also provides a different teaser synopsis: “The good girl, the outsider and the bad boy…like you’ve never seen them before.” This is a feature length adaptation of Salky’s 2005 short film which was met with acclaim at film festivals. I’m a sucker for coming of age films.

Everyone is talking about Paper Heart, the film that Michael Cera made under the raydar with his girlfriend Charlyne Yi. The film is apparently a meta-love story with the stars playing themselves (?). The pre-festival hype aside, I would see this film based on Cera’s involvement alone.

Teeth star Jess Weixler returns to Sundance opposite Jason Ritter in a big screen adaptation of Peter and Vandy, the Drama Desk Nominated Best Play that was lauded for its “almost embarrassing intimacy and killer comic timing.” The film tells the story of a contemporary Manhattan love story, told out of order, with no beginning and no end. Festival programer Geoffrey Gilmore says that “One of the themes” of this year’s festival is “the kind of new-generation love story,” … a new “way of telling love stories right now by a new, younger generation that’s different, that’s fresh, that’s original.” This and the Cera film Paper Heart seems to fit into this statement.

No Photos

Jeff Daniels stars as the title character Arlen Faber, a reclusive author of a groundbreaking spiritual book awakens to new truths when two strangers enter his life. The film also stars Kat Dennings (Nick and Norah), Olivia Thirlby (Juno, Wackness), and Lauren Gram. The film was formerly titled “The Dream of the Romans“, which is a much better title if you ask me.


In Good Hair, Comedian Chris Rock turns documentary filmmaker when he sets out to examine the culture of African-American hair and hairstyles. I’m not sure if it will be good, like many of Chris Rock’s films, but I’ll always be there for anything the guy creates.

No Photos

Documentary filmmaker R.J. Cutler was given unprecedented access for a film titled “The September Issue“. Cutler and crew shot Vogue editor in chief Anna Wintour and her team over the corse of nine months as they prepared the 2007 VogueSeptember issue, widely accepted as the “fashion bible” for the year’s trends. I’ve always been interested in the world of journalism, even if the Fashion world might be a very different realm. And I must admit that The Devil Wears Prada has me very interested to catch this one.

No Photos

You can read the full press release (which includes a listing of all the films announced today) after the jump.

Read More »

Way back in March, I posted the trailer for Special, a U.S. indie about a heavily-medicated man convinced he has superpowers, as played by Michael Rapaport. The film caught my interest not only due to Dick Ritchie, but also its gritty exploration of a would-be superhero whose body and mind suffer the consequences. Ever since I began reading Mark Millar’s Kick-Ass, which has a similar unflinching premise and launched in April, I’ve wondered if this 2006 flick would score an opportunity to find eyes. Good news.

Cinematical has the new one-sheet, which promotes Special in conjunction with Magnet’s 6-Shooter Film Series, an ace line-up of international genre indies set for theatrical release that includes /Film faves Let the Right One In and Timecrimes, as well as Donkey Punch, Big Man Japan, and Eden Log. Stay tuned for more info on these films and Magnet (a new, hip subdivision of Magnolia Pictures).

Written and directed by Hal Haberman and Jeremy Passmore (who’s co-writing John Carpenter’s The Prince) Special opens on November 21, with an on-demand option on November 7. FYI: The filmmakers and Rapaport have discussed a sequel.

Special Movie Trailer

special_photo_large03.jpg

Due for release this summer from Magnolia Pictures, Special is a superhero spoof starring New York veteran actor Michael Rapaport (True Romance, The War at Home) about a parking lot cop who is prescribed antidepressants and begins to believe and act like he has super powers.

The film, the debut of writer/director team Hal Haberman and Jeremy Passmore, has garnered solid buzz online thus far and Rapaport recently told MTV that a sequel has been discussed. The trailer below walks the edge of being a goofy comedy and offering dark commentary on mental illness, which seems to represent the film well judging by reviews. Have any of our UK readers seen Special, where it was released late last year and just hit DVD?

[flv:http://media2.slashfilm.com/slashfilm/trailers/special.flv 460 346]

Special starring Michael Rapaport, Josh Peck (Drillbit Taylor, The Wackness) and Paul Blackthorne (24, Lipstick Jungle) is tentatively scheduled for released stateside in June 2008.

Cool Posts From Around the Web: