As we pass the halfway mark of 2016, we at /Film figured it’d be a good time to take a step back and assess the year we’ve had so far. By this point last year, consensus had formed around a few favorites: Mad Max: Fury Road was far and away our favorite of the year one year ago, and it maintained that position all the way through to December. But this year? The results look much more varied. Join us as we count down /Film’s top 10 films of 2016 so far.
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Posted on Friday, March 25th, 2016 by Jack Giroux
With his fourth feature film to date, Midnight Special
, writer-director Jeff Nichols often asks audiences to connect the dots. The filmmaker behind Mud and Take Shelter isn’t exactly making filmgoers work during his sci-fi drama, which stars Michael Shannon, but simply asking them to lean in, watch, and listen. The exposition is sparse, as is typically the case with Nichols’ dramas, and according to the director, he wanted to experiment with Midnight Special in that regard.
Below, read our Jeff Nichols interview (mild spoilers follow).
David, Devindra, and Jeff discuss laser-shaming, hate-watching, and buffer seating. Be sure to read up on 10 Cloverfield Lane’s ending, what it’s like to see Star Wars 20+ times in theaters, and why Peter Sciretta is hopeful about Indiana Jones 5.
Posted on Monday, March 21st, 2016 by Jacob Hall
The 2016 SXSW Film Festival is over, so you know what that means: it’s time to sift through the wreckage and hand out imaginary awards created by a jury composed entirely of a single writer. Welcome /Film’s SXSW Awards, where the categories only exist as an excuse to talk about the best movies that I saw at this year’s fest.
This was a strong year for a typically strong festival – as usual, everyone involved outdid themselves. For a complete look at everything I saw, you can head over here. But now it’s time to take the stage and start handing out fake trophies to a bunch of movies that deserve actual accolades.
Few film festivals offer the breadth and variety of SXSW and this year was no exception. During my eight days there, I saw gentle comedies, brutal horror movies, fascinating dramas produced on shoestring budgets, inventive documentaries and even an R-rated animated film about talking food. It was one helluva week.
Here is everything that I watched, including the (often very good!) movies that didn’t get full reviews.
‘Midnight Special’ Finds Jeff Nichols Putting on His Steven Spielberg Hat and It Looks Really Good On Him [SXSW Review]
Posted on Monday, March 14th, 2016 by Jacob Hall
If Steven Spielberg was born and raised in Texas, he could have made Midnight Special. But he wasn’t and he didn’t, so the task fell to Jeff Nichols.
While this is undeniably the work of the same filmmaker who made Shotgun Stories, Take Shelter, and Mud, his particular skill set is being utilized in service of a very different kind of story. Midnight Special is a science fiction road movie that proudly wears its influences on its sleeve while boldly treading into new territory. This is Close Encounters of the Third Kind with a southern drawl, Starman with a lived-in sensibility, and, most of all, it is one of the most stunning original and humane genre films to arrive in a long time.
Year after year, SXSW proves itself to be one of the best film festivals in the world, offering an astonishing variety of programming that appeals to every taste. Emotional arthouse dramas? Yep. An always stellar documentary line-up? You betcha. An insane midnight program that offers a look at bonkers movies from all over the world? Of course. Gigantic premieres and previews for upcoming studio releases and high anticipated TV shows? Take a guess.
So when we decided to limit our 2016 SXSW preview to only ten titles, we knew we were leaving dozens of fascinating movies on the cutting room floor. But that’s the joy of any film festival – you go in with certain expectations, only to stumble over a whole slate of great films you never saw coming. /Film will be in attendance at SXSW, bringing you news and reviews straight from the fest, but here are the screenings we’re looking forward to seeing the most.
Posted on Monday, March 7th, 2016 by Jacob Hall
It’s safe to say that we’re very much looking forward to Jeff Nichols‘ upcoming science fiction film Midnight Special. It made my personal most anticipated movies of 2016 list and it topped the list of our own Jack Giroux. After all, what kind of self-respecting film fan isn’t interested in seeing the director of Mud and Take Shelter channel the likes of Steven Spielberg and John Carpenter? Heck, what kind of self-respecting film fan doesn’t want to watch any movie Michael Shannon stars in by default?
Three new Midnight Special TV spots have arrived online, showcasing a few snippets of new footage from this film, which has done a fine job of keeping plot details scarce in its previous trailers. These follow suit, teasing a tone and a great cast while sidestepping potential spoilers.
Posted on Monday, February 15th, 2016 by Jacob Hall
Writer/director Jeff Nichols says that one of his chief inspirations for Midnight Special was John Carpenter’s Starman, and the new trailer for this mysterious film evokes that undervalued gem and more. While the preview is intentionally bereft of hard information on plot or characters, the vibe here is totally old school Steven Spielberg. This trailer contains that combination of awe and conspiracy that makes Close Encounters of the Third Kind such an incredible work, but there’s definitely a larger Amblin thing going on here. So many of the films produced under Spielberg’s iconic banner where “family movies” that never avoided going for the throat, genre adventures for all ages that never spoke down to the audience.
The new Midnight Special trailer looks like the paranoid sci-fi of the ’70s collided with a classic ’80s Amblin film and it looks fascinating. You shouldn’t expect anything less from the director of Mud, Take Shelter, and Shotgun Stories.