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 »
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Posted on Monday, January 21st, 2013 by Angie Han
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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At the 2009 Sundance Film Festival, I was blown away by a film called (500) Days of Summer. When I interviewed director Marc Webb in Park City that year, he exclusively revealed that he was working with the 500 Days writing team of Scott Neustadter and Michael H. Weber on a adaptation of Tim Tharp‘s The Spectacular Now. Then, hot off the success of Summer, Webb got pulled away to do some little superhero movie reboot.
Cut to the 2010 Sundance Film Festival: Smashed became one of the top buzz films of the festival with a critically acclaimed tour de force performance from Mary Elizabeth Winstead and an incredibly raw filmmaking style that put director James Ponsoldt on our must-watch list. So when it was announced that Ponsoldt would be taking over as director on The Spectacular Now, we were excited. And the movie does not disappoint.
The Spectacular Now is everything I hope a Sundance movie to be. It has heart, many laughs, story twists that will jolt you from your seat, and most importantly, the film speaks to a deep truth. It is an honest coming of age film about growing up and facing the great unknown that comes after high school, something we can all remember and relate to. But it tells that story without the forced nostalgia of other Hollywood films.
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John Hillcoat‘s revived project The Wettest County in the World has Shia LaBeouf and Tom Hardy set to appear when the film shoots later this year, and there is word that Mia Wasikowska might grab the main female role if her schedule permits. While we wait for that to be sorted out, here’s word that Jason Clarke (The Fields, Public Enemies, Brotherhood) is in the picture as well. No word on his role, but with Mr. Hillcoat again directing from a script by Nick Cave (adapted from Matt Bondurant’s book of the same name) it might not even matter. [Variety]
After the break, the president of SAG gets a role in Clint Eastwood’s latest, and a Prom actor goes to The Spectacular Now. Read More »
On Tuesday, we ran an exclusive news scoop about the next project from the director and writers of 500 Days of Summer — Marc Webb and writers Scott Neustadter and Michael H. Weber are developing a big screen adaptation of Tim Tharp’s The Spectacular Now.
Tonight Hollywood tradepaper Variety is running the same bit of news with no source credit to /Film. This isnt a big surprise. This isn’t anything new. The ethics of Variety’s sourcing practices have been well documented. It’s just very disappointing.
Update: I’ve since had contact with Fox who claims that Variety was working on the story before I conducted my interview. But I’m under the belief that its not about who is working on a story first — it’s about who reports it first with verified confirmed information. In the real world, credit goes where credit is due. If The New York Times was working on a story and The Washington Post broke the story first, The Times piece would mention that the news broke to the public via the Washington Post. Yes, I know this isn’t watergate or some huge news story, but this is one story in a pattern of hundreds or thousands. Variety rarely, if ever, credits online sources for breaking news.
500 Days of Summer seems to be the big buzz film of the 2009 Sundance Film Festival. Yesterday I got a chance to sit down with director Marc Webb (full interview will be posted later in the week), who slipped a bit of news regarding his possible follow-up. Marc revealed that his is developing a big screen adaptation of Tim Tharp’s The Spectacular Now, which is being written by 500 Days of Summer scribes Scott Neustadter and Michael H. Weber:
“Neustadter and Weber are adapting a book called The Spectacular Now for Fox Searchlight,” Webb told /Film. “It’s a really fantastic novel about a 17 year old charm monger who drinks too much. And its about how he’s negotiating the world of growing up. It’s a very realistic portrayl of what it’s like to be a kid. And it has a very frank depiction of sex, alcohol and that sort of thing.”
Webb was clear to mention that it’s currently being written, and there is nothing “locked and loaded” for his next project, despite the Hollywood trade papers announcement that he will be making a film called Age of Rage, which was described as “Children of Men meets Lord of the Flies”.
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