Why We Go To The Sundance Film Festival

Sundance Marquee

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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The Best Movie Animal Performances of 2014

Best Animal Performances of 2014

I was watching Gone Girl for the fourth time and admiring how David Fincher (and his cinematographer Jeff Cronenweth) majestically shot Ben Affleck‘s character Nick Dunne’s cat and I began to wonder about the cat’s true role in the story. The cat is featured too prominently to be just a background prop. What did the cat mean?

As I thought about this I began to realize that there had been a lot of big screen kitties this year. The New York Times notes in their review that “cats are the new dogs,” and judging from the list of animals in this article, they might be right. But as I started to think about it more, it wasn’t just cats but dogs and some actually amazing performances by other animals in this past year of film. So the list of best animal performances of 2014 grew and grew. After the jump you will find my examination of why 2014 was the year of animal movie performances and what it all means. Read More »

The Auteurs of Christmas: Christmas Morning, As Directed By 20 Famous Filmmakers

Last year, we published a fantastic video by Fourgrounds Media Inc. called The Auteurs of Christmas which reimagined the magic of Christmas morning through the eyes of 10 famous filmmakers.  They have returned with a sequel for 2014: The Auteurs of Christmas 2, which features Christmas morning as directed by 10 more filmmakers: Charlie Chaplin, Quentin Tarantino, Terrance Malick, Alfred Hitchcock, Christopher Nolan, Jean-Luc Godard, Morgan Spurlock, David Lynch, M Night Shyamalan, Michael Bay. Watch both videos embedded after the jump.

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Wes Anderson stop-motion


Wes Anderson
‘s film Fantastic Mr. Fox demonstrated that his directorial sensibilities are perfectly suited to stop-motion animation. And now the director says he’s planning a return to animation with an espiodic film comprised of several small stories. Read More »

Maryanna Hoggatt

Hard to believe it’s been five years since Spoke Art kicked off their Wes Anderson inspired art show Bad Dads. In that time, Anderson has made two new films, Moonrise Kingdom in 2012 and The Grand Budapest Hotel earlier this year. That means that more than 80 artists tasked with making art based on any Wes Anderson film had a new option to draw from this year.

So yes, you’ll see a good amount of Grand Budapest Hotel art at the exhibit, which is now on display in San Francisco as well as online. But you’ll get all of Anderson’s other movies too. As always, it’s an eclectic and awesome collection of art that Anderson himself will surely approve of. In fact, he already has.

Below, see just a small sampling of the work in the fifth annual Bad Dads Wes Anderson art show. Read More »

fantastic_mr_fox_000

When discussing the films of Wes Anderson, many people seem to choose 2009′s Fantastic Mr. Fox as their least favorite of his movies. I find that fact to be crazy because, in 2009, Fantastic Mr. Fox was my favorite film of the year.

Sure it looked different from rest of Anderson’s films, but at its heart, it really wasn’t. Anderson’s musical choices, parental themes, locked-off camera angles and long takes were all there, just seen through the eyes of stop-motion animation. Watch it again and it’s as timeless, if not more so, than most of the directors other films.

And now, it’s the first Anderson film to get its own toy line. Funko will release four beautiful Fantastic Mr Fox toys from the animated film in November. Check them out below. Read More »

grand budapest hotel lego

A cryptic tease hit the movie press corp on Thursday: an image featuring a single pink Lego brick, and the name of Wes Anderson’s latest masterpiece, The Grand Budapest Hotel. Many – myself included – began wildly speculating about a collaboration between the indie filmmaker and massive toymaker on a consumer set. Alas, that’s not the case.

Instead, to help promote the June 17 Blu-ray release of the film, Fox Searchlight hired Lego builder Ryan Ziegelbauer and his team to create a huge version of the hotel to put on display. The result took 575 hours, is made of more than 50,000 bricks, weights 150 pounds, stands 7 feet tall and stretches 6.5 feet wide. It’ll be on display at The Grove in Los Angeles June 14 and 15 and we’ll have some more details photos over the weekend.

For now, check out a video of the impressive build of The Grand Budapest Hotel Lego. Read More »

The Grand Budapest Hotel Visual Effects

Look Effects has released a five minute VFX breakdown of the visual effects they created for Wes Anderson’s The Grand Budapest Hotel. Some of the effects are seamless and near invisible, changing the color of a wall or text on an envelope. Some of the other effects involve more involved miniatures which are combined with real world location shots and actors on green screens. Watch The Grand Budapest Hotel visual effect video embedded after the jump.

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