With each subsequent role, Michael Shannon seemingly gets better and better. His latest film, Take Shelter, features the Oscar-nominated actor as an blue-collar, Ohio father and husband who begins to develop some mental issues. Issues such as he believes there is massive impending doom on the horizon. As his premonitions become more and more vivid, his mental state begins to adversely affect his family.

Written and directed by Jeff Nichols, Take Shelter is the definition of a slow and steady burn powered mostly by Shannon’s performance. Read More »

We’re just a few days away from the start of the 2011 Sundance Film Festival, but distributors are already scooping up films left and right. Three were acquired Tuesday and two were grabbed a few days ago. A&E IndieFilms picked up the rights to the Roger Corman documentary Corman’s World: Exploits of a Hollywood Rebel, Sony Pictures Classics locked up the rights to Take Shelter starring Michael Shannon, HBO Films nabbed the rights to the opening night documentary Project Nim (seen above) from the team behind the Oscar-winner Man on Wire, IFC Films got the low-budget comedy Uncle Kent and Roadside Attractions will release The Music Never Stopped starring J.K. Simmons.

Finally while it’s not playing at Sundance, Sundance Selects acquired Errol Morris’s latest called Tabloid. Read more about each film after the jump. Read More »

I expect we’ll be hearing a lot about Jessica Chastain in the coming year. She’s one of the leads in Terrence Malick’s long-awaited The Tree of Life (see the trailer here) and will be showing up in the adaptation of The Help, in Ralph Fiennes’ Shakespeare revamp Coriolanus, in The Fields, and, probably in 2012, in John Hillcoat’s The Wettest County in the World. Quite a resume for an actress with only three other feature credits, one of which is in John Madden’s The Debt, held up in the Miramax sale.

But before all of that she’ll be seen with the great Michael Shannon in Take Shelter, an indie drama with an odd, almost high-concept premise.  That’s the first image of the pair, above, and there are more shots and some info after the break. Read More »

The announcement of the movies playing the 2011 Sundance Film Festival is like looking into our film futures. It’s December and most movie fans are looking back at the last 12 months, picking out award winners, writing top ten lists, and chances are we haven’t even heard of the Sundance films. They’re just titles, people, words on a computer screen. Then in January they unspool on screens across Park City, Utah and become something more. Finally, months later, these are the movies we discuss with our friends and choose on ballots at awards parties. Yet we get to read about them now, a year in advance.

Last year at this time, who had heard of Four Lions, Catfish, Exit Through The Gift Shop, Blue Valentine, The Kids Are All Right, Winter’s Bone, Restrepo or Animal Kingdom? Sundance, that’s who. All those films screened at the 2010 festival and now many have become not only personal favorites, but critical darlings and award contenders too.

Wednesday, Sundance announced the 58 films eligible for awards in four categories that will play the 2011 festival, taking place January 20-30. The 57 out-of-competition films in six additional categories will be announced Thursday. After the jump, we’ll give you the full list as well as highlight five in each category that sound particular promising. Read More »