Posts Tagged ‘Sundance Film Festival’

The Great SXSW 2010 Preview Dump: Headliners

March 10, 2010

Why not wait until 48 hours before the SXSW Film Festival kicks off to post our preview? That’s a question that will haunt Squally until we crawl into our premature grave. While nobler movie bloggers pack their bags for Austin–visions of Harry Knowles smeared with BBQ dancing in their heads—here’s a humble look at what’s screening over the next nine days. First up: a rattle bag of marquee fodder which includes the Duplasses’ venture into the mainstream, Robert Duvall facing off against Bill Murray, Rhys Ifans as a stoner hero and the triumphant return of Jean-Pierre Jeunet. Click on the titles to watch trailers.

Read the first part of our SXSW Spotlight Premieres preview.
Read the second part of our SXSW Spotlight Premieres preview.


The Duplass Brothers do a David Gordon Green, moving to a bigger budget and familiar faces, while mining a familiar seam of discomfort that doesn’t seem so radical in hindsight. Things look like they’re turning around for loser John C. Reilly when he meets the hot Marisa Tomei. The problem is she has a stay-at-home son played by Jonah Hill. That means he’s going to be plenty gross and creepy.

Four Lions

Fresh from Sundance, where it failed to raise hackles, comes British satirist Chris Morris’s terrorist comedy. A quartet of hapless Sheffield Muslims cook up a suicide bomber plot that, in the best tradition of Anglo-cringe comedy, comes undone through their own stupidity. The point is that while fundamentalism and dimwittedness go hand-in-hand, the results are no laughing matter. Feel-badness all ‘round, then.


Work in Progress: The Freebie

February 15, 2010

Writer-director-actress Katie Aselton has some good mumblecore pedigree. She’s married to Mark Duplass. After screening her new film The Freebie at Sundance, she’s taking it to SXSW. Aselton and Dax Shepard play a couple who decide to spice up their love life by agreeing to let each other have a one night stand, no strings. The combination of sexual license and challenge is reminiscent of last year’s Humpday. Doesn’t exactly set the pulses racing, so we’ll have to wait to see how this one plays out.

Berlin 2010 Preview: Panorama Main/Special, Part 3

February 6, 2010

Starting with a Sapphic rock ‘n’ roll band and ending with an elegy for the Bolivian aristocracy, the final part of our Panorama preview contains a broad range of viewpoints. Of note is an Aki Kaurismaki-endorsed story of incest, stories of seclusion from Russia and Israel, a no holds barred biopic about Ian Dury and a charming collection of South Korean actresses. Click on the titles to watch trailers.

Read the first part of our Berlin Panorama preview.
Read the second part of our Berlin Panorama preview.
Read the first part of our Berlin Competition preview.
Read the second part of our Berlin Competition preview.

The Owls

An aging ex-members of a lesbian rock band get a kick up the behind by the appearance of a 20-year-old newcomer. Twisted passions lead to both rebirth and revenge. The ninth film from Liberian-born lesbian director Cheryl Dunye (My Baby’s Daddy) stars Guinevere Turner, best known for writing the screenplays to American Psycho and I Shot Andy Warhol.

Paha perhe (Bad Family)

Produced by Aki Kaurismaki, this deadpan comedy features an obsessive single dad (Ville Virtanen) who will do anything to keep his son from hooking up with the love of his life—who happens to be the boy’s sister. The icky topic is perfect fodder for that very special brand of Finnish humor. Directed by Aleksi Salmenperä (A Man’s Work).


Sundance 2010: Winners and Losers

January 31, 2010

Last night the Sundance Jury handed out its prizes and audience awards. The big winners were the hill people noir Winter’s Bone and Obselidia, a romance which was only lacking a stamp reading “Sundance-approved.” More eyes will turn to the backrooms, where lucrative deals were being cut. Focus Features picked up Lisa Cholodeniko’s The Kids Are All Right, with Julianne Moore and Annette Bening as a lesbian couple. Lionsgate agreed to distribute Buried, where Ryan Reynolds struggles to escape a coffin armed only with his cellphone (and some great reception). Harvey Weinstein worked his silver-tongued magic and went home with the rights to The Tillman Story (formerly I’m Pat _________ Tillman) and Blue Valentine, which created Oscar talk for its leads Ryan Gosling and Michelle Williams. Other buzz films included the Interwebs documentary Catfish and Banksy’s debut Exit Through the Gift Shop. Anyway, we’ve got some envelopes to open …

Grand Jury Prize for U.S. Dramatic Film

Winter’s Bone. A clear favorite among critics, Debra Granik’s adaptation of a novel by Daniel Woodrell is a chilling thriller set in the Ozarks. A teenager (Jennifer Lawrence) goes in search for her father, who skips jail after a bust for running a meth lab. Big trouble awaits. “My advice? Discover this one now.” said Salon’s Andrew O’Hehir. It’s been picked up for distribution by Roadside Attractions.

Grand Jury Prize for U.S. Documentary

Restrepo. The documentary follows humpy journalist Sebastian Junger (The Perfect Storm) as he spends a year with the 173rd Airborne’s Second Platoon. The unit has been assigned to the deadliest valley in Afghanistan. “I’ve never seen combat footage like Junger and [co-director Tim] Hetherington get in Restrepo,” wrote Noel Murray in The Onion. “It’s raw, relentless, and made all the more unsettling by the fact that the soldiers can’t see who’s shooting at them.” National Geographic have the broadcast rights.


Talking Pictures: Skateland’s Anthony Burns

January 30, 2010

There’s nothing like a fading pleasuredom to throw lost innocence in sharp relief. It’s been a Texas trademark ever since Larry McMurty wrote The Last Picture Show. In Anthony Burns‘ film, a group of teenagers united by the local roller-rink face up to growing up. To add to the melancholy vibe, it’s set in 1983. Although Skateland sounds very much like Dazed & Confused with added John Waite, the debuting director has scored at least one coup. One of the characters is played by Ashley Greene, beloved of the Twilight set. Written by Burns and Brandon Freeman, who also served as executive producer and second unit director. Music by Michael Penn. Screening at this year’s Sundance Film Festival.

Trailerama: Oddsac

January 26, 2010

Everybody’s favorite band of last year, Animal Collective, have conspired to release a “visual album.” With its burning heads and chimpanzee noises, the trailer suggests their hour-long effort might be a little more unsettling than Merriweather Post Pavilion. No, make that “a lot.” Premiering at this year’s Sundance Film Festival. Coming soon: Grizzly Bear team up with James Benning.

Talking Pictures: 3 Backyards’ Edie Falco

January 26, 2010

We’re very excited about 3 Backyards, the new film by writer-director Eric Mendelsohn. Mostly because he wowed us a few years ago over a decade ago with Judy Berlin, starring a then unknown Edie Falco. Backyards returns the pair to familiar territory: the Long Island suburbs. It may even return the pair to the same kind of meteorological phenomena. At Sundance, some dude with a microphone cornered Edie to get more scoop. We learn that she contributed her own blue minivan to the production. Dig that body language.

Talking Pictures: Night Catches Us’ Tanya Hamilton

January 23, 2010

Usually when a filmmaker tackles the Black Panthers, we get something sensationalistic. Writer-director Tanya Hamilton wanted to take a different approach. Her thoughtful debut feature Night Catches Us looks at the legacy of the Black Power movement on a Philadelphia neighborhood from the perspective of the ’70s. The Hurt Locker‘s Anthony Mackie is an ex-Panther who hooks up with a fellow activist vet (Kerry Washington), during the long, hot summer of 1976. Another reason to be excited: There’s music by the Roots, too. Hamilton spoke to the Los Angeles Times at Sundance and explained why it took her a decade to bring Night to the screen.

Trailerama: Cyrus

January 23, 2010

Inside every two-headed mumblecore beast is a mainstream director dying to make a comedy where John C. Reilly pretends to be Seth Rogen. But John C. Reilly pretending to be Seth Rogen is still funnier than most other mortals. In this Duplass Brothers film, his shlub falls for single mother Marisa Tomei. Her offspring turns out to be the creepiest child since Rosemary went into labor. Screening at this year’s Sundance Film Festival.

Trailerama: I’m Here

January 22, 2010

A theatrical trailer for Spike Jonze’s latest movie seems a little rich. The short is only 35 minutes long. It premiered at Sundance last night. The melancholy-looking affair may have been inspired by Jonze’s relationship with Michelle Williams, shills Absolut vodka in some way, and features a little plug-to-socket action. The song is “There are Many of Us” by Aska Matsumiya.