January 31, 2010
A few days ago we featured the first teaser poster for David Michôd's Animal Kingdom, one of my favorite Sundance films that I saw a week ago during the first half of the fest. Also a few days ago, while working at our condo, Dave Chen from SlashFilm decided to record a video discussion of Animal Kingdom involving anyone who had seen the film (which included me, our own Brandon Lee Tenney, and Dave Chen himself). You can watch that video review below but in addition to that we've got a quick written review from Brandon as well (below). Watch this if you want to know why Animal Kingdom is one of the best films of the fest!
January 25, 2010
Another new Sundance video review. It's just vastly easier to record video reviews of some films, which is why we have so many of them. This time Alex talked with Peter from SlashFilm about New Zealand director Taika Waititi's new film Boy. Both Peter and I were big fans of Taika's Eagle vs Shark a few years back and had high hopes for Boy. It's a good film but I don't think it's as great as Eagle vs Shark and it runs a little long. It's got some good performances but I didn't love it. Watch the trailer for it here. If you're interested in hearing our quick thoughts on the film, watch our 4-minute video review below. And sorry it was so dark!
January 23, 2010
The first film that most people, including our own Brandon Lee Tenney, saw at Sundance this year was actually a short film on Thursday night. Included in the Shorts Program I (which featured three other good short films) was Spike Jonze's I'm Here, a 31 minute short about robot love. We ran a trailer for the film earlier this week and have been talking about it lot because it's getting great buzz. After seeing the short, Brandon recorded a video review of I'm Here with Peter Sciretta and David Chen of /Film and also Erik Davis from Cinematical. For those interested in hearing their thoughts on Spike's short, watch the video.
January 24, 2011
A few days ago I posted my written review of Morgan Spurlock's awesome new Sundance documentary The Greatest Movie Ever Sold, a film that I absolutely loved, but I want to keep talking about it just because it deserves more exposure. So much so, that I've decided to also post this video review that Peter & Germain from SlashFilm recorded with me one morning while waiting in line for another movie. Because the film is all about product placement, and is officially sponsored by and titled "POM Wonderful Presents," we had a lot of fun recording and talking about the doc. It's worth watching in addition to my review, so check it out!
January 24, 2011
That was super awesome! The last world premiere we attended last night at Sundance 2011 was for Fox Searchlight's newest comedy Cedar Rapids, directed by Miguel Arteta, and starring Ed Helms as a small town insurance agent who takes the first trip of his life to the "big city" of Cedar Rapids. It also stars John C. Reilly, Anne Heche, Isiah Whitlock Jr. and Alia Shawkat. It's a hilarious film wrapped around a rather sweet story about friendship and morality, but I didn't love it that much. After the screening Peter of SlashFilm, FS.net's Ethan and I recorded a quick video blog talking about our thoughts on the film. Fire that up below!
January 22, 2011
One of the first feature films we (both Ethan and I) saw at Sundance 2011 was an "apocalyptic love story" titled Bellflower, named after the street it mostly takes place on in LA. It's written, directed by, and stars, Evan Glodell, who was also responsible for building props and vehicles in the film, including a Mad Max inspired flame-spitting car and homemade flamethrower. It's a story about a guy who meets a girl and their subsequent break-up but told through an apocalyptic and visually-stylistic lens, literally meaning they used homemade cameras and old lenses. Watch a video review that Peter from /Film, Ethan & I recorded below.
January 21, 2011
Our very first film of the 2011 Sundance Film Festival was the newest documentary from James Marsh, the Oscar winning director of the documentary Man on Wire. It's called Project Nim and tells the story of Nim Chimpsky (seen above), the chimpanzee who in the 70's was raised from birth by humans and taught sign language as an academic experiment at Columbia University. It's a fascinating story and both thrilling and heartbreaking, so after the first screening, Ethan and I recorded a video blog with our quick thoughts on the opening night film. We recorded this last night before heading to sleep, but it's still a good quick review.
January 25, 2010
Yet another video review courtesy of SlashFilm featuring our own Brandon Lee Tenney. This time he talks about Life 2.0, a documentary playing at Sundance about the virtual online world of Second Life. Directed by first-time feature filmmaker Jason Spingarn-Koff, the doc follows a group of four people whose lives are dramatically transformed by the virtual world - reshaping relationships, identities, and ultimately the very notion of reality. Brandon is also joined in the video by Peter of SlashFilm and Laremy Legel of Film.com. It seems like they all had mixed reactions to the film. Watch the full Life 2.0 Sundance video review below.
January 24, 2010
The Duplass Brothers' new film Cyrus premiered at the Sundance Film Festival. Almost everyone I know was at the screening, including our own Brandon Tenney. The Duplass Brothers have premiered many of their short films and their last two features, The Puffy Chair and Baghead, at Sundance previously, but this was the first year that their film has ever played in the biggest Eccles Theater. Dave and Peter of SlashFilm recorded a video review of Cyrus with Brandon after the premiere last night. In short, they all loved it, even Brandon, and all had great things to say. Cyrus is pretty much a knock out of the park. Watch these below!
January 16, 2014
We're back! Let's start the show! FirstShowing has returned to the 2014 Sundance Film Festival up in chilly Park City, UT for 10 days of the best in independent cinema. This is my 8th year in a row attending Sundance; I'm a veteran by now, yet I'm still so happy to be back. I genuinely love this fest and everything about it. From the snow to the town itself to the people/friends to the screening venues to the films and staff and volunteers and everyone/everything else inbetween. There's nothing like it, and I'm always anxious to arrive and start seeing films, hoping to discover multiple gems that deserve to break out to larger audiences.
October 22, 2013
Never give up. At the Cannes Film Festival earlier this year I caught two different screenings of a film that amazed me and left me floored both times I saw it - All is Lost, the second feature from writer & director J.C. Chandor. I first met J.C. at Sundance in early 2012 at the party for his first film, Margin Call, which premiered at the festival and went on to earn an Oscar nomination. He's back again this year with All is Lost, a film which stars Robert Redford and only Robert Redford, with only a handful of lines of dialogue, taking place entirely on a sailboat lost at sea. It's a beautiful film and I had plenty to ask J.C. Chandor about.
April 16, 2013
Those who follow movies more than they follow sports might have been confused when they heard Adam Scott won The Masters golf tournament recently. No, the star of Step Brothers and "Parks & Recreation" with the same name is not a golfer, but he does have something else to celebrate this week. Film Arcade (via ComingSoon) has just announced their acquisition of the Sundance selected comedy A.C.O.D. (Adult Children of Divorce) for theatrical release (along with home video release by Paramount). Film Arcade is a relatively young company, but they snagged the doc The Other Dream Team last year from Sundance too.
April 3, 2013
When it comes to filmmakers that I love talking with, Derek Cianfrance is at the top of the list. I first met him at Sundance years ago for Blue Valentine, and have followed him since then up to the release of his next film, The Place Beyond the Pines, now playing in select theaters. I initially interviewed Derek on Pines at the Toronto Film Festival last year, and met with him again recently in New York for another chat. This time we talked about violence, specifically in The Place Beyond the Pines, as well as balancing how much of his own self he puts into his films, and what his most important values are as a storyteller/filmmaker. It's another outstanding interview with Derek and a fascinating discussion that I highly recommend listening to.
February 4, 2013
"Are we so sure that these are strategies we want to perfect?" What in the heck is this weird piece of nerdy cinema? Take a look at the Alfred P. Sloan-winning Sundance black & white indie film Computer Chess, a sort of found footage drama about / featuring nerdy chess prodigies. The actual plot in the film revolves around "a man vs. machine chess tournament" and a group of "young geniuses as they try to make the ultimate chess program to beat a human player." It's hard to decipher that from this odd jumble of awkward footage, but I'm intrigued nonetheless. Something about this seems particularly fascinating. It's your move!