I've reached the end. After 10 days of films, screenings and indie cinema mania, I've finished up and arrived home from the 2014 Sundance Film Festival. In total I saw 32 films at screenings during the festival held in Park City, Utah. While it never actually snowed once the whole fest this year, it was still cold and it was yet another wonderful year of discoveries, great films, thought-provoking art and insightful experiences. This was my eighth year in a row returning to Sundance, and after hitting an even 30 last year I decided to set my goal to hit the same this year, but ended up somehow fitting in an extra two along the way. Excellent.
The festival is winding down, people are heading home, it's nearing the end... The 2014 Sundance Film Festival is almost over and even though I'm just departing today, I am already starting to get nostalgic. I love this festival, I love attending festivals, and although I'm very tired, I don't want to leave, I don't want it to end. On top of all the films and all the excitement around independent cinema, it's the people that make my festival experience so amazing, so unforgettable, every year. My friends (old and new), my colleagues, the volunteers, the staff, the publicists, the filmmakers, the locals, I owe them all so much for being the best.
Late on Friday night, I walked into the Eccles Theater at the Sundance Film Festival to see a film called Frank. I knew nothing about it. All I had seen beforehand was the photo in the Sundance guide (seen here) - three people standing next to each other, one of them wearing a giant head mask. That was enough to sell me. I didn't know who the director was, I didn't even read the synopsis, I didn't know anything about it at all before. I walked out a few hours later in love with one of the most original, most entertaining films I've encountered at this festival. This is the greatest way to experience movies - without know anything going in.
Hot on the heels of the 86th Academy Award nominations, the Screen Actors Guild (SAG) handed out their prizes at the annual awards show, hoping to influence their cohorts that vote for the Oscars, followed quickly by the Producers Guild of America (PGA). Considering that the actors' branch of the Academy is the single largest voting branch and producers often are Best Picture bellwethers, these are influences worth considering While SAG doesn't make or break anyone in the race, it can help boost an already strong contender to a winner. However, the PGA does often predict a surefire Best Picture winner. More below!
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.
After basically a full year of obsessing over who and what may or may not get nominated for an Academy Award, I know have my answers, for better or for worse. The 86th Academy Award nominations were announced this morning, and there's a healthy mix of the pleasing and the puzzling. You can compare the list to what my final predictions looked like, but my focus here is going to be on what the biggest snubs and surprises were during the Oscar nomination announcement. There were some genuine shocks, some heartbreaking snubs and even some pleasant surprises, so I think there's less to complain about than usual.
To Tweet, or not to Tweet: that is the question... I remember the first time I really got into Twitter. I was at SXSW (in 2007, my first and only year there) and I remember driving down Congress discussing the merits of Twitter with my film blogger colleagues. Why would I want to be on there? Is there anything to say, what would I tweet? How far we've come... Now seven years have passed and Twitter is not only still around, it changed the world, and it's booming. They just went public on the New York Stock Exchange, they have 230 million users from all over the world, and it has become an extremely powerful service for communication, influence and interaction (and beyond). And I still love using it every day, especially to cover film festivals.
After pleading to the Academy to honor Her, this time I'm hoping to bring more attention to an awards contender that seems to be fading fast. We're a few days out from the Oscar nominations now, and it's quite possible that the Academy could be about to majorly snub Inside Llewyn Davis in a number of categories. At the 71st Golden Globe awards, the film went home empty handed, and while there was stiff competition, it's still a shame. As such, I wanted to step forward to make sure that Oscar voters know that they're committing a cinematic crime if they ignore the Coen Brothers' latest triumph. I've written about it before and am thrilled to do so again now since this is the first Coen flick that I've fallen in love with.
It's almost time! Kicking off this week in snowy Park City, Utah is the 2014 Sundance Film Festival, where both Ethan and I are headed for 10 days to see fresh new indie films non-stop. To help get everyone up to speed on some of the films we're interested in, here are 10 Sundance 2014 films that we're excited for, ones we're keeping an eye on and will be seeing at any earliest opportunity. Alex has chosen
five six he's interested in, and Ethan has also chosen another five he's excited to see from the unique and hopefully entertaining 121-film line-up this year. There are many films to see, and you never know how any of these will turn out, but I'm hoping some of 'em are as good as they sound on paper. Take a look at our picks below.
Welcome to the year 2014 folks! We're now literally under a week away from the Academy Award nominations now, so much is about to be revealed. In fact, ballots are already in, so the only thing left really is to find out who's made the cut and who hasn't. Before you know it, we'll be shifting the focus from the nomination fight to the battle for some actual Oscar wins. My predictions last month represented a change in the race, and to at least some degree, these new ones now do as well. Like last month, I've also included the next-in-line films and performers, since that seemed to go over pretty well. Basically, this is more of the same, but hopefully in a good way. I love making predictions, so this is certainly a pleasure for me. Read on!
We've already had one week of new theatrical releases in 2014, but there are dozens more to come, with much better movies than the dismal offerings that January holds. After delivering my personal picks for the 15 Best Movies of 2013 (make sure you check out Joey & Jeremy's Top 10 of 2013 as well), it's time to look to the future. Much like last year, I've composed a list of the films that I'm most excited to see this year. Honestly, this list could be endless, but these are the ones that I just can't wait to see. There's not really any indies, because it's hard to tell when most will get released, and next week, I'll be checking out a lot of hopefuls at the 2014 Sundance Film Festival anyway. So here's my 14 Most Anticipated Films of 2014.
We're going to try something a little bit new here at FirstShowing. Namely, I'm going to be getting into a little bit of advocacy. I've spent almost six months now talking about what might get nominated or what could appeal to Oscar voters. Now I'm going to start talking about what should get their attention. Alex Billington has long encouraged me to go this route and now the time has come. I'll be making the case (much like you guys do in the comments section) for certain films and/or performances, starting off with the Spike Jonze directed masterpiece that is Her. Among everything that was released in 2013, there is nothing that I'm as passionate about as this movie, so I'm actually pretty excited to support it. More below!
What do the books Time's Arrow and One Hundred Years of Solitude have to do with Christopher Nolan's Interstellar? Quite a bit, if their appearance in the first teaser means something. Those who've seen the first Interstellar teaser trailer, on the big screen or online, may have noticed the very obvious bookshelf shot, featuring a little toy rocket and a couple of books that very prominently come into focus. As my mind kept wandering back to the teaser, I wanted to see which books I could find and discover what they mean - if anything. Let's have fun and see what references Nolan seems to have hidden in the first Interstellar trailer.
The year 2013 is officially in the past. After the annual break on New Year's Day, we're moving swiftly into 2014. Though the holiday in the middle of the week has slowed down the news flow considerably (just like Christmas), next week we'll be back in full swing. But before we get back in the regular news flow and prepare for our yearly jaunt to the Sundance Film Festival next month, this writer wanted to wrap-up our year-end coverage, and say goodbye to 2013 on the big screen. Below you'll find my persona Top 15 Favorite Films of 2013. It was hard cutting the list down to just 30 films, and it was painful to pull some of them off the final list. But that's how you truly pick your absolute favorite films of the year. So here we go!