ENJOY THE SHOW
As always, there are a number of films that deserve to break out from film festivals. I am returning this week from the Berlin Film Festival, aka Berlinale, in Germany where I caught 10 films in total (full list/recap here). While I enjoyed pretty much every last one, my friend Steve Weintraub (aka Frosty) from Collider and I decided to meet up and record a quick video blog, which we haven't done in a while, discussing four films in particular: Bong Joon-ho's Snowpiercer, Jack O'Connell in Irish thriller '71, Eskil Vogt's Norwegian drama Blind and of course The Grand Budapest Hotel. This is a good one, so fire it up below and enjoy.
Guten Tag aus Deutschland! I've wrapped up five days at the Berlin Film Festival, my first time attending Berlinale—as it's better known—looking back on another stellar fest. One of the oldest festivals (currently in its 64th year) along with Cannes, I've always wanted to attend but haven't had the opportunity or funds or extra time, since it's right after Sundance, until now. Thank you to Fox Searchlight, who brought out a handful of film journalists to see the world premiere of Wes Anderson's Grand Budapest Hotel (my review), I've been able to experience first hand one of the world's other prominent film festivals. And it was a delight.
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.
There's plenty of praise to go around for Spike Jonze's fantastic love story Her, even if the box office receipts haven't been all that great. Our awards expert Joey Magidson even made the plea for the Academy to give it some love in their Oscar nominations, and the film walked away with several nods, including Best Picture and Best Original Screenplay. Now The Creators Project and Jonze's own friend and collaborator Lance Bangs has created a doc about love inspired by the film called Her: Love in the Modern Age. Interviews include co-star Olivia Wilde, writer Bret Easton Ellis and many, many others. In full below.
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.
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.
Welcome to 2014. Welcome to another
365 364 days of movies. What will this year have in store for us? What movies we will love, what movies will we hate? To kick things off, I jumped on Twitter on New Years Day 2014 to ask everyone about the first movie they would watch this year, and then the first release they're excited to see. The responses included a few of the expected (Captain America 2, Jack Ryan, Monuments Men, RoboCop) but also plenty of others (The Grand Budapest Hotel, The Raid 2, Noah). We've collected most of the tweets for a look at which upcoming early 2014 releases our followers are anticipating the most.
"The whole creative experience is much more fulfilling as a director." He's a world famous actor, a beloved comedian, a director, a writer, a producer. The latest movie from Ben Stiller is a contemporary take on James Thurber's short story, The Secret Life of Walter Mitty, starring Stiller as a humble photo editor who dreams of an exciting life with his crush. Joey Magidson fell in love with the film at the New York Film Festival; I wasn't the biggest fan myself, but it is enjoyable. Fox invited me to sit down for a 10 minute chat with Ben Stiller, and I chose to focus on asking him about being a filmmaker more than an actor/comedian.
Need a list-minute holiday gift for a cinephile? Try these. The story goes that 3 projectionists from New York City decided to make their own Christmas gifts last year and came up with these - film cell votive candle holders featuring a real 35mm frame of film. "We took a film cell from an old movie and embedded it onto a candle votive. We use a real 35mm film cell that ran through a projector and showed on the silver screen. We wanted to find a new audience who would appreciate the value and novelty of owning a piece of old Hollywood." They're now being sold on Etsy for $12 each and you can even choose whichever film you want.
"You always think you'd seen everything, you always think you would run out of stuff, but it's just not possible." While Blockbuster may be dead, the "video store" still lives on thanks to independent shops like Cinefile Video in LA, Kim's Video in New York and Scarecrow Video in Seattle. You may not be familiar with that last one, but this fascinating short doc/video will get you up to speed with Scarecrow. Produced by David Chen of SlashFilm, the video takes us inside the doors of the self-proclaimed "largest independent video store" in the world, exploring their massive collection with the help of enthusiastic employees. Enjoy!
Bard. Zeus. Aramis. Apollo. Shaw. Welsh actor Luke Evans seems to play characters that often have short names, but powerful voices. He's on the rise recently and will break out big with his latest role as Bard the Bowman in Peter Jackson's The Hobbit trilogy. He didn't even get the job until halfway through shooting the first movie, then went down to New Zealand for a year and a half of filming, now he's about to go down in history as Lake-town's savior. I first met and interviewed Luke back in 2011 discussing Immortals, and I followed up with him for another interview this year about Bard, The Hobbit, Dracula, The Crow and more.
Taking a cue from this year's stellar sci-fi flick Gravity, last year's retrospective contributor Nick Bosworth from JoBlo.com is back with Final Cut 2013, and after checking out this look back, it's hard to disagree with his opening text that "Life without movies is impossible." Using 283 films from this year, including some clever lines referencing movies in Don Jon and Pain & Gain, this is a stylish look back at the year in film. From This is The End to The World's End and plenty of other films in between like Nebraska, Only God Forgives, Inside Llewyn Davis, Her, Despicable Me 2, Oblivion & more.
Continuing our annual tradition of posting Thanksgiving and Christmas Movie Guides every holiday season, our San Francisco contributor, Marco Cerritos, has once again put together a holiday movie guide for Thanksgiving 2013, giving a recap and rundown of what's playing and what's worth seeing (or skipping). Marco has seen everything playing, and while you may not always agree with his opinion, he provides the best reviews he can to make it a bit easier for everyone to choose. There are quite a few wonderful films now playing in theaters, so if you're still a bit unsure of what to watch or need extra tips, then look no further!
"People are looking to you, Katniss. You've given them an opportunity. They just have to be brave enough to take it." It's time. Hitting theaters everywhere this weekend is Catching Fire, the second movie in The Hunger Games series. It's exciting, it's deep, it's dark, it's one of the best sci-fi movies all year. Catching Fire should do incredibly well at the box office and I would go so far as to say that this is the next Harry Potter, this is the next Lord of the Rings franchise. Don't compare it to Twilight, compare it to those series in scope and scale and epicness. One review calls Catching Fire "the Dark Knight of Young Adult Films".