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This is the moment it all begins. The awards season (if we have to give this time of year a label) starts now, right here at the end of August, at the beginning of September. While officially it doesn't become "autumn" until September 22nd, the "fall film festivals" kick off this week - with the Venice and Telluride Film Festivals underway. Next we head right up to the Toronto Film Festival, with its 300-film line-up, and then we head to the always entertaining Fantastic Fest down in Austin, before continuing with the New York Film Festival throughout October. It's an exciting time of year - especially with the line-up for 2014.
There are prison movies, and then there are prison movies. David Mackenzie's Starred Up is a harrowing, violent, bold new take on the "prison movie" that is worth your time to take a look at, playing in theaters now and also available on VOD. The film also introduces the astonishing Jack O'Connell (now well-known thanks to Yann Demange's '71 and 300: Rise of an Empire, plus he stars in Angelina Jolie's Unbroken), who stars as the lead character Eric alongside Ben Mendelsohn, another badass we've already seen in the likes of Animal Kingdom, Killing Them Softly, The Dark Knight Rises and The Place Beyond the Pines. Together they take on an entire prison in Starred Up, and it's a hell of a ride. It's our next Monthly Must See film.
15 miles from paradise...one man will do anything to tell the world everything. One of the formative films in my early years exploring cinema was City of God, about the impoverished and corrupt reality of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. While the film has gone on to much acclaim, a new poster organization has decided to make their first artwork for Fernando Meirelles' City of God, released in 2002. "A business years in the making, FAMP Art was founded to bridge the gap between pop culture art and art house cinema, focusing on films that don’t get much love in the art community but are praised in the world of cinema (and that we ourselves love)." Sounds like they're challenging Mondo and Gallery1988 and I like it, especially debuting with this.
In the short history of filmmaking, there have been incredible advances in technology that have changed the face of filmmaking from the innovation of sound to computer generated visual effects. However, there are subtle changes that help make visual storytelling a little easier too, making it so the audience doesn't feel detached from the story and world they're seeing unfold on the big screen. One such arena you may not realize is how characters communicate on the big screen in a contemporary society where individuals talk more often by way of text messages instead of talking on the phone. Filmmakers are only recently figuring out how to do this effectively, occasionally with some style, and a neat video essay explains how. Watch it!
"A visit to a cinema is a little outing in itself. It breaks the monotony of an afternoon or evening; it gives a change from the surroundings of home, however pleasant..." [-Ivor Novello] Last week I stopped by the Locarno Film Festival in Switzerland, located in the lake-mountain town of Locarno on Lake Maggiore. The festival has been running since 1946, famous for its Piazza Grande outdoor venue, yellow & black color scheme, and leopard award/logo. In addition to my coverage of the films I saw at the fest, I wanted to share some of the images from my visit, as it was such a charming and gorgeous place to get immersed in cinema.
On the 200th episode of The Golden Briefcase, Tim and Jeremy are joined by fellow podcast hosts of Movie B.S. - Jeff Bayer and Eric D. Snider to talk through their picks of the week and much more. For the main topic the guys talk through their reactions to 2014 summer in movies (with Expendables 3 in theaters now). They talk about reactions to some of the tentpole releases, studio wins and losses and also spend time talking about this year's VOD market and many of the phenomenal titles released on VOD this summer. And with that, the 200th episode of the Golden Briefcase is in the can! Tim and Jeremy are taking a little break to re-tool and reconfigure the show to bring you a fresh take on the show for its next iteration. Look forward to our Fantastic Fest coverage next month to kick off the new season of The Golden Briefcase.
"It's the essence of flirting." So how do you refresh and revitalize the romantic comedy genre? That's what I was hoping to find out from Canadian director Michael Dowse, the man behind the excellent film What If. I first saw this film at last year's TIFF 2013, and loved it, ranking it as one of my 5 favorite films of that festival. It was known as The F Word back then (and still is in Canada) but was retitled to What If for its US release, which is something I had to ask him about. What If stars Daniel Radcliffe and Zoe Kazan as a young couple perfect for each other–their chemistry was a topic, too. View the full video interview below.
There is a film festival, nestled in the mountains of Switzerland on the corner of Lake Maggiore near the Italian border, that boasts one of the best venues to watch films in the entire world. It's called the Locarno Film Festival, or Festival del film Locarno, now in its 67th year (only Venice, Cannes, Moscow have been around longer). The Piazza Grande is its famous venue, a plaza in the middle of town that is converted into a 8,000 seat open-air cinema every night, showing old and new films every evening during the week and a half the festival takes place in August. Having attended festivals like Cannes, Telluride and Sundance for years, I decided to make my first trip to Locarno this year, and it's truly as unforgettable as described.
If you love movie theaters as much as we do, you're going to love this place even more than before. Tim League's Alamo Drafthouse cinemas is re-opening a flagship location in Austin, Texas, and after a year of renovation, the theater is ready to be shown off. The Alamo Drafthouse South Lamar (Google Maps) is re-opening to the public on Saturday, August 16th this weekend, and a batch of photos of the location has been revealed. Featuring three brand new, additional auditoriums for a total of nine screens, as well as the infamous Highball bar and karaoke lounge, this place is a movie lover's mecca and it looks brand new again.
Over the last couple of years a number of extensive, impressive behind-the-scenes photos from almost all of Stanley Kubrick's films have surfaced online, ending up in complete galleries (see this one for 2001) showing the entirety of production. While we've all poured over these photos, a brand new set of shots are appearing online thanks to tweets from Kubrick's own daughter, Vivian Kubrick. Tweeting with the name @ViKu1111, she's been posting a series of B&W editing room shots, which she says came about because her father gave her a Nikkormat camera for a Christmas present in 1974 and she went photo crazy. Take a look.
Inspired by a tweet asking "if you could recommend one obscure film you think more people should watch", we're launching a new monthly column today. The tentative title is "Monthly Must See" (I didn't want to use "homework" anywhere in this but that's kind of the idea behind it) and every month I want to highlight one "obscure" or underseen film that I want everyone to take a moment to see. In fact, we'll give you one entire month to watch the film, and we'll choose a film that is readily available in theaters or VOD/DVD/BR already. Up first it's The Lunchbox, directed by Ritesh Batra, starring Irrfan Khan and Nimrat Kaur.
It is my tradition to kick off Comic-Con by walking the showfloor on preview night and taking photos of anything movie-related that interests me. This year the showfloor is overrun with Batman galore, because today is "Batman Day" celebrating the 75th Anniversary of the DC Comics superhero. There were also some new discoveries including Smaug at Weta and Hunger Games guards. I made my way through the crowds and snapped as many shots as I could before getting out, but there will certainly be more to come at the end (as I always head back again). For now, take a look at our preview night gallery with lots of toys and props.
As a die-hard movie lover, I live for the kind of opening weekends where the only movies hitting theaters are high quality, worth-seeing works of art. In all truth, it's very rare we get a weekend that can be unanimously labeled as one of the best opening weekends of the year with nothing but excellent movies opening. In 2014, this is it, this is that weekend. Where you must find a way—find the money, find the time—to make it to your local cinema to see one of, if not all of, this weekend's new releases. Two of the best films of 2014 open today in America: Richard Linklater's Boyhood and Matt Reeves' Dawn of the Planet of the Apes. And I really, truly mean it when I say they're two of the best of the year - both are innovative, masterful movies.
This year has been flying by, and it's hard to believe that it's already July. We've still got six more months of great movies on the way, including the latter half of summer and the entirety of awards season releases, but that doesn't mean we haven't seem some truly spectacular films hit the big screen so far. Therefore, it seems like a wholly appropriate time to countdown my 10 Favorite Films of 2014 So Far. It's hard to say whether or not any of these films will make my final list at the end of the year (but I feel good about a few of them), but these are definitely the ones I've enjoyed the most at this mid-point of the year 2014. See below!