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Berlinale 2015: Recap of 14 Films + Another Fun Festival Experience

Berlin Film Festival 2015

My second year attending the Berlin Film Festival has come to an end. I caught another 14 films, which combined with the 32 I saw at Sundance, puts my tally at 46 brand new 2015 films screened in three weeks (yea I'm a bit exhausted, suffice it to say). But I saw some great films in the last week, including Terrence Malick's latest and Pablo Larraín's latest. Berlinale has been stepping up their game these last two years, bringing in a robust selection of top notch features to see and hosting an exciting festival for movie fans of all ages. I'm glad I could make it back, and I hope to keep returning (even with Sundance in January). So which films did I see and which were the best? Here's my final breakdown of all 14 films I saw at Berlinale.

 Posted February 13 in Berlinale, Editorial, Feat, Indies | Comments

First UK Poster for Bill Condon's 'Mr. Holmes' Starring Ian McKellen

Mr. Holmes Teaser

The Man Behind The Myth. It's another story about Sherlock Holmes starring Ian McKellen as the iconic detective. I can't wait to see this. Premiering at the Berlin Film Festival, which just kicked off, is the new film from Bill Condon (director of Dreamgirls, The Fifth Estate, Breaking Dawn) starring the legendary Ian McKellen as an "aged, retired" Sherlock Holmes. The festival description says that Holmes undertakes "one final big journey, experiences a botanical miracle and resolves to tell a compassionate lie." It's a simple but sleek and effective poster, plus another good reminder that the movie is finally premiering at Berlinale.

 Posted February 6 in Feat, Indies, Posters | Comments

TGB Returns! Episode 2.01: Cold Openings and Warm Welcomes

The Golden Briefcase Version 2.0

After a long haitus, Tim and Jeremy have returned for The Golden Briefcase: Version 2.0! With the new format, the guys abandon segments (with the exception of the beloved Pick of the Week) and instead move towards a roundtable discussion. This is where we really want you, the listener, to come in! In the past, emails have been a fun way to keep in contact with you all but now we are really asking for you to join in and even create discussion. The new format allows for those glorious rabbit trails and deep discussions about the fascinating world of cinema and we love those moments and want to embrace them! Send us topic suggestions, arguments, links, or whatever you want, and we will do our best to talk it through on the show.

 Posted February 4 in Feat, Golden Briefcase, Podcasts | Comments

Sundance 2015: Our 7 Favorite Documentaries - The Best of the Fest

Sundance 2015

The 2015 Sundance Film Festival has finally come to an end and to put a wrap on things and finalize our nearly two weeks of coverage, it's time to present our Best of the Fest. We're doing things a bit different this year and presenting combined favorites between Ethan and I (since we loved so many of the same movies). Instead of one big list, like year's past, we're splitting up our favorites between the best 7 Feature Films we saw and the best 7 Documentaries we saw. We obviously couldn't see every film playing, but did catch over 40 between us and felt like these films below deserve to be highlighted for standing out over the others. As our final recap of Sundance 2015, which has now concluded, we present our 7 favorite documentaries.

 Posted February 4 in Docs, Feat, Lists, Sundance 15 | Comments

Sundance 2015: Our 7 Favorite Feature Films - The Best of the Fest

Sundance 2015

The 2015 Sundance Film Festival has finally come to an end and to put a wrap on things and finalize our nearly two weeks of coverage, it's time to present our Best of the Fest. We're doing things a bit different this year and presenting combined favorites between Ethan and I (since we loved so many of the same movies). Instead of one big list, like year's past, we're splitting up our favorites between the best 7 Feature Films we saw and the best 7 Documentaries we saw. We obviously couldn't see every film playing, but did catch over 40 between us and felt like these films below deserve to be highlighted for standing out over the others. As our final recap of Sundance 2015, which has now concluded, we present these 7 favorite feature films.

 Posted February 3 in Feat, Indies, Lists, Sundance 15 | Comments

The 19 Best Movies That You Didn't See in 2014 - Start Watching Now

19 Best Movies That You Didn't See in 2014

The best of the best - that you didn't see last year. We have returned with another set of worth watching, underseen films from 2014. Back by popular demand is our eighth annual list of the 19 Best Movies That You Didn't See in 2014 (past lists: 2013, 2012, 2011, 2010, 2009, 2008, 2007). Featured below is a hand-picked line-up of the best independent and/or mainstream films that were either quietly dumped, ignored by audiences, or just not marketed well enough. So to give them extra attention in the spotlight, and to support some of the finest filmmakers out there, here is our best of 2014 recap. Read on for the full list!

 Posted January 20 in Editorial, Feat, Indies, Lists | Comments

Your New Favorite Film Website Has Arrived - The Projection List

The Projection List

After years and years of development, a new movie website has launched that will probably end up being one of your favorite sites (after FirstShowing, of course!). No, but seriously, it looks great and seems to work great so far, and will only get better with more time. The site is called The Projection List and boasts itself as containing "the entire cinematic release schedule", including "official & projected dates for all theatrical, home, and trailer releases." As proud as we are for offering a very simple release schedule here, this site ups the ante to include everything: all DVD, theatrical & VOD releases, with a very clean interface as well. It's sleek, I'm impressed, and as long as they keep it updated it'll be a great resource for cinephiles.

 Posted January 7 in Cool Stuff, Feat, Movie News | Comments

Monthly Must See: 'The Battered Bastards of Baseball' Documentary

The Battered Bastards of Baseball

"Our motivation was simple: revenge. We loved womping fuzzy-cheeked college-bonus-babies owned by the Dodgers, or Phillies." We're well into the New Year which means it's time for another Monthly Must See feature highlighting a great film to watch this month (or instead of/while waiting for the Golden Globes on Sunday). It's the perfect time of year for documentaries, so this month's pick is The Battered Bastards of Baseball from directors Chapman Way & Maclain Way, a Netflix documentary that runs a brisk 79 minutes telling the story of the Portland Mavericks, an independent baseball team started in the 1970s. This light-hearted, highly entertaining film is easily available on Netflix for your enjoyment anytime. It's good.

 Posted January 6 in Docs, Editorial, Feat, Indies | Comments

Welcome to 2015: The Year of Fifty Shades of Jurassic Ultron Wars

Welcome to 2015

It's here. Welcome to 2015. By the end of this year, after another 12 months, we will have seen the new Star Wars movie from J.J. Abrams and Lucasfilm/Disney. But before that, we'll also see Avengers: Age of Ultron, Tomorrowland, Jurassic World, Ant-Man, Spectre, and oh yes, Fifty Shades of Grey. It's one of those kind of years. The ones that we write about at the beginning, where we all say "whoa" there's a whole boatload of incredible new films in the works all due in theaters this year. Including a new Terrence Malick movie (or maybe two?). I know, what the f**k is going on?! But, here we are, we made it, Bienvenue à 2015.

 Posted January 1 in Discuss, Feat, Movie News | Comments

Exploring Feelings of Freedom and Control in Linklater's 'Boyhood'

Boyhood

All I want is to be free… Without a doubt, Richard Linklater's Boyhood is going to leave a long-lasting impression on cinematic history, primarily as a film beautifully crafted out of 12 years of footage but also as a story that captures the actual feel of growing up in America. Not only in the way certain fleeting moments mean more in the end than big events, but also in the way our upbringing shapes us. How the way we're raised, and the experiences that we're involved in, influence the person we become and the attitudes we maintain. Within Boyhood, there was one strong feeling that I picked up on the very first time I saw it at Sundance in January (and it has been on my mind ever since) – the nagging desire to be free from control. After another rewatch, I've confirmed that control is omnipresent throughout Boyhood. Let me explain.

 Posted December 30 in Discuss, Editorial, Feat | Comments

Merry Christmas & Happy Holidays from FirstShowing's Cinephiles

Merry Christmas 2014

Joyeux Noel! Gledelig Jul! Froehliche Weihnachten! Mele Kalikimaka! From all of us at FirstShowing.net, we want to wish every one our readers a very Merry Christmas and a Happy Holidays! Whether you're with your family or with friends or whether it's snowing or sunny, we hope you have a wonderful week. For those that follow the tradition of seeing a movie on Christmas Day, we hope you enjoy your selection this year with a variety of interesting movies to choose from (we suggest Selma, Top Five, PTA's Inherent Vice above all). News and trailers always slow down during the holidays, but we'll be back at full speed for 2015.

 Posted December 25 in Feat, General | Comments

'Gambler', 'Sniper', 'Vice', 'Eyes' - 2014 Christmas Week Movie Guide

Christmas Week Movie Guide

"One dream can change the world." Happy Holidays folks! Continuing our annual tradition of providing new release Thanksgiving and Christmas Week Movie Guides every holiday season, our San Francisco-based contributor, Marco Cerritos, has once again put together another comprehensive guide for Christmas 2014, providing a recap and rundown of what's playing and what's worth seeing. Marco has seen almost everything out there, and while you may not always agree with him, he provides the best reviews he can to make it a bit easier for everyone to choose. There's an interesting selection of movies playing this holiday.

 Posted December 24 in Editorial, Feat, Review | Comments

Looking Back: Alex's Top 10 Documentaries of 2014 - Ghibli to Ebert

Top 10 Documentaries of 2014

From stories about Roger Ebert, Aaron Swartz and Sebastião Salgado, to an inside look at Studio Ghibli and Edward Snowden's whistle-blowing, 2014 documentaries have been nothing short of extraordinary. I'm honestly still a bit new to documentaries, it took my years to get into them in a way where I could actually feel comfortable about delivering a Top 10 list. But in 2013 I fell in love with docs, there were so many I saw that blew me away, that showed me the power of documentary filmmaking and the potential it has to be as exhilarating and enlightening as any narrative feature. After catching many excellent docs at film festivals this year, I submitted my Top 10 picks to the outstanding doc site Nonfics, and I'm sharing them below.

 Posted December 23 in Docs, Feat, Lists, Looking Back | Comments

Interview: 'Citizenfour' Director Laura Poitras on Storytelling in Docs

Laura Poitras Interview

One of this year's must see documentaries is Citizenfour, directed by Laura Poitras, an inside look at the story of whistblower Edward Snowden. Poitras was contacted by Snowden early on and was right there with him, filming the entire event, as he leaked the information from Hong Kong about the NSA's spying program that stunned the world in May of 2013. Poitras has made two other provocative docs previously, The Oath and Flag Wars, and she's back with another one that is a bit more intimate, but still as powerful. I raved about Citizenfour after catching its premiere at the New York Film Festival, and I met up with Laura for an interview in New York City. What follows is a fascinating discussion about the power of storytelling.

 Posted December 19 in Docs, Feat, Interview | Comments

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Alex's Top 10 of 2014
1. Mommy
2. Whiplash
3. Force Majeure
4. Selma
5. The Overnighters
6. Blind
7. John Wick
8. Snowpiercer
9. The Imitation Game
10. Birdman
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Ethan's Top 10 of 2014
1. Wild
2. Boyhood
3. Whiplash
4. Guardians / Galaxy
5. The LEGO Movie
6. Gone Girl
7. Life Itself
8. Birdman
9. The Raid 2
10. They Came Tgthr
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