The Independent Spirit Awards are an annual award given in the name of independent film, featuring plenty of those little indies which deserve the honor and recognition that, this year, they might not receive at the Oscars. We love featuring these because there's always some gems to find. This is an excellent year of nominees, featuring a wide range of some of the best filmmaking of the year. The five Best Features alone: a stop-motion animated feature (Anomalisa), a film shot on an iPhone starring transsexuals (Tangerine), Todd Haynes' film about lesbian lovers (Carol), and the African fighters thriller (Beasts of No Nation). There's so many outstanding people featured this year, so take a look below. Read on for the list of noms.
Every new year brings us another Sundance Film Festival and with 60 days left until Sundance 2016 kicks off on January 21st, it's time to kick things off. The festival has surprisingly revealed just the Midnight line-up on its own. The rest of the festival line-up has yet to be revealed - and should happen in the next few weeks. Sundance typically starts out by announcing the In-Competition films before revealing the Spotlight, Premiere, New Frontier and Next lines-ups, but they're jumping ahead with Midnight first. Kevin Smith is back after 22 years to premiere his latest film, Yoga Hosers, and Rob Zombie's latest, 31, is also premiering.
"I'm not a coach, I'm a star!" Sony Pictures Classics has unveiled a red band (for language!) trailer for the indie comedy The Bronze, which was an opening night film at the 2015 Sundance Film Festival. Melissa Rauch plays Hope Anne Greggory, a gymnast who won the bronze at the Olympics once, and now lives with the glory of that fame. The cast includes Gary Cole, Haley Lu Richardson, Thomas Middleditch and Sebastian Stan. This film just isn't that good, it's not that funny, and the trailer doesn't help sell it at all. Maybe a few people out there who enjoy this kind of trashy humor may be interested in this, but I doubt it.
The Neon Demon is coming to screens soon. Variety reports that Amazon Studios has picked up US release rights to Nicolas Winding Refn's latest film, The Neon Demon, which has yet to premiere at any festivals. The report states that Amazon is planning to release the film in theaters next summer (2016), so it's not just an Amazon Digital only release, it's them going all out standing behind this film. "One morning I woke and realized I was both surrounded and dominated by women. Strangely, a sudden urge was planted in me to make a horror film about vicious beauty," Refn said about the idea for this film. Elle Fanning stars, along with Keanu Reeves, Christina Hendricks and Jena Malone. See the new photo below while we wait for more.
"Welcome to Chi-Raq! Land of pain, misery and strife." Amazon Studios and Roadside Attractions have debuted the official trailer for Chi-Raq, the new Spike Lee Joint that's hitting limited theaters this fall. Samuel L. Jackson narrates and introduces this film, and the full ensemble cast features Nick Cannon, Teyonah Parris, Anya Engel-Adams, Wesley Snipes, Angela Bassett, Jennifer Hudson and Dave Chappelle. It's described as a modern adaptation of the ancient Greek play "Lysistrata" by Aristophanes, but it's actually a look at the violence and murders in Chicago, and how the people can fight back together.
"Bring my brother back!" New Films International has debuted a trailer for James Franco's adaptation of William Faulkner's novel The Sound and the Fury, about the Compson Family living in the deep south in Mississippi in the early 20th century. Starring as Benjy Compson (as seen above) is none other than James Franco himself, with quite an ensemble cast to boot: Seth Rogen, Danny McBride, Scott Haze, Tim Blake Nelson, Loretta Devine, Joey King, and Ahna O’Reilly. This doesn't have the best reviews, but Dan Romer's Beasts of the Southern Wild score is a nice addition to the trailer. That's all to take not of.
"Do you guys know Doris? She's kinda weird." The trailer has debuted for a quirky, cute, charming indie drama called Hello, My Name Is Doris starring Sally Field. After a quiet few years in her career, Field has roared back recently playing Aunt May in The Amazing Spider-Man, not to mention Mary Todd Lincoln in Lincoln. She's back in a leading role again here, as Doris, an older woman pining for the young new guy at her work - played by Max Greenfield, from "New Girl". The entire cast includes Natasha Lyonne, Kumail Nanjiani, Peter Gallagher, Wendi McLendon-Covey, Tyne Daly and Beth Behrs. This is adapted from a short film by Laura Terruso and looks occasionally funny, but not really my kind of character study. Take a look.
"I am here, she is there. There is no caring." Sony Pictures Classics has debuted the official US trailer for Maggie Smith's awards season contender The Lady in the Van, which will be getting a small Academy-qualifying release starting in December. In the film, actress Maggie Smith reprises her role as "the lady in the van" from the stage show of the same name, a character she has played for over a decade now. She is joined by Alex Jennings as Alan Bennett, with appearances by Dominic Cooper, James Corden, Jim Broadbent, Frances de la Tour and others. It's a charming, life-affirming story of a woman who prefers to live in her van than any permanent home. Is it just me, or did they use some music from Miyazaki films?
"Now one told you to go rob the Blockbuster, you were on your own." Entertainment One has unveiled an official trailer for Nick Sandow's The Wannabe, starring Vincent Piazza as Thomas, a kid who set out to fix the 1992 trial of John Gotti. It's essentially a wacky little story about a kid who wants to be a part of the mob glory involving Gotti, and devises a crazy, bold plan to get himself in the center of everything. Patricia Arquette co-stars, Martin Scorsese executive produces; the cast includes Domenick Lombardozzi, Michael Imperioli, Doug E. Doug, Nick Sandow, Vincenzo Amato, and Joseph Siravo as John Gotti. This honestly doesn't look that memorable, but if you're into mob films maybe you should take a look.
"Congratulations, your ministry is almost relevant again." Lionsgate has unveiled the first official trailer for Jared Hess new comedy Don Verdean, which premiered at Sundance this year and is about a Biblical archaeologist who digs his way into fraudulent trouble. Sam Rockwell stars as the titular character Don Verdean, also featuring Amy Ryan, Jemaine Clement as an Israeli named Boaz, Danny McBride, Will Forte and Leslie Bibb. This is a very kooky, wacky, funky, fun comedy that smears religion and how easy it is to fall for the dream of getting rich. The trailer provides a solid intro to the story and gives a good look at what goes down, so have at it. The film premiered at Sundance, where I gave it a lukewarm review. Enjoy!
"After so many years of chasing a fairy tale, most people would be ready to give up…" Gravitas Ventures has debuted a trailer for Aaron & Adam Nee's Band of Robbers, a zany comedy about Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn all grown up, wreaking havoc and getting into all kinds of shenanigans after getting out of prison. Kyle Gallner stars as Huck Finn, and Adam Nee as Tom Sawyer, with a cast including Matthew Gray Gubler, Hannibal Buress, Melissa Benoist, Stephen Lang and Eric Christian Olsen. This actually looks quite good. Color me intrigued. An original idea with some amusing performances? I'm down.
Way, way back when (really just 20 years ago), before he made Scott Pilgrim or Hot Fuzz or Shaun of the Dead, wee little Edgar Wright made his first film at the "tender" age of 20. It's a goofy western called A Fistful of Fingers (referencing Sergio Leone's A Fistful of Dollars), and it runs only 78 minutes, featuring mostly Wright's friends. When this was brought up during the release of The World's End, Edgar realized that the film was barely released and not many people have ever actually had the chance to see it (though it did hit the web a few years ago). Now it's getting a 20th anniversary re-release in London this November, and it's opening next month on the big screen with a premiere at Cinefamily in Los Angeles. Check it out.
"I'd like to be able to tell you everything I am thinking… but I can't." This is a really powerful trailer for this film. IFC has debuted their official US trailer for Andrew Haigh's 45 Years, which won Best Actor and Best Actress at the Berlin Film Festival earlier this year. Those two winners are stars Charlotte Rampling and Tom Courtenay as Kate and Geoff Mercer. This looks absolutely heartbreaking and beautiful all at the same time, and I recommend watching the trailer just to be impressed by these performances right there. Then, of course, go see the film in theaters when it opens in December. From one very positive review: "This story is about whether secrets can be survived, whether the knowing or not knowing is more injurious."
Premiering at the New York Film Festival tonight is the new documentary from Paul Thomas Anderson. Yep, he made a documentary in the last year, but it's only 54 minutes long (more, more!). The doc is about his friend and collaborator Jonny Greenwood, who he follows to the Mehrangarh Fort in India to be hosted by the Maharaja of Jodhpur. Greenwood was there to record an album with Israeli composer Shye Ben Tzur, and an amazing group of local artists. The doc is said to capture that experience and the music and is "pure magic". Check out this fan-made poster art made to look like a vintage portrait of the Maharaja.