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.
Say what? Our friends at io9 have written about a movie called 100 Years that stars John Malkovich and Shuya Chang, directed by Robert Rodriguez, set in the future. Yes this is actually one giant marketing gimmick to promote a liquor called Louis XIII Cognac, an ultra-luxury liquor that is aged 100 years. The idea is that the film has been made, but is going into the cognac vaults for 100 years, and will be stored there not to be shown until 2115. There are teasers and a featurette available (below) but apparently none of these have anything to do with the actual movie. Yeah. Instead, no one alive now will probably ever see what they actually make (really?), but someone will one day. Supposedly. Or maybe we're just supposed to imagine it.
Iceman is back! It's pretty much official, even though they haven't signed all the contracts yet. Actor Val Kilmer, now 55 years old, has announced via his own Facebook page that he is returning for the sequel Top Gun 2 which has been in the works for a few years. After the tragic death of director Tony Scott, the project was put on hold temporarily until they could figure out another plan. Now it seems to be revving up again and the project is moving forward, with Tom Cruise and Jerry Bruckheimer still attached. Kilmer, who played pilot Lt. Tom "Iceman" Kazanski in the original, will be back and he hasn't even read the script (yet).
Another day, another remake. This time it's another movie that just doesn't need to be remade, and may be hitting too close to home for some. Andrea Iervolino and Monika Bacardi's AMBI Pictures have officially announced a remake of Christopher Nolan's 2000 thriller Memento, starring Guy Pearce and Carrie-Anne Moss. It's one of many films ("400 additional critical hits, commercial blockbusters and cult favorites") that AMBI acquired in picking up the Exclusive Media Group film library. They claim in the press release that the remake will "stay true to Christopher Nolan’s vision and deliver a memorable movie that is every bit as edgy, iconic and award-worthy as the original." Okay. But the question always is: do we really need this?
It's official. After news hit this morning that the title of the Prometheus sequel would not actually be Alien: Paradise Lost, 20th Century Fox has come to clear up the confusion and confirm the real title. The official title is Alien: Covenant, and the official release date is now October 6th, 2017. Many will also recall that it was revealed Neill Blomkamp's solo spin-off Alien movie has been put on hold. This explains why - even the title of this next one is Alien related, which means they're not taking the same route as Prometheus and pretending like it has nothing to do with Alien (they didn't even mention the word "alien" in any of the marketing material). They also, perhaps, want to distance themselves from the bad taste Prometheus left.
Netflix is movin' on up to the big leagues. Netflix has announced (via The Wrap) that they are partnering with Brad Pitt‘s production company, Plan B Entertainment, to develop the next film from Bong Joon-ho, the "creature feature" titled Okja. We've already been hearing about casting for Okja throughout this past year, and now it's moving forward with Netflix backing it up to the tune of $50 million. Part of the attraction is the cast - Jake Gyllenhaal, Paul Dano, Kelly Macdonald and Bill Nighy, as well as Tilda Swinton; though the lead character is actually a young Korean girl who befriends a monster with "a kind spirit" named Okja.
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.
It's happening! It's really, really happening. Duncan Jones is going to make his movie Mute, his passion sci-fi project, while we wait for Warcraft to hit theaters (in June 2016). Earlier in the year we posted rumors about financing and deals coming together so that it actually works out; now it's official. Duncan has started casting and they've officially announced two names for Mute - Paul Rudd and Alexander Skarsgard. Skarsgard will play Leo Beiler, a mute bartender. He goes on the search for the missing girl that means everything to him, leading him to an "odd pair of American surgeons", one of whom will be played by Rudd.
Say what?! Yes! Crazy but incredible news. Variety is reporting that animation filmmaker Henry Selick, director of Coraline most recently, is teaming up with comedians Jordan Peele and Keegan-Michael Key for a stop-motion animated movie. The project is called Wendell and Wild, described as a comedy about "two scheming demon brothers who must face their arch-nemesis, the demon-dusting nun Sister Helly, and her two acolytes, the goth teens Kat and Raoul." Oh yes, this definitely sounds like it's from the mind of Key & Peele. It's just developing now, but it has Selick attached to direct and co-write with Jordan Peele. I'm a big fan of all three of these people, so it's exciting to see them planning a new project together.
This is why Guillermo del Toro always says you must be working on multiple projects at once. So if (or inevitably when) one falls apart, you already have another in the works that you can pick up and continue. Vancouver-based filmmaker Neill Blomkamp took to Twitter last night to announce his Alien 5 project is officially "holding/ pending prometheus 2". Blomkamp has been sending out photos of concept art and weapons designs, and it looks like he was making major progress developing his version of Alien. However, word going ’round was that Ridley Scott is so excited to be working on Prometheus 2 again, he wants that to be the only sci-fi from this universe. So until they've figured that out and finished it, this movie is on hold.
Ready for yet another long-awaited sequel? This one has been a long-time in the making, for sure. Miramax and Broad Green Pictures have officially announced and confirmed that Bad Santa 2 is happening, and actor Billy Bob Thornton will be returning to star as Willie Soke, the "Bad Santa" back around for more shenanigans. The original film was released back in 2003, though we've been covering sequels about it ever since we started. This time, they sent out a press release with quotes and everything, so it's about as official as it can get. Which makes sense considering pretty much every sequel/reboot is being made now. "We've been waiting far too long to see Billy Bob's Willie Soke mess with the holiday season in his own unique way."
Briefly: Shyamalan's new thriller has a date for early 2017. Over at The Wrap, they report that Universal Pictures and Blumhouse Productions have set a release for M. Night Shyamalan's Split on January 20th, 2017. Split is written and directed by Shyamalan, following up his return to low budget films The Visit this year, and is supposedly a "suspense thriller with elements of the supernatural". Other than that, there's no plot info available. The cast includes James McAvoy, Anya Taylor-Joy, Betty Buckley, Jessica Sula and Haley Lu Richardson. There's already a lot of other weird horror scheduled for January 2017 between the delayed Friday the 13th reboot, Resident Evil: The Final Chapter, plus Power Rangers and The Dark Tower movie. I'm curious what exactly Shyamalan's Split means - maybe split personality? McAvoy would be a great pick.
He's back! This is the year Michael Moore returns with a new documentary, titled Where to Invade Next, another look at some of America's problems. The doc just premiered at the Toronto and New York Film Festivals, receiving rave reviews from critics the world over. We also announced last month that a brand new indie distributor will be releasing the doc. Tom Quinn, Jason Janego and Tim League announced today that they will be releasing Michael Moore's new "comedy" Where To Invade Next in New York and Los Angeles starting on December 23rd, followed by a nationwide opening on January 15th via their "new, clandestine and as-yet-unnamed distribution label". I highly recommend seeing this doc when it's playing.