It's that time again! With the end of the year approaching, everyone begins revealing their own Top 10 best of the year lists. One of our favorite lists that kicks off this time is from filmmaker John Waters' - his Top 10 favorite films from this year. For 2016, Waters has chosen yet another (expected) eclectic mix of films, including Paul Verhoven's controversial Elle, Todd Solondz's divisive Wiener-Dog, as well as David Farrier & Dylan Reeve's outstandingly creepy documentary Tickled, among some other oddball picks. A few years back his top film was Spring Breakers, and last year it was a film titled Helmut Berger, Actor. I always like hearing about Waters' favorites because he has such unique taste and his quick comments are fun to read.
Every new year brings us another Sundance Film Festival and with 50 days left until Sundance 2017 kicks off on January 19th, it's time to find out what's playing this year. Sundance has revealed their 2017 selection of In-Competition films, including both documentaries and features, as well as films in the ultra low-budget NEXT category. Featured in five different categories are 66 individual films that will be showing at world's greatest, snowiest film festival in January. The rest of the major premieres will be revealed soon, including all the Midnight films and other big Premieres in January. Plenty of unique films to choose from here, including a documentary about the Gawker trial and a film about encountering a long-lost elephant.
Miyazaki is coming back to theaters! GKids and Fathom Events have announced a special 15th anniversary screening of Spirited Away, Studio Ghibli's 2001 film written & directed by Hayao Miyazaki, which won the Best Animated Feature Oscar (in 2003). The film will be showing in theaters nationwide for two days only - on Sunday, December 4th (the English dubbed version) and Monday, December 5th (the English subtitled version). The special event will also include the short film "Ghiblies: Episode 2" - described as a unique 25-minute film from Studio Ghibli, featuring "several comedic vignettes and caricatures" of Studio Ghibli staff as they go about their day. As a huge Ghibli fan, it's always a treat to see their films in theaters.
Malick fans, listen up! The Brooklyn Academy of Music, aka BAM, is hosting the US premiere of Terrence Malick's The Tree of Life with live orchestra coming up later this month. BAM has announced two nights of The Tree of Life, on November 18th and November 19th, featuring "more than 100 musicians and singers from the Wordless Music Orchestra" performing live over the film. The first version of this live event took place in Dublin back in June, and now it's finally coming to the US. The score was composed by Alexandre Desplat (read my interview with Desplat from Cannes in 2011), however the film also features additional music by Mahler, Berlioz, Brahms, Mozart and other legends. Tickets range between $35 and $85 for seats on either night, and they will likely sell out fast. This is one of those very rare don't-miss-it special events.
"It is the quality of ones convictions that determines success, not the number of followers." Warner Bros has announced that all eight of the Harry Potter movies, from Sorcerer's Stone to Deathly Hallows 1 & 2, will be re-released in IMAX theaters for one week only later this month. As a cross-promotion for J.K. Rowling's Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, WB will be updating and showing the eight movies in IMAX from October 13th until the 20th. The screening series will kick off with a special Fantastic Beasts event on October 13th (more info on that here) and continue with screenings every day. You can catch any of the movies individually, or buy day passes and other packages. Don't miss out on this special IMAX event.
It might be finally getting a proper release - 10 years later. 20th Century Fox is letting theaters screen the cult comedy Idiocracy, from writer/director Mike Judge, in theaters later this year just before the election. The Alamo Drafthouse chain has at least 25 of their cinemas listing a screening on October 4th, and more theaters across the US are being listed as well. Idiocracy is the sci-fi comedy from Mike Judge about an average guy, played by Luke Wilson, who is frozen and wakes up in the future - only to discover it's an idiotic place with Terry Crews as President Camacho running the country, and Brawndo being distributed instead of water. It's a totally wacky comedy, but it's also becoming increasingly prescient - especially with a buffoon as idiotic as Camacho in the running for President. Glad to see Fox letting this film back in theaters.
"The unknown future rolls toward us. I face it, for the first time, with a sense of hope. Because if a machine, a Terminator, can learn the value of human life, maybe we can too." Get ready for the return of the Terminator movie we all love. James Cameron's 1991 sci-fi classic Terminator 2: Judgement Day is being re-released in theaters in 2017 in 3D. The Facebook page for the T2 movie confirmed and released a poster to go along with the news. If, like me, you went to one of the Universal Studios theme parks as a kid you probably fondly remember the Terminator 2 ride in 3D (called "T2 3-D: Battle Across Time"), pretty much the best use of 3D up until Cameron gave us Avatar. Here's to hoping this 3D conversion is as good.
"Thanks for stopping by Earth for a while." -Olivia Wilde. Another legendary actor has passed away today. We're sad to report the death of the one-and-only Gene Wilder, who died at the age of 83 of complications from Alzheimer's disease. Wilder was nominated for two Oscars and two Golden Globes, but never won either, despite writing and starring in some of the most memorable and beloved films of all-time. He's most known for playing Willy Wonka in the classic 1971 musical version of Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory (one of my favorites), and he worked closely with Mel Brooks for years, starring in Blazing Saddles and Young Frankenstein. This is another tough loss to entertainment, but he will be remembered fondly.
There are filmmaking contests, then there are real filmmaking contests. This is one of the best, a real chance to break into the industry and work with genuine talent. The top three winners of the fifth year of Jameson First Shot international short film competition supported by Jameson Irish Whiskey, Kevin Spacey and Trigger Street Productions, will be featured at an event this weekend in Los Angeles - called The Weekender. This year's three winners are: Cameron Thrower (from the US), Kat Wood (from the UK), and Jason Perini (from Australia). After submitting their original scripts, these three filmmakers were given a chance to actually produce and film their short films starring Maggie Gyllenhaal and produced by Trigger Street.
Good news, Godzilla fans! The new Godzilla movie from Toho Company in Japan will actually be hitting US theaters this year as well. Godzilla Resurgence, or Shin Gojira as its known in Japan, opens in theaters over there starting July 29th - this month. Announced during Comic-Con, anime distributor Funimation has revealed that they will be releasing Shin Gojira in US theaters sometime in "late 2016". The announcement was made on Funimation's Twitter, but no exact date has been set yet, though we expect to see it sometime late in the fall around November or December. We just posted the latest full trailer for Godzilla Resurgence this week and I think it looks badass, hearkening back to the original man-in-suit films from the 1950s-60s.
"You maniacs! You blew it up!" This is one film definitely worth seeing on the big screen. Fathom Events is hosting a special event screening of the original Planet of the Apes movie from 1968, starring Charlton Heston, Linda Harrison, Kim Hunter and Roddy McDowall as Cornelius. The event is part of Turner Classic Movies' (TCM) yearlong TCM Big Screen Classics series, and they will be showing this classic sci-fi movie in cinemas only two nights this month - on July 24th and on July 27th. TCM host Ben Mankiewicz will provide exclusive commentary before and after the film. It will be screening in more than 650 select movie theaters nationwide at 2:00PM & 7:00PM local time each day - Sunday & Wednesday. Don't miss it!
This is a rough week for cinema. Over the weekend, two outstanding, profound filmmakers passed away - American filmmaker Michael Cimino, and Iranian filmmaker Abbas Kiarostami. Both of them have made a number of fantastic films that have rightfully earned a place in cinema history, and many cinephiles are feeling the loss of these two great storytellers. Cimino died on July 2nd at the age of 77 at his home in Los Angeles (via CNN). Kiarostami died on July 4th at the age of 76 of cancer at his home in Paris, France (via BBC). Both are being remembered in beautiful, heartfelt ways on social media (a few samples included below) and you can remember them as well by watching their films. Especially any of them you haven't seen.