Every new year brings us another Sundance Film Festival and with 50 days left until Sundance 2018 kicks off on January 18th, it's time to find out what's playing this year. Sundance has revealed their 2018 selection of ALL of their official feature films in the selection this year, including 110 films playing across 9 different categories, ranging from controversial documentaries to comedies and dramas and so much more. This is the first year in a long time they have announced the full line-up in one big announcement, rather than splitting it up into a few announcements. There's some very interesting, compelling, provocative films linked to the current social/racial climate that I really can't wait to see. Dive into the entire line-up below.
Sad news to report about a very talented, beloved actor. Harry Dean Stanton has died at age 91 (report via The Guardian) at a hospital in Los Angeles. Stanton has a legendary, prolific actor who appeared in over 100 different roles throughout the years. Many may recognize him because he's probably been in something you've seen, or a movie you love, there's no question about it. Roger Ebert even created the "Stanton-Walsh Rule", saying: "No movie featuring either Harry Dean Stanton or M. Emmet Walsh in a supporting role can be altogether bad." Stanton most recently appeared on the new "Twin Peaks" show, playing Carl Rodd, and has a film out this year (titled Lucky). He also dabbled in writing and music, but ended up sticking to acting.
Briefly: Major news from Lucasfilm/Disney today. It has been officially announced that J.J. Abrams will return to direct Star Wars: Episode IX, replacing director Colin Trevorrow who left the project last week. The announcement also mentions that Abrams will co-write the film with Chris Terrio (Oscar winning writer of Argo, Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, Justice League). Episode IX was originally scheduled for release in May of 2019, but Disney has also pushed the official release date back until December 20th, 2019. This isn't really a surprise, considering Episodes VII and VIII are both December releases as well, and it makes sense they want to follow that tradition. By now, a new Star Wars is becoming the perfect annual holiday treat for moviegoers all over the world. That's the latest Star Wars news, no other info was revealed.
The 74th Venice Film Festival wrapped up this weekend on the Lido, and the awards were handed out. The top prize at Venice is a Golden Lion (in honor of the iconic lion that is the symbol of the city) and it's one of the greatest achievements in cinema, along with the Palme d'Or at the Cannes Film Festival. This year's big winner is Guillermo del Toro's fantasy love story The Shape of Water, starring Sally Hawkins as a lonely woman who falls in love with a fish creature at a secret lab (read my review). The runner-up prize went to Foxtrot, another brilliant film, this one criticizing modern life in Israel (read my review). I'm very happy about these two, and all of the Venice prizes (more below). An exciting first year at the festival for me.
"I only represent innocent people, people accused of their race." Open Road Films has unveiled the second official trailer for the film Marshall, starring Chadwick Boseman as Thurgood Marshall. This tells the inspiring story of the man who became the first African American Supreme Court Justice, focusing on the time when he was a "young rabble-rousing" attorney for the NAACP in the 1940s and 1950s. We featured the first trailer earlier in the summer for this, and it looks pretty damn good. The full cast in the film includes Josh Gad, Kate Hudson, Dan Stevens, Sterling K. Brown, and James Cromwell. This is obviously meant to be an inspiring, rousing story and it seems like it will be exactly that - so you know what to expect.
Yep, it's already that time of year again. The summer is over, the leaves are starting to change. You know what that means right? It's the fall film festival season! And also the beginning of the awards season. The Venice Film Festival and Telluride Film Festival both kick off this week, and as always, we're in for a treat with all the new films coming up this fall (it seriously looks like a stacked season). Just a few weeks later in September, the Toronto Film Festival continues festival mania with hundreds of films showing. And the month ends with the beloved Fantastic Fest in Austin, showing the best genre films from around the world. I'll be covering the Venice Film Festival this year, and watching for reports from the other fests.
Can you believe it?! I don't know if I do?! Reports are going around that Studio Ghibli has re-opened its doors, started hiring a new team of animators, and will soon start working on a brand new project. It was massive, heartbreaking news a fear years ago when legendary animator Hayao Miyazaki announced his retirement (after finishing The Wind Rises in 2013) and then subsequently the studio he helped start, Studio Ghibli, decided to stop making new films and instead focus on monetizing their old filmography. In the last few years, Miyazaki kept himself busy by making an animated short film for the Ghibli Museum in Tokyo. But now the studio is back from the dead and Miyazaki has a new idea for a film, which is what this is about.
"There are places where writing is acting and acting is writing. I'm not so interested in the divisions. I'm interested in the way things cross over." Sad news to report - playwright, director, and beloved actor Sam Shepard has died at age 73. The news comes from multiple sources (e.g. Variety), reporting that Shepard died at his home in Kentucky on Sunday from amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, also known as "Lou Gehrig's disease." He was nominated for a Best Supporting Performance Oscar in 1984 for playing Chuck Yeager in The Right Stuff, but he is known for memorable appearances in many different films, not to mention books, plays, and other projects over the years. He most recently starred in Jeff Nichols' Midnight Special last year.
"A Day You'll Never Forget." Alamo Drafthouse has announced a very special, one-time-only event taking place in Montauk, New York, right on the beach. They're showing a special screening of Michel Gondry's Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, one of the most beloved romance films of the last 20 years. Alamo Drafthouse and Focus Features are teaming up as part of Maverick Cinema to present "Meet Me in Montauk", an event taking place on the beach, with mattresses for a "bed-in" experience, paying homage to one of the film's iconic scenes (seen above). It also includes an afternoon tour of filming locations before the screening, making it a truly unique experience and must-attend for those who are die-hard fans of this film.
Part man. Part machine. All cop. The future of law enforcement. Some exciting news for sci-fi fans! Paul Verhoeven's sci-fi cult classic RoboCop is returning to theaters in September of this year to celebrate its 30th anniversary. The Alamo Drafthouse and Birth.Movies.Death are hosting a special event at the actual OCP Headquarters, where they filmed, at the City Hall in Dallas, TX. The official screening will include a Q&A with star Peter Weller, along with photo ops, food trucks, and much more. This event will also be live-streamed to other theaters around the country so everyone can catch a screening of RoboCop even if they're not in Texas. Sounds great! Bring the whole family and show ’em some wholesome, bloody, Verhoeven sci-fi.
Oh no, we've lost a real legend. American filmmaker George A. Romero has died at age 77, as confirmed by LA Times. Romero is best known as the originator of the modern zombie movie, as the director of the original B&W zombie feature film Night of the Living Dead from 1968, as well as numerous other zombie sequels and films and series in the last 50 years. Romero died in his sleep at his home in Los Angeles with his family after a battle with lung cancer. The last film he directed was the 2009 zombie flick Survival of the Dead, and he was also involved in producing Road of the Dead and the Deadtime Stories series. Sad news.
"Do you know anything about witches?" This is great news for fans of classic horror. There's a brand new remake of Dario Argento's 1977 stylish horror film Suspiria due to arrive later this year, from director Luca Guadagnino (of A Bigger Splash, Call Me by Your Name). But before that arrives, lucky cinephiles will have the chance to revisit the original film as a pristine 35mm print of an uncut version of the film was found by the Chicago Cinema Society. "The print was rescued from an Italian cinema that had closed down and the print had gone untouched in their storage area since 1977/78." Even more exciting, the print will be touring around the country as a restored version show in select cinemas through this year. Full list of cities below.