At the Sundance Film Festival, coming-of-age comedies are almost a dime a dozen. So the really good ones, the ones that refresh, redefine, reinvent the genre, need to really stand out and really exceed in many ways. Another one at the 2013 festival that definitely hit those marks is Jordan Vogt-Roberts's Toy's House, from a screenplay written by Chris Galletta. It's one of those films that I'd already heard great buzz about, mostly due to comparisons to Superbad meets Stand By Me (e.g. Erik Davis' review), which is some kind of crazy high praise that it pretty much lives up to. But, remarkably, Toy's House really is that great of a film.
On this week's episode of The Golden Briefcase, Tim and Jeremy are joined by guest Ryland Aldrich of TwitchFilm as well as our own Alex Billington of FirstShowing to go over their latest picks of the week, the newest in DVD & Blu-ray releases, new trailers for the Coen Brothers' Inside Llewyn Davis and Juan Solanas' Upside Down and much more. The main topic of the night was a complete discussion on the 2013 Sundance Film Festival, which just concluded this past weekend (our coverage). Ryland and Alex talk about some of their must-sees of the festival and discuss this year's films in relation to years past. Listen in!
The 2013 Sundance Film Festival may be over (check out all of our coverage right here), and now many are probably wondering when they can see some of the films that premiered in Park City. We've featured the sales of some of our favorite films including James Ponsoldt's The Spectacular Now being picked up by the new distribution label A24 and Richard Linklater's Before Midnight unsurprisingly landing at Sony Pictures Classics, but we figured a round-up of a bunch of the other big purchases of films with buzz at the festival was in order so you know which films you'll likely end up seeing throughout the year 2013. Read on!
Now that Sundance 2013 is over, we're looking back at our favorite films from the festival this year. We recently posted our own list of Top 5 Favorite Films, but there are plenty of other great movies that deserve to be mentioned. One thing I love about festivals is the variety of opinions and thoughts on every single film playing, which is why I love asking my friends and colleagues about what their favorites were - so that's what we did. I recorded 10 videos with friends during the end of the festival, similar to my Cannes 2012 favorites video last year. Almost everyone I spoke to chose a different film. It's a quick watch so check it out.
The western has enjoyed a bit of resurgence over the past few years with installments from the Coen Brothers like No Country for Old Men and True Grit, and others including The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford, the remake of 3:10 to Yuma, the kimchee western The Good, the Bad, the Weird, and Django Unchained. Now in 2013, Sundance brought some western heat with Ain't Them Bodies Saints, a breakthrough film for writer and director David Lowery, who also worked as an editor on other Sundance 2013 selections like Upstream Color and wrote Pit Stop. The result is a slow-burning, western thriller with magnificent visuals, conservative performances, and a spectacularly twangy score.
The 2013 Sundance Film Festival has finally come to an end and to put a wrap on things and finalize our nearly two weeks of coverage, we've got one last recap and the list of our favorites. I really had an amazing time at Sundance this year, and most of the films I caught I enjoyed. There were only a few I hated, a lot I loved, and many I can't wait to watch again. Together we saw over 30 films in total, some great, some bad, some incredible. We usually run reviews for films we enjoy, the ones we want to talk about, which is what our coverage has been. As a final recap we present our 5 favorite films, plus a rundown of everything else.
In the opening moments of director Evan Jackson Leong's documentary Linsanity, professional basketball player Jeremy Lin recalls the time that security stopped him as he walked into the player's entrance of Madison Square Gardens. They didn't recognize he actually played on the team and thought he might be a trainer. Those guys certainly weren't the only ones who didn't notice Lin, but the entire world was about to witness a meteoric rise unlike any in professional sports as the 24-year-old Harvard graduate went from an unknown to an international superstar over the course of only two weeks in 2012. Read on!
What happens when you throw Alfred Hitchcock into a blender with Chan-wook Park? You get Stoker, an ominous, outlandish, beautiful thriller with a flowing score that infects every part of the film. But while the film is certainly reminiscent of the legendary director behind such films as Vertigo, Dial M for Murder and Rear Window, an uninspiring conclusion brings down the high brought on from the first two acts, including breadcrumbs that could have led to something greater. Thankfully, the misstep in the ending wasn't enough to detract from what is otherwise an eerie, suspenseful and impeccably photographed film.
After the breakthrough Sundance selected film Like Crazy (one of my favorites of 2011) presented a familiar but authentic and emotional approach to the idea of long distance relationships, there was much anticipation for director Drake Doremus' most recent festival entry, Breathe In. Much in the same vein as Like Crazy, the film starring Guy Pearce and Felicity Jones has a story we've seen before, especially at Sundance. A young girl enters the life of a happy family and shakes their foundation by striking up a romance with the patriarch. But what separates this film from last year's similar story Nobody Walks is significantly better writing, emotionally charged performances, and a grand, majestic score to drive it home.
The world of movie trailers has never really been the same since the man with the golden voiceover, Don LaFontaine, passed away years ago. In fact, voiceover is used quite sparingly in movie trailers nowadays in favor of text bumpers. This is something that hasn't gone unnoticed by actress and filmmaker Lake Bell, and she puts this niche part of the film industry in the center of In a World…, a romantic comedy that while familiar, still has plenty of charm, laughs and a subtle but relevant feminine message from a rising female talent. And it all begins when an aspiring voice actress (Bell) is kicked out of the house by her father (Fred Melamed), at the top of his voiceover game and ready to pass the torch, but not to his daughter.
I unabashedly, unequivocally love film festivals. Even after 7 years straight of attending 11-day long fests all over the world, I still love them. Sundance 2013 has just wrapped up and I'm on my flight home from Utah now, thinking back over the last 10 days, the 30 films I saw, the people I met, the experiences that defined this year at Sundance. It was another unforgettable, exciting, iconic year for me. In fact, one of the best in a long time. I saw a grand total of 30 films, something I haven't done since 2007/2008 when I first started attending this fest. Everything worked out perfect, and while I'm exhausted, I'm extremely happy.
The official awards for the 2013 Sundance Film Festival were announced tonight at a ceremony in Park City. The Sundance awards are always very interesting to follow each year, because the winners are usually unexpected, but of course deserving of their awards. This year the two biggest winners were Ryan Coogler's Fruitvale (read our review) and Steve Hoover's doc Blood Brother, both of which won both the Audience Award and Grand Jury Prize in their respective categories. These two films, and all of the winners below, are worth watching out for when they eventually get released. Read on for the full list of 2013 winners below!