› Taika Waititi Talks Comedy
› Birth of a Nation's Nate Parker
› X-Mas Dir. Jonathan Levine
› Son of Saul Dir. László Nemes
› Actor Jason Segel on DFW
› Beasts Dir. Cary Fukunaga
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Follow Our Coverage of the 2016 Sundance Film Festival
"Your dad is a good man. He's got some demons, but you know, we all do." Lionsgate has debuted a trailer for the comedy The Confirmation, written/directed by Bob Nelson. It stars Clive Owen as an alcoholic, down-on-his-luck carpenter who must take care of his eight-year-old son Anthony, played by Jaeden Lieberher, while his mother and her new husband go to a Catholic retreat. As much as that doesn't sound like a comedy, there is some levity in the dialogue after the situation they find themselves in when Walt's toolbox is stolen. Also starring Patton Oswalt, Robert Forster, Tim Blake Nelson, Matthew Modine & Maria Bello. This looks better than I was expecting, but not sure if it'll be that good. Take a look below.
Through the hazy light that seeps in via Venetian blinds and in the midst of the cold, dark hallways that make up the world in Jacob Gentry's Synchronicity, a mind-bending, sci-fi love story unfolds. Much of what plays out rests in familiar territory. The general design of the futuristic (but not quite future?) world is more than a little reminiscent of Ridley Scott's Blade Runner. But that familiarity in structure only serves the love story Gentry is telling, the greater of the two mysteries with which the filmmaker presents. With focus, determined pace, and nice swaths of dry humor, Synchronicity emerges as more than the sum of its influences' parts. Gentry succeeds in creating the world, implications and subtext of the story he's telling.
"It's time to follow my own path… My name is Kubo - this is my story." This looks awesome, seriously! Focus Features has unveiled a new trailer for the Laika stop-motion animation film Kubo and the Two Strings. We featured the first official teaser trailer late last year, and this new full-length trailer looks even better, sharing so many intriguing moments (the giant wave, the birds and the snow). I love that Laika is embracing this kind of dark, fantastical adventure, and I can't wait to see this. Art Parkinson voices Kubo, and the full cast includes Rooney Mara, Charlize Theron, Matthew McConaughey, Ralph Fiennes, Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa & George Takei. I'm more and more impressed by Laika every film they make.
"Can anyone see what's going on here?" Sony has unveiled a second trailer for their upcoming animated The Angry Birds Movie, which even features a Michael Jackson song, because what better way to sell this junk than connect it with Michael Jackson. This animated movie is based on the popular video game series and it seems about as completely brainless as the games, without much of an interesting story. The voice cast includes Jason Sudeikis, Kate McKinnon, Bill Hader, Maya Rudolph, Josh Gad, Danny McBride and Peter Dinklage as the voice of Mighty Eagle. This doesn't look like it's worth seeing unless you have kids, but give it a look anyway in case anyone is curious to see how they turned this into a movie.
It's time to rise up, to revolt, and to inspire real change. The Birth of a Nation is the feature directorial debut of actor Nate Parker, who has been working on this project for the last seven years. Parker writes, directs, produces and stars in this cinematic story of Nat Turner, a real-life slave in the 1800s who leads an uprising in Virginia. His legacy is meant to inspire "change agents", and for years his story was covered up to prevent this from happening. But now the story has been told (again after being published in books), exquisitely, and Parker's take on Nat Turner is a triumph. It's a sensational, riveting film that spends less time on the revolt itself, more on the man that realizes he is the one who must passionately lead an uprising.
There's nothing like great music that makes you so happy you want to get up and dance. The latest film from John Carney, the Irish director who broke out with the musical Once at Sundance in 2007, is called Sing Street and it's utterly joyful. It's almost an Irish version of School of Rock amped up to 11, but there's such an unique, energetic, exciting vibe to it, I think it's time to proclaim Sing Street as the new winner of the Battle of the Bands. Sing Street so much fun to watch, but it's also genuinely passionate about encouraging the weirdos and oddballs to be whatever they want. Sing your heart out, fight against authority, be someone.
This is badass! The Raid 1 & 2 director Gareth Evans has released a short film online that he produced entirely on his own. It's a short samurai film shot in Wales that is a test sequence to prove that they can film action similar to The Raid films but with a PG-13 rating. The main cast includes Hannah Al Rashid, Yayan Ruhian and Cecep Arif Rahman. This isn't anything more than a test sequence, but it's awesome to see and hopefully good inspiration for filmmakers trying to figure out how to shoot action. I dig the black & white style, as it allows the viewer to appreciate the composition. I'm a fan of Gareth Evans (watch my interview from a few years ago) and I think he's one of the most talented action directors making films today. Enjoy!
It's always exciting to see films at the Sundance Film Festival that mark the feature directorial debut of ambitious, talented storytellers. A majority of the films they program at the festival are small features made on extremely limited budgets that become the breakout project for many people. That is definitely the case for JD Dillard, director of the film Sleight, which is part of the NeXT category. Sleight is about a young street magician living in Los Angeles that must fight off a drug lord using his intelligence and natural talent in order to save his younger sister and win over a girl. It's a fairly simple story, but the film is still awesome.
The future of law enforcement. We are happy to premiere this new screen print being sold by Grey Matter Art. GMA is working with MGM to distribute this officially-licensed print for Paul Verhoeven's classic uber-violent 1987 sci-fi RoboCop, with artwork designed by Kilian Eng. This fantastic 24" x 36" print will be available in limited quantities starting Wednesday (January 27th), and also has a variant version (both seen below). Eng is a fan-favorite artist in the poster community, and has created a few great designs over the years (like this vinyl art for Oblivion). Big fans of the original RoboCop should be very interested in this.
"Enemies will unite. Worlds will collide." Legendary has debuted the first official TV spot for the upcoming Warcraft movie (even though we already posted an international TV spot previously) based on the World of Warcraft games. Duncan Jones (of Moon, Source Code) directs this massive fantasy epic, involving a giant battle between Orcs and Humans, starring Travis Fimmel, Robert Kazinsky, Ben Foster, Paula Patton & Dominic Cooper. The more we see of this as we get closer to release, the better it looks, the rendering of the Orcs is actually starting to get to the level of Avatar. Take a closer look at the footage in this. Don't give up hope yet! This is still a Duncan Jones movie, and I expect it to be entertaining at the very least. Enjoy!
Pretty much everyone who loves movies is a fan of the Before Sunrise/Sunset/Midnight series from Richard Linklater. They represent the pinnacle of love stories in cinema, and they're hard to top. The closest any film has come to feeling like this is Richard Tanne's Southside With You, a story about Barack Obama's first date with Michelle Robinson in Chicago in back in 1989, many years before he would become President of the United States. The film just premiered at the Sundance Film Festival in the same venue where I saw, and went head over heels crazy for just a few years ago, Linklater's Before Midnight. It's a very sweet, engaging, and inspiring love story that unfolds as Barack takes Michelle around the city over the course of one day.
"Introducing Ricky Baker. He's a real bad egg." The very first teaser trailer for one of the best films from Sundance this year has debuted online. The latest film from Kiwi filmmaker/comedian Taika Waititi is the survival adventure Hunt for the Wilderpeople, starring Sam Neill and newcomer Julian Dennison as the "bad egg" Ricky Baker. He plays a foster care kid with a history of causing trouble who is taken out to a home in the countryside, and ends up going on the run in the "bush" with his uncle. The two figure out how to survive, and it's a entertaining experience full of heart and humor. I wrote in my review from Sundance: it's a "film that makes me feel good, that made me laugh my ass off, and made my smile out of happiness".