ENJOY THE SHOW
The sun shines brightly over the city as I arrive into San Sebastian, warming it up to a nice 86 degrees at the peak of the day. The summer may just about be over (according to the calendar), but here it still feels like it's far from done. Kicking off today is the San Sebastián Film Festival (known officially as the Festival de San Sebastián or Donostia Zinemaldia) now in its 67th year. The town of San Sebastian is located on the northern coast of Spain, in Basque Country, not too far from the French border and not too far from the city Bilboa. There's a stunning curved beach that runs through the center of town, crowded with many people enjoying the sand and waves while it's still warm. The festival's logo is a sea shell, of course, along with the top prize being the Golden Shell - which couldn't be more fitting. I'm just here to keep watching more films.
"When I met you, it was like, you weren't scared of anything." The fall festival season has begun! What are the best of the films I've seen so far? While the Toronto Film Festival is still underway, the 2019 Venice Film Festival has wrapped up. All the big awards were handed out over the weekend (and Joker won the Golden Lion!) and things are settling down after 11 days of excitement. To recap my experiences watching 25 films at the festival this year, below I present my list of my Top 5 Favorite Films from the 76th Venice Film Festival. These are my favorite films, not necessarily the best ones at the 2019 festival, but the films that I enjoyed the most - for various reasons. As always, I can't see everything at the festival, and not everyone will enjoy the same films, but I'm happy to report that most of my colleagues felt the same way about these five.
Teaser mania! Creating and premiering a perfect teaser trailer is an art. Or at least, it used to be, a long lost art that Hollywood doesn't seem to care much about anymore. There are a few exceptions - Christopher Nolan's teaser trailers still have an art to them, showing little (or sometimes no footage) yet still making us excited for what's to come. Our friend Anton Volkov recently wrote an article wondering if teaser trailers are dying out, saying: "in today's age of spoiler paranoia, one would think that these more-restrained looks at upcoming films would be more beneficial, as more audiences start to care about not having their experience of seeing the full film for the first time ruined." Teasers had their golden age in the 1980s, and that lasted through the 1990s, too. Recently a number of teasers only available on 35mm or on VHS have appeared on YouTube, and below we've featured 12 of them you must see for yourself. A look back at Hollywood history.
With Legendary Pictures' Godzilla: King of the Monsters set to stomp its way into theaters on May 31st, I took it upon myself to put together a fun introductory guide for anyone looking to learn more about the long-running kaiju movie franchise. While I have enjoyed seeing superhero epics and other genre property hit the mainstream, I grew up a big fan of Godzilla, and have spent this past year going from enthusiast to pro on the famed monster and all that comes with it (follow me @AaronsPS4). Plenty of others may have a handle on some of the Godzilla basics: his main adversaries, and even some favorite entries from the 32-film Toho-produced series. Others may, unfortunately, only know Godzilla from his disastrous 1998 American feature (directed by Roland Emmerich), or purely the camp value associated with the series. So, I'm here to provide a crash course on the atomic beast, some of the more notable Godzilla films, and other related fun.
What are the best films out of this year's Cannes Film Festival? Which ones should you be taking an interest in? What films should be a priority for you to see? After 12 days at the 72nd Cannes Film Festival, after 30 screenings, it's time to present my 2019 list of my Top 9 Favorite Films. This was my 10th time back to this festival, and I love being there in the middle of all, committing fully to seeing as many films as I can. These nine listed below are the ones that I adore, that connected with me emotionally or intellectually, and I hope everyone plans to check them out when they arrive in their neighborhood. They are worth the wait. There were many outstanding films this year, and this is my final recap of the 2019 festival - see all of these.
"I had lunch with Scacchi and Makavejev at that 1985 festival, playing the fly on the wall while they tested each other. Their conversation was a sparring match that suggested they had fought great battles on the set of The Coca-Cola Kid, while still remaining friends. We were sitting on a balcony at the Martinez." To celebrate my 10th time attending the Cannes Film Festival this year, I held a small contest to giveaway 10 copies of Roger Ebert's classic book about his experiences at the festival. The book, titled "Two Weeks in the Midday Sun: A Cannes Notebook", is one of my favorite books about cinema that I've ever read. He wrote little notes, drew sketches, and essentially "blogged" about his time at the 1987 Cannes Film Festival - it's stirring and entertaining to see how much his stories mirror my own experiences. I wanted to share this little-known book with other cinephiles and gave out 10 copies to people I met with during the 2019 festival.
I'm celebrating my 10th year attending the Cannes Film Festival, after first coming here in 2009. I love this festival, and I always love coming back, and I always say this every year. But this year, in honor of my 10th time here, I've decided to do something special. I'm giving away 10 copies of the classic Ebert book: "Two Weeks in the Midday Sun: A Cannes Notebook". Ebert wrote this book while at the 1987 Cannes Film Festival and it was first published later that year. It became lost in time, until I was introduced to it before coming to Cannes in 2014. I wrote a series of blog posts that year referencing this book and mirroring my own experiences. And I've never forgotten about it. The book was republished (with a new intro by Martin Scorsese!) a few years back and is now widely available (check Amazon) in case you want to read it yourself.
"All I want is for people to understand the human implications." Some may known him as Bill S. Preston, Esq. Others may known him as the director of the acclaimed technology documentaries Downloaded, Deep Web, The Panama Papers, and Trust Machine: The Story of Blockchain. His name is Alex Winter (you can follow him on Twitter @Winter), and he's an actor, a writer, a filmmaker, a producer, a journalist, and much more. I have become a big fan of Winter's documentaries over the years, he's one of a few filmmakers who actually understands the internet, and presents it in an intelligent and digestible way. Last year, two of his new documentaries premiered - The Panama Papers, about all the journalists who reported on the Panama Papers leak; and Trust Machine: The Story of Blockchain, about the origins and implications of blockchain (aka encrypted digital distributed ledgers), the latest technology fad that's sweeping the world.
The 2018 Sundance Film Festival has finally come to an end and to put a wrap on the fest and finalize our nearly two weeks of coverage, it's time to present our Best of the Fest list. I was able to see a total of 44 films across 10 days, but I couldn't catch everything and missed a few films getting lots of good buzz from critics (e.g. The Souvenir, Them That Follow, Queen of Hearts, Monos). I saw around 12 documentaries this year, so instead of separating docs and features this year, I decided to present one big list of my 8 favorite films - a mix of docs and features. All of these films below are worth seeing, and I highly recommend seeking them out. I am so happy that Sundance continues to program some of the best films all year, as well as more innovative, unique, challenging, fascinating, and enchanting features from all over the world. Below are my favorites, the films that stuck with me and have remained on my mind throughout the festival. Let's dive in.
"I keep feeling like big moments get stolen away from me." Another year, another Top 10 list. And although we're already well into 2019, it's never too late to share this list. It's time to present my personal list of my Top 10 Favorite Films of 2018. Admittedly, it's always a challenge for me to put together a Top 10 list, just because there's never enough time to watch (and rewatch) everything. Many of these I really wanted to see again before writing about. So I just have to go with what I feel in my gut. My top three this year are some of the most innovative, ambitious, and awe-inspiring films I've seen in a long time - and I love them all in equal measure. So I ranked them here anyway but could easily switch them around depending on how I feel each day. But I am more than happy to reveal my favorites, all the films I fell madly in love with in 2018.
Back to Sundance we go for another year of discovery. What's on the line-up this year? Out of the 110+ films showing at the 2019 Sundance Film Festival, I've chosen 10 that I'm looking forward to seeing the most. To keep things well balanced, I've chosen 5 feature films and 5 documentaries from the line-up. There are so many films playing at the fest, and so many I'll end up seeing (30+), that this is a quick list to get everyone acquainted with some of the work premiering in 2019 (I just want to go see everything). There are new films from filmmakers like Ritesh Batra and Lulu Wang, and incredible documentaries that are also worthy of our attention, plus many other films. You never really know what will good or bad, but here's my first few picks.
Over the last 12 months, I've seen more than 110 new releases — that's over nine days of time in total spent watching movies — and I'm happy to report that it's been an exceptional year at the cinema. In fact, I could probably make a Top 50 Best Films of 2018 list and still leave off a few notable titles. Just think about it – we got to see vital new work from visionary filmmakers like Steven Spielberg, Alex Garland, Alfonso Cuaron, Spike Lee, Lynne Ramsay, and newcomer Boots Riley, whose Sorry to Bother You is one of the most unique and refreshingly original movies of the year. We witnessed fantastic performances by Lady Gaga, Ethan Hawke, Rachel Weisz, Emma Stone, Mahershala Ali, Richard E. Grant, as well as Christian Bale. We saw breathtakingly beautiful films like Roma, The Favourite, If Beale Street Could Talk, and First Man – works of flawless craftsmanship by cinematographers and production designers alike.