ENJOY THE SHOW
"Not man. Not machine. More." One of the biggest surprises of the year is an action sci-fi titled Upgrade, the second feature film directed by Australian filmmaker/writer Leigh Whannell. Whannell has worked in Hollywood for over a decade. He broke in with a little indie called Saw, which premiered at the Sundance Film Festival in 2004 and went on to become, well, a succesful franchise and a massive hit. Whannell wrote the script for it with James Wan, and starred in it, then continued his career mostly as a screenwriter & producer. The first film he directed was Insidious: Chapter 3 in 2015, jumping in the hot seat with another horror franchise he co-created with James Wan. Upgrade is Whannell's first time going all out, directing an original screenplay he wrote, working with Blumhouse and mega-producer Jason Blum to get the film made.
It all began in 2015. After seeing Star Wars: The Force Awakens, we started messaging each other furiously. For nearly two weeks there was non-stop chatter - on theories, ideas, things to look for, things we noticed, fleeting thoughts, any- and everything related to the movie. Two years went by, and after many many more text message debates like this, Mike and I decided to launch a podcast so we could just talk directly about everything. So in December of 2017, with the release of Star Wars: The Last Jedi, we launched The First Word Podcast - in-depth discussion, analysis, and interviews about the latest movies, and some old ones, too. We just released our 10th episode this week, so it's time for a recap of all the episodes so far. You know, in case you might've missed one. Or maybe you've never listened? There's no better time to start than now.
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 71st Cannes Film Festival, after 33 screenings, it's time to present my 2018 list of my Top 8 Favorite Films. This was my 9th 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 eight 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 2018 festival - see all of these.
"I'm not interested in making a film for a niche audience. I want to make films about people who we don't usually see, but for a wider audience so they can all relate to it." One of the best films I saw at a festival last year was The Rider, a film by Chloe Zhao, set in the heartland of America about a broken cowboy trying to maintain his identity. The film left me an emotional mess, in the best kind of way, and I wrote a glowing review after catching it at the London Film Festival. The person who made this is a Beijing-born filmmaker named Chloé Zhao, and she has many stories to tell - not only her own, about everyone she encounters. I was lucky to meet with her for an interview and to talk about The Rider, and the art of minimal filmmaking.
"For me, the movies are like a machine that generates empathy… It lets you understand a little bit more about different hopes, aspirations, dreams…" Roger Ebert nailed it with that speech. It can't really be said any better. As someone who has dedicated all their time to the glory of movies, I am already madly in love with them. I've watched the Academy Awards every year for as long as I can remember. During the Oscars show this year, they aired two incredible movie montages, and a few other segments that were some of the best they've made in years. Did they finally hire some of the best supercut editors from Vimeo/YouTube? It seems like it. The main "90 Years of Oscars" montage is one of their best ever - it'll whisk you away into the amazing, exhilarating, breathtaking, beautiful world of movies, and remind you why we love them so much.
The 90th Academy Awards are upon us and it's time to watch the show and discover the winners of the most prestigious award in Hollywood. The Oscar ceremony is being broadcast live from the Dolby Theatre in Hollywood with the esteemed Jimmy Kimmel as our host of the show this year. There are nine excellent Best Picture nominees, and I'm looking forward to finally seeing who wins - no one really knows what it will be. It has been a very interesting awards season, with all kinds of surprises and major moments. It's finally time to find out who is taking home all the Oscars, and who isn't, at the Academy Awards. The full list of nominees below will be updated with winners marked once announced live tonight - refresh for all updates.
Read on for a complete list of #Oscars2018 nominees & winners. Let us know what you think of the results!
This will be updated throughout the night to reflect the winners as revealed. Additionally, I might be adding a small bit of editorial commentary beneath each category. Winners are highlighted in BOLD below.
Another year at the Berlin Film Festival, another set of invigorating discoveries. Every time I attend fests in Europe, I discover exceptional films and documentaries that have barely been mentioned in America yet. I feel like this is a chance for me to bring attention to these films, in hopes others will discover them and be moved, or influenced, or inspired. Great films are deeply emotional and affecting for good reason, because cinema is more than just entertainment. And these films prove that. This year, I fell for a doc about tennis, and a doc about a musician. I also flipped for an Austrian coming-of-age drama, and I can't stop thinking about two very upsetting films - one about a terrible shooting in Norway, the other about a journalist falling in love with an ISIS recruiter over the internet. These are my 8 favorite films from Berlinale 2018 below.
"And the Oscar goes to…" With less than a week until the Academy Awards ceremony (on Sunday, March 4th), the discussions are heating up about who should / will / might win. Danish film podcast Filmnørdens Hjørne put together a special video titled "The 2018 Academy Awards Montage", taking us on a journey through some (but not all!) of the Oscar nominees from 2017. We've seen videos like this before, including one supercut of all of the nominees, but this is an exhilarating reminder of how exciting movies are. Editor Casper Christensen says: "You see these kinds of things during awards shows, and I always love how they make me want to see the movies they show clips from. So here's my bid for an Academy Awards montage."
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 42 films across 10 days, but I couldn't catch everything and missed a few films getting lots of buzz (Burden, Madeline's Madeline, Never Going Back, Monster, Yardie). I saw a total of 10 documentaries, so instead of separating docs and features this year, I decided to present one big list of my 8 favorite films (in honor of it being 2018). There was no Call Me By Your Name this year (that one stayed my #1 the entire year), but I enjoyed so many other wonderful films and I'm happy I could see so many at the festival. Let's get into this.
Another year, another Sundance. There's no place I'd rather be. I'm so so happy to be back again. This is my 12th year in a row returning to the Sundance Film Festival in Park City, and I'm totally ready to jump in and start watching films. I've written so many of these introductory posts over the years, and I'm well aware that I usually just keep saying the same things over and over. But really, it's how things are at the start. It's all fresh - we have no idea what we're about to see, we don't really know which films will be good or bad, we don't know what we'll discover, we don't know what we'll end up loving (or hating) by the end. It's exciting to be here, nervously waiting for the doors to open and the projectors to fire up. Let's go watch some films.
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 2018 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 2018 (I just want to go see everything). There are new films from great filmmakers like Desiree Akhavan and Reed Morano, and docs about Robin Williams and Fred Rogers, and many other films. You never know what will good or bad, but here's my first few picks for 2018.
Looking for a bit of inspiration about how to make a timeless action scene? Watch this stellar shot-by-shot breakdown video of the "Desert Chase" scene from Spielberg's Raiders of the Lost Ark, made by Greek editor / filmmaker Antonios Papantoniou. Papantoniou makes many of these shot-by-shot breakdowns, but this is one of the best videos for a truly iconic action scene. The chase occurs in Raiders roughly halfway through when the Nazis try to take off with the Ark, and Indy (Harrison Ford) goes after them. This is a very intense, detailed breakdown discussing literally every last aspect - the shots, lenses, movements, everything. Dang, after this video, I just want to watch all the Indiana Jones films in a back-to-back marathon. Classics.