Blockbusters dominate the summer movie season, and some will definitely be worth your time. You’ll pre-order your ticket, get together with friends for the earliest possible screening, and probably have a grand time. But there are some smaller films this summer that shouldn’t escape your attention. I’ve compiled a list of ten worthwhile indie films I saw at the 2012 Toronto International Film Festival, the 2013 Sundance Film Festival, and SXSW 2013. The list includes coming of age comedies, moving romances, brutal dramas, and more. There are other smaller films this summer that might be worth a look such as The Bling Ring and Blue Jasmine, but I haven’t seen them yet. I can vouch for these ten. Hit the jump for the list.
The lineup for the 2013 Los Angeles Film Festival has been announced. Fox Searchlight’s The Way, Way Back—which marks the directorial debut of Oscar-winning The Descendants screenwriters Jim Rash and Nat Faxon—has been selected as the closing night film, while Nicolas Winding Refn’s Only God Forgives and the Sundance hits Fruitvale Station and The Spectacular Now will also fill out the festival. Additionally, the fest will host the US premiere of the sci-fi thriller Europa Report starring Sharlto Copley and there will be community screenings of Badlands, Dazed and Confused and John Waters’ Hairspray. Hit the jump for the full press release.
Release dates have been announced for a couple of anticipated 2013 features from A24 Films.
- The Bling Ring – Writer/director Sofia Coppola’s film about the group of teenagers who robbed the homes of the rich and famous between 2008 and 2009 will hit theaters in limited release on June 14th. The film stars Emma Watson, Taissa Farmiga, and Leslie Mann.
- The Spectacular Now – Director James Ponsoldt’s (Smashed) excellent teen drama made a big splash at this year’s Sundance Film Festival, and A24 has set the film for an August 2nd release. The pic stars Miles Teller and Shailene Woodley and centers on the relationship between two teenagers who are struggling with some serious issues. Read Matt’s highly positive review here.
At the very least, the 2013 Atlanta Film Festival will open strong and close great. The festival has announced that their opening night film will be Jeff Nichols‘ Mud. It’s a deeply southern film that some have compared to a lost Mark Twain novel, and it’s a fitting opener to this year’s AFF. Furthermore, the festival will close out with one of the best films I’ve seen so far this year, The Spectacular Now from Athens, Georgia native James Ponsoldt, who previously won the Atlanta Film Festival’s 2008 Screenwriting Competition and the 2003 Perfect Pitch Award. I don’t know what films will be in between, but I can say without hesitation that you should rush out to get tickets for these two movies.
Click here to go to Atlanta Film Festival’s website, and you can follow them on Twitter and Facebook. The 2013 Atlanta Film Festival runs from March 15 – 24th.
One of my favorite movies at this year’s Sundance Film Festival was director James Ponsoldt (Smashed) and writers Scott Neustadter and Michael H. Weber’s (500 Days of Summer) coming of age drama The Spectacular Now. Led by fantastic lead performances from Miles Teller and Shailene Woodley, the film is about two High School seniors that are going in opposite directions. Sutter Keely (Teller) is the life of the party and loves to drink, while Aimee Finicky (Woodley) is pretty, but shy and removed from the popular crowd. When Sutter wakes up on Aimee’s lawn after being dumped by his girlfriend, what starts off as a rebound quickly turn into something more. The film also stars Brie Larson, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Mary Elizabeth Winstead, and Kyle Chandler. For more on the film, here is Matt’s review.
The day after the world premiere I sat down with Teller and Woodley for an exclusive video interview. We talked about being at Sundance, how they got cast, the fact that the characters in the film are real and relatable, and more. In addition, each of them talks about their upcoming projects including The Amazing Spider-Man 2. Hit the jump to watch.
Ryan Coogler‘s Fruitvale made audiences at this year’s Sundance Film Festival weep with the true story of Oscar Grant, who was murdered by BART Station police in 2009. At last night’s awards ceremony, Coogler’s debut feature was awarded with both the Grand Jury Prize and the Audience Award, which made it the first film to win in both categories since 2009′s Precious. The Weinstein Company picked up the movie for $2 million after a heated bidding war, and I would expect a release sometime later this year. Click here for my review.
Other winners included This Is Martin Bonner for “Best of NEXT” (voters must have connected with a movie where nothing happens), best screenwriting for Lake Bell for In a World… (click here for my review), and Miles Teller and Shailene Woodley for their tremendous performances in The Spectacular Now. Hit the jump for the full list of winners.
One of my favorite movies at this year’s Sundance Film Festival was director James Ponsoldt (Smashed) and writers Scott Neustadter and Michael H. Weber’s (500 Days of Summer) coming of age drama The Spectacular Now. Led by fantastic lead performances from Miles Teller and Shailene Woodley, the film is about two High School seniors that are going in opposite directions. Sutter Keely (Teller) is the life of the party and loves to drink, while Aimee Finicky (Woodley) is pretty, but shy and removed from the popular crowd. When Sutter wakes up on Aimee’s lawn after being dumped by his girlfriend, what starts off as a rebound quickly turn into something more. The film also stars Brie Larson, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Mary Elizabeth Winstead, and Kyle Chandler.
The day after the world premiere I sat down with Ponsoldt and Larson for an exclusive video interview. We talked about being at Sundance, why they wanted to make the film, how things changed during production, how the characters looked and felt real, deleted scenes and more. In addition, I asked Larson if she’s going to be in the 21 Jump Street sequel and Ponsoldt talked about why he wanted to write and direct the young adult adaptation of Pure. He compared it to The Wizard of Oz and Pan’s Labyrinth and says he’s already started writing it. Hit the jump for more.
Steve, Matt, and I are currently braving the cold of Park City for the 2013 Sundance Film Festival, and following the premieres of some of the major films this past weekend, a few high profile acquisitions are taking place. Briefly:
- Don Jon’s Addiction – Joseph Gordon-Levitt’s directorial debut, a comedy that follows the life of a guido addicted to porn, has been picked up by Relativity Media for a record-breaking $4 million, per Variety. Read Matt’s review here.
- The Spectacular Now – This coming of age drama from director James Ponsoldt (Smashed) and writers Scott Neustadter and Michael H. Weber (500 Days of Summer) garnered some great buzz, and A24 films has picked up the domestic rights. Read Matt’s review here.
- Fruitvale – Fresh off its premiere on Saturday night, this Octavia Spencer and Michael B. Jordan-fronted drama is currently the “buzz” film that everyone’s rushing to see. Variety reports that the Weinstein Company is closing in on a deal worth north of $2 million following a heated bidding war.
- The Look of Love – IFC Films has picked up the rights to Michael Winterbottom’s comedy starring Steve Coogan. Read Matt’s review here.
- Austenland – The new comedy from Jerusha Hess and starring Keri Russell may be been picked up by Exclusive and FilmDistrict. [Update: Talks with FilmDistrict and Exclusive fell through, but Heat Vision reports that Sony Pictures Worldwide has now acquired distribution rights.]
Hit the jump to read the press releases.
“Live in the moment” is a nice platitude and a crappy life philosophy. Vivacity is all well and good. We should appreciate the present, but we can’t live only for the present. We have to think about tomorrow because we’re probably going to be there. In his wonderful new film The Spectacular Now, director James Ponsoldt explore the live-for-the-moment mentality with an authentic and earnest look at high school emotions, anxiety about the future, and first love. Led by extraordinary performances from stars Miles Teller and Shailene Woodley, The Spectacular Now is a thoroughly charming and surprisingly powerful coming-of-age story about the fear of looking ahead and the seductive safety of living in the present.
Some new images have cropped up today for John Moore’s A Good Day to Die Hard and James Ponsoldt’s The Spectacular Now. The fifth installment in the Die Hard series features John McClane (Bruce Willis) and his son Jack (Jai Courtney), who are seen amidst a lot of destruction in this new image. We also have an infographic from the original 1988 film, which is the first in a series that will be released for each film leading up to the February 14th release of A Good Day to Die Hard.
We’ve also got some new images that feature Shailene Woodley (The Descendants) and Miles Teller (Project X) being all young and cute in The Spectacular Now. Also starring Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Kyle Chandler, Brie Larson and Jennifer Jason Leigh, the picture debuts at Sundance this Friday. Hit the jump to see the new images.
The Sundance Film Festival recently announced the first round of programming, and we have the first images from a few of the movies playing in the U.S. Dramatic Competition:
- Mother of George - Directed by Andrew Dosunmu, starring Isaach De Bankolé, Danai Gurira, Anthony Okungbowa, Yaya Alafia, and Bukky Ajayi.
- The Lifeguard - Written and directed by Liz W. Garcia, starring Kristen Bell, Mamie Gummer, Martin Starr, Alex Shaffer, Amy Madigan, and David Lambert.
- The Spectacular Now - Directed by James Ponsoldt, starring Miles Teller, Shailene Woodley, Brie Larson, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Mary Elizabeth Winstead, and Kyle Chandler.
- Touchy Feely - Written and directed by Lynn Shelton, starring Rosemarie DeWitt, Allison Janney, Ron Livingston, Scoot McNairy, Ellen Page, and Josh Pais.
Hit the jump for the images and synopses. The 2013 Sundance Film Festival runs January 17-27.
The 2013 Sundance Film Festival is a little under two months away, and the first exciting lineups of films have been announced. Today the lineups for U.S. and World Cinema Dramatic and Documentary Competitions were unveiled, as well as the lineup for the out-of-competitions NEXT section. A few highlights include the Daniel Radcliffe-fronted Kill Your Darlings, the outlaw pic Ain’t Them Bodies Saints with Rooney Mara and Casey Affleck, the strong ensemble The Spectacular Now, Primer director Shane Carruth’s new film Upstream Color, and many, many more.
Hit the jump to check out the full lineups, and be sure to check back here on Collider in January for our in-depth coverage from the festival including reviews and interviews. The 2013 Sundance Film Festival runs January 17 – 27.
The indie dramedy Smashed follows Kate (Mary Elizabeth Winstead) and Charlie (Breaking Bad’s Aaron Paul), a young married couple who prefer to drink than deal with their own demons. But, when Kate’s drinking puts her job as a school teacher in jeopardy, it scares her into wanting to join AA and get sober. Directed by James Ponsoldt, he film also stars Octavia Spencer, Megan Mullally, Nick Offerman and Mary Kay Place.
At the film’s press day, actress Mary Elizabeth Winstead spoke to Collider for this exclusive interview about why she wanted to make an independent film, what attracted her to this specific project, the research she did for the role, finding the awkward humor, and how important it was that her character did not just have an easy road to recovery. She also talked about re-teaming with Ponsoldt for The Spectacular Now, what attracted her to A Glimpse Inside the Mind of Charlie Swan III, and going to Budapest for A Good Day to Die Hard. Check out what she had to say after the jump.
Kyle Chandler, Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Bob Odenkirk, and Andre Royo have joined James Ponsoldt‘s indie flick The Spectacular Now. The quartet of talented actors has joined a rapidly expanding cast that also includes Shailene Woodley, Miles Teller, Brie Larson, Kaitlyn Dever, Masam Holden, and Dayo Okeniyi. The coming-of-age story is based on the novel by Tim Tharp, and follows a live-for-the-moment high school senior (Teller) who develops a relationship with a “mercurial introvert” (Woodley). At first, it sounds like the painful garbage of stuff like The Art of Getting By and Restless, but then the synopsis gets interesting: “As their relationship deepens, the lines between right and wrong, friendship and love, saving and corrupting, become inextricably blurred.” It sounds like this movie could go to some dark, interesting places that quirky coming-of-age indies avoid like the plague. Then again, screenwriters Scott Neustadter and Michael H. Weber‘s (500) Days of Summer was twee beyond belief, and was only saved by Marc Webb‘s direction and Joseph Gordon-Levitt‘s performance.
Hit the jump for details on who the new cast members will be playing.
A bunch of TV stars found their way into the movies and one Hunger Games actor saw the odds turn in his favor. Here’s your big-screen casting round-up:
- Ryan Kwanten (True Blood) will star in independent Canadian comedy Sex and Sunsets.
- Dianna Agron (Glee) will join Robert De Niro and Michelle Pfeiffer in Luc Besson’s action-comedy Malavita
- Gillian Jacobs (Community) will co-star in horror-comedy Milo
- The Hunger Games’ Dayo Okeniyi will play in Runner Runner starring Ben Affleck and indie high school drama The Spectacular Now
Hit the jump for more on all four projects.