Sundance 2015: First Images From THE DIARY OF A TEENAGE GIRL, THE STANFORD PRISON EXPERIMENT, UNEXPECTED, and THE WITCH

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The 2015 Sundance Film Festival just announced the films that will be screening in the U.S. Dramatic Competition.  We’ve got the first images and synopses from the following movies that will be playing in that category:

  • The Diary of a Teenage Girl – Written and directed by Marielle Heller; starring Bel Powley, Alexander Skarsgård, Christopher Meloni, and Kristen Wiig.
  • The Stanford Prison Experiment – Directed by Kyle Patrick Alvarez; written by Tim Talbott; starring Billy Crudup, Ezra Miller, Michael Angarano, Tye Sheridan, Johnny Simmons, and Olivia Thirlby.
  • Unexpected – Directed by Kris Swanberg; written by Kris Swanberg and Megan Mercier; starring Cobie Smulders, Anders Holm, Gail Bean, and Elizabeth McGovern.
  • The Witch – Written and directed by Robert Eggers; starring Anya Taylor Joy, Ralph Ineson, Kate Dickie, Harvey Scrimshaw, Lucas Dawson, and Ellie Grainger.

Hit the jump for the images and synopses.  The 2015 Sundance Film Festival runs January 22nd – February 1st.

Sundance 2015: First STOCKHOLM, PENNSYLVANIA Image Reveals Saoirse Ronan; Plus First Images from SONGS MY BROTHERS TAUGHT ME

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We’ve been sharing a number of first look images at the films that will be showcased in the U.S. Dramatic Competition category at the upcoming 2015 Sundance Film Festival, and here are two more:

  • Stockholm, Pennsylvania – Written and directed by Nikole Beckwith; Starring Saoirse Ronan, Cynthia Nixon, Jason Isaacs, and David Warshofsky.
  • Songs My Brothers Taught Me – Written and directed by Chloé Zhao; Starring John Reddy, Jashaun St. John, Irene Bedard, Taysha Fuller, Travis Lone Hill, and Eleonore Hendricks.

Check out the debut images and synopses for the aforementioned films after the jump.  The 2015 Sundance Film Festival runs from January 22nd to February 1st.

Sundance 2015: First Images from THE D TRAIN, ME AND EARL AND THE DYING GIRL, I SMILE BACK, and THE OVERNIGHT

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Sundance just announced the lineup for its U.S. Competition category for the upcoming 2015 Sundance Film Festival, and in the process they unveiled first look images from some of the films that will debut in Park City.  Briefly:

  • The D Train – Written and directed by Jarrad Paul and Andrew Mogel; Starring Jack Black, James Marsden, Kathryn Hahn, Jeffrey Tambor, Mike White, and Kyle Bornheimer.
  • Me and Earl and the Dying Girl – Directed by Alfonso Gomez-Rejon; Starring Thomas Mann, RJ Cyler, Olivia Cooke, Nick Offerman, Connie Britton, and Molly Shannon.
  • I Smile Back – Directed by Adam Salky; Starring Sarah Silverman, Josh Charles, Thomas Sadoski, Mia Barron, Terry Kinney, and Chris Sarandon.
  • The Overnight – Written and Directed by Patrick Brice; Starring Adam Scott, Taylor Schilling, Jason Schwartzman, and Judith Godreche.

Check out the images and synopses after the jump.

Sundance Announces U.S. and World Competition Films and NEXT Category for 2015 Festival

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The countdown to the 2015 Sundance Film Festival has officially begun.  Today, the festival announced its lineup for films in the U.S. Competition, World Competition, and NEXT categories for next month’s fest, and they’re chock-full of promising titles including the post-apocalyptic Z for Zachariah starring Margot Robbie and Chiwetel Ejiofor, the Jack Black comedy The D Train, and much more.  Sundance always highlights the best and brightest in independent filmmaking, often serving as the debut for eventual hits like Whiplash and Fruitvale Station.  But the real treat of the festival is the discovery aspect of it all.

Check out the full 2015 Sundance Film Festival lineup for the U.S. Competition, World Competition, and NEXT categories after the jump, and stay tuned for some first look images, and of course our extensive coverage from the festival in January.  The 2015 Sundance Film Festival runs from January 22nd to February 1st.

Director Maya Forbes Talks INFINITELY POLAR BEAR, Tackling the Issue of Mental Illness, Mark Ruffalo, the Difficulty of Getting Films Made as a Woman, and More

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One of the rare films to play at both Sundance and the Toronto International Film Festival was writer-director Maya Forbes’ Infinitely Polar Bear.  Based on her own childhood experiences, the film takes place in 1978 Boston and stars Mark Ruffalo as a manic-depressive father struggling to raise his young daughters while also trying to win back his wife (Zoe Saldana).  Loaded with fantastic performances and a great script that’s able to keep Ruffalo sympathetic even when he’s causing serious problems, Forbes’ debut feature really impressed me, and you should look forward to seeing it for yourself next year in theaters.

Shortly after the TIFF premiere I landed an exclusive interview with Maya Forbes.  During the interview she talked about getting to be part of Sundance and TIFF, her first cut of the film and what she cut out, the subject matter and how there is an element of fortuitousness to the timing of the movie with mental illness being talked about in the media, putting together the financing, casting Mark Ruffalo, being truthful while also making an entertaining movie, when we’ll see a trailer, and a lot more.  Hit the jump for what she had to say.

THE RED ROAD Review: New Sundance Drama Is Sinister

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The Sundance Channel had an outstanding track record in 2013 for delivering some of the best television not only of the year, but in recent memory.  However, most of its programming was rebroadcast from other (usually foreign) markets, with only the excellent Rectify being a wholly-owned production.  The Red Road is now the second production that Sundance owns outright, and it falls in step with much of the channel’s “new for you” programming, including Top of the Lake and The Returned.  But it’s a tricky line to walk sometimes for dramas to have enough momentum to keep them from becoming too mired in darkness.  Hit the jump to see which side of the line The Red Road falls on.

Miles Teller Talks WHIPLASH, the Film’s Themes of Sacrifice and the Price of Greatness, the Fast Production Schedule, and More at Sundance

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One of my favorite films at this year’s Sundance Film Festival was writer/director Damien Chazelle’s Whiplash.  The film stars Miles Teller as an aspiring jazz drummer who aspires to greatness under a ruthless instructor, played brilliantly by J.K. Simmons.  While the film focuses on musicians, it’s really about anyone trying to become great at something and the cost of achieving said goal.  Trust me, it’s a great movie, and one you’ll be able to see by the end of the year because Sony Pictures Classics picked up the film for domestic distribution.  Whiplash also won both the Audience Award and the Grand Jury Prize for the U.S. Dramatic competition at Sundance.  For more on the film, read Matt’s review.

The day after the world premiere, I landed a video interview with Teller.  He talked about being at Sundance two years in a row, how he only wrapped on Whiplash in October, working with J.K. Simmons, the film’s themes of sacrifice and the price of greatness, the Divergent sequel, and more.  Hit the jump to watch.

Director Damien Chazelle, Paul Reiser and Austin Stowell Talk WHIPLASH at Sundance 2014

by     Posted 322 days ago

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One of my favorite films at this year’s Sundance Film Festival was writer/director Damien Chazelle’s Whiplash.  The film stars Miles Teller as an aspiring jazz drummer who aspires to greatness under a ruthless instructor, played brilliantly by J.K. Simmons.  While the film focuses on musicians, it’s really about anyone trying to become great at something and the cost of achieving said goal.  Trust me, it’s a great movie, and one you’ll be able to see by the end of the year because Sony Pictures Classics picked up the film for domestic distribution.  Whiplash also won both the Audience Award and the Grand Jury Prize for the U.S. Dramatic competition at Sundance.  For more on the film, read Matt’s review.

While at Sundance, I landed a short video interview with director Damien Chazelle, Paul Reiser (who plays Teller’s dad) and Austin Stowell (another drum student).  They talked about the positive reaction to the film, whether the project changed during development, the making of the film, getting it ready for Sundance, and more.  Hit the jump to watch.

Kurt Russell and Directors Chapman Way & Maclain Way Talk THE BATTERED BASTARDS OF BASEBALL, the Feature Adaptation, and More at Sundance 2014

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One of the more talked-about documentaries from this year’s Sundance Film Festival was The Battered Bastards of Baseball.  Directed by Chapman Way and Maclain Way, the film chronicles Bonanza actor Bing Russell’s formation of the independent baseball team the Portland Mavericks and the ensuing confrontation with organized baseball.  Quite a few people—including our own Matt Goldberg—were fans of the documentary, and it’s incredible story led Justin Lin to purchase narrative remake rights with the intention to produce via his Perfect Storm banner.  Early word has Todd Field (Little Children) in talks to write and direct, which is perfect since Field was one of the bat boys for the Mavericks and is featured in the documentary.  Who better to write and direct the adaptation than someone that saw the events unfold first hand?

While at Sundance, I landed an exclusive interview with the Ways and Bing Russell’s son Kurt Russell, who is also featured in the film, and served as the team’s vice president and designated hitter.   They talked about premiering at Sundance, making the film, how they put together the financing, the crazy true story of the Mavericks, how they acquired the footage, if Russell would consider playing his dad in a feature remake, and a lot more.  Hit the jump for what they had to say.

Gareth Evans Talks THE RAID 2, Deleted Scenes, the Budget, the MPAA, John Woo, THE RAID 3, IRON FIST, Future Projects, Hollywood, and More at Sundance

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gareth-evans-the-raid-2-interview-sliceOne of my favorite films at this year’s Sundance Film Festival was writer-director Gareth Evans’ The Raid 2.   Picking up right where the first film left off, the sequel follows Rama (Iko Uwais) as he goes undercover and infiltrates the ranks of a ruthless Jakarta crime syndicate in order to protect his family and uncover the corruption in his own police force.   Loaded with some of the best action sequences I’ve ever seen, The Raid 2 is truly a must-see movie.  Thankfully, with a March 28th release date, you won’t have to wait too long to check it out (although it might be trimmed down a bit because of the extreme violence).  The film also stars Julie EstelleAlex AbbadMarsha TimothyArifin Putra, Mathias MuchusTio Pakusadewo, and Cecep Arif Rahman.

The morning after the world premiere, I landed an extended video interview with Evans.  During our wide-ranging conversation (which is spoiler free), he talked about the pressure to raise the bar with the sequel, his writing process, the length of the shoot (132 days), the size of the budget ($4.5 million), deleted scenes, if he’ll release an extended cut on Blu-ray, how the MPAA might react to the film, how close the Sundance cut will be to the final version released in theaters, the status and subject of The Raid 3, his thoughts on the Marvel superhero Iron Fist, if he’s interested in directing it, future projects, his favorite John Woo movie, and so much more.  If you’re a fan of Gareth Evans, I promise you will love this interview.  Hit the jump to watch.

Songwriters Jenny Lewis & Johnathan Rice Talk SONG ONE, the Emotional Importance of the Songs, and More at Sundance 2014

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One of the many films to premiere at this year’s Sundance Film Festival was Song One, the directorial debut of Kate Barker-Froyland.  The film stars Anne Hathaway as a young woman who returns home after her brother is injured (Ben Rosenfield) and romantically connects with his favorite musician (Johnny Flynn).  Set against the backdrop of the Brooklyn music scene, Song One also stars Mary Steenburgen as Hathaway’s mom, which is perfect casting.

The day after the premiere, I landed an exclusive video interview with songwriters Jenny Lewis & Johnathan Rice. They talked about how they got involved, their songwriting process for the film, the emotional importance of the songs, being at Sundance, and much more.  Hit the jump to watch.

John Michael McDonagh Talks CALVARY, the Heavy Themes of the Movie, How No Movie Should Go over 100 Minutes, Future Projects, and More at Sundance

by     Posted 326 days ago

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One of the many films to premiere at this year’s Sundance Film Festival was writer-director John Michael McDonagh‘s Calvary.  The dark comedy stars Brendan Gleeson as a good priest who wants to do well by his community, but his life is threatened by an unknown assailant during confession.   As Matt wrote in his review, “Calvary is a dark, complex, and demanding meditation on faith, the limits of forgiveness, the necessity of compassion, the possibility of absolution, and inevitable reckonings.”  It’s also got a great script and fantastic performances, which explains why Fox Searchlight bought the film.  Calvary also stars Chris O’Dowd, Kelly Reilly, Aidan Gillen, Dylan Moran, and Marie-Josée Croz.

Shortly after he premiere, I landed an exclusive video interview with McDonagh.  He talked about his writing process, where the idea for Calvary came from, putting the project together, the heavy themes of the movie, how no movie should be over 100 minutes unless it has a “pretty damn good reason,” some of the other scripts he’s written, his thoughts on doing a TV series, who attends his friends and family screenings, and much more.  If you’re a fan of McDonagh’s, I’m confident you’ll like this interview.  Hit the jump to watch.

THE COLLISION: Episode 74 – The 2014 Sundance Film Festival

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This week on The Collision, we talk about the 2014 Sundance Film Festival, our thoughts about what we saw, the lack of a breakout film, the overall feel of the festival, comparisons to the Toronto International Film Festival, and more.  As always, we finish up with our recommendations.

Click here to listen to the new episode of The Collision, click here for the previous episode (“Her“), click here to add the podcast to your RSS, and click here to find us on iTunes. To keep up to date with The Collision, you can follow us on Twitter at @MattGoldberg, @AdamChitwood, and @DrClawMD (Dave Trumbore).

Sundance 2014 Awards Announced; WHIPLASH Takes Grand Jury and Audience Prizes for U.S. Dramatic Category

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The 2014 Sundance Film Festival has now officially come to a close, and the festival handed out its multitude of prizes earlier this evening.  Writer/director Damien Chazelle’s drama Whiplash won both the Audience Award and the Grand Jury Prize for the U.S. Dramatic competition, a feat that was repeated by Fruitvale Station last year; this year’s U.S. Dramatic Grand Jury was headed by director Bryan SingerWhiplash is a tense, slightly terrifying drama about a young aspiring jazz drummer (Miles Teller) who aspires to greatness under his ruthless instructor (J.K. Simmons).  Simmons is outstanding in a role tailor-made for the actor and Teller turns in another solid performance as the drumming student, but the film isn’t quite as emotionally impactful as previous Grand Jury winners like Fruitvale or Beasts of the Southern Wild.  You can read Matt’s full review right here.

Elsewhere at the awards, the Grand Jury Prize for U.S. Documentary went to a film I failed to catch, Rich Hill, though I found the doc The Internet’s Own Boy: The Story of Aaron Swartz to be quite remarkable.  Hit the jump to read the full list of awards winners, and click here to catch up on all of our Sundance 2014 coverage.

Director Adam Wingard Talks THE GUEST, Dan Stevens’ Physical Transformation, the Way He Edits, His Next Two Projects, and More at Sundance 2014

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One of my favorite films at this year’s Sundance Film Festival was The Guest.  Directed and written by the team behind You’re Next (Adam Wingard and Simon Barrett, respectively), The Guest is fantastic and as Matt said in his review, it “feels like a lost John Carpenter film from the director’s golden age.  The picture effortlessly moves between a nerve-wracking mystery to a gleefully dark comedy, and at its best it even mixes the two together.”   The story revolves around a soldier that befriends the family of a fallen comrade and becomes a threat to everyone around him when he may not be who he says he is.  Trust me, it’s a film you should be excited to see and I’m sure it’ll be released sometime this year.  The Guest stars Dan Stevens (in an amazingly dark turn), Maika MonroeLeland OrserLance ReddickChase Williamson, and Brendan Meyer.

Shortly after the premiere, I landed an exclusive video interview with Adam Wingard.  He talked about how You’re Next changed their approach to developing films, how they came upon the concept for The Guest, his process of editing, the length of his first cut, Stevens’ physical transformation and his topless scene, the other movie they almost made instead of The Guest (a non-stop chase action movie), and more.  In addition, Wingard talked about their next two projects, saying one is “a relentless horror film thrill ride” and the other has more action stuff in it, but both are totally different than anything else they’ve done.  Hit the jump to watch.

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