Kate Bosworth Talks BIG SUR, the Sundance Experience, Working within Kerouac’s Narrative, and More at Sundance 2013

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Adding to the growing list of Jack Kerouac depictions onscreen is writer/director Michael Polish’s adaptation of Big Sur.  The film, which chronicles the author’s struggle with alcoholism and depression in the years following the publication of On the Road, made its world premiere at the 2013 Sundance Film Festival.  It’s a very “Kerouac” adaptation, and star Jean-Luc Barr turns in an impressive performance as the troubled author.

I had the chance to speak with co-star Kate Bosworth during my time in Park City, and the actress talked about the daunting task of tackling such a beloved property, how she prepared for the role, conveying her character’s emotions within the context of Kerouac’s untraditional narrative, what it was like to find out that their film had made it into Sundance, and more.  Read on after the jump.


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Even though we’re nearly three months removed from Halloween, I want to use this week’s opening paragraph to throw some support behind director Michael Stephenson‘s touching documentary, The American Scream. I recently caught the film via Netflix where it’s available to “Watch Instantly” and I was impressed to say the least. Stephenson’s previous entry, the indelible Best Worst Movie, quickly became one of my all-time favorite docs for the unexpected emotional punch it packed in following the lives of those impacted by Troll 2. Scream delivered on a similar level with its themes of family, community, and the pursuit of one’s passion (in this case, home haunting). If you haven’t seen it already, I recommend either checking it out on Netflix or picking up a copy for yourself from the film’s website.

All recommendations aside, much to the surprise of no one, this week’s Top 5 is headlined by the announcement that J.J. Abrams will direct/produce Star Wars: Episode VII with accompaniment by our Bullet to the Head set visit, Warm Bodies video interviews with Nicholas Hoult, Teresa Palmer and more, a G.I. Joe: Retaliation set visit preview and interviews with director Jon M. Chu and more, and all of our coverage out of Sundance 2013 to date. A brief recap and link to each is hidden in plain view after the jump.

Sundance 2013: jOBS Review

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For a movie about a man who championed innovation, Joshua Michael Stern‘s Steve Jobs biopic, jOBS, is awfully safe and conventional.  By the end of the movie, most viewers will know as much as they previously did about the tech innovator or possibly even less.  Stern and screenwriter Matt Whiteley‘s depiction of Jobs makes one of the most influential figures in American business seem like nothing more like a savvy salesman who bullied people into following his vision.  Ashton Kutcher‘s lead performance veers between convincing and distracting, and while Josh Gad impresses as Steve “Woz” Wozniak, jOBS is a bland biopic that never provides any insight into the man behind the Apple.

Sundance 2013: FRUITVALE Review

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michael b jordan fruitvale

Here’s one of the most morbid thoughts you can ever put in your head: will I die today?  This thought isn’t to spur you to live each day like it’s your last.  It’s a simple observation.  Where has life led you to this point, where would you like your life to go, and how does one affect the other?  In his debut feature Fruitvale, writer-director Ryan Coogler goes into the last day in the life of Oscar Grant, who was infamously shot by BART police officers in Oakland, California on New Year’s Day, 2009.  Coogler’s solemn, no-frills direction lets us walk into Oscar’s life, and become absolutely devastated as it heads to its inevitable conclusion.  The film’s emotional impact is only lessened by Coogler’s bizarre decision to push a message that doesn’t coincide with his movie’s theme.

Sundance 2013: AIN’T THEM BODIES SAINTS Review

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David Lowery‘s confident feature Ain’t Them Bodies Saints lives between old life and a new beginning; between past crimes and future punishment; between the intimate and the distant.  But for me, the emotions fall through the beautiful cinematography, lyrical music, and excellent performances.  This is the X-factor of any viewer: an emotional connection we struggle to explain.  Lowery has made a strong movie, and one that will put him on the radar of everyone who sees Ain’t Them Bodies Saints.  But for reasons I have difficulty articulating, I couldn’t feel anything from his gorgeous film.

Sundance 2013: ESCAPE FROM TOMORROW Review

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Randy Moore‘s Escape from Tomorrow will be remembered for how it was made.  Future discussions will revolve around its legality, and how Moore managed the task in the first place.  But when it comes to the actual picture, Moore works incredibly hard to come to a simple and fairly uninteresting theme.  Every time Moore hits a strong moment, he’ll continue to repeat that emotion and duplicate the event until it’s an absolute chore.  The movie can be absolutely bonkers, but its strangeness eventually feels like a gimmick rather than a hook.

Sundance 2013: AFTERNOON DELIGHT Review

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Kathryn Hahn is an amazing comic actress who has yet to receive the widespread recognition she deserves.  She’s mostly been stuck in supporting parts, but she’s a scene stealer, and she deserves to be in lead roles.  She finally gets that opportunity in Jill Soloway‘s Afternoon Delight.  Hahn proves that not only can she carry the picture, but she has the dramatic range to play a woman who is looking for a change of pace in order to fix her life.  Soloway puts a fascinating relationship at the center of the movie, and for two-thirds of the film it looks like she has made a confident feature debut.  But then a sequence comes along that drowns the movie in sorrow, and grinds it to a halt to where not even Hahn’s performance can save it.


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As the 2013 Sundance Film Festival winds down to a close, a few more high profile acquisitions are taking place.

  • Before Midnight – Director Richard Linklater’s simply incredible sequel to Before Sunrise and Before Sunset earned rave reviews following its premiere at the festival, and now Deadline reports that Sony Pictures Classics is making the acquisition in what’s shaping up to be one of the biggest deals of Sundance.  Read Matt’s review here.
  • Prince Avalanche – Director David Gordon Green’s refreshingly subdued and touching tiny-budget comedy starring Paul Rudd and Emile Hirsch also earned great reviews, and Magnolia Pictures has acquired distribution rights for a summer 2013 release.  Read Matt’s review here.
  • Ain’t Them Bodies Saints – This Casey Affleck/Rooney Mara period crime film has earned comparisons to the work of Terrence Malick, and IFC Films has nabbed the U.S. rights for a multi-platform release later this year, per Deadline. Look for an awards season push.
  • S-VHS – This horror anthology sequel earned better reviews that its predecessor, and Variety reports that Magnolia Pictures (who distributed the first film) has acquired the rights to release this pic as well.

Hit the jump to read the press releases and for images.

Director Michael Winterbottom Talks THE LOOK OF LOVE at Sundance 2013

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Premiering at this year’s Sundance Film Festival was director Michael Winterbottom’s The Look of Love.   Starring Steve Coogan, the film is based on the true story of British adult magazine publisher and entrepreneur Paul Raymond who went on to become one of the richest men in Britain.  The film also stars Anna Friel, Imogen Poots, and Tamsin Egerton.  For more on the film, here’s all our previous coverage.  In addition, IFC Films has picked up the rights, so it’ll be in theaters at some point down the road.

Shortly after the premiere I got to speak with Winterbottom backstage at the Eccles theater in Park City.  We talked about the experience of being at Sundance, how the project came together, how they came up with which aspects of Raymond’s life they should focus on, the editing process, what he learned from his friends and family screenings, film versus digital, future projects, and a lot more.  Hit the jump for what he had to say.

Sundance 2013: IN A WORLD… Review

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I usually like movies that have some sense of structure and pacing.  If they don’t have these qualities, then I like these films to be truly daring and outside-the-box.  Lake Bell‘s In a World… is a rambling mess of a nice little comedy with too many characters, and has almost no sense of pacing or flow.  But somehow, it’s still a charming flick.  Bell gives a fun lead performance, and she surrounds herself with a likable cast.  Even the subtext is cutesy.  In a World… should be a movie that I found a slog, but somehow, Bell’s film won me over despite its glaring flaws.

Sundance 2013: HELL BABY Review

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If writer-directors Thomas Lennon and Robert Ben Garant had put more effort into their new film Hell Baby, they could have had one of the best parodies of recent horror movies.  The film has some huge laughs as well as some insight into the genre’s weaknesses, but Lennon and Garant’s sketch comedy roots wreck the picture in the worst way.  They’re content to let their scenes run on way too long, they have no idea how to tie their scenes together, and the result feels like we’re in the middle of something that’s being workshopped rather than a finished feature.  Despite a memorable performance from Keegan Michael Key, Hell Baby feels like a gigantic waste of potential that keeps us interested because we’re waiting for the next great joke.

Sundance 2013: Director Ryan Coogler Talks FRUITVALE, His Connection to the Story, Why It’s Important, Participating in the Sundance Lab & More

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Among the many great films premiering this week at Sundance Film Festival is Ryan Coogler’s drama Fruitvale.  The writer/director brings us his representation of the final day in the life of Oscar Grant, the 22-year-old Bay Area resident who was shot by a police officer in the Fruitvale BART station on New Year’s Eve, 2008.  Michael B. Jordan (Chronicle, Redtails) plays the man who was a father, a fiancé, a son and a friend whose life was tragically ended that fateful day.  The film also stars Melonie Diaz as Grant’s fiancé and Octavia Spencer (The Help, Smashed) as his mother.

After the film’s premiere, I was able to speak to director Ryan Coogler about the film.  He told me about his connection to this story and how he originally got involved with it, the sense of responsibility he felt to Grant’s family, and what he hopes people take away with them after seeing the film.  A previous Sundance Lab participant, Coogler discussed how it feels to be back at Sundance with his finished film, as well as his future plans.  Click after the jump to read the full interview.

Sundance 2013: LOVELACE Review

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The world wanted to possess Linda Lovelace.  Celebrity always involves an aspect of ownership (it’s why we feel justified in judging the lives of famous people even though they’re personally strangers to us), but Lovelace was treated as a possession by her family, her husband, and ultimately the world as she became famous not for any aspect of her personality, but because she had one particular talent.  In Rob Epstein and Jeffrey Friedman‘s biopic Lovelace, the filmmakers change the narrative of Lovelace from sex icon to victim of domestic abuse.  The movie finds a tenuous connection between the public and private possession of Lovelace, but the narrative’s strength comes from stars Amanda Seyfried and Peter Sarsgaard taking a mature approach to domestic violence, which helps Lovelace rise above its melodrama and poor structure.

Sundance 2013: VERY GOOD GIRLS Review

by     Posted 1 year, 336 days ago


In a female-led vehicle, the most powerful figure probably shouldn’t be the poor-man’s Garrett Hedlund.  Very Good Girls has two talented actresses in the leading roles, and their personalities and actions are defined not by their friendship, but how a boy controls that friendship.  For a couple of “girls” on the verge of going off to college, writer-director Naomi Foner has created a shockingly demeaning picture of shallow sisterhood and male-dependency.  Very Good Girls celebrates a friendship that shouldn’t exist by basing it around the kind of man who doesn’t exist.

Josh Lucas and Radha Mitchell Talk BIG SUR, Getting Kerouac’s Rhythmic Dialogue Down, the Neal/Jack Relationship, and More at Sundance 2013

by     Posted 1 year, 337 days ago


One of the many films making its premiere at the 2013 Sundance Film Festival is writer/director Michael Polish’s adaptation of the Jack Kerouac novel Big Sur.  Though his work has long been described as unfilmable, there has been a bit of a boom in Kerouac feature films in the past year or so, and Big Sur marks a very faithful adaptation of one of the author’s darkest works.  The film stars Jean-Marc Barr as Kerouac and chronicle’s the author’s struggle with alcoholism and depression in the early 1960s following the publication of On the Road.

This week in Park City, I had the chance to speak with Josh Lucas and Radha Mitchell, who play Neal and Carolyn Cassady in the film.  The actors talked about the pressure of tackling such a beloved property, vocalizing Kerouac’s distinct dialogue rhythms, portraying the complexities of the Neal/Jack relationship, and more.  Read on after the jump

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