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.
We’ve got a few new posters to share this afternoon. Briefly:
- Mud – The first poster for director Jeff Nichols’ excellent follow-up to Take Shelter highlight’s Matthew McConaughey’s titular character front and center. Read Matt’s review from Sundance here. The film opens in limited release on April 26th.
- A Teacher – Another poster debut for a Sundance film. The story centers on a high school teacher in Austin who has an affair with one of her students.
- G.I. Joe Retaliation – A couple of recruitment propaganda posters for the upcoming sequel pose a serious question. The film opens on March 29th.
- The Call – A debut poster for this thriller that stars Halle Berry as an emergency operator who takes things into her own hands when a repeat offender kidnaps a young girl (Abigail Breslin). The film opens on March 15th.
Hit the jump to check out the posters.
This year, I was lucky enough to attend the Sundance Film Festival for the very first time. There are countless fests throughout the year, but Sundance has always been regarded as one of the best since most of the films screen there without any pre-buzz or context whatsoever. Audiences go in knowing next to nothing about the films they’re getting ready to watch, and 10 days later, buzz has materialized for previously unknown titles that just may become hits like Beasts of the Southern Wild, Little Miss Sunshine, or even Saw. Sundance has served as the launching pad for a number of filmmakers including Quentin Tarantino, Kevin Smith, David O. Russell, and Steven Soderbergh, and it’s a joy to see what kind of fresh talent is on the horizon.
After a little recuperation from my time in Park City, I’ve written up a few thoughts on my impressions of the festival as a first-timer and my favorite films. Hit the jump to read on.
Earlier this month, we reported on the first wave of SXSW 2013 films, which includes The Incredible Burt Wonderstone and Evil Dead. Today, the full line-up has been announced, and it feels like Sundance all over again when it comes to plenty of unknown films. The chance of discovering a gem is high, and I look forward to hearing the buzz that arises from some these movies. There’s also a second chance at festival films I missed like The Act of Killing (from TIFF) and Pit Stop (from Sundance). I thought Toy’s House would make it in to SXSW, but I’ll see it eventually since it picked up distribution.
Hit the jump for the full line-up. The 2013 SXSW Film Festival runs from March 8 – 17th.
Jeff Nichols‘ Mud almost has it all. It’s a sweet coming-of-age story, an adventure, a crime-thriller, and a romance. Lead actors Tye Sheridan and Matthew McConaughey give outstanding performances as a boy and a man, respectively, who bristle when the world won’t conform to the mythic journey they’ve envisioned. Nichols gives the movie a sweet, soft, and loving tone that takes the best of identity of the Deep South (i.e. avoids racism), and uses it as a rich backdrop for a captivating tale. The film’s only flaw comes from implicitly agreeing with the main characters’ immature belief that women are not to be trusted. To the film’s minor detriment, Nichols doesn’t examine how his characters can grow up when the script embraces such a facile and childish notion.
We saw the first two clips from writer/director Jeff Nichols’ Mud back in May of last year, but now the first trailer has been made available. Starring Matthew McConaughey (Magic Mike) as a fugitive drifter who finds safe harbor on an island in the Mississippi River, but is discovered and befriended by two teenage boys (Tye Sheridan and Jacob Lofland). The trailer gives a great sense of the tension that builds over the course of the picture and hints at the dangerous situation the boys unwittingly become involved in. Also starring Reese Witherspoon, Sam Shepherd, Michael Shannon and Sarah Paulson, Mud opens in limited release on April 26th. Hit the jump to watch the trailer.
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 Spotlight category:
- Fill the Void – Written and directed by Rama Burshtein, starring Hadas Yaron, Yiftach Klein, Irit Sheleg, and Chaim Sharir.
- Gangs of Wasseypur – Directed and co-written by Anurag Kashyap, co-written by Zeishan Quadri, starring Manoj Bajpai, Nawazuddin Siddique, Richa Chadda, and Huma Qureshi.
- Mud – Written and directed by Jeff Nichols, starring Matthew McConaughey, Tye Sheridan, Jacob Lofland, and Reese Witherspoon.
- No – Directed by Pablo Larraín, written by Pedro Peirano, starring Gael García Bernal, Alfredo Castro, Antonia Zegers, and Luis Gnecco.
Hit the jump for the images and synopses. The 2013 Sundance Film Festival runs January 17 – 27.
Yesterday the 2013 Sundance Film Festival announced the lineup for films competing in the Dramatic and Documentary categories, and today they’ve unveiled the films that will screen in the Spotlight, Park City at Midnight, and New Frontier programs. Films of note include Take Shelter director Jeff Nichols’ new film Mud starring Matthew McConaughey and Reese Witherspoon, the U.S. premiere of Ben Wheatley’s Sightseers, the Robert Ben Garant/Thomas Lennon comedy Hell Baby, and the horror anthology sequel S-VHS.
Hit the jump to see the full lineup, and click here to check out all of our Sundance coverage thus far. The 2013 Sundance Film Festival runs January 17 – 27.
The prestigious Cannes Film Festival kicks off next week, and we’re starting to see some promotional materials from a few of the films that will premiere at the fest. We’ve already seen a stellar trailer for the prohibition-set crime drama Lawless and a fantastic clip from director Andrew Dominik’s (The Assassination of Jesse James) Killing Them Softly. Now a few clips have surfaced for two Cannes films (both set in the South) that feature Matthew McConaughey. The first is director Lee Daniels’ (Precious) adaptation of The Paperboy, which features McConaughey and Zac Efron playing a pair of brothers who team-up to investigate the potential wrongful conviction of a death-row inmate (John Cusack).
We also have two clips from director Jeff Nichols’ (Take Shelter) deep South drama Mud, which finds McConaughey playing a fugitive hiding out on an island in Mississippi who, with the help of two young boys, tries to escape and reunite with his lost love (Reese Witherspoon). Hit the jump to check out the clips.
Now playing at theaters everywhere is director James McTeigue‘s (V for Vendetta, Ninja Assassin) The Raven. If you’re not familiar with the film, the story takes place in 1840s Baltimore where a series of grisly murders appear to have been inspired by the works of Edgar Allan Poe (played by John Cusack). Poe and a detective (Luke Evans) must team up to find the killer before he takes out the woman Poe loves (Alice Eve). The film also stars Oliver Jackson-Cohen, and Brendan Gleeson. For more on the film, here’s the trailer and 40 images.
Recently, I got to sit down with producers Aaron Ryder and Marc Evans for an extended interview. We talked about how they got involved in The Raven, the rating, deleted scenes, how the script changed when the actors got cast, Poe’s dark and extraordinary life, and more. In addition, they also talked about their upcoming projects like House at the End of the Street with Jennifer Lawrence, Jeff Nichols‘ Mud, The Cold Light of Day and The Strangers 2. Hit the jump for what they had to say.
The full line-up for the 2012 Cannes Film Festival has been announced, and there are some heavy hitting debuts making their premieres. As we’ve previously reported, Wes Anderson‘s Moonrise Kingdom will open the festival. This year’s Cannes will also include Cosmopolis (directed by David Cronenberg), The Paperboy (from Precious director Lee Daniels), Lawless (from The Road director John Hillcoat), Killing Them Softly (from The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford director Andrew Dominik), Mud (from Take Shelter director Jeff Nichols), Rust & Bone (from A Prophet director Jacques Audiard) and On the Road (from The Motorcycle Diaries director Walter Salles).
Click on the corresponding link for more on each film, and hit the jump for the full line-up. The 65th Cannes Film Festival runs from May 16 – 25th.
Actor Michael Shannon is once again reuniting with director Jeff Nichols for his next project. The duo have previously worked together on the critically acclaimed Shotgun Stories and Take Shelter, and now turn their sights to Mud. Production on the “Deep South” drama penned by Nichols began today in Arkansas. The coming-of-age tale centers on two boys who come upon a fugitive hiding out on an island in the Mississippi. Excited at the prospect of danger and adventure, they enter into a pact together to help the man escape and reunite him with his lost love. Mud also stars Matthew McConaughey, Reese Witherspoon and Tye Sheridan (The Tree of Life).
Other recent additions to the cast of Mud include Sam Shepard (The Notebook), Sarah Paulson (Serenity), Ray McKinnon (The Blind Side), Joe Don Baker (Goldeneye) and Paul Sparks (Boardwalk Empire). Hit the jump for more info on the principal cast and full press release.
Director Jeff Nichols is looking at a trio of actors to star in his next film. Matthew McConaughey, Reese Witherspoon and The Tree of Life star Tye Sheridan are in negotiations to join Mud. Nichols is best known for 2007’s Shotgun Stories starring Michael Shannon, and most recently debuted his film Take Shelter (also starring Shannon) at this year’s Sundance Film Festival. Mud centers on a dangerous fugitive aptly-named Mud who strikes up an unlikely friendship with a 14-year-old boy in Mississippi. The boy decides to help the nice criminal escape the police and some pesky bounty hunters.
Chris Pine had been in talks to take on the role of the title character, but Variety now reports that McConaughey is eying the role. Sheridan will play the boy, while Witherspoon will play Mud’s soulmate who he’s trying to reunite with. Everest Entertainment is fully financing the film and company founder Lisa Maria Falcone will produce. You can read Matt’s review of Take Shelter here.
Chris Pine may star in Mud, the new drama from Take Shelter writer-director Jeff Nichols. 24 Frames reports that Pine would play the title character, fugitive who encounters two 14-year-old boys who attempt to help him escape from an island in the Mississippi. Rather than the hard-charging hero Pine has played in his recent films, Mud “is both an unsavory and a redemptive character and who teaches the boys as much as he learns from them.” Producer Aaron Ryder (Memento) says the film is in the vein of Stand By Me. FilmDistrict, which has been cleaning up at Cannes, will distribute.
Folks familiar with Pine’s acclaimed work on stage will probably be less unsurprised to hear him talking on more serious dramatic work in films. He’s got a nice mix of action and drama coming up with the untitled Jack Ryan reboot churning through development, Star Trek 2 likely to shoot sometime this year, and Alex Kurtzman’s family drama Welcome to People. He’ll next be seen in McG’s action-comedy This Means War. As for Nichols, some folks loved Take Shelter, but I thought it moved a bit too slowly and could use a bit of editing even though star Michael Shannon was electrifying.