The 2018 Sundance Film Festival kicked off yesterday in Park City, Utah, at the Sundance Mountain Resort. Every year the festival plays host to an impressive array of independent films, both foreign and domestic, and has featured such successful films as Blood Simple, Hoosiers, Reservoir Dogs, Clerks, Memento, 28 Days Later, SuperSize Me, Boyhood, and more recent notables like Dope, Mudbound, and Wind River (just to name a few!). Sundance not only presents feature-length films but also shorts and documentaries, and presents awards in such categories as acting, cinematography, screenwriting, directing, and short-filmmaking. The 2018 celebration will showcase 110 feature-length films from 29 countries; 47 of those films come from first-time filmmakers, out of a pool of 13,468 total submissions, including features, shorts, and documentaries. Some of this years more anticipated entries include Juliet Naked, Wildlife, Heart Beats Loud, The Catcher Was a Spy, and documentaries like Akicita: The Battle of Standing Rock, and Our New President. The 2018 celebration, however, comes at the helm of the whirlwind that was 2017. Continue reading →
Every year, the Sundance Film Festival hosts an impressive number of independent films, documentaries, and short films from all around the world. Titles like The Usual Suspects, Memento, Reservoir Dogs, Clerks, Napoleon Dynamite, Super-Size Me, Saw, and Little Miss Sunshine have all found success at the world-renowned festival. So it’s no surprise that this years line-up is definitely keeping with that reputation. A number of documentaries, including the Amir Bar-Lev’s Grateful Dead tribute Long Strange Trip and Jeff Orlowski’s follow-up to his 2012 Chasing Ice feature, Chasing Coral, have already premiered to great praise from festival attendees and critics alike. At the same time, a number of films have already been purchased for distribution, including Patti Cake$ by former doorman-turned-filmmaker Wass Stevens, which sold to Fox Searchlight for $10.5 million! Here are a few of the festival entries that have caught our eye for expanded release. We’ll post more information about domestic releases as we get further into the year. Continue reading →
This week will see a number of indie projects open in select theaters across the country. The 9th Life of Louis Drax is a mystery thriller from horror director Alexandre Aja (The Hills Have Eyes, Piranha 3D) surrounding a psychologist working with a boy young boy who suffers after a near-fatal fall. The film was penned by actor Max Minghella (The Social Network, The Ides of March), whose late father Anthony was an Oscar-winning screenwriter responsible for such gems as The English Patient and The Talented Mr. Ripley. Jamie Dornan (Marie Antionette, Fifty Shades of Grey), Aiden Longworth (Cut Bank, Hector and the Search for Happiness), Sarah Gadon (The Amazing Spider-Man, Enemy), and Aaron Paul (Breaking Bad, Exodus: Gods and Kings) star in the film, which is based on a novel by Liz Jensen. Continue reading →
On July 28th, 1995, director Larry Clark‘s eye-opening drama Kids opened in theaters, and not without a storm of controversy. Following a group of teenagers living in New York City, the film paints a vivid portrait of their day-to-day activities, namely smoking weed, drinking, fucking with people, and then fucking each other (unprotected, of course). The movie was given an MC-17 rating for theatrical release, but an unrated version was later released for home video. The rating, however, was only one part of the controversy surrounding the film. Kids also received outraged accusations of child pornography and obscenity, and was a heated subject on major news outlets including CNN and Newsweek, although some critics and sociologists did come forth to protect the film’s merit as a wake-up call to the reality of modern life for teenagers in an urban setting. Kids was the first film by director Clark (Bully, Ken Park) and also the first film for screenwriter Harmony Korine (Gummo, Mister Lonely). It also introduced several stars to Hollywood including Leo Fitzpatrick (The Wire, Sons of Anarchy), Rosario Dawson (Clerks, Sin City), and Oscar-nominee Chloe Sevigny (American Psycho, Zodiac). You can still find copies of the DVD release in some smaller movie stores and there are likely bootleg versions online, but if you haven’t seen it you should be prepared going in. Regardless of the artistic merit of the movie, it is very graphic and was rated NC-17 for a reason. You can see one of the original theatrical trailers from 1995 here on MADE.
Writer/director Kevin Smith (Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back, Tusk) seems to be making some solid progress on his announced upcoming sequel to Mallrats. Smith tweeted on May 11th that he has completed a 113-page draft for Mallbrats (the new title for the project) and will be dedicating it to original Mallrats producer Jim Jacks (Raising Arizona, The Mummy), who passed away just last year. Production on Clerks 3 has also been pushed back while the Mallbrats crew works on the set-production in the currently empty mall that will be used for filming. Returning for the new movie are original actors Jeremy London (Breaking Free, Levitation), Claire Forlani (The Rock, Meet Joe Black), Ethan Suplee (My Name is Earl, The Wolf of Wall Street), Joey Lauren Adams (Dazed and Confused, Big Daddy), Brian O’Halloran (Clerks, Dogma), Sven-Ole Thorsen (Lethal Weapon, Gladiator), Renee Humphrey (French Kiss, The Sex Monster), as well as Smith’s long time collaborator, actor/producer Scott Mosier (Chasing Amy, Good Will Hunting). Thus far there is no news as to whether or not Jason Lee (Almost Famous, Dreamcatcher) or Ben Affleck (Argo, Gone Girl) will return to reprise their roles, but we’ll keep you posted. Stay tuned!
Do you have to be miserable to be funny? That’s the premise of a new documentary from writer/director Kevin Pollak (Casino, The Usual Suspects) and co-writer John Vorhaus (The Sentinel, Save Angel Hope) that is now available online. The documentary, titled Misery Loves Comedy, has already been awarded an Official Sundance Selection and will also see a big-screen release at New York City’s Tribeca Film Festival on April 24th, but you can also find it currently available online. Comedians Amy Schumer (Amy Schumer: Mostly Sex Stuff, Trainwreck), Kevin Smith (Clerks, Mallrats), Jimmy Fallon (Almost Famous, The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon), Martin Short (Mars Attacks, Father of the Bride Part 2), Whoopi Golberg (Ghost, Sister Act), Jim Gaffigan (Away We Go, It’s Kind of a Funny Story), Nick Swardson (Grandma’s Boy, Just Go With It), Bob Saget (Full House, Entourage) and many more are featured in the film that is being dedicated to the memory of Robin Williams (Mrs. Doutbfire, Good Will Hunting). The trailer is available here on MADE.
Writer/director Chris Rock (right) with Rosario Dawson (left) in Top Five (2014).
Last year’s hit-comedy, Top Five, proved to be a major accomplishment for writer/director/actor Chris Rock, so much so that he is now being pressured by producer Scott Rudin to get a follow up in the theaters as soon as possible. Rock revealed to The Guardian in a recent interview that he and Rudin are having meetings on the subject on a weekly basis, and that he is planning on using a majority of the Top Five cast for the new project. Some names that have already been mentioned include Leslie Jones (The League, Workaholics), Tracy Morgan (30 Rock, Cop-Out), and Jerry Seinfeld (Seinfeld, Comedians In Cars Getting Coffee), but nothing as far as casting goes is set in stone, and Top Five had a huge repertoire of stars to write a sequel for, such as Gabrielle Union (Bad Boys 2, Cadillac Records), Rosario Dawson (Clerks 2, Sin City), Kevin Hart (Think Like A Man, Get Hard), Whoopi Goldberg (Ghost, Sister-Act), and Adam Sandler (Grown-Ups, Pixels). We’ll keep an eye out for further updates.
Comedy veteran Kevin Smith seems to be caught up in the sequel-binge that’s happening in Hollywood right now. The director is not only preparing to begin filming Clerks 3 in Philadelphia this May, but now he has also confirmed he is working on a sequel to his 1995 comedy flop Mallrats. Clerks 3 will bring back Smith and Jason Mewes as Jay and Silent Bob, as well as Brian O’Halloran and Jeff Anderson as clerks Dante and Randal, plus Clerks 2 star Rosario Dawson, and Marilyn Ghigliotti (Clerks, Starship:Rising) as Veronica. While fans of Smith and his View-Askewniverse characters will be probably welcome the Clerks crew back to the big screen, many are surprised to hear that he is returning to Mallrats. The movie virtually flopped at the box office when it was released in ’95 (it was Smith’s first release since Clerks a year earlier), but Smith has said he will make the movie in a long-delayed honor of Mallrats producer Jim Jack, who always supported Smith over the years and died with an unrelenting desire to see Mallrats 2 on the big screen. Whatever the reason, Smith already has half of the script completed and if all goes well principle photography should begin as early as May 2016. In the meantime, check out this 1995 trailer for Mallrats, and if you haven’t seen it you should definitely make a point to.
Even though he was once considering retiring from filmmaking, director Kevin Smith is showing no signs of slowing down, and, in fact, seems to be taking on even more than one would expect from someone preparing for retirement. Smith is currently involved in a recent rumor that has him writing a ‘fake’ script for Warner Bros. upcoming Batman Vs. Superman: Dawn of Justice that was meant to conceal the actual script director Zack Snyder will be adapting for the film. He is also still prepping his upcoming horror movie Tusk for release along with a spin-off for that project which will follow several characters from Tusk in a more concentrated setting. To top it all off, fans are still waiting for Smith to get some momentum going on production for Clerks 3, which will most likely be the last installment in that series. The original Clerks was released twenty years ago this year and brought Smith into the Hollywood spotlight, while simultaneously kicking off his series of Askewniverse films revolving around the iconic characters Jay and Silent Bob. Clerks 3 has already been pushed back for Smith to produce Anti-Claus, and he is still looking for a way to finance the film since the Weinstein Company has only agreed to provide distribution. With the reputation of Smith and the Clerks franchise, I’m sure finding some financing for number three won’t be too difficult, but we’ll have to wait and see.
Veteran film producer James Jacks, who helped Universal Studios revamp one of their oldest horror icons, died Monday of a heart attack at the age of 66. James Jacks first made a name for himself in Hollywood with the well deserved, but somewhat unexpected success of Dazed and Confused back in 1993. The film has since become a cultural classic, reflecting on high school popularity, alcohol, weed, and rock legends of the 1970s. It was also the first big project for actor Matthew McConaughey, who this year won the Golden Globe for Best Actor in Dallas Buyers Club, and was also nominated for an Academy Award for Best Actor in the same movie. Jacks went on to produce such films as Mallrats (1995), Michael (1996), The Mummy (1999), and Rat Race (2001), and has worked with numerous directors ranging from Richard Linklater (Dazed and Confused), Kevin Smith (Mallrats, Clerks), and Joel and Ethan Coen (Intolerable Cruelty, O Brother Where Art Thou).