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 →
James Baldwin‘s (1924-1987) life and legacy can now speak to modern audiences in a new documentary called I Am Not Your Negro. The film is finally getting a long overdue theatrical release from Magnolia Pictures this February 3rd after wowing audiences at last year’s Toronto International Film Festival. I Am Not Your Negro is a film from Haitian director Raoul Peck that envisions Baldwin’s final, albeit incomplete novel Remember This House as an uncompromising and complete narrative of race in America. The unfinished memoir focuses on the authors personal memories and relationships with three enduring Civil Rights leaders: Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Medgar Evers, and Malcolm X. Peck was allowed access to the entire Baldwin archives and composed the film over a period of 10 years, drawing from the incomplete manuscript and Baldwin’s own personal notes. It won the People’s Choice Documentary Award and, like Baldwin himself, is sure to stand as a vital testament to race in America today. Continue reading →
Australian director Garth Davis’ debut feature film Lion is now playing in theaters. Based on Saroo Brierley‘s memoir A Long Way Home, the film chronicles Brierley’s 25-year journey to reunite with his family in India after being separated from them at a young age. The film has received mostly positive reviews after premiering at the Venice and Toronto Film Festivals earlier in 2016, and with award season coming up, it’s expected to earn a certain amount of recognition. Dev Patel stars as Brierley, a role similar to that he portrayed in the 2008 coming-home drama Slumdog Millionaire. Needless to say some critics have come down on the actor for his choice of playing such a similar role, but the direction of Davis is said to be outstanding, presenting an admirable, and touching drama of family and tribulation. Appearing in the supporting cast are actors Rooney Mara (The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, Carol), David Wehham (The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers, 300), and Nicole Kidman (The Hours, Cold Mountain). Screenwriter Luke Davies (Candy, Life) adapted the script from Saroo and Larry Buttrose, and the film is distributed by the Weinstein Company. Check your local listings for showtimes near you, and be sure to catch this one in theaters while you can!
Writer, director, and lead actor Nate Parker (The Great Debaters, Red Tails)’s The Birth of a Nation is now playing in theaters across the country, but not in the light the young filmmaker was hoping for. The film struggled to reach $7 million in domestic box office sales in its opening weekend. Several factors could have contributed to the surprising low, but the most likely cause of the low turn out is Parker’s 1999 rape allegations during his time at Penn State. Although Parker was exonerated, news that his alleged victim committed suicide in 2012 and his handling of the case back in 1999 have caused a great controversy that has women’s rights and sexual assault advocate groups shouting boycott all across the country.
While Parker’s film may be controversial in its own right, the original Birth of a Nation, which was a silent movie released in 1915, was just as controversial, if not more so. The original Birth of a Nation is remembered for its blatantly racial undertones and simultaneous impressive contributions to filmmaking. 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 →
This week will see a number of indie projects open on select screens across the country. We mentioned the Kristen Stewart (Twilight, Snow White and the Huntsmen) drama Equals opening this Friday, about a couple who falls in love as the result of a disease in a futuristic utopia that is devoid of feeling and emotion, and the tension it causes between them and their society. Co-starring with Stewart is Nicholas Hoult (Mad Max: Fury Road, X-Men: Apocalypse), who are led by director Drake Doremus (Like Crazy, Breathe In).
Also opening on the indie circuit this week is a new animated movie called Phantom Boy, which takes place in the 1940s-50s and follows a young boy with superpowers who helps a wheelchair-bound policeman in his efforts to take down a notorious mob boss. The film comes from Oscar-nominated filmmakers Loup Felicioli & Alain Gagnol (A Cat in Paris) and stars French actors Edouard Baer (Chicken with Plums), Jean-Pierre Marielle (Coup de torchon, The DaVinci Code), and Audrey Tautou (A Very Long Engagement, Amelie).
Producer Harvey Weinstein of the Weinstein Company has pushed back national release of his long anticipated drama Tulip Fever, based on the popular novel by Deborah Moggach, to a February 2017 release. The film has already seen several release delays; it was filmed back in 2014 and has since made no debuts at any of the film festival circuits or limited releases here in the States or elsewhere. Now, however, Weinstein seems to have settled on a post-Valentine’s Day release, going up against God Particle from producer J.J. Abrams (Star Trek, Star Wars: The Force Awakens) and Sleepless with Jaimie Fox (Ray, Collateral) and Michelle Monaghan (Gone Baby Gone, True Detective). Starring Oscar winners Alicia Vikander (El Machina, The Danish Girl) and Christoph Waltz (Inglorious Basterds, Django Unchained), the film follows an artist who falls for a married woman he is hired to paint in portrait in the midst of the tulip frenzy of 17th century Amsterdam. Continue reading →
A new independent drama starring Viggo Mortensen (The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers, A History of Violence) is seeing a limited theatrical release this Friday. Written and directed by Matt Ross (The Aviator, Silicon Valley), Captain Fantastic tells the story of a man who raises and home schools his six children in the countryside. After his wife commits suicide, however, they are forced to move into the city, and he soon discovers the children are not prepared for the realities of life in the city. The film won Un Certain Regard Award for directing at this year’s Cannes Film Festival, and also took home the Golden Space Needle Award at the Seattle International Film Festival. Starring in the film are actors George McKay (Defiance, Pride), Samantha Isler (Sean Saves the World, Dig Two Graves), Annalise Besso (Standing Up, Oculus), Nicholas Hamilton (Long Shadows, Strangerland), Shree Crooks (Ray Donovan, American Horror Story), Charlie Shotwell (The Comedians, Shot Down), and comedic vets Steve Zahn (Saving Silverman, Sahara) and Kathryn Hahn (Step Brothers, Parks and Recreation). Continue reading →
Coming off of a 14-year hiatus, the beloved Portokalos family getting back together on the big screen for another Greek wedding celebration in My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2. Writer/actress Nia Vardalos (Connie and Carla, I Hate Valentine’s Day) returned to write the new film and reprise her role of Toula under the direction of Kirk Jones (Nanny McPhee, Everybody’s Fine). Carrying over from the original film are actors John Corbett (Raising Helen, Street Kings), Michael Constantine (The Hustler, Room 222), Lainie Kazan (You Don’t Mess with the Zohan, Pixels), Andrea Martin (Wholly Moses, Soup for One), Gia Carides (The Spy Who Shagged Me, Year One), and Joey Fatone (Long Shot, The Opposite Sex). The original film received high praise from fans and critics, but didn’t really end in a way that would merit a sequel. Then again, Zoolander didn’t really merit a sequel after 15 years either, but we just suffered through the unimpressive Zoolander 2 last month, so all we can say for Greek Wedding 2 is that it doesn’t ruin a good thing like Zoolander did. The trailer is available here on MADE. Be sure to see all the big family theatrics on the big screen this weekend. Enjoy!
35 years ago, hard-rock group AC/DC was forced with a tough decision: rock-on or unplug. The band had just seen it’s most successful release to date with ‘Highway to Hell’ in 1979, but the success was followed by the tragic death of lead singer Bon Scott. The Young brothers, Angus and Malcolm, who had always provided the music to Scott’s lyrics and melodies to make up the group’s catalogue, decided to persevere and days after Scott’s funeral was held, the two began writing new material for the next LP, ‘Back in Black‘. Before the band could enter the studio, however, a new frontman and lyricist had to be found, and the brothers finally landed on singer Brian Johnson, who came into the studio with a fresh energy, despite the enormous pressure of taking over as lead for a band that had already established a large fan-base. In spite of all that, the album turned out to be a huge success. Johnson’s collaborations with the group on ‘Back in Black’ produced several big hits for the band, including the title track and ‘You Shook Me All Night Long’. The album, itself, made it all the way to the No.1 spot in the UK charts and No.4 in the US. What could have been the end of AC/DC turned out to be their comeback hit, and the band continued to work with Johnson for the rest of their on-going career with albums like ‘For Those About To Rock We Salute You’, ‘The Razor’s Edge’ and their most recent release ‘Rock or Bust’.