Every January we get to start off the new year with the world-renowned Sundance Film Festival. This year’s celebration takes place between January 19th and 29th at the in Park City. Sundance is known for introducing an array of independent films that provide provocative, yet unique glimpses into the human experience. Famous titles including Blackfish, Little Miss Sunshine, Swiss Army Man, Fruitvale Station, and Whiplash, to cite some examples from the last few years, have all premiered at Sundance. The Competition and Next film line-up for 2017 have already been announced. That list can be found by clicking here. In addition to the competition line-up, Sundance also plays hosts to a number of feature and documentary premiers, including special midnight showings, spotlight features, Sundance Kids, and other special events. To see the full list of premiers and additional line-ups, just follow the link!
On September 20, 1956, director William Wyler‘s Friendly Persuasion was released in theaters in the United States. Based on the book by Jessamyn West, the story revolves around a Quaker family in 1862, whose faith and belief in non-violence is tested when Confederate troops come sweeping through their land and the family must decide whether to fight or to remain complacent. The film was written by screenwriter Michael Wilson (A Place in the Sun, Planet of the Apes), and received an Academy Award nomination for Best Screenwriting. It wasn’t until 2002, however, that Wilson would receive legitimate recognition for his work on the film. Continue reading →
Several limited releases will be available in select theaters this week.
1. The Benefactor
First on the list is a new drama titled The Benefactor with Richard Gere (Unfaithful, Chicago), Dakota Fanning (War of the Worlds, The Twilight Saga: New Moon), and Theo James (Underworld: Awakening, Insurgent) about a philanthropist who construes the lives of young couples in an attempt to relive his past. This will be the first feature-length film by writer/director Andrew Renzi (Karaoke!, Fishtail), who is also lined up to write an upcoming biographical film on Janis Joplin. Continue reading →
A new biographical drama titled The 33, based on the book Deep Down Dark by Hector Tobar, is opening in theaters this Friday. The book and film chronicle the Chilean mining accident in 2010, in which 33 miners were trapped underground and survived together for a total of 69 days. Starring in the film are actors Antonio Banderas (The Mask of Zorro, Once Upon A Time in Mexico), Rodrigo Santoro (300, Focus), Juliette Binoche (The English Patient, Godzilla), James Brolin (Traffic, Catch Me If You Can), Jacob Vargas (Get Shorty, Jarhead), and Oscar Nunez (The Office, The Italian Job). Patricia Riggen (Under the Same Moon, Girl in Progress), who received top remarks at the 2005 Sundance Film Festival for her film Family Portrait, directed the project from a screen story by Jose Rivera (Trade, Letters to Juliet). You can see the trailer here on MADE. The movie opens in theaters this Friday.
A new documentary from Showtime Documentary Films, Listen To Me Marlon, will be opening in theaters nationwide this fall. As implied, the film takes a personal perspective on the life and career of 2-time Academy Award-winning actor Marlon Brando, narrated by Brando, himself, from hours of audio tapes from his personal archives. Writer/director Stevan Riley (Fire In Babylon, Everything Or Nothing) compiled Brando’s narrations along with hours of archival film footage of the actor with the help of co-writer Peter Ettedgui (Vigo: A Passion For Life, Everything Or Nothing). Brando is considered among many film historians and critics to be one of the greatest actors in history, give-or-take a few others. He is probably best known for his portrayal of the title role in Francis Ford Coppola’s The Godfather, but his dynamic talents lead him to portray a vast array of characters throughout his career in films like A Street Car Named Desire (1951), Julius Caesar (1953), and On The Water Front (1955), the latter of which earned him his first Oscar. He won his second Oscar for The Godfather in 1972 but famously refused to show-up to accept it and instead sent a young Native American woman in his place, making a political protest against the persecution of Native Americans in the United States. Nevertheless Brando went on to star in such films as Superman (1978) and Apocalypse Now (1979), imbedding himself in American culture until his death in 2004. Listen To Me Marlon first premiered earlier this year at the Sundance Film Festival and is scheduled to be shown at the Film Forum on July 29th in New York City, and then 2-days later at LA’s Landmark Theater before the nationwide release in the fall. We’ll keep an eye out for an official release date.
Director J.J. Abrams has finally released the official cast list for the long-anticipated seventh installment of the Star Wars franchise, which will follow George Lucas’s original trilogy. Returning from the original series are actors Mark Hamill (Luke Skywalker), Harrison Ford (Han Solo), and Carrie Fisher (Princess Leia), as well as the droid characters Anthony Daniels and Kenny Baker (C-3P0 and R2-D2), who have appeared in every Star Wars film since the original in 1977. Peter Mayhew will also reprise the role of Chewbacca, Han Solo’s Wookie co-pilot. Among the new generation of actors joining the space saga are John Boyega (Junkhearts, Half of a Yellow Sun), Daisy Ridley (Blue Season, Scrawl), Oscar Issac (Inside Llewyn Davis, Robin Hood), and Adam Driver (J. Edgar, Lincoln), although their respective roles are still unclear at this point. Andy Serkis (The Lord of the Rings, The Hobbit), Domhnall Gleeson (Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, True Grit), and veteran actor Max Von Sydow (The Exorcist, Shutter Island) will also be taking roles in the new film. The film is scheduled to begin shooting next month, so production is truly underway now. We’ll keep an eye out for more news.