Inside Movies Breaking Movie News and Scoops | Movie Reviews

Tag: Road to Sundance (1-9 of 9)

Road to Sundance: 'Before Midnight' brings sequels to Sundance -- VIDEO

Every Monday until the 2014 Sundance Film Festival, EW is celebrating a great success story from independent film’s most prestigious showcase. So far, we’ve revisited Lee Daniel’s Precious, Courtney Hunt’s Frozen River, Greg Mottola’s Adventureland, Joseph Gordon-Levitt’s Don Jon, and Ryan Coogler’s Fruitvale Station. Today, we look back at Before Midnight, the much-anticipated 2013 sequel from Richard Linklater.

Sundance and sequels don’t typically go hand-in-hand. But Before Midnight, the third film in Richard Linklater’s accidental trilogy about the ongoing romance between Jesse (Ethan Hawke) and Celine (Julie Delpy), felt right at home when it debuted at the festival last year. The original 1995 movie, Before Sunrise, was a studio film that became beloved despite barely making a blip at the box office, and the latest installment was completely independent.

When Before Midnight debuted last January, fans were obsessed to see where the couple would be nine years after Before Sunset, the Paris-set sequel that left fans hanging on whether Jesse would catch his plane back to New York or start a new life with the “one that got away.” That film earned won the trio an Oscar nod for screenplay, and the three collaborated again on Midnight, which finds the couple together, with kids, in Greece.

Critics and fans adored the latest film, which featured combative marital scenes that were raw and honest. (Who hasn’t wanted to call one’s spouse the mayor of Crazytown?) The romance was still there, but it was no longer an ideal or a wish. It was real and grounded, evolved and maturing along with its characters.

Click below to see the trio at last year’s Sundance, discussing the movie and the future of their “franchise.” READ FULL STORY

Road to Sundance: Stars are born in 'Fruitvale Station' -- VIDEO

Every Monday until the 2014 Sundance Film Festival, EW is celebrating a great success story from independent film’s most prestigious showcase. So far, we’ve revisited Lee Daniel’s Precious, Courtney Hunt’s Frozen River, Greg Mottola’s Adventureland, and Joseph Gordon-Levitt’s Don Jon. Today, we look back at Fruitvale Station, the 2013 film from Ryan Coogler.

With the Sundance Film Festival just over a week away, a new crop of unknown filmmakers heads to Park City with dreams of standing ovations, distribution deals, and just enough recognition so that they get to make another movie. Last year, that one film that will forever be associated with Sundance 2013 was Fruitvale Station, the Oscar contender about the last day in the life of Oscar Grant, the real-life Bay Area man who was shot by transit police in 2009.

Director Ryan Coogler had been living in Oakland when Grant was shot, an altercation that was captured by onlookers’ cell phones and immediately posted online. Coogler was a promising student filmmaker who’d spent time at the Sundance Institute, and when he met with Forest Whitaker and members of the Oscar winner’s production company, he pitched Grant’s story. With Whitaker’s guidance — and the blessing of Grant’s family — Coogler pieced together Grant’s last 24 hours into a moving and complex drama starring Michael B. Jordan and Octavia Spencer. The film won the Sundance Grand Jury Prize, as well as the Audience Award, and it opened in theaters in July to rave reviews.

Click below to see Coogler and his cast at last year’s Sundance, just as the festival was realizing what Fruitvale was all about. READ FULL STORY

Road to Sundance: Joseph Gordon-Levitt was the 'Don' of the festival -- VIDEO

Every Monday until the 2014 Sundance Film Festival, EW is celebrating a great success story from independent film’s most prestigious showcase. So far, we’ve revisited Lee Daniel’s Precious , Courtney Hunt’s Frozen River, Greg Mottola’s Adventureland, Today, we look back at Don Jon, the 2013 film from Joseph Gordon-Levitt.

The Sundance Film Festival is the place first-time directors aspire to go in order to be discovered. But sometimes, a rookie filmmaker arrives in Utah with a certain amount of fame already to his credit. Take Joseph Gordon-Levitt, for example, who premiered his first feature, then-titled Don Jon’s Addiction, at the 2013 festival. If his name wasn’t enough — as director and star — the movie also featured Scarlett Johansson and Julianne Moore; so even though it was “independent” in scale, it wasn’t exactly a make-or-break venture by some guy living out of his car.

But in other ways, Don Jon (as it was renamed for its theatrical release) was the epitome of what Sundance is all about. Gordon-Levitt, for all his success, is a Sundance kid. Not only did he launch his hitRECord website at the festival in 2010, but he played the boyhood version of Robert Redford’s narrator in A River Runs Through It. Since then, he’s been a major Sundance player, starring in festival movies like Mysterious Skin, Brick, and (500) Days of Summer. Throw in the film’s provocative subject matter — porn addiction — and Don Jon was as “Sundance” as any movie in recent memory.

In our clip from Sundance below, Gordon-Levitt and co-star Tony Danza discuss their characters and how media shape our obsessions. READ FULL STORY

Road to Sundance: When Kristen Stewart and Jesse Eisenberg starred in 'Adventureland' -- VIDEO

adventureland.jpg

Every Monday until the 2014 Sundance Film Festival, EW is celebrating a great success story from independent film’s most prestigious showcase. So far, we’ve revisited Lee Daniel’s Precious and Courtney Hunt’s Frozen River. Today, we look back at Adventureland, the 2009 comedy that featured a bunch of indie stars who were on the cusp of movie stardom.

To be fair, Kristen Stewart had just become a huge star when Adventureland pulled into Park City in 2009 — the first Twilight was playing in theaters — but she was still only 18 years old. Jesse Eisenberg was known best for indies like The Squid and the Whale and Rodger Dodger, while Ryan Reynolds’ name — after a decade of solid work — was just beginning to be in the mix for major studio blockbusters.

Together, they signed up with writer/director Greg Mottola, who was coming off the box-office success of Superbad, for this coming-of-age story about a recent college grad who reluctantly takes a summer job in 1987 at the local amusement park. Running the theme park is an odd couple played by Kristen Wiig and Bill Hader, and the EW video interview below from 2009 is a fine time capsule for the actors, whose careers have all skyrocketed in the past four years.
READ FULL STORY

Sundance 2014: Zach Braff and Kevin Smith added to festival line-up

clerks

Two Sundance favorites are heading back to the winter festival. Zach Braff and Kevin Smith will be in Park City this January, the former to premiere his Kickstarted-funded movie, Wish I Was Here, and the latter to commemorate the 20th anniversary of Clerks.

Braff made a big splash at Sundance 10 years ago, when he premiered Garden State at the festival. Last April, he announced a Kickstarter campaign to raise $2 million for his directorial follow-up. Fans responded and Braff reached the goal in just three days. Braff wrote the screenplay with his brother, Adam, and he also stars as a struggling actor and stay-at-home dad who decides to home-school his 5- and 12-year-old kids. “It’s about a family struggling to get by and barely surviving financially and the dad’s a bit of a f— up,” Braff told EW in April. “Basically it’s a story about a man learning to become a great husband and father and person.”

Wish I Were Here won’t play in competition but instead will debut as part of Sundance’s Premieres category. READ FULL STORY

Road to Sundance: When 'Frozen River' broke the ice for Melissa Leo -- VIDEO

Every Monday until the 2014 Sundance Film Festival, EW is celebrating a great success story from independent film’s most prestigious showcase. Last week, we revisited Lee Daniel’s Precious. Today, we look back at Frozen River, the 2008 movie that made Hollywood take notice of Melissa Leo.

Leo had been acting for more than 20 years when Frozen River came to Sundance, and most people knew her best for her five seasons as Detective Kay Howard on TV’s Homicide: Life on the Street. In 21 Grams, she’d proven she could act with anyone, but she wasn’t considered for many leading movie roles until Frozen River. In Courtney Hunt’s upstate–New York drama, Leo played a desperate but fierce mother whose lofty ambition of making the down-payment for a double-wide trailer-home leads her to pair up with Native American (Misty Upham) from the local reservation to smuggle people into the country from Canada. READ FULL STORY

Sundance 2014: Short films slate features sitcom stars

remembering-robert-deniro-sr.jpg

Short films can go a long way. Especially when they’re showcased at the Sundance Film Festival. The festival’s Shorts program, which was announced today, has a tradition of identifying remarkable filmmakers as well as introducing stories that ultimately make it to the big-screen as features. For example, David O. Russell brought his first film, a short titled Bingo Inferno to Sundance in 1987, while Half Nelson, which earned Ryan Gosling his first Oscar nomination, grew out of Ryan Fleck’s 2004 Sundance short titled, Gowanus, Brooklyn. “If you look back at the directors who got their start by having a short at Sundance, the list is really impressive,” says Sundance’s director of programming Trevor Groth, who points out that last year’s short, Whiplash, is back this year as a full-length feature. “So for us it’s always nice to see that trajectory.”

This year, there were 66 shorts selected in the U.S. Narrative, International Narrative, Documentary, and Animated categories. On paper, the slate is full of quirky tales: in I’m a Mitvah, Ben Schwartz (Parks and Recreation) spends a night with his dead friend after his plan to bring the body home from Mexico for a proper burial is delayed by a cancelled flight. And it’s difficult to top this quick synopsis for the Canadian short, Life’s a Bitch: “Love. Grief. Choc. Denial. Sleeplessness. Bubble bath. Mucus. Masturbation. Pop tart. Pigeons. Toothpaste. Hospital. F__k. Bye. Hair. Sports. Chicken. Bootie. Kids. Rejection. Squirrels. Cries. Awkward — 95 scenes, five minutes: life’s a bitch.”

Two notable documentaries are Remembering the Artist, Robert De Niro, Sr. (above), which explores the work of the actor’s father, an abstract expressionist who passed away 20 years ago. In Untucked, Community‘s Danny Pudi laces up with the 1977 Marquette University basketball team, the colorful NCAA champions who set the fashion with their “untucked” jerseys.

Click below for the entire Shorts list: READ FULL STORY

Sundance 2014: Michael Fassbender, Nick Offerman, and Roger Ebert headline Premieres

The Sundance Film Festival announced the titles selected to screen in its out-of-competition Premieres and Documentary Premieres sections. Last year, the movies that were launched in these categories — which typically highlight filmmakers who’ve appeared at Sundance before — included Before Midnight, Don Jon, and The Way Way Back; this year appears to be just as promising. In Lynn Shelton’s Laggies, a young woman stuck in arrested-development (Keira Knightley) has her life upended by an unexpected marriage proposal. In David Wain’s They Came Together — surely, a naughty pun, yes? — Wet Hot American Summer alums Amy Poehler and Paul Rudd reunite for Wain’s satire of what seems to be a Woody Allen romantic-comedy. Poehler’s Parks and Recreation co-star Nick Offerman takes center stage for his own concert film, Nick Offerman: American Ham. “He’s very much a storyteller and humorist,” says Sundance’s director of programming Trevor Groth. “It actually has not just laughter, but some emotion, in terms of his views on life and love.”

But the slate isn’t just comedies. (This is Sundance after all.) Michael Shannon and Nicholas Hoult star in Jake Paltrow’s Young Ones, a genre-bender “that’s really a Western in its form and function,” says Sundance’s director John Cooper.

For those of you hoping to see Michael Fassbender in a Sundance movie, you’re in luck… aaand you’re out of luck. Fassbender plays a musical genius in Lenny Abrahamson’s movie, Frank. “His character wears a giant ceramic head the entire film, so you’ve got this [actor] who can basically take any film role out there and he takes one where he hides his face,” says Cooper. “A brave choice from someone who’s known for his brave choices.”

At least Ryan Reynolds has the good taste to be in a Sundance movie that doesn’t hide his face (or trap him in a coffin). That’s not to say his character in Marjane Satrapi’s The Voices doesn’t have some baggage. Reynolds plays a mentally unbalanced factory drone whose attempts at office romance don’t work out. When things turn unexpectedly violent, he begins to hear the voices of his pets as they advise him what to do next. “It’s a jolt,” says Groth. “[Ryan] does something really inventive. Believe me, the talking cats and dogs are the least of your problems in this movie.”

As always, some of the festivals most promising movies are documentaries. Rory Kennedy (Ethel) returns to Park City with the Last Days of Vietnam, which investigates the U.S. orders to evacuate only American personnel, leaving behind loyal South Vietnamese as Saigon fell to the Communists. Amir Bar-Lev digs deep into Happy Valley to investigate the culture that enabled Penn State football coach Jerry Sandusky to abuse countless youths. Steve James, who directed Hoop Dreams, chronicles the career of the late Roger Ebert in Life Itself.

Mitt Romney will also make an appearance of sorts. The former Salt Lake City Olympics CEO and presidential candidate is the subject of a documentary from Greg Whitely, simply titled Mitt. “It gave me a whole new sort of perspective on politicians and what they have to go through,” says Cooper. “Just the rigor if it, and how the family has to be part of this process.”

One potential breakout documentary is The Battered Bastards of Baseball, the true story of the Portland Mavericks, an independent minor-league baseball team founded by actor Bing Russell in the 1970s. “He put together this team that ended up being this great David versus Goliath, Bad News Bears story of these rag-tag group of players that became winners,” says Groth. “Kurt Russell was there as a young guy following the team around and [Little Children director] Todd Field was the bat-boy. It’s just an amazing story and I think it’s going to be a real crowd-pleaser.”

Click below for Sundance’s complete listing of Premieres. READ FULL STORY

Road to Sundance: 'Precious' pushed all the right buttons in 2009

December is the heart of Oscar season, yet by the time we finally see who wins the trophies on March 2, we will have heard the nominees answer the same red-carpet questions and tell the same late-night television anecdotes — about process and weight loss and legacy, etc — that we’ll practically be able to write the winners’ acceptance speeches for them. It’s refreshing, then, that right in the middle of this circus will be the Sundance Film Festival.

Every January, in Park City, Utah, a fresh crop of movies is unveiled at independent film’s grandest showcase. What separates Sundance from other prestigious festivals, say Toronto or Cannes, is that it specializes in that your-life-will-never-be-the-same moment. From the day Steven Soderbergh screened sex, lies and videotape in 1989 to the standing ovation Ryan Coogler received earlier this year for Fruitvale Station, Sundance is the place where dreams come true. To be there when it happens, to see filmmakers and actors engaging with appreciative audiences who are watching their work for the first time, is one of the best things about the business. “I haven’t been in a movie before, so everything is so Entourage,” said Gabourey Sidibe, when Precious premiered at Sundance in 2009. “We’re walking up Main Street and everyone’s like, ‘You were so wonderful.’ ‘Oh, I can’t wait to see your movie.’ Oh my God. That is sooooo Entourage.”

How can you not love that?

And it’s not just the rags-to-riches stories that make Sundance such a special place. When talent comes to Sundance — be they no-names or Oscar-winners — their well-rehearsed pat answers simply haven’t taken shape yet. Sundance is the first time they’re meeting the press for their project and they aren’t always 100 percent prepared — which is a wonderful thing. Stay out of his own way, and a journalist might even enjoy a spontaneous, human conversation with some amazing artist who is just as excited to share what went into the process of creating their art. Sometimes, if the spirit moves them, they might have have an impromptu dance party, like Sidibe and her Precious co-stars did at the EW Studio. READ FULL STORY

Latest Videos in Movies

Advertisement

TV Recaps

Powered by WordPress.com VIP