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Tag: Sundance Film Festival (11-20 of 423)

Sundance 2014: What happened at Penn State was not anomalous at all, says 'Happy Valley' director

The passion for college football in certain parts of our country almost resembles a cult in its intensity. And perhaps no team had a more devoted following than Joe Paterno’s Penn State program, which proudly won “the right way” on and off the field ever since he became head coach in 1966. His reputation was nonpareil in the sports world — until former assistant coach Jerry Sandusky was indicted in Nov. 2011 for molesting young boys on the Penn State campus. Paterno, then 85 years old, was fired, along with three other top University administrators, rocking the Penn State community, a.k.a. Happy Valley, to its core.

Into that storm came filmmaker Amir Bar-Lev (The Tillman Story). Happy Valley, which premiered this week at the Sundance Film Festival, captures the pain, the outrage, and the conflicting passions of people caught in the maelstrom. With interviews with State College locals, Penn State students, the Paterno family, and Sandusky’s adopted son, Matt, the film paints a complicated portrait of a community still recovering. There are powerful scenes in which an artist paints over Sandusky in a Penn State mural, adds a halo to Paterno’s portrait… and then takes it off as more sad news breaks. There is another sequence where a man protests by standing near the stadium’s Paterno statue with a sign calling the coach an enabler, and the angry reaction it elicits from loyal fans who drove miles to pay homage to their hero is all you need to know about the town’s torn soul.

“What I tried to do is give the audience the puzzle I’ve been working with for 18 months, and turn it around in your head and maybe conclude the same things I did — and maybe different things,” Bar-Lev said after an early screening. In fact, the early reactions to the film were all across the board. Some viewers concluded that Paterno and his superiors were complicit and that our universal obsession with athletics blinded well-intentioned people. But one member of the audience, who identified himself as a relative of Penn State benefactors Louis and Mildred Lasch, walked away with a different impression. “I was very nervous coming into this documentary, but I want to applaud you because I think you did find the truth in what’s a very, very difficult thing,” he said.

The truth. I’m not even sure Bar-Lev would agree that he’s found it. But Happy Valley is a powerful portrait of a wounded community that might not be so different from your own.

The director chatted with EW about his film: READ FULL STORY

RADiUS-TWC acquires worldwide rights to 'The One I Love'

Director Charlie McDowell is starting his feature film career on a good note: RADiUS-TWC nabbed the rights to his debut The One I Love, which premiered at Sundance Tuesday night.

The film focuses on Ethan (Mark Duplass) and Sophie (Elisabeth Moss), a married couple who go on a retreat to try to sort out some problems. This isn’t an ordinary romantic comedy though: Things get weird. No one knows how weird though, because the film’s cast and crew are keeping the bizarre twist a secret.

Written by Justin Lader, The One I Love is slated for a fourth quarter 2014 release. 

Sundance 2014: Lars von Trier's top-secret screening of 'Nymphomaniac'...and the Aussie chiller 'The Babadook'

I arrived at Sundance early last night, a step ahead of an East Coast blizzard, to take the critic’s baton from my colleague Owen Gleiberman for the second half of the festival. The first words I heard when I arrived in Park City, Utah, were that there would be a top-secret screening Tuesday night of an eagerly anticipated film from a prominent director months before its scheduled release. The guessing games whipped into a full-on tizzy immediately, with the early odds-on favorite that it would be either Wes Anderson’s Grand Budapest Hotel or Bennett Miller’s Foxcatcher. But when a sign outside the theater warned that “No one under 18 would be admitted”, it was clear it would be neither. This was going to be something naughty.

We were about to be treated to Lars von Trier’s arthouse sex-addict provocation, Nymphomaniac, Vol. 1.

About halfway through, I would have given anything for it to have been either of the other two.
READ FULL STORY

Sony Pictures Classics nabs worldwide rights to 'Land Ho!'

Road trip comedy Land Ho! will be coming to a theater near you sometime this year. Sony Pictures Classics acquired worldwide rights to the movie this morning after its Sunday premiere at Sundance. In the film, two retirees (played by Paul Eenhoorn and Earl Lynn Nelson) jet off to Iceland to experience a crazy trip as an attempt to feel young again. Directed by Martha Stephens and Aaron Katz, Land Ho! is the first movie to be financed by Gamechanger, a new fund specifically made to finance films directed and co-directed by women.

Sundance 2014: Steve Coogan and Rob Brydon cut each other up once more in 'The Trip to Italy'

Fifty years ago (on Feb. 7, 1964, to be precise), the Beatles came to America with a sound so blissful and spangly and new that it would have seemed — still seems — counterintuitive to think how much that sound was influenced by America. The four magical mop tops seemed to relish our rock & roll even more than we did (though, of course, they gave it their own incandescent spin). Mind you, I’m not comparing Steve Coogan and Rob Brydon, the two brilliantly funny quipster cynics who portray themselves going on a culinary road adventure in The Trip to Italy, to the Beatles (though the barbed cheekiness of these two goes right back to the spirit of the banter in A Hard Day’s Night). But if I can at least make an analogy between comedy and music, Coogan and Brydon, who spend a lot of the film doing their slashing impersonations of Al Pacino, Woody Allen, Robert De Niro, Christian Bale, and others, appear to be driven by a heightened fixation on the personalities of Hollywood stars that seems at once peculiar to Britain and, just possibly, even more obsessive than our own. READ FULL STORY

Sundance 2014: Todd Field looks back on the 'Battered Bastards of Baseball' -- EXCLUSIVE

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The Portland Mavericks baseball team were more than just mavericks. They were outlaws. In 1973, Hollywood actor Bing Russell roared into Oregon and established the Mavericks as an independent minor league team, meaning he had to recruit players that the Major Leagues franchises had rejected, a scrap heap that included a fair share of burn-outs, head-cases, and outright degenerates. “Guys were gambling in the back of the bus, there was drugs, there were women everywhere,” says Oscar-nominated director Todd Field (Little Children). “These guys were pirates.”

Field didn’t write or direct the Battered Bastards of Baseball, the documentary about the Mavericks that premiered at the Sundance Film Festival on Jan. 20. But he does play an important role in the doc directed by Russell’s grandsons, Chapman and Maclain Way. Long before he broke into Hollywood, Field was the Mavericks’ wide-eyed 13-year-old bat-boy, watching his heroes act like the Lost Boys of Summer for as long as they possibly could. There was nobody who wasn’t half-baked or out of their mind on that team — in really good ways and in ways that were kind of scary,” he says. “They all played together and they all laughed together and they all fought together and they all got drunk together. And in that way, yes, it was a very Robert Louis Stevenson [Treasure Island] kind of situation for me.” READ FULL STORY

Sundance 2014: 'Hits' director David Cross shares the secret of viral success -- VIDEO

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In the new dark comedy Hits, actor and writer/director David Cross (Arrested Development) explores what happens to Dave, a municipal worker living in a small town in upstate New York, when the video of his rants at City Hall suddenly go viral, granting him instant fame.

EW’s Laura Hertzfeld talked with the Hits cast about working with writer/director David Cross (while trying to coax him out from behind a video screen) and the secret formula to making viral videos:
READ FULL STORY

Sundance 2014: Elizabeth Banks searches for some hands-on healing in 'Little Accidents' -- VIDEO

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Tragedy brings two broken souls together in director/writer Sara Colangelo’s debut feature film, Little Accidents. Elizabeth Banks (The Hunger Games) plays the wife of a mining executive whose son goes missing and befriends the only survivor after a mining accident rattles their small town.

Chris Columbus serves as executive producer on the film and has a very personal connection to the dangerous trade. EW’s Anthony Breznican sat down at Sundance to talk with the cast — Banks, Boyd Holbrook (Hatfields & McCoys), and Jacob Lofland (Mud) — as well as Columbus and Colangelo about the film and the director’s maiden cinematic voyage.

Watch the exclusive interview below:
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Sundance 2014: 'The One I Love' is 'more than just a couple fighting' -- VIDEO

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Charlie McDowell’s The One I Love stars Top of the Lake‘s Elisabeth Moss and Mark Duplass (Safety Not Guaranteed) as a troubled couple struggling with their marriage. The pair embark on a weekend trip in an attempt to fix their relationship only to find themselves faced with an unusual dilemma along the way.

Though McDowell, Moss, and Duplass are keeping tight-lipped as to what unusual situation transpires in the film, McDowell did tease that it’s a pretty big turn that happens early on in the film.

Watch EW’s exclusive interview with the cast of The One I Love below:
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Sundance 2014: EW's best and worst of the festival so far -- VIDEO

The 2014 Sundance Film Festival continues through the end of the week, but that doesn’t mean it’s too early to pick some of our favorite movies from Park City, Utah, and some others that left us feeling a little cold.

Film critic Owen Gleiberman — who has been attending Sundance since 1995 — talks to EW’s Sara Vilkomerson about Bill Hader’s dramatic side, a film that took more than a decade to make, and whether or not Kristen Stewart is a convincing soldier.

Check out Owen’s favorites below:
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