I’m no psychic. But the minute I saw Andrew Bujalski’s sweet/geeky/playful/pointyheaded drama Computer Chess, I knew it would win the Alfred P. Sloan Feature Film Prize, a cool-brainiac award from the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation that comes with a $20,000 huzzah for an independent film project that, in the words of the foundation press release, explores “science and technology themes or that depict scientists, engineers, and mathematicians in engaging and innovative ways.” I knew Computer Chess would win, first because most other films at Sundance this year explore relationships and sexytime themes rather than stories featuring scientists. And second because, in the guise of messing around with the limitations of PortaPak video aesthetics and technology circa 1980, Bujalski (the mumblecore pioneer who made Funny Ha Ha, Mutual Appreciation, and Beeswax) gets at something deep and true about the nature of scientists, mathematicians, engineers, and the young nerds of every generation who go on to invent the stuff that changes the lives of all the rest of us.
Tag: Sundance Film Festival (41-50 of 350)
As this year’s Sundance Film Festival winds down, there’s a collection of stand-outs, films that have already sparked bidding wars among distributors and are gaining buzz that filmmakers hope turns into success beyond the festival.
But where are the films that were in the midst of this festival frenzy a year ago? Now that 13 of the 16 films in the U.S. dramatic competition have opened in theaters nationwide, they yield a list that’s mainly box office duds, but there was one movie that had plenty of life in it post-Sundance — the acclaimed Beasts of the Southern Wild. READ FULL STORY
At a Sundance Film Festival remarkable for its strong female perspective, Very Good Girls might be the most earnest and accessible of those films. It’s the coming-of-age story of two Brooklyn teenagers (Dakota Fanning and Elizabeth Olsen) who are determined to lose their virginity before the summer after their senior year of high school ends. They both fall for the same boy, but there are no hijinks; this is no distaff version of American Pie. “What I wanted more than anything was it to be a fly on the wall experience,” says writer-director Naomi Foner, who makes her directorial debut after a long career as a successful screenwriter (Running on Empty). “We’re there with these girls as these things happen. I wanted nothing more than for women of all ages to walk into it and to feel ‘Oh, yeah I remember that,’ or ‘I see that,’ or ‘I can do that.’ And have a model for themselves of some sort. And I didn’t want to do it in way that’s silly.”
If it had been sillier or crass, Foner might have had an easier time getting it made. She initially wrote the script 20 years ago, and nearly had a go-picture a few years back, but the financier flinched because the two actresses Foner had recruited weren’t big enough: Kristen Stewart and Jennifer Lawrence. READ FULL STORY
For fans of Parks and Recreation, Amy Poehler and Adam Scott are television’s most adorable couple. But in A.C.O.D., the Sundance movie about an Adult Child of Divorce (Scott) who’s never really recovered from the trauma of his parents’ split, their relationship could not be chillier. Poehler plays Scott’s pushy step-mother — and the landlord of his restaurant — and she’s not afraid to throw her influence around. (Imagine if Leslie Knope had grown up in Eagleton and you get the idea.)
The film, which premiered last night, reunites Scott with his Step Brothers father, Richard Jenkins, and his Party Down pal, Jane Lynch, and also features Catherine O’Hara, The Office‘s Clark Duke, and 30 Rock‘s Ken Howard, among others.
In person, Poehler and Scott are much more like their Parks and Recreation characters, funny and friendly, offering a glass of red wine to a reporter (that may have been left behind by another journalist.) Before a Princess Bride style Battle of Wits could be staged over the dubious drink in question, the two actors were kind enough to discuss their new movie and Parks and Rec.
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: Adam, you’re an executive producer on A.C.O.D. I’ve met a lot of producers, but for the life of me, I never really know exactly what they do because when I ask them, I get 100 different answers. So what did the executive producer do on this movie?
ADAM SCOTT: He got Amy Poehler to do the movie. READ FULL STORY
Sundance: What makes 'The Way, Way Back' a crowd-pleaser? Plus 'Pandora's Promise,' a radically sane and important documentary about how nuclear power could save us
The term “crowd-pleaser” should probably be retired from the movie universe. When a serviceable January horror flick like Mama can make $20 million its opening weekend (and that’s demonstrably in the off season), you can bet that virtually every film that opens week in and week out at number one is, in ticket sales and essence, a crowd-pleaser. So it seems unnecessary, or maybe just redundant, to single out any one film for fulfilling that definition. It would sort of be like referring to Twizzlers or popcorn as “popular movie junk food.” READ FULL STORY
Fans know funny guys Ashton Kutcher from That ’70s Show and Two and a Half Men, and Josh Gad from Broadway’s Book of Mormon and TV’s 1600 Penn, but they come together as a rolled up ball of friendship and genius-level nerd-tech intelligence as Apple co-founders Steve Jobs (Kutcher) and Steve Wozniak (Gad) – aka Woz — in jOBS, premiering Friday at the Sundance Film Festival. The movie hits theaters April 19.
Check out this exclusive clip from the movie, below, of Kutcher — all bright-eyed, bearded, and enthusiastic as Jobs — heatedly discussing with Gad’s Woz — less bright-eyed, and more puffy haired — in the parking lot of Hewlett Packard a new real-time computer operating system Woz created. “This is freedom! This is freedom to create, and to do and to build, as artists, as individuals,” exclaims Kutcher in the clip. “Look! You’re over-reacting! Even if you were developing this for freaks like us, and I doubt you are, nobody wants to buy a computer, nobody!” Gad shouts back. To which Kutcher replies, with all the passion of the real Jobs, ”How does somebody know what they want if they’ve never ever seen it?”
READ FULL STORY
Peter Sarsgaard is accustomed to playing unsavory characters, but the role of Linda Lovelace’s abusive husband in Lovelace, which premiered last night at the Sundance Film Festival, almost stopped him in his tracks. Chuck Traynor masterminded his wife’s pornography career and years after Deep Throat, Lovelace would accuse him of beating her and threatening to kill her if she ever tried to leave him or the sordid business that made her famous. “Being in the place where I am in my life, the role just wasn’t appealing,” says Sarsgaard, whose wife Maggie Gyllenhaal was pregnant with their second daughter when he was weighing the decision. “At the same time, I was having trouble saying no, so there’s obviously some part of me that is attracted to it.”
Moping around his house, he took forever to read the script — to the point that the filmmakers were reluctantly about to seek a Plan B. Finally, his pregnant wife stepped in. “Basically, you’ve been thinking about it for too long,” Sarsgaard says she told him. “That means you should do it.”
“Thank god for her,” says Amanda Seyfried, who plays the beautiful but battered Lovelace in the film. “Because honestly, he’s the best actor of our generation and I got to work with him. I can’t believe it still.” READ FULL STORY
Another Sundance deal is set. Magnolia Pictures has acquired the rights to North American distribution for writer/director David Gordon Green’s Prince Avalanche, starring Paul Rudd and Emile Hirsch.
Adapted from the Icelandic film Either Way, the offbeat comedy features Rudd and Hirsch as two men painting traffic lines in a deserted area of Texas, and the unlikely friendship that emerges between them. Green is a Sundance favorite with his previous films such as Snow Angels and All the Real Girls.
“All of us at Magnolia are huge fans of David Gordon Green, and it’s been a dream for a long time to work with him,” said Magnolia President Eamonn Bowles in a release. “Prince Avalanche is incredibly smart, funny, warm and engaging film, with indelible, iconic performances from both Paul Rudd and Emile Hirsch.”
Mark your iPad: jOBS, the biopic about Apple co-founder Steve Jobs’ life, is coming to theaters April 19.
Open Road Films will release the picture, which stars Ashton Kutcher as the late tech giant. The movie – which will trace the major events in his life from the early days at Apple in 1971 to his return to the company by 2001 — also features Dermot Mulroney, Josh Gad, Lukas Haas, J.K. Simmons and Matthew Modine. jOBS is not to be confused with the other Steve Jobs biopic, based on Walter Isaacson’s 2011 biography.
Directed by Joshua Michael Stern (Swing Vote) and written by Matthew Whiteley, Jobs will premiere this Friday at the closing night of the Sundance Film Festival.
Kill Your Darlings, the Sundance movie that stars Daniel Radcliffe as a young Allen Ginsberg and examines how a 1944 murder brought together the young college students who would become the voices of the Beat generation, was picked up by Sony Pictures Classics. The deal is for U.S. and Australian, New Zealand, South African, African TV, and Eastern European rights.
Kill Your Darlings, co-written and directed by John Krokidas, also co-stars Ben Foster, Dane DeHaan, Michael C. Hall, Jack Huston, and Elizabeth Olsen.
“This is an amazing movie, a great American drama, thriller, and perfect evocation of New York in the 1940′s as you have never seen on screen before,” SPC said in a statement. “With an ensemble cast that is truly mind-blowing led by Daniel Radcliffe in a profoundly moving performance as Allen Ginsberg, we are witnessing the birth of a major new American filmmaker.”
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