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Tag: Sundance Film Festival (61-70 of 424)

Sundance 2014: Bill Hader can count on Kristen Wiig in 'The Skeleton Twins' -- EXCLUSIVE PHOTO

Kristen Wiig and Bill Hader spent seven years together on Saturday Night Live, so when you hear they’re starring in a movie together — playing twins no less — you might expect it to be an outrageous comedy. When you then hear it’s also a Sundance movie, you might conclude that it’s something quirky-funny like Adventureland, the 2009 festival hit in which they played the married couple that runs a rinky-dink amusement park. But The Skeleton Twins is something entirely different — a full-on drama. They play Maggie and Milo, twins who used to be close but now live on different sides of the country. Neither is particular happy with their lives, and when they both narrowly avoid death on the same day, they end up reuniting and confronting the issues that have kept them apart. “Yeah, I would say it’s the Nebraska route,” says Hader, referring to the toned-down performance by his former SNL colleague, Will Forte, in Alexander Payne’s recent movie. “It’s more dramatic than funny. The movie I can compare it to is You Can Count On Me.”

Hader filmed the movie during his final season of Saturday Night Live, a hectic time in his life that had him plumbing some pretty hard-core emotional depths on Skeleton Twins and then racing back to Studio 8H to do a sketch with a guest like Jamie Foxx or perform on Weekend Update as Stefon. “I always liked it when you’d see someone [from SNL] do something different,” he says. “I’m not comparing myself at all to Bill Murray, but I remember seeing Bill Murray in Mad Dog and Glory. I was like, ‘Wow, he was really scary in this.’ That’s so cool that he did that. Beating up Robert DeNiro? It was crazy. I thought that was so awesome.”

Before the 35-year-old actor heads back to the Sundance Film Festival — a special place for him and his wife, Maggie Carey, since they got engaged in Park City — Hader discussed working with Wiig on The Skeleton Twins and the scene that sent him to the emergency room. READ FULL STORY

Sundance 2014: Brendan Gleeson gets holy with Chris O'Dowd in 'Calvary' -- EXCLUSIVE VIDEO

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Writer/director John Michael McDonagh is re-teaming with Brendan Gleeson, his lead actor in the 2011 film The Guard, for the Sundance premiere Calvary. This time Gleeson, who played an unorthodox cop in McDonagh’s last movie, is putting on the priest’s clerical collar for the dark comedy about the complicated life of a country priest.

Gleeson’s priest receives a death threat from the first scene of the movie, and while there is humor running through the piece, the emotional assault wore on the veteran actor through the 29-day shoot. “I found it very difficult emotionally,” he said. “This has been a very intense shoot — a short, intense shoot. It’s been remorseless, absorbing all that contempt and hate and poison.”

Check out a bit of Gleeson’s work below. The following scene is between the local priest Brendan Gleeson and the town’s butcher, played by Chris O’Dowd. In it, Gleeson’s priest goes into the butcher shop to confront O’Dowd’s local butcher about sharing his wife with another man.

The film debuts Sunday, Jan. 19, in the Premiere section of the festival.
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Sundance 2014: Jason Schwartzman channels a jerk in 'Listen Up Philip' -- EXCLUSIVE PHOTOS

Philip is not the most likable guy. In the first few seconds of director Alex Ross Perry’s film, Listen Up Philip (premiering at Sundance on Jan. 20), we see Philip (Jason Schwartzman) rushing down a New York street as a narrator (Eric Bogosian) explains that he’s “characteristically not in a hurry, but perpetually enraged by slow foot traffic before him.”

It’s the perfect intro to the character that you’re about to spend the next 108 minutes with as the embittered, narcissistic writer navigates his life, the stresses behind the release of his second novel, and his crumbling relationship. But you can’t seem to look away.

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Sundance 2014: Kurt Russell goes deep for 'Battered Bastards of Baseball' -- EXCLUSIVE

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Before anyone thought of The Bad News Bears, Slapshot, and Major League, there were the Portland Mavericks. In 1973, after professional baseball had abandoned the Oregon city, Hollywood actor Bing Russell — Deputy Clem on Bonanza — jumped at a chance to organize the only independent minor-league team in the country. Facing skepticism from a city that had been hoping for an actual major-league team and starting from scratch without any players, Russell held open tryouts for any has-been or never-will-be. “He put this team together of misfits, a ballclub made up a bunch of crazy individuals,” says Bing’s son, Kurt Russell, who co-owned and played for the Mavericks. “There’s never been another ballclub like that. His favorite movie and the favorite part he ever played in the theater was The Music Man. And in real life, there was a lot of Music Man to Bing Russell.”

Baseball and Hollywood have always been dueling passions for the Russells — both father and son played minor-league ball — and both are at the heart of The Battered Bastards of Baseball, a documentary premiering at this week’s Sundance Film Festival. Bing’s grandsons, Chapman and Maclain Way, were inspired to co-direct the movie after uncovering old Mavericks memorabilia at their grandparents’ house, like the team photo that features players wearing backwards uniforms and guzzling beers (see below). READ FULL STORY

Bryan Singer headlines Sundance Film Festival juries

X-Men franchise director Bryan Singer, whose first two features debuted at the Sundance Film Festival — including The Usual Suspects in 1995 — was one of the industry figures named to the Sundance juries that will judge this year’s films when the festival begins next week. Singer, who has X-Men: Days of Future Past due in May, will be one of five members of the U.S. Dramatic Jury. Other members of the juries include Tracy Chapman, Lone Scherfig, Leonard Maltin, and screenwriter Jon Spaihts (Prometheus). A complete list of the juries, courtesy of the Sundance Film Festival, can be viewed after the jump.

Nick Offerman and Megan Mullally, who both have projects at Sundance this year, will co-host the feature-film awards ceremony on Jan. 25. Parks and Rec‘s Offerman stars in the one-man show, Nick Offerman: American Ham, while Mullally voices a character in the animated film, Ernest and Celestine. READ FULL STORY

Check out the mayhem-filled trailer for 'The Raid 2: Berandal' -- VIDEO

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Are you the kind of person who likes to start the year with calming thoughts of cute kittens, beautiful sunsets, and scenarios in which someone isn’t getting savagely beaten by a metal baseball bat? Well, good for you! We would, however, suggest that you don’t watch the new, mayhem-filled trailer for The Raid 2: Berandal, writer-director Gareth Evans’ follow-up to his much loved 2011 actioner.

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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

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

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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

Best of 2013: Michael B. Jordan and Ryan Coogler on filming the harrowing tragedy of 'Fruitvale Station'

Oscar Grant was only 22 years old when he died after being shot in the back by an Oakland transit policeman in the early hours of New Year’s Day 2009. The public outcry that followed was inflamed because the shooting was recorded by shocked BART-train passengers who captured it on their cellphones and immediately posted online. One of the young Bay Area residents who was outraged by what transpired on the video was an aspiring filmmaker named Ryan Coogler, also 22. In Southern California, 21-year-old actor Michael B. Jordan watched the grainy footage on Facebook and had a heavy heart. “Being somebody who was so close to my age, it was almost like a peer getting shot down,” he says. “It kind of really sat with me.”

Three years after Grant’s death, Coogler and Jordan set out to tell the story of Grant’s last 24 hours alive in Fruitvale Station. It’s not an angry film, nor does it lionize Grant and make him a saint. Grant had dealt drugs and served a prison sentence. But at the time of his death, he was trying to start over — according to those who knew him best — and become the son, boyfriend, and father that others needed him to be.

Coogler had earned the trust of Grant’s family, and interviewed everyone who crossed paths with Grant on Dec. 31, 2008. Combined with cellphone records and legal documents, he pieced together Grant’s movements and interactions to create an informed version of his final day alive. Such details were crucial — especially for Jordan, who Coogler recruited to star — because there was very little if any video of Grant himself. That is, except for the horrible video of his final moments.

Fruitvale Station premiered at last January’s Sundance Film Festival, where it won several top prizes, was quickly picked up by The Weinstein Company, and is currently a serious contender for several year-end awards. Sundance audiences were stunned into silence by the film, which opens with the actual amateur footage of Grant’s shooting at the Fruitvale BART station. It was a decision Coogler wrestled with. “That was something that I was initially very firmly against,” he said at Sundance. “I didn’t want any real footage in the film. But you sometimes have to take a step back. Being from the Bay Area, I knew that footage like the back of my hand, but more people from around the world had no idea about this story. It made sense for them to see that footage and see what happened to Oscar, and I think it was a responsibility that we had to put that out there. From now on, everyone who sits down and sees this film, they see the truth. There’s no CGI in that, in what they did to that young man. That’s the real deal.”
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