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5 Exciting American Indies Hitting Film Festivals in 2018, From Cowboys in China to WWII-Era Russia

  • Indiewire
5 Exciting American Indies Hitting Film Festivals in 2018, From Cowboys in China to WWII-Era Russia
Now in its eighth year, the American Film Festival offers a unique perspective on recent developments in U.S. indie filmmaking. That’s because it happens in Poland, staged at the stylish Kino Nowe Horyzonty film center in Wroclaw, also home to the summer New Horizons festival, which has more of a European tilt.

Although the festival, which recently concluded, surveys many favorites from Sundance and South by Southwest, the curation doesn’t merely transpose selections to a new setting. It imports a lively assortment of filmmakers, as well, and creates a cozy, engaged atmosphere more akin to the communal vibe of the Maryland Film Festival. Indeed, to rub shoulders in a crowd that included Jody Lee Lipes, Noel Wells, Dustin Guy Defa, Nathan Silver, producer Mike Ryan, Jessica Oreck and Mike Ott is to experience a deep dive into the creative bustle of current indie ferment.

That spirit is
See full article at Indiewire »

Lemon Review

Humans. Such a savage tribe. Complex beings who view heartwarming triumphs and delusional meltdowns with the same excitement. Life deals a bum hand now and again, which we like to see in our movies – something Janicza Bravo’s Lemon understands. A quirky, deadpan descent into emotional abandonment that tears one man apart day by day. Arthouse to the core, but with detrimental and divisive results. You can only endure so many jump-away cuts and vapid characters before dialogue becomes Charlie-Brown-teacher monotone. “Wah wah, wah wah,” cut to thrown cake. “Wah wah,” enter Megan Mullally. A formula always followed by the same question – “Why?”

Brett Gelman stars as Isaac, whose blind wife of 10 years just walked out for good. At the same time, his star theater pupil Alex (Michael Cera) is leaving for a major motion picture filming in Denmark. It doesn’t help that his agent (played by Jeff Garlin
See full article at We Got This Covered »

Movie Review: The surreal indie comedy Lemon looks better than it runs

  • The AV Club
The sad fact about modern weird-for-weird’s-sake micro-indies is that they tend to be even more alike that than the toothlessly quirky Sundance items to which they’re supposed to serve as an antidote. It’s like they’ve all been grown from the same frothy mixture of Adult Swim anti-comedy, vintage lens fetishism, and male pattern baldness. Every now and again a movie like Rick Alverson’s Entertainment might crawl out of this mad-science vat, but more often than not, it’s something like Janicza Bravo’s Lemon, a comedy about a Los Angeles actor (Brett Gelman) who endures one surreal humiliation after another while doing a generally piss-poor job of keeping it together in the face of an impending break-up with his blind girlfriend (Judy Greer). It’s been a few years since the quintessential micro-indie weirdster Quentin Dupieux stopped churning out sporadically irritating and hilarious movies like
See full article at The AV Club »

Mexican Bureaucracy Becomes a Human Tragedy In Award-Winning ‘Everything Else’ — Sf International Film Festival Review

  • Indiewire
Mexican Bureaucracy Becomes a Human Tragedy In Award-Winning ‘Everything Else’ — Sf International Film Festival Review
The first thing we see in “Everything Else” is a look of emptiness. Doña Flor (Adriana Barraza), a middle-aged public servant who has spent 35 years engaged in an utterly boring routine, blankly stares at nothing in particular. Soon, we learn why: As a Mexico City clerk tasked with issuing government IDs, her days are spent assessing paperwork and mechanically processing new requests. Much of this quiet, slow-burn character study inhabits the dreary, remote quality of Doña’s existence, but with time, the movie pieces it together to reveal the emotional solitude lurking beneath that distant gaze.

Anyone familiar with Chantal Akerman’s “Jeanne Dielman” or Lucretia Martel’s “The Headless Woman” will find familiar patterns in writer-director Natalia Almada’s first narrative feature, though it may as well be an extension of her documentary work for the way it pulls viewers into the nuances of everyday rituals and their ability to mask psychological discord.
See full article at Indiewire »

‘Drib’ Review: Brett Gelman Stars In a Bitter and Bizarre Mockumentary Satire of Branding Gone Wrong

  • Indiewire
‘Drib’ Review: Brett Gelman Stars In a Bitter and Bizarre Mockumentary Satire of Branding Gone Wrong
Okay, so let’s establish the facts about “Drib,” an unclassifiable meta-documentary satire that burns down the marketing industry and everyone in it: In 2014, a Los Angeles advertising company flew over a stunt comic/performance artist named Amir Asgharnejad (born in Iran, raised in Norway) in the hopes that he might anchor a high-concept advertisement for an unnamed energy drink company. Internet famous at the time thanks to a series of viral videos in which he gets the shit kicked out of him by strangers he antagonized on the street, Amir was hired to replicate his beatdowns as part of a broader content initiative of some kind. The plan hadn’t been fully approved, and the agency didn’t know that all of the assailants in Amir’s videos were paid accomplices, but the idea was to shoot the risqué footage, “leak” the faux-vérité spots to the media as part of a “cancelled” campaign,
See full article at Indiewire »

‘Lemon’ Review: A Bizarre Comedy of Confused People From Janicza Bravo and Brett Gelman — Sundance 2017

  • Indiewire
‘Lemon’ Review: A Bizarre Comedy of Confused People From Janicza Bravo and Brett Gelman — Sundance 2017
Ever since her 2011 short film “Eat,” filmmaker Janicza Bravo has presented a baffling vision of absurd circumstances that defy simple categorization. Throughout subsequent shorts such as “Gregory Go Boom” and “Man Rots From the Head” (both of which star Michael Cera, in the former as a suicidal paraplegic), Bravo’s peculiar style maintains an unnerving quality that feels like cringe-comedy but often takes a sharp turn into odd and alarming glimpses of angry, pathetic characters.

Lemon,” her feature-length debut, continues that indelible tendency with its deranged portrait of a self-involved man (Brett Gelman, the director’s husband and co-writer) so ruthlessly unpleasant that everything he does contributes to the destruction of his life. Enhanced by a number of notable comedic actors entering uncharted terrain, it’s the kind of movie that makes you laugh and flinch in equal measures, and despite some messier twists, never ceases to move in surprising directions.
See full article at Indiewire »

‘Wilson’ Review: Woody Harrelson and Laura Dern Are Cruel, and Kind of Funny, in Daniel Clowes Adaptation

  • Indiewire
‘Wilson’ Review: Woody Harrelson and Laura Dern Are Cruel, and Kind of Funny, in Daniel Clowes Adaptation
Wilson” is pitched somewhere between “Bad Santa” and Rick Alverson’s “The Comedy,” inhabiting a familiar strain of American movies about profoundly unlikable people. It’s based on the 2010 graphic novel of the same name by Daniel Clowes, who excels at examining the lives of somber characters trapped in drab, isolating worlds. But even as the screenplay (which Clowes adapted) contains much of the source material’s pitch-black humor, it also falls short of realizing its subtle vision of an angry recluse learning to make peace with his surroundings.

A crazy-eyed Woody Harrelson portrays Wilson, a loudmouthed, middle-aged creep, and his performance captures the character’s fundamental appeal. Tackling this material was a tricky proposition, but the movie pulls off some endearing qualities thanks to director Craig Johnson, who last achieved a balance of gloomy comedy and a dark backdrop with “Skeleton Twins.” With “Wilson,” he appropriates the graphic novel
See full article at Indiewire »

Tragedy, Neurosis, Sundance: The Long, Strange Journey of ‘Person to Person’ Director Dustin Guy Defa

  • Indiewire
Tragedy, Neurosis, Sundance: The Long, Strange Journey of ‘Person to Person’ Director Dustin Guy Defa
Dustin Guy Defa makes his Sundance Film Festival feature debut with “Person to Person,” and he doesn’t know what to expect. He’s had a lot of disappointments in his life, ranging from being the kind of penniless artist whose survival demands long-term couch surfing to overcoming a nightmare family of origin. (It yielded his 2011 Sundance short, “Family Nightmare.”)

However, “Person To Person” also gives real weight to the time-worn trope that values the journey over the destination. With a cast that includes names like Michael Cera and”Broad City” star Abbi Jacobson as well as indie filmmaking stalwarts like David Zellner and Benny Safdie, it reflects the success he’s had building his place in independent filmmaking and the joy he brings with it. “It comes through loud and clear in his work,” said filmmaker David Lowery, a longtime Defa fan. “It’s the reason why his movies
See full article at Indiewire »

Weekly Rushes. Sofia Coppola Starts Shooting, Friedkin Witnesses Exorcism, Jia Zhangke's Noodle Restaurant

  • MUBI
NEWSSofia Coppola has begun shooting her remake of Don Siegel's cult favorite The Beguiled, a genre defying Gothic about a Civil War soldier who recovers from injuries in an all-girl school in an old mansion in the South.American distributors Kino Lorber have launched a Kickstarter to fund "a collection of landmark American films directed by women, digitally restored from archive film elements." There's 16 days and a little over $10,000 to go to meet their goal. Give a helping hand if you can!Wellsnet reports on the excruciating wait for Orson Welles' unfinished film The Other Side of the World, whose crazy legal and editing history was supposed to have been resolved by now.Chinese director Jia Zhangke has opened a noodle restaurant named after his last film, Mountains May Depart, in Shanxi Province's Fenyang, the hometown of Jia and the setting of so many of his great movies.
See full article at MUBI »

Danny McBride, David Gordon Green and Jody Hill Sign On as Executive Producers of New Documentary ‘Fraud’

  • Indiewire
Danny McBride, David Gordon Green and Jody Hill Sign On as Executive Producers of New Documentary ‘Fraud’
Rough House Pictures, the joint venture between David Gordon Green, Jody Hill and Danny McBride, announced today that they have signed on as executive producers of the new documentary “Fraud,” ahead of its Los Angeles premiere at the AFI Festival next week. Written and directed by Dean Fleischer-Camp (“Marcel the Shell with Shoes On”), the film features a family’s home movies that document a crime spree and the bid to outrun the consequences. Born from a series of innocuous YouTube videos, “Fraud” reveals one family’s struggle for the American Dream and the types of stories we tell online.

Read More: ‘Vice Principals’ Cast and Producers Defend the Show’s Depiction of White Guys Taking Down an African-American Woman

“The whole time I was watching it I was thinking, ‘I’ve never seen anything like this before,'” said Jody Hill. “I couldn’t look away. I had to
See full article at Indiewire »

‘On Cinema’: Tim Heidecker and Gregg Turkington’s Latest Twisted Reviews Take on ‘Suicide Squad’ and ‘Nine Lives’

  • Indiewire
‘On Cinema’: Tim Heidecker and Gregg Turkington’s Latest Twisted Reviews Take on ‘Suicide Squad’ and ‘Nine Lives’
“Jared Lego.”

Tim Heidecker and Gregg Turkington’s particular brand of cringe humor isn’t for everyone, but the duo’s latest season of their wonderfully deranged (and honestly, kind of sad, but on purpose) Adult Swim movie review show, “On Cinema,” is tapping into the kind of broad comedic strokes the pair don’t normally go for. The result? Ten or so minutes of absolutely bizarre, embarrassing and deeply funny observations about movies and life itself.

Read More: Exclusive: Gregg Turkington Goes To The Edge In Clip From Rick Alverson’s ‘Entertainment

In the newest episode of their series, the pair review (kind of) newbie blockbusters like “Suicide Squad” and “Nine Lives,” making the case for both films while also woefully misunderstanding their plots, mispronouncing their biggest stars’ names and nearly dying from a vape overdose along the way. Given the way this summer has played out, these ten
See full article at Indiewire »

Stake Land Sequel The Stakelander Completes Production

  • DailyDead
Stake Land Sequel The Stakelander Completes Production
Fans of the apocalyptic vampire film Stake Land have been looking forward to the continued adventures of Martin and Mister since the film was released in 2010, and while a Stake Land TV series was previously in development, Dark Sky Films, Glass Eye Pix, and Syfy have announced that filming has finished on a Stake Land sequel film called The Stakelander, with Connor Paolo and Nick Damici reprising their roles from the original movie.

Directed by Dan Berk and Robert Olsen (2015’s Body) from a screenplay by co-star Damici (who also co-wrote Stake Land), The Stakelander will be released on the Syfy Channel. An official premiere date has yet to be revealed, but we’ll be sure to keep Daily Dead readers updated on further announcements. For full details, including the sequel’s synopsis and additional cast members, check out the official press release:

Press Release: Dark Sky Films, Glass Eye Pix
See full article at DailyDead »

Round-Up: Mezco’s Chucky Action Figure, Shudder Labs, Hologrid: Monster Battle, Volumes Of Blood Blu-ray / DVD, Haunting At Foster Cabin VOD

  • DailyDead
This five-inch Chucky figure from Mezco Toyz doesn’t ship until this fall, but he can be pre-ordered right now. Also in this round-up: an update on Shudder Labs’ 2016 filmmaking programs, gaming details and a trailer for HoloGrid: Monster Battle, Volumes of Blood Blu-ray / DVD info, and Haunting at Foster Cabin‘s VOD debut details.

Chucky Action Figure: Press Release: “Chucky, the homicidal doll who contains the spirit of Charles Lee Ray, a serial killer better known as “The Lakeshore Strangler,” is now a 5-inch action figure, Mezco’s latest edition to its ever-expanding line of Chucky merchandise.

Mezco’s designers have created an all-new sculpt in an all new scale that not only captures the look of Chucky but the very essence of his red-haired menace. Every detail has been captured; from his classic coveralls to his striped shirt. His glistening, insane eyes, his sneering lips, and his shocking
See full article at DailyDead »

New to Streaming: ‘The Revenant,’ ‘James White,’ ‘A Brighter Summer Day,’ ‘The Pearl Button,’ and More

With a seemingly endless amount of streaming options — not only the titles at our disposal, but services themselves — we’ve taken it upon ourselves to highlight the titles that have recently hit the interwebs. Every week, one will be able to see the cream of the crop (or perhaps some simply interesting picks) of streaming titles (new and old) across platforms such as Netflix, iTunes, Amazon Instant Video, and more (note: U.S. only). Check out our rundown for this week’s selections below.

Baskin (Can Evrenol)

It starts off with a late night dinner scene between a quintet of cops telling crazy stories and losing their temper with the help straight out of a Tarantino movie and continues on its descent to hell with a writhing, mashing, sexual bloodletting orgy calling to mind E. Elias Merhige’s Begotten. This is Can Evrenol‘s debut feature Baskin (adapted from his
See full article at The Film Stage »

[Review] Marguerite

Though she was popular nearly a century ago, Florence Foster Jenkins feels particularly relevant to modern art’s ongoing dialogue with awfulness as a version of the sublime. In another world, Xavier Giannoli’s prickly tragicomedy Marguerite could easily be an exercise in self-loathing in the same fashion as Rick Alverson’s films, but instead it’s a film whose virtues lies in a fierce neutrality towards its own subject. Even the characters who appear to be the most transparently kind or evil contain multitudes, and the film becomes a constant examination of its own tone.

As such, Marguerite is frantic and compellingly unpredictable, even as it heads into comfortable territory. Loosely based on the life of Jenkins, a ’20s-era socialite and Opera singer renowned for her supernaturally abhorrent voice (here’s a recording of her murdering every poor note of Mozart’s Der Hölle Rache), Marguerite follows Marguerite Dumont
See full article at The Film Stage »

Tye Sheridan Lands Lead In Steven Spielberg's 'Ready Player One'

  • The Playlist
Tye Sheridan Lands Lead In Steven Spielberg's 'Ready Player One'
The young career of Tye Sheridan, who has starred in nine feature films to date, has been quite impressive. His debut was in Terrence Malick's "The Tree Of Life," and from there he's worked with Jeff Nichols ("Mud"), David Gordon Green ("Joe"), and Rick Alverson ("Entertainment"), while up ahead he's got a handful of indie pictures plus a little something called "X-Men: Apocalypse" on his plate. And now he's going to star in what might be his biggest movie to date. Read More: Steven Spielberg's 'Ready Player One' Moves To 2018, Gets Out Of The Way Of 'Star Wars: Episode VIII' Sheridan has landed the lead role in Steven Spielberg's "Ready Player One," emerging as the top choice after a lengthy search that included an open casting call. Joining Olivia Cooke and Ben Mendelsohn, he'll play Wade Watts, a teenager who journeys into the virtual world known as Oasis,
See full article at The Playlist »

Recommended Discs & Deals of the Week: ‘The Graduate,’ ‘Spotlight,’ ‘The Big Sleep,’ and More

Every week we dive into the cream of the crop when it comes to home releases, including Blu-ray and DVDs, as well as recommended deals of the week. Check out our rundown below and return every Tuesday for the best (or most interesting) films one can take home. Note that if you’re looking to support the site, every purchase you make through the links below helps us and is greatly appreciated.

The Big Sleep (Howard Hawks)

L.A. private eye Philip Marlowe (Humphrey Bogart) takes on a blackmail case…and follows a trail peopled with murderers, pornographers, nightclub rogues, the spoiled rich and more. Raymond Chandler‘s legendary gumshoe solves it in hard-boiled style – and style is what The Big Sleep is all about. Director Howard Hawks serves up snappy character encounters (particularly those of Bogart and Lauren Bacall), brisk pace and atmosphere galore. This Blu-ray doubles your pleasure,
See full article at The Film Stage »

Round-Up: Scary Stories To Tell In The Dark Docu Trailer, Judas Ghost DVD Contest, Like Me, Everlasting, Hidden, The Final Project

  • DailyDead
A new Indiegogo campaign has been launched for the Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark documentary. Also in this round-up: a Judas Ghost DVD giveaway, Like Me production details, the trailer for Everlasting, the short film Hidden, and a look at The Final Project.

Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark: Press Release: "Chicago, Il - January 20, 2016 - Hot off the heels of news that Guillermo Del Toro is producing a film based on the nostalgic children's books Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark, a documentary about the books is in the works. It has been in production for two years, is armed with an official trailer, and is now trying to finish in 2016.

The upcoming documentary is backed by the family of the late author, the trailer featuring both his wife and grandson. The doc will explore subjects such as the banning of children’s books in America,
See full article at DailyDead »

Baskets Series Premiere Recap: Bakersfield Blues

  • Vulture
Baskets Series Premiere Recap: Bakersfield Blues
Feel that dry heat in the air? Alt comedians are having a moment with Bakersfield, California. Situated midway between L.A. and the Bay Area, the inland desert region is the setting for Rick Alverson's Entertainment, a horrifying feature that follows an obnoxious comic as he performs his gimmicky stand-up act to indifferent crowds. (I liked it, but it isn't an easy sit.) Now the new FX series Baskets charts a similar character — a pretentious aspiring clown who takes a job entertaining indifferent crowds at the local rodeo. Not since Five Easy Pieces has Bakersfield enjoyed this much national attention for being the place where joy and hope go to die.Baskets was co-created by Louis C.K. and Zach Galifianakis, who stars as the titular clown, and it has the clear inflections of both names. The show's entire premise even seems like it came from C.K.'s mouth
See full article at Vulture »

TV in 2016: January to April (Part 1: New Series)

  • SoundOnSight
Though 2015 brought an absurd bounty of great television, not to mention the proclamation that we had entered the era of #PeakTV, there’s absolutely no reason to think that 2016 will let up. At all. In the first few months of the year alone, there are a whole host of great returning series gearing back up, as well as a wide variety of new ones. There are so many, in fact, that it took some difficulty to narrow them down to under 30. But here we are.

So please note that this is by no means a comprehensive list – for those so inclined, by all means, get excited for Legends of Tomorrow, American Crime Story, The Magicians, Lucifer, and, sure, why not, Fuller House. The list below are just a few that seemed, for one reason or another, to be especially noteworthy. (In at least one instance, “noteworthy” is not necessarily a compliment.
See full article at SoundOnSight »
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