It’s that time of year again. I am very lucky to say I’ll be attending Sundance for the 4th time! Every year I have been able to attend, there have been surprises. Whether it’s a film with an unknown director and cast breaking out, as in Beasts of the Southern Wild, or Kevin Smith picketing his own movie when Red State premiered, and everything in-between, indie movies have the chance to light up Park City with unexpected buzz. New filmmakers and actors have a chance to step into the spotlight, and movies that would otherwise never make it to a wide audience have a chance to obtain distribution, whether that’s through traditional markets or newer markets, such as Netflix.
The Secret Life of Walter Mitty, inspired by the 1939 short story of the same name by James Thurber, tells the story of a bored New York daydreamer who finds himself forced to take on a real-life adventure. Ben Stiller, who also directs this adaptation, plays Walter. He works as a “Negative Assets Manager” at LIFE magazine, and the movie takes place as LIFE closes down its print division and transitions to a digital-only platform.
Kill Your Darlings stars Daniel Radcliffe as Allen Ginsberg, Dane DeHaan (Chronicle) as Lucien Carr, Ben Foster (3:10 to Yuma) as William Burroughs, and Jack Huston (Boardwalk Empire) as Jack Kerouac. The film examines the lives of these leading figures that spawned the Beat Generation, zeroing in on a murder that entangled them all and left an indelible scar on their movement.
*Please note that this article is an opinion-editorial.
This past summer, the second rebooted Star Trek film came out, after much hype and speculation concerning the plot and characters of that feature. As an ardent Trekkie, I was excited, especially given how the first film was able to tie in the already established timeline shown in the previous films and television shows without it being ludicrous, but I was unprepared for just how much of the classic, original aspects of former Star Trek continuity was taken for the plot. It isn’t as though I’m against reusing previous plot points and characters in a rebooted fashion—DC’s done it for their New 52 reboot, though some of the success on that is still up for consideration—but the sheer amount of information recycled into the remade galaxy is staggering. Into Darkness blatantly steals elements from four of the original Trek films, but not all of them are for the better.
MAJOR STAR TREK INTO DARKNESS SPOILERS BELOW
Shane Carruth, best known for writing and directing 2004’s cult classic Primer, returned to Sundance this past year with his sophomore film, Upstream Color. The film stars Carruth as Jeff, and Amy Seimetz (The Killing, You’re Next) as Kris. What’s this movie all about? Well, there’s nature. And, a pig farm. There are worms. There are maggots. There’s a sound guy recording sounds onto vinyl. Kris may have had her identity stolen, but, more importantly, she’s infected by something. Someone hooks her up to a pig, and she finds herself mentally connected to the pig farm. Kris meets Jeff and a quasi-love story evolves. There’s paranoia. Some mind-melding, but the rules of the world are never consistent or really established. This film is about images, not story or meaning.
David Sedaris fans have waited a long time for this moment. Finally, one of his essays has been turned into a feature film. The chosen piece was taken from Sedaris’ 1997 collection of essays, Naked, and was the inspiration for the screenplay (adapted by Kyle Patrick Alvarez). C.O.G. follows Samuel (Jonathan Groff, Glee, Boss), an Ivy league student who’s having an identity crisis, as he leaves his life behind to work on an apple picking farm.
Ain’t Them Bodies Saints premiered in January at Sundance 2013. The following Theatrical Premiere took place on Tuesday (August 13th) at the Museum of Modern Art in New York City. The film stars Casey Affleck as Bob Muldoon and Rooney Mara (The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, The Social Network) as Ruth Guthrie. These childhood sweethearts and partners-in-crime are on the lam, and just as the film begins, Ruth reveals that she is pregnant. Ain’t Them Bodies Saints does not follow a couple’s joyride; it begins as their crime spree comes to a screeching halt.
The important question of this film isn’t so much “Who is Delsin?” but rather “What is Delsin?” As in, what is the film itself? Both the plot synopsis and the trailer hail it as a documentary. The synopsis begins by describing a horrific shooting in Tampa, Florida, as if it’s a real event, and one that we may possibly have heard about on the news. They interview a number of real people throughout. Brothers Pete and Paul Guzzo, the director and screenwriter, respectively, go out of their way to make it seem like the things in this film actually happened.
The FFOW! series takes a look at that vast library created by the proud and the passionate: fan films. Whether the budget and talent is astronomical or amateur, FFOW! celebrates the filmmakers whose love of comics, books, movies, video games, and TV shows inspires them to join the great conversation with their own homemade masterpieces.
Batman will appear in Superman’s next big-screen adventure, you say? Does that mean everyone in Gotham gets a brand new origin story? If you can’t wait until 2015, whet your appetite with a new, full-length origin starring the Caped Crusader’s most infamous villain.
I'm gonna be honest with you folks. I was not all that excited about The Wolverine the past few months leading up to its debut. Not like I was with Iron Man 3 or Man of Steel. No, the bloated mess that was X-Men Origins: Wolverine left such a bad taste in my mouth that I felt there was very little they could do to get back in my good graces.
Well, I am happy to report that The Wolverine exceeded my expectations. Yes, there are some gripes, of course, but they are minor. Also, this is a spoiler-free review, so enjoy!