July 2013 - Posts

CNN Films Announces a Fall Doc Slate That Includes 'Blackfish,' 'Our Nixon' and 'Pandora's Promise'

HBO and PBS are well known for their documentary programming, but new networks have been getting into the action with their own nonfiction plans, among them Showtime (who launched doc strand Sho Closeup with "The World According To *** Cheney" in March) and CNN, who today announced its doc schedule for the remainder of the year, one that includes recent and provocative picks like Gabriela Cowperthwaite's killer whales in captivity film "Blackfish" and Robert Stone's nuclear power-centric "Pandora's Promise." The series will kick off with "Our Nixon," which airs tomorrow, actually ahead of its August 30th theatrical release from Cinedigm. Here's the list of films, descriptions courtesy of CNN: OUR NIXON (Thursday, August 1 at 9:00pm) Throughout Richard Nixon’s presidency, three top White House aides earnestly documented their experiences with Super 8 cameras. This unique and personal visual record, created by H.R. Halde­man, John Ehrlichman, and Dwight Chapin,...
Posted by Indiewire

5 Tech Stories You Need to Read: Cheap HDTVs, Twitter's Copyright Crackdown, Google's Internet Takeover and More

1. Movie studio Asylum is famous for "Sharknado," but they're also experts at titling their films.  Many of their titles to their "mockbusters," parodies of contemporary blockbusters start with the first letters of the alphabet.  One firm claims to know the answer to why:  many VOD providers list their films alphabetically.  This is a trick we've known about for some time, but it's interesting to see the numbers and who's taking advantage of this.   Gizmodo reports. 2. Deals.kinja has three top-notch deals, two from Best Buy and one from Amazon, on HDTVs.  Some are, as they say, "Black Friday level" prices.  Check out the deals here. 3. The entertainment industry is keeping a watchful eye over Twitter, it seems.  DMCA copyright takedowns have increased by 75% over the past six months.  Gizmodo has the story. 4. Within the next 18 months, Google will be taking over the responsibility for delivering wifi to Starbucks.  According to...
Posted by Indiewire

SXSW's VHS Doc 'Rewind This!' To Premiere Exclusively on iTunes

FilmBuff and IPF Productions have partnered up to release the 2013 SXSW doc "Rewind This!" exclusively on iTunes on August 27. Go here for The Playlist's glowing review. Directed by John Jonson, the film explores the cultural and historical impact of the VHS tape. Subjects interviewed over the course of the doc include Atom Egoyan, Mamoru Oshii and Jason Eisener. "After watching 'Rewind This!,' we immediately recognized the parallels between the rise of the VHS movement and the birth of the digital space," said FilmBuff’s Head of Content Partnerships Steven Beckman. "Both revolutionized the ways in which film buffs could discover and consume movies." Beginning September 10, the film will also be available on all other leading broadband Video On Demand platforms including Amazon Instant Video, YouTube, Xbox, Sony Playstation, Cinemanow, and Vudu.
Posted by Indiewire

Project of the Day: 'Gennadiy' Follows a Vigilante Ex-Firefighter Trying to Save Drug-Addicted Ukrainian Orphans

Here's your daily dose of an indie film in progress; at the end of the week, you'll have the chance to vote for your favorite. In the meantime: Is this a movie you'd want to see? Tell us in the comments. "Gennadiy" Tweetable Logline: Sundance winning team tells the story of Gennadiy: an ex-Soviet firefighter who conducts night raids for lost kids in the ruins of an empire. Elevator Pitch: Gennadiy works through the political system as an activist, and he runs an orphanage, but the system doesn’t work fast enough for him -- or for the thousands of street kids who live in his city of Mariupal, Ukraine, most of whom are addicted to a lethal cocktail of injected cold medicine and alcohol. So at night, he goes hunting and when he finds these kids, he takes them whether they want to go or not. Production Team: Director: Steve Hoover Producer: Danny Yourd Cinematographer: John Pope Score: Atticus Ross Production Company: Animal Color Grade: Allan Stallard Sound Design/Mix: Defacto...
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Watch: Exclusive Trailer for HBO Doc 'Americans In Bed' Goes Under the Covers to Learn Couples' Bedroom Secrets

HBO's Summer Series is coming to a close with its final documentary, "Americans in Bed," and that title's no joke. Premiering on Monday, August 12 at 9 ET, director Philippa Robinson asks 10 couples of various ethnicities, religions, class and sexual orientations about their love lives from the comfort of their own bedrooms. The short trailer below even gives the impression the couples under the microscope either just finished or are about to start going at it given their garments -- or lack thereof. The various men and women being questioned are shown wearing pajamas, lingerie, or quite possibly nothing at all (a few men appear shirtless). Ranging from a couple married 71 years to a couple who's broken up 26 times in two years, "Americans in Bed" looks to uncover candid and emotional insights into what makes a healthy relationship, an unhealthy relationship, and everything in between. Take a look at the trailer yourself, and turn on HBO August 12 for the full monty, er, film.
Posted by Indiewire

Showtime to Air Documentary Series on the Terminally Ill, From the Makers of 'Top Chef'

Showtime will delve into the lives of the terminally ill with its new nonfiction series "Time of Death," currently in post-production for a fall debut. A heavy topic, for sure, and per network president David Nevins' description, "This Showtime documentary series is an examination of people in the last days and weeks of their life and how they and their families make the transition from life to death. This is not an easy show, but it is a subject I've always wanted to be able to explore in detail. And I know it will make for a powerful and compelling viewing experience." "Time of Death" will weave together the stories of, among others, a single mother of three with Stage IV *** cancer; a grandmother with inoperable pancreatic cancer who is also a psychotherapist who specializes in the field of death and dying; a veteran with a rare cancer facing the end with his parents beside him; and a young woman with Stage IV melanoma. The series comes, of all places, from executive...
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'The Canyons' Director Paul Schrader Calls Out SXSW Film Festival, Defends Lindsay Lohan at Film Society World Premiere

Paul Schrader and Bret Easton Ellis' Hollywood satire "The Canyons" has faced bad buzz ever since Stephen Rodrick's damning (and fantastically entertaining) New York Times Magazine feature ran in January, exposing a production that was fraught from the get-go. Not helping matters was the fact that both Sundance and SXSW rejected the film, despite the talent behind the camera and an anticipated lead turn from troubled starlet Lindsay Lohan, who stars in the film opposite porn star James Deen. Since finally screening for critics, reviews have been divided. Indiewire's Eric Kohn called the film a "misfire" that "is as bad as it looks," while Variety's Scott Foundas came to the film's defense saying it was "handsomely made," anchored by Lohan's "fascinating presence." On Monday night at the world premiere, hosted by the Film Society of Lincoln Center at their Walter Reade Theater, the audience in attendance (including Lohan's mother, Dina -- Lohan was released from rehab the...
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Watch: Ben Stiller Imagines a Better World (And an Oscar?) for 'The Secret Life of Walter Mitty'

Ben Stiller may be known mainly as a funnyman to mainstream audiences, but the indie film crowd knows the "Zoolander" star is a perfectly capable thespian in any genre. Stiller's most notable portrayals of layered, dramatic characters are as Michael Grates in "Reality Bites," the grieving widower Chas in "The Royal Tenenbaums," and as the titular Roger Greenberg in Noah Baumbach's 2012 dramedy, "Greenberg." All of these performances earned the movie star accolades from the discerning critical mass, as did his two latest projects as a director, "Zoolander" and "Tropic Thunder." Both of the satirical films were well received with the latter even earning an Oscar nomination. Now it appears Stiller is aiming even more squarely at the Academy with the Christmas Day release of his latest directorial effort, "The Secret Life of Walter Mitty." Part adventure, part drama, part comedy, Stiller's latest also appears to be his most visually inventive project yet. Set to Of Monsters and Men's...
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SXSW Short 'Sequin Raze' Becomes Lifetime Pilot 'Unreal,' With Marti Noxon to Executive Produce

Sarah Gertrude Shapiro's short film "Sequin Raze" premiered at SXSW earlier this year before screening at New Directors/New Films -- and now it's headed to television, in a reworked form. Shapiro and former "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" showrunner Marti Noxon wrote "Unreal," a pilot based on the short that's set behind the scenes of a "Bachelor"-style dating competition show, focusing on a staffer whose job is to manipulate the contestants to get the best on-air drama. According to Deadline, Lifetime's now ordered a pilot for "Unreal," with Sharpiro to produce and Noxon to executive produce alongside Sally DeSipio and Bill Davenport at Wieden+Kennedy Entertainment. The short "Sequin Raze" stars Anna Camp ("True Blood") as a dismissed dating show contestant who ends up in psychological combat with "Goldberg" (Ashley Williams, "How I Met Your Mother"), a once-feminist producer who's come to specialize in sparking on-camera meltdowns. Shapiro drew upon her own conflicted experiences...
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Growing Up Is Hard To Do: 'The Brady Bunch' and How Greg Brady Taught Himself a Lesson About 'Exact Words'

Editor's Note: This is part three in a series of five articles looking at memorable depictions of coming of age on television -- a favorite topic on the small screen, from "Leave It To Beaver" to "Pretty Little Liars." It's presented in partnership with Participant Media's new network Pivot and its series "Please Like Me," about a 20-year-old man (Josh Thomas) who still has a lot to figure out about identity, love and family. Catch all six episodes back-to-back at 8pm ET/7pm CT on Thursday, August 1. Few people would characterize "The Brady Bunch" as a complex portrayal of adolescence. The episodes adhered to a standard family sitcom formula: the kids engaged in a bit of mischief, believed they control the situation and have fooled their parents, only later to learn from the experience. But even within the context of a fantasy world somewhat removed from the contemporaneous reality of Nixonian America, "The Brady Bunch" provided a relatable version of adolescent struggles with...
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Watch: Bradley Cooper, Christian Bale, Jennifer Lawrence and Amy Adams Do the 70s Proud in Trailer for David O. Russell's 'American Hustle'

Christmas Day may seem far away, but we're getting an early look at one of our presents now. David O. Russell's "American Hustle" -- his hotly-anticipated follow-up to "Silver Linings Playbook" -- has its first trailer, and while it's (thankfully) light on plot, there's plenty of goodies within.  The nearly two-minute spot starts with Bradley Cooper and Christian Bale discussing a piece of art that may or may not be a forgery and whether or not its authenticity matters. Viewers may need to watch the clip twice to grasp any sort of plot considering, a) there isn't much to be had, and b) the style of this 70s-set caper film is overwhelming. We've all seen pictures of Cooper's perm and Bale's comb over, but the preview also features a few different looks from a stunning Jennifer Lawrence -- including a wild up-do paired with a revealing fur coat -- and our first good look at Jeremy Renner sporting an unkempt mane of brown hair. Sadly, there's no Robert De Niro or Louis C.K. to be...
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'The Spectacular Now' Breakout Miles Teller Talks to Indiewire: 'If I was more attractive I'd be in TV.'

Miles Teller knows he doesn't look like Channing Tatum, and he doesn't "give a ***." The supremely gifted 26-year-old actor, who caught viewers' attention in a big way with his supporting role in 2010's "Rabbit Hole," is the sort of non-blonde, not-quite-square-jawed rising star whom countless outlets have undoubtedly labeled "unconventionally handsome." But none of that has stopped the dark-haired multi-talent, a graduate of NYU's Tisch School of the Arts, from pursuing his dreams incessantly — not even when a devastating car accident left him with facial scars that initially caused his headshot to land in casting directors' "No" piles. These days, Teller, whose scars have faded and whose skills have blossomed, is hearing the word "Yes" more than ever. After following "Rabbit Hole" with versatile work in both comedies ("Project X") and musicals ("Footloose"), the theater-trained guy's-guy (he's prone to saying "man," "dude," and "bro") has made a triumphant return to drama, proving...
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Review: Why 'The Spectacular Now' Is Better Than Your Average Coming-of-Age Movie

There's a unique thrill to movies that break or bend the expectations established by their genres, but it's often just as satisfying when they follow expectations beat by beat without screwing it up. Such is the case with "The Spectacular Now," James Ponsoldt's highly enjoyable coming of age story, as it consciously harkens back to eighties precedents from the heyday of John Hughes. Anchored by a funny and especially credible performance by newcomer Miles Teller, Ponsoldt's follow up to his alcoholism portrait "Smashed" has all the hallmarks of a bittersweet teen drama with flashes of realistic comedy on par with "Say Anything" and "The Breakfast Club." While it lacks some of the complexities found in Hughes' characters, Ponsoldt's treatment of the material, adapted from Tom Tharp's novel, brings clarity to emotional tenor of growing under duress, allowing it to excel at recognizing the limitations of the material.   In the chaotic montage that opens the story, goofball high...
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IFP Reveals Date for 23rd Annual Gotham Awards Ceremony and Adds Two New Categories

Established in 1991, the Gotham Independent Film Awards Ceremony celebrates the talent behind America's best independent feature films. The Independent Filmmaker Project announced today that the 23rd Annual Gotham Awards will take place at Cipriani Wall Street in New York on December 2nd. For its 23rd edition, the Gothams will also introduce two new competitive categories: Best Actress and Best Actor. Each year IFP chooses a jury of innovators and icons in documentary and feature film directing, producing, cinematography, and acting to bestow the Gotham's competitive awards and grant critical recognition to independent films. The Gotham Audience Award allows film enthusiasts around the world to vote for a winner online. For the third year, IFP will present the Calvin Klein Spotlight on Women Filmmakers ‘Live the Dream’ grant, a $25,000 cash award for an alumnus of IFP's Independent Filmmaker Labs. In addition to its awards and grants, the Gothams also select individuals...
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Watch: Ken Marino Battles the Ultimate Pain in the Ass in Red Band Trailer for SXSW Entry 'Bad Milo!'

Have you ever had simply the worst day? Not just a bad day, but a the worst version of any day imaginable. Perhaps even a series of them, one after another, until the stress has compounded multiple times over and literally hurts. You reach the point when you feel like you're just going to explode, but you don't. You hold it in. Writer/director Jacob Vaughan is here to warn you against that containment. It's not due to the risk of high blood pressure or an inappropriate outburst (so to speak). No, Vaughn wants you to know your stress could eventually manifest itself into a demon that crawls out of your butt and seeks revenge on your oppressors -- at least if you're Ken Marino's character in "Bad Milo!" There's really not much more to say about the SXSW entry from earlier this year. It stars the aforementioned Marino as the aptly named Ken, along with Gillian Jacobs ("Community"), Peter Stormare ("Armageddon"), and Patrick Warburton ("The Tick"). The comedic horror show chronicles the...
Posted by Indiewire
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