Articles on this Page
- 01/24/17--07:35: _Here's everything l...
- 01/24/17--10:48: _This year's Oscar n...
- 01/24/17--11:32: _We finally know the...
- 01/24/17--11:36: _'Star Wars' fans ar...
- 01/24/17--11:41: _The new 'Star Wars'...
- 01/24/17--11:59: _Everything you need...
- 01/24/17--12:29: _Movie theater emplo...
- 01/25/17--12:23: _A fascinating new m...
- 01/25/17--13:06: _5 theories on what ...
- 01/25/17--13:22: _6 clues you probabl...
- 01/25/17--14:58: _7 movies you need t...
- 01/26/17--08:41: _The 'Going Clear' d...
- 01/26/17--09:29: _The 50 best movies ...
- 01/26/17--11:00: _5 movies from Sunda...
- 01/26/17--11:46: _How a struggling ac...
- 01/27/17--07:02: _Ben Affleck's new g...
- 01/27/17--07:04: _Taylor Swift just r...
- 01/27/17--07:53: _Inside the shooting...
- 01/27/17--13:36: _Netflix and Amazon ...
- 01/28/17--06:10: _The Oscar-nominated...
- 01/24/17--11:36: 'Star Wars' fans are freaking out over the new movie's logo
- 01/24/17--11:41: The new 'Star Wars' movie title was hinted at in 'The Force Awakens'
- 01/25/17--13:22: 6 clues you probably missed that hinted at the huge twist in 'Split'
- 01/25/17--14:58: 7 movies you need to watch in February
- 01/26/17--09:29: The 50 best movies of 2016 you can watch right now on Netflix
- 01/26/17--11:46: How a struggling actor became an Oscar frontrunner in 2017
Netflix just announced all the movies and TV shows leaving its service in the coming weeks, and this month it feels like we're losing a particularly great bunch of titles. From "Save the Last Dance" to "Clueless," as well as some award-winning dramas like "There Will Be Blood," you're definitely going to want to watch some of these one last time.
Keep reading for the full list (and pay extra attention to the bolded titles we think you need to see).
"An American Girl: Saige Paints the Sky"
"An Inconvenient Truth"
"Black Hawk Down"
"Bratz: Babyz: The Movie"
"Bratz: Super Babyz"
"Charlotte's Web 2: Wilbur's Great Adventure"
"The Original Latin Kings of Comedy"
"What’s Eating Gilbert Grape"
"Justin Bieber's Believe"
"Grounded for Life: Season 1 – Season 5"
"Scary Movie 5"
"The Nut Job"
"Brothers in War"
"Chris Porter: Ugly and Angry"
"Exile Nation: The Plastic People"
"I Am Not a Hipster"
"Plastic Paradise: The Great Pacific Garbage Patch"
"Prince of Broadway"
"Stephanie in the Water"
"The Man on Her Mind"
"Unlikely Animal Friends: Season 2"
"Winnie the Pooh: A Very Merry Pooh Year"
"Problem Child: Leslie Jones"
The INSIDER Summary:
• "Finding Dory" missed out on an Oscar nomination.
• It's yet another sign that Pixar is no longer the top animation studio.
• Pixar has produced some highlights in the past years, but it's a mixed bag.
When the Academy announced 2017's Oscar nominations on Tuesday morning, one movie was conspicuously missing from the best animated feature list: "Finding Dory."
Pixar's movie from 2016 wasn't as enthusiastically received as its companion piece and predecessor, 2003's "Finding Nemo," but it is widely liked. The movie grossed over $1 billion dollars at the box office and has a 94% rating on Rotten Tomatoes.
Its lack of an Oscar nomination further proves how a once-invincible movie studio is no longer the gold standard of animated filmmaking.
Since the best animated feature category was introduced in 2001, Pixar has won eight of its 15 awards. Two of its films, "Up" and "Toy Story 3," have also been nominated for best picture, the only animated movies to do so outside of Disney's 1991 classic, "Beauty and the Beast."
But in the past half-decade, Pixar has slipped. The critically derided "Cars 2" was its first movie to not be nominated since the category was introduced. Then "Brave" rebounded the studio, winning the award, but many people thought it didn't have the same magicas Pixar's better-known works. "Monsters University" and "The Good Dinosaur" also came and went without making a distinct mark on pop culture.
At the same time, Walt Disney Animation Studios has thrived. It has produced hits like "Tangled,""Wreck-It Ralph,""Big Hero 6,""Frozen," and this year's "Moana" and "Zootopia." Pixar can take a little bit of credit. Both studios are owned by Disney, and two of Pixar's founding members, Ed Catmull and John Lasseter, are in charge of Disney Animation Studios.
The Oscar's animation branch has a tradition of rewarding under-seen films, like "The Red Turtle" and "My Life as a Zucchini." It's a great track record that has inspired others, including myself, to watch films like "The Secret of Kells," which viewers otherwise may not have known existed. But when a mammoth like "Finding Dory" misses out, it seems like a snub.
And that's a huge loss for Pixar. They're no longer the top animation studio in the world. They're just another player in a crowded field, struggling to make their mark.
The INSIDER Summary
• Disney has revealed the name of "Star Wars: Episode VIII."
• It will be called "The Last Jedi."
• Fans were thrown off by the red logo.
• The movie shares a title with a 2013 "Star Wars" book.
We finally know the name of the next "Star Wars" movie!
Disney and Lucasfilm revealed Monday on StarWars.com that "Star Wars: Episode VIII" will be called "The Last Jedi."
The title alludes to Luke Skywalker who is, presumably, the last of the Jedi and the only hope to bring balance back to the Force. The red lettering on the poster hints at a darker, more ominous tone for the second film in the new trilogy. The red logo immediately brought to mind the original logo for "Star Wars: Episode VI," which was originally titled and marketed as "Revenge of the Jedi."
The end of "Episode VII" showed Rey tracking down Skywalker. Will she spend a good amount of the film learning about the Force from the last Jedi?
It's worth mentioning that "The Last Jedi" is also a 2013 book title from the Legends' series.
Here's the summary from the publisher:
Ever since EmperorPalpatine's Order 66--which called for the execution of all Jedi--Jax Pavan is the last Knight around to fight the dark side of the Force. Together with his droid I-5, Jax has eluded Vader time and again, all the while wreaking havoc against the Empire through the underground resistance on Coruscant. But now the Rebel's leader on the city-planet has been captured, and it's up to the Last Jedi to ride again...possibly for one final adventure.
While the film may not be a direct adaptation, perhaps we'll learn more about what happened to Luke and the Skywalkers in the time that passed between Episode VI and VII.
"The Last Jedi" is directed by Rian Johnson ("Looper"). Disney was apt to mention that the film is the next installment in the Skywalker saga in its press release.
"Star Wars: The Last Jedi" will be released December 15, 2017.
Here's the full teaser poster for the movie:
The INSIDER Summary
• Disney revealed the name of "Star Wars: Episode VIII" will be "The Last Jedi."
• Fans were immediately startled by an ominous red font in the title's logo.
• This isn't the first time we've seen a red "Star Wars" logo.
• There's a lot of speculation about what the ominous color may mean for Luke Skywalker in the sequel.
Disney dropped huge news Monday morning for "Star Wars" fans. The title of the eighth movie will be "The Last Jedi."
While fans are reacting and speculating about what the title could mean, there's one thing in particular that stood out — the red font of the "Star Wars" logo.
Usually, the "Star Wars" logo is prominently yellow.
Here's "The Force Awakens" logo:
It's driving fans nuts.
me @ the episode 8 title with the red font and luke possibly being the last jedi pic.twitter.com/FGgSuY0KgV— Lauren misses Carrie (@LaurenCarrison) January 23, 2017
Fans are also waiting to see other language translations of the title since the plural form of Jedi is written different in several countries.
It looks like Disney has only released an English version of the logo so far. For potential spoilers' sake, it may stay that way. Here's how the title was revealed on the German "Star Wars" Twitter account:
But, it's not the first time we've seen a red "Star Wars" logo.
Don't freak out completely.
It's also leading to a lot of fan speculation.
While many may be quick to think the title simply refers to Luke Skywalker, who very well could be the last Jedi, fans should remember that Jedi can be singular or plural. Perhaps the title is referring to both Luke and Rey, and possibly others.
Jedi is both singular and plural. So this title could have multiple meanings. That makes it even more intriguing. And that red color...— SWNN (@StarWarsNewsNet) January 23, 2017
If #TheLastJedi is singular than I suspect 1 of 2 things:— Bilal Mian (@Bilal_Mian) January 23, 2017
1. Luke will die.
2. Luke turns Sith/breaks up with the force O_O
#TheLastJedi— HMK #RoadTo100K (@HMKilla) January 23, 2017
Luke Trains Rey
Rey becomes The Last Jedi
If it's called #TheLastJedi, my honest and bold prediction is that Luke Skywalker has to die. Thank you, I'll be here all week— Nikolas Oliverio (@NikolasOliverio) January 23, 2017
you: luke is gonna die in ep 8 making rey the last jedi :/— THE 👏 LAST 👏 JEDI (@twicepinks) January 23, 2017
me, an intellectual: 'jedi' can be plural
What does it all mean? Well, we can't be sure yet.
We do know there's a 2013 "Star Wars" book that was released with the same name, but I doubt the film will be a direct adaptation. I would keep your eyes peeled for a teaser trailer soon now that we've had the title unveiled. How does Super Bowl Sunday sound?
The INSIDER Summary
• The title of "Star Wars: Episode VIII" will be "The Last Jedi."
• The name of the movie can actually be seen at the start of "Episode VII."
• "The Last Jedi" appears in the opening crawl to "The Force Awakens."
The name of the next "Star Wars" movie has been unveiled and while many fans are freaking out over the logo's ominous red font or exactly what "The Last Jedi" may mean, a few "Star Wars" fans noticed that we had a glimpse of the Episode VIII title a long time ago.
The name of the next movie has been hiding in plain sight in front of fans' eyes since "Star Wars: Episode VII" was released in 2015.
You may want to go back and do a quick re-watch of the beginning of "The Force Awakens."
Several fans were quick to point out on Twitter that Luke Skywalker is referred to as The Last Jedi right there in the opening crawl.
THE LAST JEDI ITS IN THE TFA OPENING CRAWL EP 8 IS GONNA CENTER AROUND LUKE pic.twitter.com/3995fv3166— angelica (@thempirestrikes) January 23, 2017
Just realized that the title for Star Wars: Episode VIII was in The Force Awakens opening crawl, lol. pic.twitter.com/oXcLJTIdW8— Denizcan James (@MrFilmkritik) January 23, 2017
Here it is in full size:
A point of contention immediately following the eighth film's title was whether or not Jedi was referring to a singular person. The Episode VII crawl suggests Luke Skywalker is "The Last Jedi." However, following the events of "The Force Awakens," we know now that may not be the case and that he may be one of the last Jedi (plural). Rey clearly is strong with the Force as well.
It's also important to highlight that it's clear the Empire is attempting to hunt down Luke until he "has been destroyed." That's where the ominous red font in the new logo could come into play.
"The Last Jedi" will be in theaters December 15, 2017.
Alfred Hitchcock had already become the master of suspense by the time he released "Psycho" in 1960. But the film's chilling shower scene would make him a legend for generations to come.
In "78/52," which premiered in the Midnight Section at the Sundance Film Festival on Monday night, we are given an incredible deep dive into the significance that scene has had on not just filmmaking but popular culture.
If you've never seen "Psycho," you've likely seen its shower scene in any retrospective on the horror genre or spoofs. Or you know it from the piercing Bernard Herrmann score that accompanies the scene, and has become as distinctive as the footage itself.
"78/52" (named for the 78 setups and 52 cuts it took to accomplish the scene) celebrates the mastery of the scene by talking to people who were on the film (like Janet Leigh's body double, whose body you mostly see in the scene), Hitchcock historians, and horror aficionados like Elijah Wood, Eli Roth, Richard Stanley, Guillermo del Toro, and others.
What's special about the movie, especially if you've watched or read past pieces on how the shower scene was created, is that it also touches on how "Psycho" itself came at a moment where the country was on the cusp of social unrest with the civil rights movement and the assassination of president John F. Kennedy soon to come following the tranquil 1950s.
Hitchcock admitted that the only reason he made "Psycho" was to do the shower scene. Always a master at manipulating the audience, his making of the movie was the ultimate inside joke — killing off the movie's presumed star 20 minutes into the run time. Hitchcock turned that surprise into the ultimate marketing ploy: When the movie was released, he demanded that no one enter the theater after it started.
"78/52" also has an exhaustive amount of insight on everything you could possibly think of about how the shower scene was created: the use of Hershey's chocolate syrup as blood because it would look better in black and white, how the shower head was rigged so water wouldn't get on the camera lens, even the type of melon the sound man stabbed with a knife to create the skin-penetrating effect in the scene.
Director Alexandre O. Philippe really does take a vast amount of information and displays it in a way that doesn't feel like it's a super-fan's term paper. He pulls this off through great archival footage, entertaining interviews on a set similar to the Bates Motel, and filming in black and white — another ode to "Psycho"— which gets you into the feel of the subject matter.
If you are a Hitchcock fan, this one is required viewing.
And to get you in the mood, here's the shower scene from "Psycho":
The INSIDER Summary:
• Everyone wants a good experience at the movie theater — including the employees.
• When the credits are over that's your cue to leave.
• Don't blame the employee for high ticket prices.
I've had my job at a local movie theater for two summers now, and I know the ins and outs of that place like the back of my hand. This theater happens to be one of the biggest and busiest locations in my state, too, so we regularly expect tons of guests. While the popcorn on the floor seems to multiply, and Pixar movies always seem to attract the messiest fun-size guests—things can get a bit crazy working at a movie theater. Here are 10 things that every movie theater employee knows all too well.
1. When you've just gotten to your drawer and you're emptying money into your register, and a customer makes a beeline for you.
Whoa whoa whoa, one minute. I've got to log on, load my money in, and mentally prepare myself for this closing shift.
2. When you go in to the theater as soon as the credits are over and a few people are still sitting on their phones.
The credits are over, so I'm technically allowed to clean the theater, but I really don't want to kick them out because that'll be so awk. I'm torn.
3. When you find 384,838 napkins in a cup-holder that haven't been used at all.
Let's save some trees, people.
4. When a customer says they never got their drink cup/popcorn but your employee friend next to you says otherwise.
I know the customer is always right, but it gets tricky when we suspect that they're trying to scam us for free stuff.
5. When you're scooping popcorn and the customer says he wants "the fresh stuff" instead.
Sir, I don't think you understand, everything is the fresh stuff. Seriously. We pop popcorn constantly so I can assure you, it's all good to go.
6. When a customer yells at you because of how high the prices are, so you quickly give yourself a pep talk.
All right, chill, just chill. That was only one person and you've still got 4 more hours of this shift. Keep on chuggin' along. Deep breaths.
7. When you check the bathrooms and half of the toilets haven't been flushed.
People, it will not kill you to flush the toilets after you're done using them.
8. When a customer makes the "if it doesn't scan, it must be free!" joke.
If I hear that line one more time, I think I'm going to scream. We've become pretty immune to price-related jokes at this point.
9. When your manager tells you to go home early and you view you feel on top of the world.
I don't really need the money, right? As far as I'm concerned, I've got a hot date with fast food and Netflix tonight. Peace out.
10. When you're finally done with closing shift and go to a diner with your work squad.
After work is prime hangout time, because your coworkers become your best friends – there's no other group you'd rather get pancakes with at 2 AM.
I should get this out of the way: "Casting JonBenet," which just premiered at the 2017 Sundance Film Festival, will not give you any insight into the 20-year mystery of who killed 6-year-old beauty queen JonBenet Ramsey.
In fact, there is not a single image of JonBenet or her family in the movie. And that's the most fascinating part of this documentary/fiction hybrid.
With true crime being the current craze in Hollywood, the idea of making a movie about one of the most publicized child murders of all time seems obvious. However, director Kitty Green, in her feature directing debut, radically pulls the rug from under the audience by turning the attention away from the case and putting it back on ourselves.
In an inventive mix of documentary and fiction, Green shoots the casting of a fake movie about the JonBenet murder in which she hires actors who live in the region of Colorado where the Ramseys lived. Some of them even know the family. "Casting JonBenet" is then made up of auditions and reenactments of key events like the police news conference after the murder and JonBenet's parents, John and Patsy, being interviewed by police. We watch a handful of actors portraying the main figures of the case in these moments — yes, even young girls as JonBenet.
But then Green gets her actors to open up on camera about their own views of the case. Many of them voice their reasons for thinking JonBenet's parents were behind the murder. Others give insight on why they think certain aspects of the case could be plausible. One of the most comedic personalities in the movie is a man cast to play the police chief who turns out to be a sex educator in real life. However, Green has a reason for this casting as the person eventually opens up about why the theory that JonBenet was the victim of sexual abuse before her death could be valid.
The movie is really a study on our own obsessions about the case rather than a search for answers (which many other movies and TV programs have done over the years), and how we use our own past to come to judgments.
Almost everyone in "Casting JonBenet" opens up about their own hardships and uses those to relate to the Ramseys (or vilify them). Essentially, Green is asking her audience to look inward before casting stones.
Now, there will certainly be those who will think what Green has done is disrespectful to the Ramseys and is just using a well-known case to create a story she wants to tell, and that's valid.
But what I see is a unique take on how we react to a media sensation like an unsolved murder or a missing plane by using our own personal truths, because that's basically all we have.
"Casting JonBenet" will be available on Netflix later this year.
Disney and Lucasfilm revealed the long-awaited title for "Star Wars: Episode VIII" Monday.
While fans were excited to learn the title of the next chapter in the Skywalker saga will be called "The Last Jedi," it naturally kicked off a lot of questions.
Who is the last Jedi? Is it Luke? Rey? Could it be someone else all together? Are we talking about one individual, two, or a group of Jedi? And, most importantly, what's up with that ominous red font in the new logo?
As we patiently wait for the first trailer for "Star Wars: Episode VIII," here's what INSIDER and fans alike are making of the new "Star Wars" title.
THEORY 1: The title is about Luke Skywalker and only Luke.
This is the most obvious answer. It was noted by fans online that the new title was alluded to in the opening crawl of "The Force Awakens."
The line clearly references Skywalker in the text, which reads the First Order "will not rest until Skywalker, the last Jedi, has been destroyed."
Skywalker actor Mark Hamill offered the Associated Press a reaction to the title calling it "straightforward." If you go by that, it seems like it could be safe to assume the title is referring to Luke.
If Skywalker is the last Jedi, what does this mean? Since Hamill described the title as "straightforward" and "minimalist," it could just be a simple declaration and nothing more. Since Skywalker was only in the final moments of "The Force Awakens," it could be a hint that this movie will be more centered around him and his story.
THEORY 2: It's referencing more than one Jedi.
The plural form of Jedi is also, yup, Jedi. Who's to say the the title is solely referring to Luke?
It's expected that Luke will train Rey in the ways of the Force in "Episode VIII" just as Yoda trained him back in "Empire Strikes Back." If that's the case, then the title could be referring to the two of them as the last Jedi prepping to take down Snoke and Kylo Ren.
THEORY 3: That red font is hinting at an ominous fate for Luke.
The biggest conclusion fans have jumped to is that Luke Skywalker may die in the series' next installment because of the dark, ominous red font of "Star Wars."
Fans started tweeting their concerns for Luke almost immediately after the reveal. Some think Luke will bite the bullet and then Rey will take his place as "The Last Jedi." One fan even made a fake opening crawl filled with pleas to not kill off the character.
I wouldn't get on board the "Skywalker is toast" train just yet. We've seen Lucasfilm use the red font in "Star Wars" logos before. It was used for "Return of the Jedi," and that film ended on a happy note. Still, it hints at a darker tone.
See the rest of the story at Business Insider
Warning: There are massive spoilers ahead for "Split."
M. Night Shyalaman's horror thriller "Split" wowed audiences at the box office opening weekend. One reason for the success may have been the giant reveal at the movie's end. Bruce Willis pops up, linking the film to Shyamalan's previous 2000 thriller "Unbreakable."
If you were taken aback by the reveal that "Split" was a supervillain origin story, there were a lot of little clues along the way that hinted the two films were connected.
While some of them would have been difficult to notice upon a first view, fans picked up on several hints sprinkled across the film. And then there's an obvious one that was hidden in plain sight that big Shyamalan fans should have seen a mile away.
Keep reading to see several hints in "Split" that connected the film to "Unbreakable" before the big reveal.
1. The soundtrack
"Unbreakable" fans may have caught the film's theme trickle in near the end. Refresh your memory and listen to it here.
2. Both David Dunn (Bruce Willis) and Kevin Wallace Crumb (McAvoy) discovered their powers onboard a train.
Dunn escaped a train accident unscatched while Crumb headed to an empty Amtrak train where he unearthed his 24th personality, the beast.
3. The train connection may go even deeper.
As several Redditors pointed out, Kevin leaves flowers on the train platform before boarding. It's suggested in the film that Kevin's father died in a train crash, possibly the very train crash that occurred in "Unbreakable."
See the rest of the story at Business Insider
January usually doesn't have many of its own good movies. It's better as a time to catch up on December releases you missed, like "Hidden Figures" and "Silence."
This February, though, we can expect to see our first couple of blockbusters in theaters, with "The Lego Batman Movie" and "Fifty Shades Darker."
Here's what you can look forward to in February 2017:
Release date: February 3
What it's about: A scientist comes across the suspicious VHS from the original "Ring" film and a woman is subjected to a curse that will kill her in seven days.
Why you should see it: The first "Ring" movie is beloved by horror fans, while the 2005 sequel was panned. This update might just give the terrifying premise the jolt it needs. An unexpected cameo from a big actor offers a big surprise.
2. "The Space Between Us"
Release date: February 3
What it's about: The first human born on Mars travels to Earth and falls in love with a girl.
Why you should see it: It's rare you see a sci-fi romance movie, and this one looks like it'll put a sweet human story before any flashy spaceships.
3. "Fifty Shades Darker"
Release date: February 10
What it's about: Christian Grey and Anastasia Steele get together for real this time. A mysterious figure from Christian's past threatens to tear them apart.
Why you should see it: Because you're still not sure if "Fifty Shades of Grey" was actually any good, but you know you need to see the sequel anyway. Plus, it's Valentine's Day. Taylor Swift also made a new song for it.
See the rest of the story at Business Insider
Alex Gibney, the prolific filmmaker behind the Scientology documentary "Going Clear," has set his eyes on ousted Fox News Chairman Roger Ailes.
Gibney is staying tight-lipped about the planned film.
"As a matter of course, I don't talk about what I'm working on," the director told the Hollywood Reporter, which broke news of the project.
According to the trade magazine, the Ailes documentary is in development and hasn't yet been placed with a network.
In July of last year, Ailes, 76, found himself embroiled in controversy after anchor Gretchen Carlson alleged that he sexually harassed her while working at the Fox News Channel. Many other women then came forward with similar allegations, including now-former FNC anchor Megyn Kelly. Ailes resigned from his position at the cable news channel later that same month.
In August, news surfaced that he was advising Donald Trump on his presidential campaign in advance of the aired debates.
Gibney, who has directed nearly 40 projects over his career, made a bigger name for himself in 2015 with the HBO documentary "Going Clear," inspired by the book about Scientology's beliefs and alleged abuses of the same name by Lawrence Wright. The movie went on to win three Emmys. Last year, Gibney told Business Insider that he was thinking about a "Going Clear" sequel.
2016 wasn’t all bad. For proof, one need look no further than the impressive array of independent films released last year, some of which have now made their way to Netflix. Here are 50 worth catching up on as you start the new year.
“Ava DuVernay’s documentary ’13TH’ has the precision of a foolproof argument underscored by decades of frustration.” —Eric Kohn
“While Knox is undoubtedly the star of the film, and she’s also one of the few people who comes off not looking absolutely bonkers. Her behavior, once seen as ‘strange,’ now seems more understandable than ever.” —Kate Erbland
"Audrie & Daisy"
“Their approaches were different, and so were the outcomes — Audrie killed herself the week after her assault, while Daisy has become an advocate for other sexual assault victims. The violations committed against them couldn’t be more alike, but it’s the results that alter their stories.” —KE
See the rest of the story at Business Insider
The INSIDER Summary:
• The Sundance Film Festival is the mecca of indie films.
• "A Ghost Story" is a romance thriller starring Rooney Mara and Casey Affleck, who is currently an Oscar-nominee.
• Catch stars like Jeremy Renner, Carey Mulligan and Elisabeth Olsen in a theater near you soon.
Every year, Hollywood eases into its post-holiday, pre-Oscars session with a pit stop to Park City, Utah for the annual Sundance Film Festival. It's here where we begin to acquire tat valuable "buzz" on arthouse, indie and possible awards-worthy features that will be making their way down the mountain over the course of the year, and into our local movie theaters. The thing about Sundance, however, is that you never really know how strong a beloved film's legs are going to be. The altitude often plays with expectations, and movies like last year's The Birth of a Nation or the previous year's Me, Earl and the Dying Girldon't always connect with mainstream crowds once they finally are screened for the non-Sundance throngs.
This year's Sundance Film Festival kicked off on Thursday, January 19, meaning we have had nearly a week to process the hype on several of the films that have screened since opening night. Here, then, are the five movies we think you need to seek out when they finally play in a theater near you.
The Big Sick
To best understand The Big Sick, you need only know that it is directed by Michael Showalter (The State, Wet Hot American Summer) and produced by Judd Apatow, so it will blend humor and heart in a package that probably lasts too long and will need a decent trim before reaching mainstream theaters. Still, reviews for the personal comedy have been overwhelmingly positive, as screenwriter and star Kumail Nanjiani (Silicon Valley, The X-Files) recounts a brush with a mysterious illness his wife, Emily V. Gordon (Zoe Kazan) faced during their courtship.
From SlashFilm's Review: "A sincere romantic comedy that will give you hearty laughs over and over again and then squeezes tears from your eyes moments later. ... I don't remember the last time a movie was able to have this much hilarity one moment and pure emotion from me, back and forth throughout the entire film."
You might not know Taylor Sheridan's name just yet, but there's a very good chance you watched and enjoyed one of his film. The multi-nominated screenwriter has turned heads recently with scripts for Sicario and Hell or High Water. Wind River is his directorial debut, and from what we are hearing, it's very much in line with those two tense, rewarding films. Jeremy Renner and Elizabeth Olsen take a break from the MCU to play investigators teamed up on a difficult murder case that plunges them into the snowy elements on the Wind River Indian Reservation in Wyoming.
From Fandango's Review: "Wind River is a tense, captivating thriller that proves Taylor Sheridan is one of the most exciting emerging storytellers in years."
A Ghost Story
Color me "shocked" that Sundance critics are falling for a quiet, subdued Rooney Mara/Casey Affleck romance directed by David Lowery (Ain't Them Bodies Saints, Pete's Dragon), but the reviews are SO over the top positive, this one belongs on your list. The premise sounds twee, as Affleck's character dies in the opening scenes, then his ghost follows his widow (Mara) home so he can watch her grieve. There's even a 5-minute, uninterrupted scene of Mara eating pie as she cries. But again, critical response has been ridiculously positive, so take note.
From The Film Stage's Review: "A Ghost Story is one of the most poignant films to ever grapple with this existential question. It's a singular feat of enthralling storytelling that I would say is going to leave a lasting impression centuries after everyone involved has passed away."
Dee Rees turned heads with the devastating Pariah, and is back with an adaptation of Hillary Jordan's prize-winning book, which is being described as Faulknerian in its scope and character depth. It might have a whiff of Birth of a Nation, as it explores the simmering racial tensions of America during the Jim Cow years. But it has a stellar cast, ranging from Carey Mulligan to Mary J. Blige and Jason Clarke. This one covers a lot of ground, but it sounds like it gives audiences a full meal on which to chew.
From The Hollywood Reporter's Review: "Mudbound requires a taste for leisurely storytelling generally more focused on building careful nuances and layered characters than on big dramatic cymbal clashes. But patient investment pays off in an epic that creeps up on you, its stealth approach laced with intelligence, elegance and an affecting balance of humanity and moral indignation."
Call Me By Your Name
Continuing to hold open the door that was opened by Moonlight, Luca Guadagino's Italian drama is being heralded as a strong representation of gay cinema, with Armie Hammer and Timothee Chalamet playing two men who engage in a passionate relationship while staying in a picturesque villa. If the story sounds basic, the execution reportedly trumps the simplicity, with the entire cast earning raves. If you happened to catch Guadagino's A Bigger Splash, this should come as no surprise.
From Vanity Fair's Review: "Call Me by Your Name is a true stunner. It's sexy and sad and funny. It's Italy, it's summer, it's food, it's family. It's lust and shame and hope and resignation. It's life, messy and brilliant."
When Taylor Sheridan was 11 years old, he caught a wicked case of pneumonia that left him bedridden for weeks and unable to enjoy the 200 acres he lived on in the small North Texas community of Bosque County, just an hour west of Waco.
Though he looks back on his childhood fondly, being sick and stuck with nothing to do but watch the three channels on his TV set was the foundation for what he does today.
"I watched a lot of old movies," Sheridan, 47, who has just been nominated for the best original screenplay Oscar for "Hell or High Water," recently told Business Insider. "Clint Eastwood movies, a lot of John Wayne films, a lot of movies that celebrated the region of where I lived. Soon after, we finally got cable, and the whole world opened up."
Sheridan's meteoric rise as one of the top screenwriters working in Hollywood — thanks to his acclaimed scripts in the last two years, "Sicario" and "Hell or High Water"— is unique.
After spending over 20 years as a struggling actor, he finally landed a steady role playing Deputy Chief David Hale for three seasons on "Sons of Anarchy." But when it came time to renegotiate his contract in 2010, Sheridan found himself at a crossroads.
"They had one idea about what I was worth, and I had a very different idea," he said.
The grind to make a living as an actor had delivered its death blow. Fed up with making the weekly salary rate for "Sons of Anarchy"— which after taxes and paying his agent wasn't enough for him to make a living, so he had to also teach evening acting classes to pay rent — and with a baby on the way, Sheridan saw the negotiations as a wake-up call.
"How can you tell your kid you can be anything you want to be if you're not trying to do the same?" he said. "I imagine myself being 40-something years old and I can't go to his baseball game because I got a Windex commercial or something."
So Sheridan quit "Sons of Anarchy"— and acting.
This is when Taylor Sheridan's career in show business could have ended.
Not wanting to raise his child in a big city like Los Angeles, he moved his family to Wyoming, where he interviewed for a ranch manager job.
"I was going to be the head wrangler at a ranch in Wyoming, and the reason I didn't take the job is because I couldn't have my family there — the family had to stay in town," Sheridan said. "I just wasn't willing to do that."
Instead, Sheridan took up screenwriting.
"I just sat down and thought, 'I don't know how to do this, but I've read 10,000 scripts in my life and most of them were not very good, so if I just don't do all the things that bothered me as an actor it will probably turn out OK,'" he said.
His first script was "Sicario," a thriller he wrote on spec that's set on the US-Mexico border and follows an idealistic FBI agent who is brought in to help take down the Mexican cartels, but instead finds she's the pawn in a plot of a CIA officer to take control of one of the cartels by having its leader assassinated.
"I didn't expect the movie to ever be made," Sheridan said. "Every writer has written a spec. It's the first thing you write, and it basically stands as a means of 'here's an example of how I tell stories.' It's almost like a business card.
"So 'Sicario' essentially was that. You dream it will be made. You hope. But realistically you can't care."
Sheridan threw the script in the drawer and wrote a script that would be easier to sell: "Hell or High Water," then titled "Comancheria."
Like "Sicario," it would explore Sheridan's fascination with the modern-day American frontier. But this time he wrote something closer to home. He used a crime caper to examine the impoverished West Texas towns he came across when visiting family in Orchard City a few years ago.
"I was driving by empty house after empty house — it was just abandoned. And this one place that I think had the best hamburgers in America was gone," he said. "The idea of all these places being gone, and then there was this terrible drought, it just became natural that I wanted to explore that."
He set the story around two brothers who decide to embark on an ingenious bank-robbing spree to save their family ranch, which is a victim of the mortgage crisis.
Though "Hell or High Water" sold first, ironically it was "Sicario" that got to theaters first, thanks in part to top talent like Emily Blunt and Benicio Del Toro.
But "Hell or High Water" could lead to Sheridan receiving Oscar gold.
Released last summer, among the dead weight of bloated sequels and failed blockbusters, the movie instantly built a rabid following and Oscar hype for Sheridan. Chris Pine and Ben Foster are incredible as the brothers, while Jeff Bridges gives one of his best performances in years — which has also nabbed him an Oscar nod — playing the Texas Ranger who is on their trail.
In both "Sicario" and "Hell or High Water," Sheridan displays a gift of telling original stories through genres in which we think we've seen it all. And though in "Sicario" the story is extremely clever, in some ways the visionary skills of director Denis Villeneuve ("Arrival") and cinematographer Roger Deakins are what you remember most when you walk out of the theater.
In "Hell or High Water," director David Mackenzie lets Sheridan shine — especially his dialogue, which is some of the best you'll hear in modern movies.
Sheridan's success seems even more remarkable when he admits that the finished scripts for both "Sicario" and "Hell or High Water" were first drafts. Asked how this is even possible, Sheridan goes back to his former career.
"What I did as an actor, I was the guest star, I was the 10th banana on the series. My job was to push exposition. I was the one that shoveled the implausible parts of the scripts. That was my job," he said. "So for me, it was very easy on the page to see if I tried something and it didn't work. For me, structurally it needs to be seamless. I'm not someone who puts the whole thing down and goes back to fix. I want it perfect as I go."
Sheridan has completed the script for the "Sicario" sequel, "Soldado," which will come out this year with Josh Brolin returning as the CIA agent and Del Toro as the assassin. And he's finishing up his directorial debut, "Wind River," the conclusion of his American frontier trilogy, which will also open in 2017.
Starring Jeremy Renner, Elizabeth Olsen, and Jon Bernthal, it looks at a murder at a Native American reservation.
"There's a theme that exists in all three of these movies, which is failure of a father, and that theme is explored in its most acute sense in this one," he said. "I don't want to say resolved, but I was really fascinated by how someone moves on from a tragedy without ever getting closure."
Sheridan is aware of the importance of "Wind River.""Sicario" put him on the map, and "Hell or High Water" could earn him an Oscar, but it will be his work in the director's chair that will prove if he can go forward telling his stories through his own lens.
"I was lucky with Denis and David. They were very protective of the scripts," Sheridan said. "But with 'Wind River' I got to do exactly what I wanted to do. If that one doesn't work, there's no pointing the finger at anyone but me."
It looks as if Ben Affleck has finally hit a major speed bump as a director.
After three critically acclaimed feature-directing efforts — "Gone Baby Gone,""The Town," and "Argo" (the last of which won an Oscar for best picture) — his latest, "Live by Night," has turned out to be a critical and box-office failure. The movie is looking at a $75 million loss.
According to Variety, the gangster movie set in the Prohibition-era underworld that Affleck produced, wrote, directed, and stars in was a passion project for him but has turned into a big sore spot for Warner Bros.
The movie had a budget of $65 million (and probably at least another $10 million for advertising), and it looks as if the only way the studio can salvage the release is through a big spike in home-video and streaming sales later this year. But with only a 32% rating on Rotten Tomatoes and $16.5 million to date at the worldwide box office, there isn't much that can save this one.
Thing don't get any easier for Affleck behind the camera. His next directing effort is supposed to be his standalone Batman movie, "The Batman," which he's writing.
Warner Bros. had no comment when contacted by Business Insider.
Earlier this week, Taylor Swift teased the release of a new music video for "I Don't Wanna Live Forever," her single with former One Direction member Zayn Malik.
The song will be featured in the upcoming "Fifty Shades of Grey" sequel, "Fifty Shades Darker."
The music video revolves around a broken up couple who are wondering whether or not they should get back together. Zayn gets out of a car and walks solemnly through a hotel lobby into an elevator before the video shifts to an unsure Swift.
The video directly parallels where the "Fifty Shades" sequel should begin. At the end of the 2011 thriller, Ana and Christian part ways, but it's clear that they still have feelings for one another which will bring them back together.
Check it out below. "Fifty Shades Darker" is in theaters February 10.
In 2005, Stephen Gaghan was one of the most sought-after screenwriters in Hollywood and was coming into his own as a director with the release of his second feature, “Syriana,” which earned Gaghan a best original screenplay Oscar nomination and a best supporting actor win for George Clooney.
But then Gaghan suddenly went silent. After riding to the top of the industry with his Oscar-winning screenplay for Steven Soderbergh’s “Traffic” in 2000, and getting Soderbergh and Clooney to back “Syriana,” it looked like his rise was fizzling as quickly as it came.
It didn’t help that while promoting “Syriana,” Gaghan told the Financial Times that Soderbergh and Clooney stepped in and took over the edit from him.
“I wanted two hours, 24 minutes,” he said of the running time. “But Steven insisted on two hours. I think he was dead wrong and he ruined my movie."
But Gaghan recently told Business Insider that his demise has been greatly exaggerated, and that the lack of work we've seen from him in a decade has come down to bad luck.
“I was on the one-half yard line three different times with three different movies and it would fall apart. It got really, really frustrating,” Gaghan said.
Looking back, Gaghan sees his failure in the business side of filmmaking. Because he wasn’t just writing, directing, but also producing a handful of projects at once, he found himself unprepared to wage the battles that are needed to figure out the logistics and financing to get a movie off the ground.
“I don’t think I’m very good at that,” Gaghan said. “In hindsight, I just have to have a strong producer.”
In January 2015, Gaghan finally ended his dry spell by putting his passion projects aside and taking a for-hire job. “Gold” (which opens in theaters on Friday) was a project that had been in development since 2011 and had gone through the hands of directors like Michael Mann and Spike Lee before landing with Gaghan. Written by Patrick Massett and John Zinman, the story is a modern-day “Treasure of the Sierra Madre.” It's loosely based on the 1993 Bre-X mining scandal, in which the mining company reported it was sitting on a huge gold find in the jungles of Indonesia. That led the company’s stock price to sore, but it was all discovered to be a massive fraud.
Matthew McConaughey added close to 50 pounds and gave himself a receding hairline to play the role of Kenny Wells, the prospector who travels to the jungle with a geologist (Edgar Ramírez) to find their fortune in gold.
“It was like a fever breaking and I just felt so happy all of a sudden that I was doing what I was supposed to be doing,” Gaghan said of directing “Gold.”
However, the joy would be short-lived, as the toils of shooting in Thailand and Indonesia almost ruined Gaghan’s comeback.
Comparing his shoot to watching “Hearts of Darkness” — the behind-the-scenes documentary on the making of “Apocalypse Now,” which was plagued with horrific storms, among other things — Gaghan said he insisted on filming "Gold" during monsoon season, but completely underestimated its power.
“I wanted real rain, I thought it was important to the story, but it came late,” Gaghan said. “When we got to the jungle, the locals were saying, ‘Monsoon very late.’ I’m looking up to the sky and it’s a blue sky.”
Not expecting a lot of rain, Gagahn had rain towers brought in for the first day of shooting. That would be the last day his set would be dry.
“The second day of shooting it started to rain and it was this weird event where two rivers connected and our river rose 35 feet in 12 hours,” he said. “It was astonishing. The third day we had to evacuate the set, our base camp was gone, the rain towers were upside down washing down the river.”
Gaghan got into a canoe to survey the damage and found that the set was completely underwater. “The water receded and not much was left and I was just sitting on a folding chair watching the water buffalo and wondering what are we going to do now.”
It seemed like the movie gods had struck again and would keep Gaghan from making a movie, but he remarkably rebounded and got enough footage in the jungle to continue on and complete filming.
With a transformed McConaughey and the pedigree of Gaghan, the film’s distributor the Weinstein Company thought it had an awards contender. But “Gold” didn’t gain traction and was shut out of the Oscars. The movie is now relegated to a release in the Hollywood “dump month” that is January.
Gaghan, however, is only seeing the bright side of things these days.
“I’m super proud of the movie and obviously the thing you hope is what you make stands the test of time,” he said.
But where does he go from here? Has he completely burned his bridges with Soderbergh, or is there a chance the two could reconnect once more?
“I talked to him three days ago,” said Gaghan, who added that he showed Soderbergh an early cut of “Gold.”
Gaghan said he has patched things up with Soderbergh and Clooney, and now he believes “Syriana” “benefited from their insight.”
“I literally owe every good thing that happened in my career to Steven Soderberg,” he said. “And that's not just the good fortune that happened in getting to develop the script of ‘Traffic’ with him and being on set when he was making that and have him produce and back me to make ‘Syriana,’ but he’s just super generous. And ‘Gold’ was a direct beneficiary.”
It doesn’t look like we’ll have to wait another 10 years to see a Gaghan movie. It’s been announced that he will be writing and directing the bioterrorism sci-fi movie “The Division,” starring Jake Gyllenhaal and Jessica Chastain. And he’s confident some of the projects he was working on before “Gold” aren’t dead.
“I think one or two of those projects will still get made,” he said.
The two streaming giants, Netflix and Amazon, were both busy for a second straight year at the Sundance Film Festival ending this weekend, and both took some of the most talked-about titles at the fest.
Following its $10 million buy of current Oscar best picture nominee “Manchester by the Sea” last year, Amazon has come back to Park City with a bigger wallet. The company bought the comedy “The Big Sick” for $12 million, the biggest buy of this year's fest. Meanwhile, Netflix has taken some of the most coveted documentaries at the fest, like “Chasing Coral” and “Icarus.”
Though a few of the traditional distributors have also grabbed some big fish from the fest, filmmakers are clearly gravitating to Netflix and Amazon.
Here’s a breakdown of all the Sundance movies Netflix and Amazon bought that will be showing on their services later this year (plus a few of the standout buys from other distributors):
“Berlin Syndrome” — Netflix (“Low-to-mid seven figures” buy)
This thriller about an Australian photographer who finds herself unable to leave the apartment of her romantic encounter will be getting a North American theatrical release through Vertical Entertainment before it goes to streaming on Netflix.
“The Big Sick” — Amazon ($12 million buy)
Produced by Judd Apatow and starring “Silicon Valley” cast member Kumail Nanjiani (who cowrote the script), this comedy about a couple dealing with their cultural differences is one of the biggest hits at this year’s festival. Amazon will handle a theatrical release of the film before streaming it later this year.
“Casting JonBenet” — Netflix
Netflix nabbed the worldwide rights to the film before Sundance started. This unique look at the murder of JonBenet Ramsey will be available to stream in the spring.
See the rest of the story at Business Insider
Animated movies go through a lot of changes before they hit theaters, but "Zootopia" became a whole different movie.
After spending two years developing "Zootopia," director Byron Howard, Walt Disney Animation head John Lasseter, and the studio's "story trust"— creators at Disney who give candid input about projects — made a risky decision: They would completely revamp their story by changing the prominence of the two lead characters, and in turn give "Zootopia" a new message.
The movie had a hook Lasseter loved: talking animals dressed in human clothes living in a world where predators and prey interact happily with one another. But it turned out that the protagonist, a fox named Nick Wilde (voiced by Jason Bateman), was a bit too dark and snarky.
So a year and a half before the movie was to be in theaters, Wilde was demoted to sidekick and the former supporting role became the lead: a bunny cop named Judy Hopps (Ginnifer Goodwin).
The decision, dangerously late in a project's life in the animation world, turned out to be rewarding both financially and critically. "Zootopia" became a surprise hit for Disney, taking in over $1 billion worldwide in its theatrical run, and after appearing on many year-end best lists, the movie has been nominated for the best animated feature Oscar, for which it's a frontrunner, after taking home the Golden Globe.
But perhaps the most satisfying part of the "Zootopia" success is the power of its social commentary, especially now that Donald Trump is officially the 45th president of the United States.
Yes, "Zootopia" has all the Disney hallmarks with adorable characters and lush animation, but what's caused audiences and critics to gush is the way it addresses stereotypes and other social issues from the human world that seem more pressing in light of Trump's election win and presidency, in which he continues to be divisive.
“We examined these topics because this is real and these movies, especially for young people, they are fairy tales that have the purpose of preparing young people for the world ahead of them,” Rich Moore, a member of Disney's story trust who later came on as a director of "Zootopia," recently told Business Insider. “We’re showing them what some of the pitfalls and dangers of life are, but coming out on the other end with a feeling of hope.”
The idea to confront race and class came early on in the production, long before Trump announced his bid for president. It arrived when the department heads took a trip to Kenya to observe the wildlife they would be creating for the movie, and they witnessed a moment that would stay with them throughout the production.
"The group was observing animals around the watering hole, and it was predators and prey alike drinking water and living in harmony at that moment because there's kind of a social understanding between them that they all need water," Moore said. "And we all thought that was an interesting social handshake in the animal world that is very much like the human world. In a city there can be people who don't see eye to eye and have different points of view but we put them aside and live together. But that doesn't mean those feelings go away. So we thought what if 'Zootopia' became a story about injustice, discrimination, as well as racism? We didn't just want to tell another funny animal movie."
But making the city of Zootopia a diverse melting pot hit a snag when the movie’s main protagonist, at the time Nick Wilde, came off the wrong way.
“The tone was suffering at that time,” Moore said. “The city felt really oppressive. We wanted to have a city with a problem but at its core by the end you would feel that the city was going to be okay. But in this version of the story it felt like Zootopia was a really bad place because we were seeing Nick being oppressed and being put down.”
So when the creators would usually put the final touches on an animated movie for its release, "Zootopia" went through a major overhaul.
Making Hopps the protagonist fit perfectly into the conventions the movie was trying to break: an idealistic bunny (prey) determined to join a police force filled with large tigers, wolves, and elephants (predators). And the female character was no longer relying on her male counterpart.
But the last thing the filmmakers wanted was to feel preachy. As the other “Zootopia” director Byron Howard puts it, “We never wanted the end of the film to be like, ‘Judy Hopps solved racism.’”
But since Trump’s successful but historically contentious presidential campaign, in which he was accused of using racist rhetoric, the movie has taken on a greater importance in showing how a community of different people with different views can unify.
“Even with the Trump presidency, no matter what side of the fence you're on, we owe it to future generations to make good decisions to try to work together and understand each other and I think that's what the film is trying to say,” Howard said.
“I am really excited for the art in the years ahead,” Moore added. “Historically they always reflect and comment on the world around them. Our leader doesn't feel like a unifier right now so imagine what kinds of books and what kinds of paintings and what kinds of songs and what kinds of movies we're going to see during these next four years.”
In fact, “Zootopia” has already inspired one artist. While on tour in 2016, Cat Stevens ended his shows quoting the speech Judy gives at the end of the movie.
“This would lead into him playing ‘Peace Train,’” Moore said, referring to one of Stevens' '70s hits. “It's just another example of how far beyond what we imagined this movie would do.”
“It’s very humbling,” Howard said.
“Zootopia” is now streaming on Netflix.