After going all star crazy with last summer’s "Drinking Buddies," Joe Swanberg is at it again, employing bankable actors for his latest ensemble comedy, "Happy Christmas." "Buddies" star Anna Kendrick is back, alongside a roster of Swanberg newcomers including Lena Dunham, Mark Webber and Melanie Lynskey. Working with "Beasts of the Southern Wild" cinematographer Ben Richardson (who also shot "Drinking Buddies"), the quintessentially digital-friendly Swanberg made "Happy Christmas" on Super 16mm film, his first production to utilize the medium since film school.
Mike Cahill's debut feature, the sci-fi "Another Earth" won the Special Jury Prize at Sundance ’11, and "I Origins" has already received the Sundance stamp of approval. Not only will it premiere at the upcoming fest, but the film also was the first-ever recipient of the Dolby Family Sound Fellowship. Cahill wrote, directed, produced and edited the film about a molecular biologist and his lab partner who discover evidence that could have dramatic implications for society. We're expecting some stunning visuals and impressive sound design.
A new movie from "Humpday" filmmaker Lynn Shelton is always a welcome prospect, and "Laggies" finds the director working with her highest profile cast yet as well as making her first film penned by another screenwriter -- Andrea Seigel in her screenplay debut. Keira Knightley stars as a woman who, after her boyfriend (Mark Webber) proposes, lies about going on a business trip in order to spend time with her new teenage friend (Chloë Grace Moretz). Shelton's always been good about belated coming of age stories -- it should be fun to see how the often very grown up Knightley does at letting loose.
It's the first-ever feature-length documentary on the life of Roger Ebert, which is enough of a reason for us to see it. But the fact that it's directed by Steve James ("Hoop Dreams") and features interviews with filmmakers such as Errol Morris, Werner Herzog, Ava DuVernay and Martin Scorsese (who is one o the film's executive producers), elevates the film to must-see status. No doubt, it will cover Ebert's early days at the University of Illinois to his move to Chicago where he became the first critic ever to win the Pulitzer Prize, and then to his time on television where he became a household name alongside Gene Siskel. But we're most excited to see the way the film handles Ebert's "third act," when he overcome disabilities and became an important voice on social media, not to mention his ongoing love affair with his wife, Chaz Ebert.