Celebrating 17 Years of Film.Biz.Fans.
by Nigel M Smith
July 15, 2011 7:50 AM
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Weekly indieWIRE Clicks: The Best News, Reviews & Features

This week on indieWIRE.

This week on indieWIRE the Tribe Called Quest documentary did good business at the box-office, Errol Morris opened up about "Tabloid," Netflix angered a good number of its users and much more.

News

Werner Herzog, Wim Wenders, Woody Allen and “The Guard” are all enjoying successful runs outside the U.S.. That’s good news for the films yet to open Stateside (“The Guard,” Wenders’ “Pina”) and a nice bonus for the success stories that are Allen’s “Midnight in Paris” and Herzog’s “Cave of Forgotten Dreams.” More here.

Michael Rapaport’s doc “Beats Rhymes & Life: The Travels of a Tribe Called Quest” scored at the indie box office this weekend, grossing an impressive $120,000 from 4 screens. According to estimates provided by Rentrak, the film averaged $30,000 to become 2011’s top doc debut so far. More here.

Turns out the rumors are true. The internet was buzzing that Spike Lee was reportedly in line to direct the long-gestating remake of Park Chan-Wook’s brutal Korean revenge hit “Oldboy,” and this week Mandate Pictures finally confirmed that Lee will in fact helm the picture, scripted by Mark Protosevich (“I Am Legend”) and produced by Dough Davison (“The Departed”). More here.

While the internet has predictably lost its cool over Netflix's sudden 60% price increase, Dana Harris spoke to the company and found out what the changes will mean for Netflix queue enthusiasts. Click here to find out more.

You can always count on Sean Penn to make a transformation in any project he tackles. From his Academy Award-winning turn as Harvey Milk in Gus Van Sant’s biopic to his career-defining role as a Jeff Spicoli in “Fast Times at Ridgemont High,” Penn is the closest thing America has to a male Meryl Streep. Click here to watch the trailer to Penn's latest vanishing act.

Terrence Malick’s long-awaited grand opus “The Tree of Life” made headlines minutes following its world premiere at the Cannes Film Festival for earning applause and boos. The film went on to win the coveted Palme d’Or, but that hasn’t stopped “Tree of Life” naysayers from criticizing Malick’s ambitious spectacle. Some have derided it as being “boring” (Jason Solomons, The Observer) and “incredibly indulgent” (Roger Moore, Orlando Sentinel), but a recent review by The Guardian’s David Cox takes the cake for the most quotable and challenging critique.

Last weekend, on the rooftop of the Old American Can Factory, hundreds gathered to celebrate the slew of creative projects partially funded on Kickstarter. A joint venture between Kickstarter and Rooftop Films, the Kickstarter Film Festival screened standout campaign videos. The real star of the night of Kickstarter clips was teaser from “Girl Walk // All Day,” a feature-length dance video with choreography matched up to the latest Girl Talk album.

BAFTA Los Angeles is honoring Helena Bonham Carter with their Britannia Award for British Artist of the Year at this year’s BAFTA Los Angeles Britannia Awards, being held November 30. Bonham Carter won the Best Supporting Actress BAFTA and was nominated for an Oscar for her performance in “The King’s Speech.”

U.S. rights to Cristian Jimenez’s “Bonsai” have been picked up by Strand Releasing, the distributor said Friday. Strand picked up the 2011 Cannes Un Certain Regard feature from Rezo and plans an early 2012 release.

What do you think of when the name Joe Swanberg comes to mind? Our guess: sex. The indie stalwart’s latest, “Autoerotic,” co-directed by Adam Wingard is a mumblecore relationship dramedy that features a lot of flesh. View the scandalous trailer here.

Steve James’ epic documentary “The Interrupters” has been garnering praise after premiering at the Sundance Film Festival earlier this year. It currently has the highest score of any film this year on criticWIRE. Go here to watch the doc's trailer.

In case that last trailer wasn't spicy enough, here's another.

An awesome preview for Steven Soderbergh's disease disaster movie, "Contagion," dropped this week. Those of you who don't like Gwyneth "GOOP" Paltrow - and we're sure there are plenty of you - will be very happy to watch her get sick and die here. Ach, Schadenfreude!

The Festival del film Locarno has set the full slate for its 64th edition, which takes place August 3-13, 2011 in Locarno, Switzerland. Major American titles like Jon Favreau’s “Cowboys and Aliens,” Nicolas Winding Refn’s “Drive,” Kevin Smith’s “Red State,” J.J. Abrams’ “Super 8” and Will Gluck’s “Friends With Benefits” will stand along side an eclectic mix of international film, including 14 world premieres in the festival’s competitive Concorso internazionale program.

Everyone's abuzz over the Emmy nominations, and Peter Knegt gave us ten reasons to be excited here.

Actor and New Orleans resident Harry Shearer, best known as one of Christopher Guest's funniest repertory members, has had his Hurricane Katrina documentary "The Big Uneasy" picked up for VOD distribution. Full press release here.

Reviews

While the last installment in the “Harry Potter” film franchise is poised to break box-office records this weekend, a slew of indie releases also drop this weekend to keep you away from the millions of Potter Heads lining up to see the boy wizard take on Lord Voldemort. To get an idea of what else is worth checking out, browse through all the reviews posted this week on indieWIRE and The Blog Network.

Features

The height of Summer (at least here in the Northern Hemisphere) is sometimes considered a lighter period of the year in terms of the general festival circuit, a relative “calm before the storm,” ahead of the major late-Summer/early Fall events in Venice, Telluride and Toronto. But July and August are nevertheless teaming with festivals in North America and around the world.

For the fourth time in the past five weeks, a documentary has topped criticWIRE as the “pick of the week.” Following “Conan O’Brien Can’t Stop,” “Page One,” and “Project Nim,” Errol Morris’ “Tabloid” is the best bet in the specialty market this weekend (aka the best alternative to “Harry Potter”). The doc follows Joyce McKinney, a colorful Midwestern woman convicted of kidnapping her Mormon husband in the U.K. in the late 1970s. McKinney became a tabloid fixture during the height of that scandal and Morris’ movie puts nearly as much focus on the media obsession with his subject as he does on McKinney herself. Go here for more.

With the news that Sherwood Schwartz had died this week, we wondered if his passing might have relevance for indieWIRE—after all, we were watching “The Brady Bunch” and “Love Boat” well before we saw our first Jim Jarmusch. But childhood nostalgia didn’t seem like enough of a hook. And then, we saw a Facebook post from Christine Vachon. Go here for more.

While the popular myth is that Terrence Malick simply disappeared between “Days of Heaven” and “The Thin Red Line,” as always, the truth is a bit more blurry. He continued to write screenplays and two projects had progressed considerably. Full story here.

You can now check out Apichatpong Weerasethakul's surrealist dream-of-a-movie "Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives," among other gems, on this week's small screens.

What’s the secret behind the success of Fenton Bailey and Randy Barbato, the duo responsible for “Becoming Chaz” and “RuPaul’s Drag Race” and recipients of the 15th Annual Outfest Achievement Award? According to Tori Spelling, who moderated Outfest’s panel with the producing partners on July 9th, it’s their motto: “No is the beginning of yes.” Read the article here.

Director/writer George Ratliff (“Joshua,” “Hell House”) here shares a scene from his latest, “Salvation Boulevard,” a religious comedy starring Pierce Brosnan, Greg Kinnear, Jennifer Connelly, Ed Harris and Marisa Tomei. The film opens at New York’s IFC Center July 15 and will hit their VOD platform July 27.

While it’s always nice to see an indie filmmaker make good, it’s even better when you can understand how.

Our very own Peter Knegt recounted his experience of starting the Picton Picturefest.

Interviews

Read our interview with "The Future" director-writer-star Miranda July here. Earlier this week she took part in a Q&A to toast to indieWIRE's 15th anniversary.

In this first entry of a two-part interview, the Oscar-winning documentarian Errol Morris talked to indieWIRE about his unique love for tabloid stories and why modern media would have prevented his groundbreaking 1988 exposé “The Thin Blue Line” from having the effect it did.

In this second entry, Morris chatted about "Tabloid" and the film's own sudden headline drama. Full interview here.

Vera Farmiga’s "Higher Ground" premiered at Sundance last January to strong reviews. Variety‘s Justin Chang called it “a startlingly bold directing debut.” He’s right, but as THR‘s Kirk Honeycutt puts it, “no one should really be surprised that Vera Farmiga brings the same meticulous craftsmanship and passion for truth found in her extraordinary acting to her debut as a director.” Go here to watch a video interview with Farmiga and her sister who stars in the film.

"Codependent Lesbian Space Alien" won Madeleine Olmek raves this year at Sundance. The film will hit Newfest and Outfest this month. Check out our conversation with the director here.

indieWIRE interviewed Evan Glodell in January before the world premiere of “Bellflower” in Sundance. Now we are proud to present the New York premiere of the film as part of our 15th anniversary celebration with a Rooftop Films screening (tonight!) at the Automotive School in Williamsburg. Glodell told us about his film’s peculiar production and the wild ride that he’s been on since the Sundance premiere.

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