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  • SydneysBuzz
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    Sundance Film Festival Offers A Window on the World (with Contacts)

    Sundance's announcement yesterday of the 4 main categories plus Premieres - U.S. Dramatic Competition, U.S. Documentary Competition, World Cinema Dramatic Competition, World Cinema Documentary Competition -- is a mash of many cultures not only in "World" sections, but within the U.S. sections themselves. Consistent with my vision (and wish) to see world cultures enter the mainstream of independent features as I write about Africa (and its diaspora), Latino films, and about women filmmakers (♀), and Asia, a look at the Sundance lineup takes us beyond these cultures as they increasingly merge with one another. European cinema also looks healthy from here with exportable films in all sections. Here is a view, thus far, of the films as a windows into cultures beyond what we see in mainstream Hollywood, a welcome return to Sundance roots. The Competition and Premiere titles are below.Benavides Born by Amy Wendel, Photo by Noam J. ChristopherLast year, Sundance Film Festival showed approximately 115 features. Of those 25 (20%) were directed by women ♀ . In the Premiere section, out of 16 films 7 had women directors. This year out of 14 Premieres 1 is directed by a woman, Jill Sprecher's The Convincer. Oh well...For the 2011 Sundance Film Festival, 115 feature-length films were selected, representing 28 countries by 40 first-time filmmakers, including 25 in competition. These films were selected from 3,812 feature-length film submissions composed of 1,943 U.S. and 1,869 international feature-length films. 92 films at the Festival will be world premieres.

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  • REVERSEBLOG: the reverse shot blog
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    Bird-Brained: Darren Aronofsky's "Black Swan"

    If nothing else, Black Swan will certainly be the nuttiest movie to be mistaken for serious art in 2010, a true distinction as these last beleaguered twelve months of moviegoing saw contenders like Gaspar Noé’s harebrained Enter the Void and Andrei Konchalovsky’s utterly baffling The Nutcracker in 3D fall by the wayside. Darren Aronofsky has a leg up on his competitors: his horror movie about a good girl gone mad is set in the rarefied world of professional ballet (note the conspicuous exteriors of Lincoln Center, home to a film festival that, until The Wrestler, hadn’t been particularly accommodating to Aronofsky’s work), kibble for a gray-haired audience that likely passed over Pi, Requiem for a Dream, and (hee hee) The Fountain, but who help set the terms of the debate about what’s important or frivolous in our theaters and year-end awards shows. That crowd may well be stunned silent by what they find in here: this cracked fantasy is no The Red Shoes. Though perhaps they may share the reaction of the Philadelphia Film Festival audience I saw Black Swan with not long ago: waves of gut-busting laughter. Whether or not Aronofsky’s also laughing is an open question. Read Jeff Reichert's review of Black Swan.

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  • Thompson on Hollywood
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    Suspect in Ronni Chasen Slaying Shoots Self

    Suspect in Ronni Chasen Slaying Shoots Self

    The LA Times is reporting that around 6 PM Wednesday, as Beverly Hills police were serving a search warrant at the Harvey Apartments on a man suspected to be connected to the slaying of publicist Ronni Chasen, the man shot himself. The identity of the man and the nature of his connection to Chasen were not reported. UPDATE: The Wrap uncovers more details.

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  • The Playlist
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    Plot Details Emerge For Terrence Malick's 'The Burial'

    This is a story we hemmed and hawed on doing mostly because it seems like a sucker punch to gut the details on Terrence Malick's next film, "The Burial." And while the info is now making the rounds, for all the extensive plotting revealed, Malick has never been one to stick directly to a script, and the weightier thematic issues and the tone and tenor of the finished work often emerges throughout the editing process. So for everything that is mentioned here, how the final product is shaped probably isn't best described by simple plot beats. But needless to say, if you don't want to know anything about the film stop reading here. Seriously.

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  • The Playlist
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    Ben Foster & Giovanni Ribisi Looking To Deal 'Contraband' With Mark Wahlberg & Kate Beckinsale

    With production set to begin in March, things are gearing up for the Universal thriller "Contraband" that already has Mark Wahlberg and Kate Beckinsale set to star.

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  • The Playlist
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    Alex Proyas To Direct Sci-Fi Actioner 'AMP'

    Australian director Alex Proyas once theoretically held some promise, although we're not exactly sure how. The music video veteran showed some gothic style in the original take on "The Crow," and on the sci-fi mindbender "Dark City," even if both films were ultimately pretty hollow. Since then, however, the results have otherwise been pretty weak -- the terrible passion project "Garage Days," the anonymous "I Robot," and the loved-inexplicably-by-Roger-Ebert-and-basically-no-one-else Nicolas Cage vehicle "Knowing."

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  • Spout
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    Video: What if Disney Animated the "Harry Potter" Series?

    We recently heard that Steven Spielberg originally wanted to adapt J.K. Rowling's books into a condensed series of animated films. Would they have had musical numbers, too? A new parody video gives a little peak at what the "Harry Potter" franchise might have looked and sounded like had it been set up at Disney as an animated property. Perhaps this is what Spielberg had in mind. If so, we can be so very thankful that it didn't end up this way, with Voldemort singing songs about hexes like "Avada Kedavra" (sung to the tune of "Hakuna Matata").

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  • The Playlist
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    Noah Baumbach Readies 'While We're Young' With Ben Stiller & James Franco

    Offers Out To Greta Gerwig & Cate BlanchettIt seems Noah Baumbach and Ben Stiller are new BFFs. Of course, they teamed on "Greenberg" which hit theaters this spring and for a while, they were both tentatively attached to the family film "Mr. Popper's Penguins" until they both dropped off (the project is now moving ahead with Jim Carrey and Mark Waters). Not only that, Baumbach was tapped to do a quick punch up on Stiller's character in the script for the currently shooting comedy "Tower Heist," so it was pretty inevitable the two would find a film to work on again as director and actor.

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  • The Playlist
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    Paul Thomas Anderson Looks To Adapt Thomas Pychon's 'Inherent Vice' With Robert Downey Jr.

    RDJ Not Signed On Yet, And Project Sounds Like It's In Early Stages, But WowAdapting the work of reclusive literary genius Thomas Pynchon seems like a fool's errand. His novels -- "Gravity's Rainbow" and "The Crying of Lot 49" -- among others, feature dense plotting, allegorical whimsy, and are stuffed so full of characters that any screenwriter stupid enough to attempt an adaptation must be suicidal. Unless that book is his latest "Inherent Vice" and unless the person adapting it is Paul Thomas Anderson.

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  • The Playlist
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    Review: 'Black Swan' Is The Grandest Ballet Of Darren Aronofsky's Career

    This is a repost of a review that ran earlier this year during TIFF 2010. The film is in limited release starting this week.

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