June is now behind us, and with that the summer season has officially reached its halfway point. With the knockout successes of “Mud” and “Before Midnight” still fresh in our mind, July aims to finally bring many heavily anticipated releases to theaters, including new films from Nicolas Winding Refn and Joe Swanberg. Meanwhile, we took a look back at the time long ago when Johnny Depp was considered “cool” in the wake of the critical beatings and general disinterest facing “The Lone Ranger,” Amanda Seyfried’s hardcore porn biopic “Lovelace” received its first trailer and we reviewed the latest series in FX and Netflix’s attempts to change the narrative of television programming.
Take a look at all of these stories and more below as we go back over the ten most viewed news, interviews and features from this week at Indiewire:
While “The Lone Ranger” continues to fail to impress both audiences and critics, the film has inspired one of the first outright failures of Johnny Depp’s post-“Pirates” career, forcing us to ask what has happened to the once-rebelliously awesome star. The ten years since his Oscar-nominated turned as Captain Jack Sparrow has seen the star turn to increasingly mainstream roles, abandoning the more daring indie territory that filled his 90s career turns and making it potentially impossible for him to ever fully return to the kind of actor he once was.
In the third of our four month summer indie “must-see” lists, we looked at the 9 films to see when they enter theaters later this month. With new films from Woody Allen, Joe Swanberg, and Nicolas Winding Refn all arriving, July is already one of the most heavily anticipated months of the season, but with festival favorites like the Sundance Grand Jury prize winning “Fruitvale Station” and festival-favorite “The Act of Killing” among others, its shaping up to be one of the most anticipated months of the year.
With indies seeing releases just as frequently On Demand as in theaters, we also looked at what indies to see from the comforts of your home, including both Nicolas Winding Refn’s “Only God Forgives,” and Joe Swanberg’s “Drinking Buddies.” Other highlights include the sci-fi horror comedy “Grabbers,” child magician doc “Magic Camp,” and the Kristen Bell starring comedy “The Lifeguard.”
4. Watch: Eerie ‘Gatsby’ CGI-Less Clip Goes to Show How Many of Your Favorite Movies Rely on Bells and Whistles
In the age-old tradition of removing laugh tracks from your favorite sitcoms, a new video has surfaced of Baz Luhrmann’s “The Great Gatsby,” showing its many visual effects filled scenes before and after post production. While some effects like the massive cityscapes and glowing green light were clear examples of CGI additions, the video also shows that just about every set was in some way computer generated and gives a fascinating insight into just how much work went in to creating the film’s shiny, over-the-top world.
With a successful Sundance debut behind them, “Howl”-filmmakers Rob Epstein and Jeffrey Friedman’s Linda Lovelace biopic “Lovelace” has received its first trailer before its release next month. Starring Amanda Seyfried in one of her first major adult roles, as the titular pornographic movie legend and “Deep Throat” star, the film follows her relationship with husband and manager Chuck Traynor as well as her notorious career.
With the year now halfway through, the $20 million plus box office successes”Mud” and “The Place Beyond The Pines” look hard to topple as the highest grossing indies of the year. Meanwhile, the more recent buzz surrounding Sofia Coppola’s “The Bling Ring,” and the continued push behind Richard Linklater’s “Before Midnight” have caused both to enter the year’s top ten grossing indies so far. Take a look at the link above for the full list as it stand from June 30th.
Following his receiving of the Nantucket Film Festival’s Screenwriters Tribute Award, David O. Russell sat down with IW’s Eric Kohn to discuss his upcoming film “American Hustle,” while also still focusing on his mental health advocacy following the success of “Silver Linings Playbook.” Talking about his upcoming film, Russell championed Christian Bale’s performance while talking about his own relationships to the characters he writes, as well as the overall writing process he has faced on his most recent projects.
8. Why Are People Frustrated With Film Financing?
As directors like Steven Spielberg, George Lucas, David Lynch and Stephen Soderbergh bemoan the impossibility of seeing their dream projects make it to the big screen in the current age of film financing, Colin Brown, Editorial Director of Slated.com, attempted to explain how the current state of financing has created these sentiments. While blame has often been put on the financiers, the industry’s reliance on retaining old standards has led to a self-implosion, and according to Brown the need for a new class of film financier is far from the narrative these directors are pushing.
9. FX’s New Drama ‘The Bridge’ Sets a Typical Serial Killer Story Against a Terrific Border Town Backdrop
Following FX’s tradition of crime-solving dramas with a focus more on their characters and communities than the crimes inhabiting them, the new series “The Bridge,” follows the hunt for a serial killer against the backdrop of the US-Mexican border, bringing all social and political issues involved along for the ride. While over the top dramatics and heavy handedness take away from the show in its first episodes, IW’s Alison Willmore believes there’s enough interest in the show’s plotting to suggest a long term potential for the Demian Bichir-Diane Kruger starring series to evolve into something much greater than the sum of its parts.
After the initial critical acclaim of its first original series “House of Cards,” the mixed reception of “Hemlock Grove” and “Arrested Development,” have forced Netflix back into an uncertain position for its narrative constraint free programming, but with its new series “Orange is the New Black” the online service may have its best series yet. By retaining the constraints of traditional TV in lieu of abandoning them completely, the series is able to create a empathetic narrative while allowing itself to fall back on episode-specific storytelling, making it a great case for allowing some narrative restraints to stick around in the age of online programming.