Dan Heching

Top 10 film rebels fighting for independents

Article: Top 10 film rebels fighting for independents

Making movies costs lots and lots of money. Dependency is the name of the game in the studio system and the clichĂ© of the executive producer coming to set and scaring everybody straight is surely based on actual events. ‘Indies’ used to be the alternative to that system, but that movement is now so big, such an institution in its own right, that ‘Independent’ may no longer be the most accurate nomenclature. ‘Indie’ is one of the haziest terms in the film industry; in the era of Steven Soderbergh’s watershed indie hit SEX, LIES, AND VIDEOTAPE, things were more cut and dry, you were either in or outside of the studio system.

Spend a day in one Indian boy's shoes with the Vimeo Fest winner for best doc

Article: Spend a day in one Indian boy's shoes with the Vimeo Fest winner for best doc

In case you need a bit of perspective, make sure to catch the winning video doc from this year’s Vimeo Festival + Awards: AMAR, subtitled “All great achievements require time”. Watching this young Indian boy’s utterly tireless effort throughout his roughly 18-hour day–from work, to school, to home, to school, to work, to homework, and with a warm smile on his face at all times–would give even the most jaded and overworked Western urban professional pause. Amar is 14 and supports his entire family (while managing to be top of his class at school). It’s also refreshing to see a documentary that is more of a video testimonial as opposed to one that makes use of a traditional voice over.

Review Revue: BEASTS are pure MAGIC

Article: Review Revue: BEASTS are pure MAGIC

Going to the movies should never, ever be stressful (unless, of course, you’re planning on seeing the latest Lars von Trier flick). You want to see something new and relevant so that you can talk it up with your know-it-all friends. But you don’t want to sit through the one film that everyone thought would be great, but…isn’t. So here is our formula, simplifying the should-you-see-it conundrum:
5 new releases x 2 critical samplings = what you should go see.

Simple enough, right? This week we have stormy little girl hero, a vulgar talking stuffed animal, mystery siblings, flirty Torontonians and some hot male strippers.

Review Revue: ABRAHAM LINCOLN hunted by Woody Allen

Article: Review Revue: ABRAHAM LINCOLN hunted by Woody Allen

Going to the movies should never, ever be stressful (unless, of course, you’re planning on seeing the latest Lars von Trier flick). You want to see something new and relevant so that you can talk it up with your know-it-all friends. But you don’t want to sit through the one film that everyone thought would be great, but…isn’t. So here is our formula, simplifying the should-you-see-it conundrum:
5 new releases x 2 critical samplings = what you should go see.
Simple enough, right? This week we have a vamp-killing president, Woody Allen still on vacation, apocalyptic lovers, a Pixar princess and a few political upstarts.

Why are you in a music video completely naked, Shia LaBeouf?

Article: Why are you in a music video completely naked, Shia LaBeouf?

In a move that shocked (OK, maybe not shocked…momentarily distracted?) the world yesterday, Shia TRANSFORMERS LaBeouf appeared au natural in the newly released “Fjögur Piano” experimental music video, by the trippy and brilliant Icelandic band Sigur RĂłs. First and foremost, we have to give props to Mr. LaBeouf, who’s been relatively under the radar the last few years, and relegated to sequel territory with TRANSFORMERS: DARK OF THE MOON and WALL STREET: MONEY NEVER SLEEPS. Here, he dares to try something new, unorthodox and pretty out there, and that takes guts.

Music videos are still relevant at the Vimeo Festival

Article: Music videos are still relevant at the Vimeo Festival

Remember when music videos were like visual junk food available for mass consumption on TV channels such as Music Television and Video Hits 1? For better and worse, the medium has changed drastically, since now one must actively go out and search for music videos…and of course the main place to look is online. This has meant that music videos must demand our attention with true artistry, in the hopes of ‘going viral’. Manchester Orchestra’s video for SIMPLE MATH, created by two boys who simply go by ‘The Daniels’, made getting into a car wreck look like true evocative fun.

Online video gets the serial treatment at the Vimeo Fest

Article: Online video gets the serial treatment at the Vimeo Fest

In the ‘Series’ competition at the Vimeo Festival + Awards, video-makers competed with pieces they made in parts, like those serials from back in the day…but updated in an online sorta way. The winning series, OFTEN AWESOME, takes a look at one man’s diagnosis of ALS (Lou Gehrig’s Disease) and the effect it has on himself and his best friend/lover. A quietly heartbreaking moment.

Review Revue: YOUR SISTER'S really got SOMETHING!

Article: Review Revue: YOUR SISTER'S really got SOMETHING!

Going to the movies should never, ever be stressful (unless, of course, you’re planning on seeing the latest Lars von Trier flick). You want to see something new and relevant so that you can talk it up with your know-it-all friends. But you don’t want to sit through the one film that everyone thought would be great, but…isn’t. So here is our formula, simplifying the should-you-see-it conundrum:
5 new releases x 2 critical samplings = what you should go see.
Simple enough, right? This week we have bickering sisters, a crew of rappers, a crew of rockers, some Parisian mystery and Salma Hayek.

This is a robot you don't wanna cross: BLINKY TM

Article: This is a robot you don't wanna cross: BLINKY TM

The Narrative category at the Vimeo Festival + Awards served as a frank reminder (or wakeup call for those who don’t know): some of the best film out there isn’t at the theatre. It’s not even on demand. It’s here, online. And best of all: it’s considerably shorter than anything even remotely feature length, which sits perfectly well with the current average attention span ability to sit still for more than 3-6 minutes!

Vimeo Festival + Awards wrap up: Go out and make a video

Article: Vimeo Festival + Awards wrap up: Go out and make a video

The Vimeo Festival + Awards blew through NYC this weekend, temporarily taking over the IAC Building (and Vimeo HQ) on the Hudson River with cute, young, artsy people and others who watch video online (i.e., a little bit of everyone). Video artists, digital wizards, crack-shot editors, sound mixers and filmmaking hopefuls presented their work in a variety of screenings and presentations, as their peers and admirers crowded the ground floor of IAC and nearby Root Studios to get a peek at what is usually viewable on their computer screens.

It’s curious to note the novelty here–not specifically with regard to a video (as opposed to film) festival per se, but a real-life festival for online video content, and at a time when so so many people are producing it. While YouTube has become the equivalent of being out on the sidewalk and never knowing what’ll hit you (not to mention the crush of ads), viewing material on Vimeo can be likened to the experience of this festival; a more vetted lot of stuff will come your way, still with the thrill of the unexpected, the beautiful, the awry or the just plain twisted.

Top 10 closet cases in cinema

Article: Top 10 closet cases in cinema

Ahoy! Pride Month 2012 is upon us (already??) and to that end, we are rolling out some notable films that feature the sometimes painful journey toward a proud, authentic existence – a journey that often involves years in the closet. In a time when “it gets better”, when coming out may feel like a redundant, strategic or long-overdue (ahem, Anderson Cooper) tactic, it’s important to remember that on the individual level, this is still a huge milestone in a queer person’s life, a brutally honest moment when each person claims a little more of his or her true self.

Review Revue: PROMETHEUS' SAFETY is NOT GUARANTEED

Article: Review Revue: PROMETHEUS' SAFETY is NOT GUARANTEED

Going to the movies should never, ever be stressful (unless, of course, you’re planning on seeing the latest Lars von Trier flick). You want to see something new and relevant so that you can talk it up with your know-it-all friends. But you don’t want to sit through the one film that everyone thought would be great, but…isn’t. So here is our formula, simplifying the should-you-see-it conundrum: 5 new releases x 2 critical samplings = what you should go see. Simple enough, right? This week we have a team of curious interstellar earthlings, time-traveling social outcasts, a quasi-heartbroken hipster, a hippie grandma and a besotted loser.

Review Revue: SNOW WHITE's GREATER GLORY

Article: Review Revue: SNOW WHITE's GREATER GLORY

Going to the movies should never, ever be stressful (unless, of course, you’re planning on seeing the latest Lars von Trier flick). You want to see something new and relevant so that you can talk it up with your know-it-all friends. But you don’t want to sit through the one film that everyone thought would be great, but…isn’t. So here is our formula, simplifying the should-you-see-it conundrum: 5 new releases x 2 critical samplings = what you should go see. Simple enough, right? This week we have a kickass fairytale, some stoners in high school, Mexican rebels, an animated Parisian cat and a closeted country crooner.

Top 10 f'd up fairytales

Article: Top 10 f'd up fairytales

Now that virtually every comic book hero and even a few 80s cartoons have become fodder for large-scale blockbuster treatment (we’re still waiting for THUNDERCATS: THE MOVIE), Hollywood is in the process of pillaging yet another trove of storybook treasures, namely old-school fairytales. Aside from this week’s much-anticipated Charlize Theron-Kristen Stewart vehicle SNOW WHITE AND THE HUNTSMAN, there was this winter’s other Snow White abomination MIRROR MIRROR (shame on you, Julia Roberts), as well as a slew of upcoming updates: Bryan Singer’s JACK THE GIANT KILLER, due next month, and next year’s update of HANSEL AND GRETEL: WITCH HUNTERS starring Jeremy Renner (behold the birth of a new genre: the action fairytale). Of course, this is territory Hollywood has trod before, always trying to update the classic fables and find twisted new angles. Behold our list of the Top 10 f’d up fairytale films to herald this next (and hopefully not too derivative) influx into the category.

Cannes in the can: European winners, American losers

Article: Cannes in the can: European winners, American losers

The Cannes Film Festival closed up shop this weekend (after some noted scandal) and Michael Haneke’s critical favorite AMOUR is carting home the Palme d’Or, while REALITY by Matteo Garrone nabbed the Grand Prix. AMOUR is Haneke’s second victory at Cannes, after 2009′s sparse and gently unsettling black and white feature THE WHITE RIBBON, and this second win is a testament to his considerable talents: having already established himself as the auteur of much darker fare (CACHE and FUNNY GAMES, especially, weren’t what you’d call feel-good movies), it’s remarkable that he has made an equally successful impression with his latest, decidedly more docile feature, which depicts love, loss and family for an octogenarian couple portrayed by French film legends Emmanuelle Riva and Jean-Louis Trintignant.

Top 10 Wes Anderson influences

Article: Top 10 Wes Anderson influences

As if you needed a reminder, the latest film from the always-stylized, super-quirky-in-a-good-way Wes Anderson is out this weekend, and in honor of MOONRISE KINGDOM’s release we’re hitting the books to bring you some of the outlandish, esoteric and intellectual films that are most definitely in Anderson’s canon of influences. Even Wes Anderson detractors would have to recognize that this auteur is desperately in love with his wood-paneled and wallpapered, vinyl record playing, ornate but slightly decrepit universe, and it shows. It’s a testament to Anderson’s considerable talent that although his style is supremely nostalgic, it is by no means derivative (it’s impossible to say he is the new “____”), and his influences therefore only represent slight nuances. So now to begin (cue the Futura title card, bearing the words “Chapter 1:”)

Review Revue: MOONRISE over MEN IN BLACK

Article: Review Revue: MOONRISE over MEN IN BLACK

Going to the movies should never, ever be stressful (unless, of course, you’re planning on seeing the latest Lars von Trier flick). You want to see something new and relevant so that you can talk it up with your know-it-all friends. But you don’t want to sit through the one film that everyone thought would be great, but…isn’t. So here is our formula, simplifying the should-you-see-it conundrum: 5 new releases x 2 critical samplings = what you should go see. Simple enough, right? This week we have precocious tween lovers, some boyz in black, a bunch of radioactive Ukrainians, a wronged woman or two and a severely depressed Norwegian guy.

It's that Scientology movie: A look at THE MASTER with Joaquin Phoenix

Article: It's that Scientology movie: A look at THE MASTER with Joaquin Phoenix

While everyone is over the moon about the latest from Wes Anderson, another favorite Director Anderson—namely Paul Thomas of BOOGIE NIGHTS and THERE WILL BE BLOOD fame—has been makin’ waves with his newest project for months. THE MASTER follows a story that very closely resembles the inception of Scientology, the so-seductive religion of the Hollywood elite, and features a stellar cast ranging from Amy Adams to Laura Dern. Apparently, Tom Cruise (the crown prince of that Scientology elite?) got a private screening(after all, Cruise and PT Anderson go way back to MAGNOLIA). The Cruise screening, along with his alleged reservations about the film, is a clear indication that THE MASTER is a sensitive issue amongst Scientologists, who fervently follow the teachings of the extremely controversial (and long dead) L. Ron Hubbard. And now we can all get in on the speculation! The Weinstein Company released a first look trailer of the film direct from Cannes:

From Cannes to Hollywood: Women still shut out of film jobs that don't require cleavage

Article: From Cannes to Hollywood: Women still shut out of film jobs that don't require cleavage

image via Slant Magazine

That springtime film festival somewhere in the south of France is now fully under way, and we’re sad to spread the word: there are no female-directed films in competition at Cannes this year. Not that things are much better here in the US. Only five percent of the past year’s big, studio films were helmed by ladies. What gives?

2 thoughts on 5 films: The critics are trying to get along with THE DICTATOR

Article: 2 thoughts on 5 films: The critics are trying to get along with THE DICTATOR

Going to the movies should never, ever be stressful (unless, of course, you’re planning on seeing the latest Lars von Trier flick). You want to see something new and relevant so that you can talk it up with your know-it-all friends. But you don’t want to sit through the one film that everyone thought would be great, but
isn’t. So here is our formula, simplifying the should-you-see-it conundrum: 5 new releases x 2 critical samplings = what you should go see Simple enough, right? This week we have a deadpan despot, a dreamy-eyed British lady-lover, aliens in the ocean, pregnant ladies and the men who love ‘em.

People can't seem to stop remaking CARRIE

Article: People can't seem to stop remaking CARRIE

“They’re all gonna laugh at…who?”

There are some truly horrid things out there that just won’t die. One is the soon-to-be-remade (again!) CARRIE, Stephen King’s exceptionally underrated debut novel (if this were required reading in every American high school, there would probably be no ‘bullying crisis’) and the brilliant 1976 Brian de Palma screen adaptation with Sissy Spacek, masseur-loving John Travolta and Piper Laurie. Laurie, it’s worth noting, made the honorable mentions in our Top 10 Mothers In Legendary Films list for Mother’s Day—and come to think of it, she deserved her own maniacal place in the list itself for this Oscar-nominated role.

Top 10 MILFs (Moms In Legendary Films)

Article: Top 10 MILFs (Moms In Legendary Films)

Mother’s Day might be upon us, but no, we are not going the cheap route and talking about the MILFs you’re used to (although we do love Jennifer Coolidge in everything she does; even AMERICAN PIE). This list is dedicated to a far more select—and somewhat more matronly—group, namely Moms In Legendary Films. Absolutely everyone out there has something to say about how to be the best mom (as evidenced by the