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Film

Top 10 reasons we love Mark Duplass

Article: Top 10 reasons we love Mark Duplass

If it seems like you’ve been watching Mark Duplass on screen forever, it’s not because you have (unless you are 7). He’s only been in features for the past seven years or so, but in that time he’s starred in about a dozen movies, co-directed five, and written a few more. Duplass is an indie film hit-machine. He brings a plainspoken authenticity to both the movies he makes and the roles he takes; he’s an indie performer with a dash of low-key movie-star charisma. Here are ten reasons to love him.

Catch Mark on Sundance Channel’s THE MORTIFIED SESSIONS this Monday 10/22 at 10P.

SIDEWAYS and the bitterly human comedies of Alexander Payne

Article: SIDEWAYS and the bitterly human comedies of Alexander Payne

Is SIDEWAYS, which airs tonight at 10P on Sundance Channel, Alexander Payne’s masterpiece? It’s got some competition, to be sure: Many would cite ELECTION, his bitter satire about a high school student council election, as the Payne film that continues to resonate most over the years. Personally, I always had a soft spot for ABOUT SCHMIDT, his Oscar-nominated comedy-drama about a recently widowed Jack Nicholson traveling across the country in his Winnebago. And then of course there’s THE DESCENDANTS, which netted a bunch of awards and nominations last year (and won Payne his second Best Screenwriting Oscar).

SIDEWAYS and the bitterly human comedies of Alexander Payne

Article: SIDEWAYS and the bitterly human comedies of Alexander Payne

Is SIDEWAYS, which airs tonight at 10P on Sundance Channel, Alexander Payne’s masterpiece? It’s got some competition, to be sure: Many would cite ELECTION, his bitter satire about a high school student council election, as the Payne film that continues to resonate most over the years. Personally, I always had a soft spot for ABOUT SCHMIDT, his Oscar-nominated comedy-drama about a recently widowed Jack Nicholson traveling across the country in his Winnebago. And then of course there’s THE DESCENDANTS, which netted a bunch of awards and nominations last year (and won Payne his second Best Screenwriting Oscar).

From AN AMERICAN HAUNTING to BUFFY: The underappreciated roles of Donald Sutherland

Article: From AN AMERICAN HAUNTING to BUFFY: The underappreciated roles of Donald Sutherland

Can you think of anything more terrifying than the words “Based on true events” placed on a title card at the beginning of a horror movie? Few of us want to believe that the scares we’re about to encounter on screen could be real. You’ll come across that warning before Courtney Solomon’s AN AMERICAN HAUNTING, which kicks off Sundance Channel’s SCARY POLITICS–films as frightening as the issues themselves–Tuesday, Oct. 16th at 9P. It also kicks off our chance to take a look at some of the less appreciated roles of one of the film’s stars.

BRIDESHEAD REVISITED, homosexuality and faith — then and now

Article: BRIDESHEAD REVISITED, homosexuality and faith — then and now

English author Evelyn Waugh’s conversion to Catholicism in 1930 was as big a news item in its day as Tom Cruise’s Oprah-couch moment professing love (to a woman) was in ours. It made the newspaper. I don’t need to remind you of TomKat’s fate; but unlike that ill-fated union, Waugh departed this life dedicated to his religion. What’s the connection, beyond Oprah and her book club? For me it’s the subtext of homosexuality and the belief in a higher power that endures in our culture. And in Julian Jarrold’s BRIDESHEAD REVISITED — airing Sunday at 8P — the elephant in Waugh’s novel is handled as tenderly as possible.

What's scarier than a Joe Biden smackdown? Scary Politics, Veep edition

Article: What's scarier than a Joe Biden smackdown? Scary Politics, Veep edition

Nuclear Iran! The embassy attack in Libya! War in Syria! Last night’s Vice Presidential Debate brought up some really scary issues (and if you missed it, catch up here). If scary politics is something that actually floats your boat, then have we got some films for you. From now until Election Day Sundance Channel is giving you a break from all of those horrifying campaign ads. Tuesday nights are now for films scary enough to change an Ayatollah’s mind.

Top 10 films that will scare the politics out of you

Article: Top 10 films that will scare the politics out of you

Election Day’s proximity to Halloween is more than a boon for manufacturers of freakish-looking rubber Romney and Obama masks; it’s an opportunity to reflect on all manner of partisan terrors. There aren’t many movies that explicitly mix election-year issues with horror-picture tropes, but there are plenty of movies on Sundance Channel this month that will scare the ever-loving politics out of you, at least for a couple of hours at a time.

Now Playing: GIGANTIC, GREAT EXPECTATIONS, AN AMERICAN HAUNTING

Article: Now Playing: GIGANTIC, GREAT EXPECTATIONS, AN AMERICAN HAUNTING

This week on Sundance Channel, we’ve got a true American horror story, a modern take on a literary classic… and Zooey Deschanel! In fact, there are great casts all around in our choices this week — watch these films for the performances, if for nothing else.

Now Playing: GIGANTIC, GREAT EXPECTATIONS, AN AMERICAN HAUNTING

Article: Now Playing: GIGANTIC, GREAT EXPECTATIONS, AN AMERICAN HAUNTING

This week on Sundance Channel, we’ve got a true American horror story, a modern take on a literary classic… and Zooey Deschanel! In fact, there are great casts all around in our choices this week — watch these films for the performances, if for nothing else.

THE MANCHURIAN CANDIDATE: Jonathan Demme remakes a political thriller — and himself

Article: THE MANCHURIAN CANDIDATE: Jonathan Demme remakes a political thriller — and himself

When Jonathan Demme remade THE MANCHURIAN CANDIDATE — airing tonight at 10P — in 2004, many people were perplexed: Why remake a film that was such a perfect time capsule of Cold War pop culture? Indeed, John Frankenheimer’s 1962 original, about a politician who has been brainwashed by the enemy, feels perfectly placed in history: It’s a film that both embraces Red Scare paranoia while satirizing McCarthyist histrionics. Demme probably felt that the post-9/11 political climate in the U.S., what with the enigmatic War on Terrorism and the controversial Patriot Act, warranted a revisitation of this premise. But the original was, in essence, a tight and effective suspense flick with political overtones — more Hitchcock than Sherwood Andersen. Demme’s politically pointed remake is darker, more modern and more despairing, with an A-List cast to match its ambitions, featuring Denzel Washington, Liev Schreiber and Meryl Streep.

THE MANCHURIAN CANDIDATE: Jonathan Demme remakes a political thriller — and himself

Article: THE MANCHURIAN CANDIDATE: Jonathan Demme remakes a political thriller — and himself

When Jonathan Demme remade THE MANCHURIAN CANDIDATE — airing tonight at 10P — in 2004, many people were perplexed: Why remake a film that was such a perfect time capsule of Cold War pop culture? Indeed, John Frankenheimer’s 1962 original, about a politician who has been brainwashed by the enemy, feels perfectly placed in history: It’s a film that both embraces Red Scare paranoia while satirizing McCarthyist histrionics. Demme probably felt that the post-9/11 political climate in the U.S., what with the enigmatic War on Terrorism and the controversial Patriot Act, warranted a revisitation of this premise. But the original was, in essence, a tight and effective suspense flick with political overtones — more Hitchcock than Sherwood Andersen. Demme’s politically pointed remake is darker, more modern and more despairing, with an A-List cast to match its ambitions, featuring Denzel Washington, Liev Schreiber and Meryl Streep.

FACTOTUM: It takes hard work to be poor in America

Article: FACTOTUM: It takes hard work to be poor in America

“All I wanna do is get my check and get drunk,” Hank — the alter ego of Skid Row poet laureate Charles Bukowski — tells one of the many employers who fire him in FACTOTUM, airing tonight at 8P and 9:45P. “Now, that might not sound healthy to you, but it’s my choice.”

FACTOTUM: It takes hard work to be poor in America

Article: FACTOTUM: It takes hard work to be poor in America

“All I wanna do is get my check and get drunk,” Hank — the alter ego of Skid Row poet laureate Charles Bukowski — tells one of the many employers who fire him in FACTOTUM, airing tonight at 8P and 9:45P. “Now, that might not sound healthy to you, but it’s my choice.”

It's a trap! Don't get hooked on old indies like ERASERHEAD

Article: It's a trap! Don't get hooked on old indies like ERASERHEAD

A lot of people have way more free time on their hands than they used to (for very poignant reasons), plus there are more ways to watch movies than ever before, so the nostalgia pit has been beckoning with a treacherous appeal of scary new magnitude. And there are plenty of classic indies that lend themselves to watching them over and over for nuances — or just for their culty essence. But I’m here to urge you to stay away! Don’t get addicted to viewing old indies!

It's a trap! Don't get hooked on old indies like ERASERHEAD

Article: It's a trap! Don't get hooked on old indies like ERASERHEAD

A lot of people have way more free time on their hands than they used to (for very poignant reasons), plus there are more ways to watch movies than ever before, so the nostalgia pit has been beckoning with a treacherous appeal of scary new magnitude. And there are plenty of classic indies that lend themselves to watching them over and over for nuances — or just for their culty essence. But I’m here to urge you to stay away! Don’t get addicted to viewing old indies!

ICONOCLASTS season premiere: James Franco + Marina Abramović

Article: ICONOCLASTS season premiere: James Franco + Marina Abramović

The sixth season of the innovative, inspiring ICONOCLASTS — Sundance Channel’s longest-running series — premieres tonight at 8P. ICONOCLASTS is a chance for artists, entrepreneurs, designers, filmmakers and others to spend time with someone from another field who is changing the world around us and how we see ourselves. Tonight, we’ll get to listen in on a conversation between Oscar-nominated actor James Franco and legendary performance artist Marina Abramović. After guiding him through the Marina Abramović Method to help him relax, the artist turns Franco into a living sculpture, a “demi-god,” smearing him with sticky stuff and covering him with gold leaf. It’s a sight to behold…

ICONOCLASTS season premiere: James Franco + Marina Abramović

Article: ICONOCLASTS season premiere: James Franco + Marina Abramović

The sixth season of the innovative, inspiring ICONOCLASTS — Sundance Channel’s longest-running series — premieres tonight at 8P. ICONOCLASTS is a chance for artists, entrepreneurs, designers, filmmakers and others to spend time with someone from another field who is changing the world around us and how we see ourselves. Tonight, we’ll get to listen in on a conversation between Oscar-nominated actor James Franco and legendary performance artist Marina Abramović. After guiding him through the Marina Abramović Method to help him relax, the artist turns Franco into a living sculpture, a “demi-god,” smearing him with sticky stuff and covering him with gold leaf. It’s a sight to behold…

WRISTCUTTERS, THE SIXTH SENSE and more wild trips to the afterlife

Article: WRISTCUTTERS, THE SIXTH SENSE and more wild trips to the afterlife

Since the dawn of time, we’ve been fascinated by what happens in the afterlife — and whether there is one at all. Between appeasing the gods and preparing our dead for their final journey, we just can’t seem to get enough. With the advent of film, we turned that primal fear and curiosity into narratives from the humorous to the tragic. In WRISTCUTTERS: A LOVE STORY, the Sundance Film Festival favorite airing tonight at 11:30P, you’ll find out whether there really is life — and love — after death.

Christian Bale should do more movies like RESCUE DAWN and fewer like BATMAN

Article: Christian Bale should do more movies like RESCUE DAWN and fewer like BATMAN

Very few people speak ill of Christopher Nolan’s BATMAN trilogy. The series shattered box office records, earned multiple Oscar nominations (and wins), and is often considered the greatest superhero trilogy in movie history. And yet, deep down in my heart, I’ll never be able to forgive Nolan for wasting precious years of Christian Bale’s productive career, when the versatile actor could have been making more passionate, provocative films like Werner Herzog’s stirring RESCUE DAWN — airing tonight at 10P on Sundance Channel.

30 years of Armani onscreen: AMERICAN GIGOLO to STEALING BEAUTY and beyond

Article: 30 years of Armani onscreen: AMERICAN GIGOLO to STEALING BEAUTY and beyond

Nothing says sharp like a man in a Giorgio Armani suit. And the ladies usually look pretty good in his duds, too. The Italian designer has lent those fine lines to more than a hundred feature films, including a few modern classics. And because Il Maestro has remained current for more than three decades, the wardrobes in these five films have come to define more than just the characters who wore them.

Now Playing on Sundance Channel: STEALING BEAUTY, ONE MISSED CALL, VISIONEERS

Article: Now Playing on Sundance Channel: STEALING BEAUTY, ONE MISSED CALL, VISIONEERS

Whatever your taste, we’ve got the film for you this week – provided you’re looking for romance and adventure, dark comedy or horror! (And who isn’t?)

Now Playing on Sundance Channel: STEALING BEAUTY, ONE MISSED CALL, VISIONEERS

Article: Now Playing on Sundance Channel: STEALING BEAUTY, ONE MISSED CALL, VISIONEERS

Whatever your taste, we’ve got the film for you this week – provided you’re looking for romance and adventure, dark comedy or horror! (And who isn’t?)

Brian De Palma and the power of THE UNTOUCHABLES

Article: Brian De Palma and the power of THE UNTOUCHABLES

Back in in 1987, when Brian De Palma came out with THE UNTOUCHABLES — which airs tonight at 10P — nobody quite knew what to expect. True, it was a much-anticipated crime epic about the small group of Chicago law enforcement officials led by Elliot Ness (Kevin Costner) who brought down Al Capone (Robert De Niro) at the height of Prohibition, written by Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright and filmmaker David Mamet, but nobody quite knew which Brian De Palma was going to show up.

In THUMBSUCKER, Keanu Reeves is (finally) in on the joke

Article: In THUMBSUCKER, Keanu Reeves is (finally) in on the joke

Piecing apart the broader coming-of-age themes in Mike Mills’ THUMBSUCKER may not be a fruitful exercise. I’m not saying the film isn’t worth discussion or parsing; not at all. There’s just a more diplomatic (read: cute) way of celebrating the director’s feature-length debut. Like this: Keanu Reeves plays a New Age orthodontist who, for a change, is in on the joke. Doesn’t that already sound more intriguing?

In THUMBSUCKER, Keanu Reeves is (finally) in on the joke

Article: In THUMBSUCKER, Keanu Reeves is (finally) in on the joke

Piecing apart the broader coming-of-age themes in Mike Mills’ THUMBSUCKER may not be a fruitful exercise. I’m not saying the film isn’t worth discussion or parsing; not at all. There’s just a more diplomatic (read: cute) way of celebrating the director’s feature-length debut. Like this: Keanu Reeves plays a New Age orthodontist who, for a change, is in on the joke. Doesn’t that already sound more intriguing?