Autumn is now in full effect — the carefree days of summer are behind us and we’re left to ponder the oncoming cold and the meaning of our existence as we watch campaign ad after campaign ad. To us, that makes the season all about two things: complicated relationships… and elections. Thankfully, we’ve got the appropriate films for any occasion. We’re an all-season network!
Article: Five hot women of horror
Horror pushes characters to their limits — especially female characters, who generally have to stay alert and fight back if they want to make it through two hours alive. To be a horror hottie, it’s not enough to have good looks. You need smarts, resourcefulness, strength and a special something extra. In THE WIG, airing tonight at midnight, you’ll see just how hot horror heroines can be and how, sometimes, good deeds become their own punishment.
The 50th New York Film Festival is bookmarked by two films in which disasters lead to personal awakenings. The opening movie on September 28 is Ang Lee’s LIFE OF PI, a 3D adventure tale about an Indian boy’s antics with various wildlife after a shipwreck sets them adrift on the ocean. The closing night attraction is Robert Zemeckis’ FLIGHT, about a pilot, played by Denzel Washington, who saves a plane — if not necessarily his life — from crashing.
Anyone can make a bad film, but it takes considerable craft, talent and personality to make something intentionally B-grade that’s really, really good. So what Brian De Palma does in the 1970s bouillabaisse of American culture PHANTOM OF THE PARADISE (playing tonight at 12:20A) is nothing short of a brilliant hot mess, if not the template for great schlock.
Though Joy Division’s time on the music scene was brief, their influence continues to be felt to this day. Guitarist Bernard Sumner’s aggressive, driving riffs — coupled with singer Ian Curtis’ hypnotic lyrics — inspired such musical acts as the Cure and the Red Hot Chili Peppers, to name just a few. And while their short-lived musical career was a mere burst in the flaming circus that is rock ‘n’ roll, the Joy Division story has fueled two feature-length films, one of which —- Grant Gee’s JOY DIVISION —- makes its Sundance Channel debut tonight.
Any real film fan will recognize William H. Macy. Chances are, you’ve seen his Oscar-nominated role in FARGO and his supporting turns in MAGNOLIA and BOOGIE NIGHTS. But if that’s all you know of this indie Everyman hero, are you ever missing out. Both awkward and intelligent, apprehensive and over-eager, Macy conveys a jittery familiarity — you know a guy like this, however far-fetched a character he may be playing. Here’s a William H. Macy sampler that will give you the full picture of his considerable talents — and, lucky for you, you can even catch two of these movies this weekend on Sundance Channel.
Homosexuality is such a political hot potato these days — what with television shows about gay couples and surrogates popping up, and transsexualism being so popular amongst the youth — that people are drawing lines in the discussion. But polarization happens to be taking the place of the great gray space where, I think, most people’s sexuality resides. And that’s a drag. The uproar is having a negative effect with the absurd notion that being bi-curious is wishy-washy, not firm enough of a position for either side. Like, what ever happened to appreciating a good ol’ B.U.G.?
Sundance Institute today announced that its president and founder Robert Redford will present journalist and film critic Roger Ebert with the Vanguard Leadership Award in recognition of his advocacy of independent cinema. The award presentation will take place at the third annual “Celebrate Sundance Institute” benefit, on June 5, 2013, in Los Angeles.
Article: Did DEATH WISH kill gun control?
Once upon a time in America, there was a gun-control debate. Then came Charles Bronson. In 1974′s DEATH WISH — tonight at 10:10P on Sundance Channel — the journeyman character actor shot to superstardom as Paul Kersey, a self-confessed “bleeding-heart liberal” who becomes a pistol-packing urban vigilante after his daughter is raped and his wife is murdered. Made for a modest $3 million, the gritty flick earned back more than seven times its budget and spawned four sequels over the next 20 years. Now director Joe Carnahan (THE GREY) is planning a remake.
This week, it’s a veritable early autumn music festival with films celebrating two of the iconic figures in rock history, along with a cautionary comedy about what can happen to all those singer-songwriters out there who don’t happen to possess the talent of Ian Curtis or Bob Dylan.
Feminist exploitation movies have a way of turning violence against women on its head, taking the kick-ass female heroine to an extreme, turning women from victims into predators. They make radical ultraviolence a commentary on the treatment of women in society — and reclaim female power, especially when they come from female directors like the Soska sisters, the women behind DEAD HOOKER IN A TRUNK, airing tonight at midnight.
Over the past three decades, Pedro Almodóvar has become one of the most widely beloved filmmakers in the world. His 2006 drama VOLVER — on Sundance Channel tonight and all month — was one of his biggest popular and critical hits, garnering its star Penelope Cruz a Best Actress Oscar nomination and helping cement his status as one of the few foreign filmmakers who could rightfully be called a household name in the U.S. To those of us who have been following his career since the beginning, this has come as a welcome surprise.
Article: Top 10 movie meltdowns
One of the most enjoyable things about movie watching is that moment when someone loses his or her crackers, even if just for a moment, showing us a whole other shade of character. And as enjoyable as it is for the audience, we suspect that it’s probably lots of fun for the actors to let loose a little too. A compendium of raging, comic, emotional and/or heartbreaking meltdowns follows.
No matter which way your cinematic tastes go, the Toronto International Film Festival likely has you covered. It’s easy at TIFF to program your daily viewing schedule with Oscar hopefuls like Paul Thomas Anderson’s THE MASTER, mainstream popcorn thrillers like Rian Johnson’s LOOPER, gory Midnight Madness exercises like Barry Levinson’s THE BAY and international sensations like Michael Haneke’s AMOUR.
“We’ve seen this movie before,” Vice-President Joe Biden told the crowd at an Ohio rally last weekend. “And we know how it ends.” He was referring, of course, to the prospect of electing Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan, who promise a return to the policies of George W. Bush. If you need a reminder of what exactly those were, check out Oliver Stone’s controversial 2008 biopic W. all month long on Sundance Channel. It’s a movie you probably haven’t seen — but you should.
Right from the get-go, you can tell that Michael Winterbottom’s 24 HOUR PARTY PEOPLE — airing this weekend and all month long on Sundance Channel — is no ordinary biopic. It begins with Tony Wilson (Steve Coogan) addressing the camera as he narrates his life. Wilson was a British TV personality who was so taken with the emerging punk and post-punk scene in the 1970s and ’80s that he founded Factory Records, a Manchester-based label that brought the world such notorious bands as the Happy Mondays, Joy Division and New Order. This playful, inventive retelling of his tale intercuts between some of his TV stunts and the key moments of his career, all as he continues to speak directly to us; part of the film’s charm is that Coogan was himself a Wilson-like character at the time. (Already popular among Brits, he enjoyed a tremendous career surge after this role.)
We’re all familiar with the proverb, “You can take the boy out of the country, but you can’t take the country out of the boy,” or some abstraction thereabouts. The phrase certainly proves true in BREAKFAST ON PLUTO, in which Patrick “Kitten” Braden (Cillian Murphy), possessed of an irrepressible spirit that gets him into one predicament after another, is unable — and simply does not want — to hide what he is from the world. This sort of story is usually reserved for films about underdogs the general audience relates to and celebrates: ROCKY, LUCAS, Fanny Brice in FUNNY GIRL, even Holly Golightly in another BREAKFAST, this one at Tiffany’s. But it’s much rarer to find in a queer protagonist — especially one with an intrepid sense of fashion.
This week on Sundance Channel, it’s murder most foul with three films that take a decidedly different approach to exploring crime and punishment. Throw in heavy a bout of soul-searching, a healthy dollop of high-intensity thrills and a creepy doctor or two and you’ve got yourself some serious watching.
Article: 5 girls so bad they're good
Talk about strong female characters who aren’t afraid to challenge notions of violence and femininity. In HARD CANDY, airing tonight at 10P, Ellen Page plays a 14-year-old vigilante takes on a pedophile, messing with his head — and ours. We’re supposed to tell you violence won’t solve the world’s problems, but let’s be honest: Sometimes, payback’s a bitch. Here are five of our favorite film girls who are so bad, they’re good.
Have you ever had the “greatest living actor” debate with a friend? It’s a great party game. My answer is always the same, and it has been for decades: Javier Bardem. Lucky for you, you’ll be able to see why in the underrated THE SEA INSIDE, tonight at 8P and 10P and all month long.
Article: Top 10 seriously messed-up movies
Summer may not officially end until later in September, but come on: Labor Day has passed, and summer is over. It’s time to put away summer spectacles and let cool breezes and chillier moods wash over you. You can get away with less ebullient movies in the fall than you can in the summer; this goes for Sundance Channel, too — just check out this month’s lineup. It’s hard to get too bummed out by a well-told story or a stylishly made film (then again: DANCER IN THE DARK), but these are 10 seriously messed-up stories. In ascending order of potential to disturb you…
What exactly is it about Maggie Gyllenhaal?
She is not a classic beauty, and yet she is beautiful; she does not convey raw sexuality, and yet she is sexy. And how. Watch SECRETARY tonight at 8P on Sundance Channel if you don’t believe us (and especially if you do).
When director Jean-Jacques Annaud first announced that he would be making a film adaptation of THE NAME OF THE ROSE — airing on Sundance Channel this Sunday at 10:05PM — many were perplexed, if not aghast. Umberto Eco’s thick historical novel was a gripping medieval mystery, true, but it was also a dense meditation on linguistics, theology, the legacy of the Classical Age and history in general, from a proud academic who had previously been known mainly for his brilliant books and essays about semiotics, literary theory and aesthetics. The novel was a remarkable combination of page-turning suspense and heady philosophy —- how on earth would it translate to film, and a big-budget one at that?
You’ve got to give the Fifty Shades of Grey books credit. The erotic trilogy by E.L. James has single-handedly made BDSM mainstream (now everyone knows what a safe word is), been a boon to the sex-toy industry (hello, love beads!) and improved the sex lives of many a long-married couple (a chapter a day will keep the couple’s therapist away!). But that doesn’t mean the series is without its faults, or that there aren’t better depictions of BDSM relationships in popular culture — or at the very least, one better depiction. The 2002 indie film SECRETARY, a Sundance favorite, blows Fifty out of the water, if you ask us. Here’s why.
There’s nothing like a loud, snarling film to bring out your deviant inner fist pump. Ever since Bill Haley hit the big screen urging kids to rock around the clock, we’ve been relying on movies as vicarious views into rebellious rock, meaningless sex and recreational drug use. (And perhaps a few of us have even tried one or two of those ourselves…)