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Film

Top 10 reasons THE FLY is still relevant

Article: Top 10 reasons THE FLY is still relevant

Photo Credit: Cinema Squid

What if gene splicing and genetic manipulation were allowed to be explored in this country, bar none? David Cronenberg’s now classic remake of THE FLY paves way for some big questions regarding human intervention with nature. Whatever position you side with in the great Genetic Manipulation debate, here are ten reasons why you should consider the issues our political system and culture would face if humans and insects shared the same body.

Don’t miss THE FLY airing Tuesday, October 30 at 9p on Sundance Channel.

PHANTOM OF THE PARADISE: Brian De Palma's psycho rock musical

Article: PHANTOM OF THE PARADISE: Brian De Palma's psycho rock musical

A couple of weeks ago I talked about Brian De Palma’s infamous tendency to divide his career between “one for me” personal works and “one for them” studio movies. One of his strangest and most beautiful films, PHANTOM OF THE PARADISE, airs tonight at midnight, and it is absolutely not to be missed. In fact, “strange” doesn’t even do it justice.

Now Playing on Sundance Channel: FORCES OF NATURE, THE HISTORY BOYS and MAMMOTH

Article: Now Playing on Sundance Channel: FORCES OF NATURE, THE HISTORY BOYS and MAMMOTH

Two very different takes on a similar dilemma headline our choices this week, followed by a lighthearted coming-of-age comedy as only the Brits know how to make them.

Sex tapes go to the movies: THE ORGASM DIARIES, HARDCORE, and more!

Article: Sex tapes go to the movies: THE ORGASM DIARIES, HARDCORE, and more!

How far are you willing to go for a role? Shia LaBeouf claims he sent a sex tape to notorious director Lars von Trier to secure his role in NYMPHOMANIAC, a film that promises to be so wild that it will come in both a hardcore and a softcore version. He says he’s willing to do whatever it takes to make the film a success… and we started thinking about the long and illustrious history not just of sex tapes, but sex tapes as cinematic devices. Luckily for us (and you), THE ORGASM DIARIES airs Saturday at midnight, and we assembled a little list to, ah, get you in the mood.

Kate Winslet's more risqué roles

Article: Kate Winslet's more risqué roles

QUILLS, which you can watch tomorrow at 8P, got us thinking about Kate Winslet’s boobs. Hear us out. As an actor, Winslet seems impressively un-vain and unself-conscious about her body. Now you might say, “Not too difficult a feat when you’re as beautiful as she is!” True…but then again, it’s not like she measures up to Hollywood’s super skinny, zero-fat, perfectly toned, silicone ideal. In fact, she often calls out the media for trying to cram her into that impossible mold: in 2003 she reprimanded British GQ for the hack job they did on her legs for a cover story, saying “The retouching is excessive… I do not look like that and, more importantly, I don’t desire to look like that.” Similarly, she’s unafraid to take on roles that cast her in fairly unflattering lights, at least by today’s cultural standards: think body hair, aging, questionable morality, and really inappropriate sex. And while she’s often exposed physically, the nudity isn’t gratuitous, it’s part of the story, exposing emotion and tension at the same time — because with Winslet’s characters, nudity is inextricably bound to both the power and vulnerability of complicated sexuality. And that’s why all her sex scenes and on-screen sexual relationships feel so authentic. Just take a look at some of her most sexually provocative roles — you’ll see more than bare skin:

Is Paul Ryan the new MANCHURIAN CANDIDATE?

Article: Is Paul Ryan the new MANCHURIAN CANDIDATE?

Stop me if you’ve heard this one before: A buff, young Congressman with a peninsular hairline unexpectedly earns his party’s nomination for Vice President, but he’s really just a puppet of global corporate forces who want to install him in the White House so he’ll implement their nefarious agenda. No, it’s not THE PAUL RYAN STORY—I’m talking about Jonathan Demme’s eerily prescient 2004 remake of THE MANCHURIAN CANDIDATE, airing on Sundance Channel tonight at 9P.

Tonight on THE MORTIFIED SESSIONS: actor and filmmaker Mark Duplass

Article: Tonight on THE MORTIFIED SESSIONS: actor and filmmaker Mark Duplass

Actor. Director. Know-it-all pirate. These are just some of the titles held by Mark Duplass, tonight’s guest and topic of conversation on THE MORTIFIED SESSIONS. One of the founding members of the mumblecore movement, you may recognize Duplass from such films as THE PUFFY CHAIR, CYRUS and JEFF, WHO LIVES AT HOME.

Takashi Taniguchi, Mr Ando of the Woods

Article: Takashi Taniguchi, Mr Ando of the Woods

I’m not going to pretend to understand this surrealist animated short, “Mr. Ando of the Woods” by Takashi Taniguchi, because I don’t. Frankly, it’s straight up bizarre, but what I do know is that I like it. I like it A LOT.

George Clooney: Five great indie movie roles

Article: George Clooney: Five great indie movie roles

One of the most influential, successful stars in Hollywood is also — luckily for fans of innovative filmmaking — not afraid to take risks. Though he has starred in the kind of huge, slick hits that have established him as a dashing leading man, his tastes have always veered more political, more satirical. In THE PERFECT STORM — airing Sunday at 10P on Sundance Channel — Clooney is the captain of a Massachusetts fishing boat desperately holding onto a dying industry who goes out for one more big catch with a hurricane and two other massive weather events bearing down. But nothing could capsize this megastar’s compellingly diverse, endlessly entertaining body of work. It was hard to whittle it down, but here are five of our very favorite Clooney indie roles.

Top 10 films Mark Duplass thinks you should watch

Article: Top 10 films Mark Duplass thinks you should watch

Actor-writer-director-all-around-indie-MVP Mark Duplass recently completed yet another project: recommending a streaming movie on Netflix every day for the past year. Here, then, are Duplass’ top ten selections from his hundreds of suggestions, nabbed from his Twitter handle @MarkDuplass. Long live #Netflix365!

Being a housewife is scary! JU-ON and PARANOMAL ACTIVITY prove it

Article: Being a housewife is scary! JU-ON and PARANOMAL ACTIVITY prove it

With Halloween right around the corner, there’s a plethora of scary movies to choose from here on Sundance Channel, including JU-ON tonight at midnight. In this chilly offering from Japan (seriously, Japanese filmmakers know how to give you the willies!), the death of a housewife creates a gift that keeps on giving in the form of a curse that won’t let go once it grabs on. It was terrifying enough that it was later remade as THE GRUDGE with Sarah Michelle Gellar in the leading role for U.S. audiences. But those are far from the only films where housewives make enticing victims…

Now Playing: MUTANTS, HALF-LIFE, and BUNNY AND THE BULL

Article: Now Playing: MUTANTS, HALF-LIFE, and BUNNY AND THE BULL

This week, we’re featuring three genre-bending films determined to confound and stupify even as they make you laugh and cry. The one thing they have in common: all turn convention on its head in the name of telling a deeply personal story about human relationships.

LIONS FOR LAMBS and the real cost of war

Article: LIONS FOR LAMBS and the real cost of war

From PATHS OF GLORY to PLATOON, the best war movies bring a global conflict down to a personal level. Director-star Robert Redford takes that approach to the War on Terror — and, more specifically, the U.S. invasion of Afghanistan — with his 2007 drama LIONS FOR LAMBS (airing Thursday at 10P and all month long on Sundance Channel). With 68,000 U.S. troops still stationed in Afghanistan and the next president facing a December 2014 deadline to decide how many will stay longer, LIONS FOR LAMBS remains more relevant than ever. Clocking in at a lean 92 minutes, most of it unfolding in real time, the action takes place simultaneously on three fronts.

Robbing a casino never works…except when it does

Article: Robbing a casino never works…except when it does

If you’re thinking of robbing a casino, I’ve got some bad news. The odds are against you. Even the casino heists in movies sometimes end up going awry. But, what about Bob? Bob Montagnet, that is, Nick Nolte’s over-the-hill thief whose got his eyes on a French casino in THE GOOD THIEF, airing on Saturday at 8P, and throughout the month, on Sundance Channel.

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.

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.