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…)
Every week there are dozens of film news stories. We read them all and bring you the five most important ones in the single most important blog post you’ll ever read (today [at this moment]). This week: the festival circuit in full swing, Ben Affleck in full auteur mode and Dirty Harry, full-on crazy.
That Joy Division was able to lay a groundwork for experimental rock music that still resonates today is no surprise. Though it is no small feat. And much of it had to do with frontman Ian Curtis, who had the talent, discipline and mortal anxiety to convey a sentiment in his music that has influenced artists as diverse as Talking Heads, Sleater-Kinney, Sonic Youth, U2, the Yeah Yeah Yeahs and Danny Brown. Anton Corbijn’s film CONTROL, which airs tonight at 8P, sheds light on the brief and dark life of Ian Curtis, who left the world his legacy at the spry age of 23.
It was, at the time, the pinnacle of Amy Adams’ career.
By 2005, Adams had appeared in a handful of television shows (The West Wing, Smallville) and logged a minor role in Steven Spielberg’s CATCH ME IF YOU CAN. But her open-hearted performance as sweet and simple pregnant Southerner Ashley in Phil Morrison’s JUNEBUG put her on the map, establishing her as one of the brightest new stars in Hollywood. The buzz began with a Special Jury Prize at the 2005 Sundance Film Festival, and continued as she won an Independent Spirit Award, multiple critics’ group nominations, a Critics’ Choice Award and an Oscar nomination.
Article: 5 funny ladies with foul mouths
With SARAH SILVERMAN: JESUS IS MAGIC on Sundance Channel tonight, we thought it was high time to pay homage to some of our favorite foul-mouthed funny ladies. Sure there are plenty of notable male comedians who have embraced the filthy, but comediennes have their own brand of twisted, crass, sardonic humor. Here’s to closing the gender gap in comedy! Oh, and in case it wasn’t obvious? These clips are seriously NSFW. But that’s why we love ‘em.
Last year, Andrew Haigh’s WEEKEND proved to be a low-key drama about a gay hookup that lasted as long as the title, with bittersweet results. The film was sincere and likable and once again sent out the message that indie cinema bravely goes where Hollywood rarely dares.
In the pointedly smart, satirical David Mamet comedy STATE AND MAIN, a film crew wreaks havoc when it descends upon an idyllic New England town to shoot The Old Mill… not realizing that the titular mill burned down years before. (“How do I do a film called The Old Mill when I don’t have an old mill?” “Well, first, you’ve got to change the title.”) And that’s just for starters.
There’s already been plenty of buzz about the biggest movies to emerge from the Venice Film Festival thus far — if you haven’t heard of them yet, you will soon enough. There’s Terrence Malick’s typically abstruse TO THE WONDER; Spike Lee’s Michael Jackson tribute BAD 25; Paul Thomas Anderson’s Scientology-inspired THE MASTER; and our own Robert Redford’s THE COMPANY YOU KEEP.
Article: Top 10 hicksploitation films
Aaah… the great American outdoors. It can sure be beautiful, but beware: The further afield you get, the harder it is to find help. Help with what, you may ask? Just ask the boys from DELIVERANCE, currently playing on the Sundance Channel: deviant lunatic hicks, o’course!
What makes a family? That question is at the heart of Sundance Channel’s film offerings this week. Is it the assumed acceptance of a wife who clearly does not fit into her married family (JUNEBUG)? Or that last, dearest connection to a beloved pet, when all other strings have frayed away (WENDY AND LUCY)? What about the complex machinations of an intellectual family dealing with the dissolution of a marriage (THE SQUID AND THE WHALE)? It’s all these things and more.
There’s no denying the importance of real documentary work, but sometimes we just want to blur the line between reality and fiction, play with tropes and expectations. And nothing does that quite like mocumentaries.
Every week there are dozens of film news stories. We read them all and bring you the five most important ones in the single most important blog post you’ll ever read (today [at this moment]). This week: a big indie hit, a small indie studio fire and a hugely misguided remake.
For a while there was a popular meme involving cats and slices of bread. That might be a reason to give up the Internet entirely, but some (bored?) cat owners began photographing their cats with slices of bread worn around their seemingly content furry feline heads. Well, now (disobedient) dogs are in the meme spotlight. Dog owners have been submitting photos of their misbehaving pooches with signs explaining their misdeed over at Dog Shaming. Hey, dogs that dig through the trash: Just because you are known as “man’s best friend” doesn’t exclude you from taking responsibility for naughty behavior. That said, it is tough to stay mad too long at these dogs — aw, look at that face!
Sure, you could just serve popcorn at your next movie night with family or friends — but how about taking it to another level? With the help of some expert chefs, ShortList.com has recipes that emulate famous meals from iconic films, like the Big Kahuna from PULP FICTION and the prison meal from GOODFELLAS (my favorite gangster movie). So instead of popcorn, on your next GOODFELLAS night enjoy the same delicious pasta meal Paulie, Vinnie, Johnny Dio and Henry sit down to in prison. Whether or not to chop the garlic with a razor blade is entirely up to you. As Paulie (Paul Sorvino) says when Henry (Ray Liotta) produces the bottles of red and white wine: “OK, now we can eat… OK, boys let’s eat.”
Photo Credit: Film Affinity
American exceptionalism? Phooey! Countries across the pond have better food, more civilized healthcare and way sexier films (what a buzzkill a Puritanical national origin can be). And we here at Sundance Channel aren’t afraid to embrace our frisky foreign friends: Check out our lineup anytime, and chances are you’ll find a cool film with subtitles, bisexuality and equal opportunity nudity. Inspired by some of our recent indie imports, we’ve compiled a top 10 list of the sexiest foreign films. They’re not all necessarily erotic, with lots of skin. Nor are they all uplifting, life-affirming tales of carnal romance with happy endings. After all, we’re talking about European endeavors here. But they do focus on issues of sexuality and sensuality in artful ways — and that’s sexy.
No doubt you’ve got a firm perception of Donald Trump, and it probably looks something like “crazed birther with bad hair who likes to fire people on TV.” I’ll bet that whether you love or hate The Donald, you’ve probably never used the word “environmentalist” to describe him. Trump has characterized himself that way, though, specifically in regards to how he’s developed luxury golf resorts. Apparently, one resort in Virginia does have a bird sanctuary; in most cases, though, residents and local environmentalists have been unimpressed with Trump’s approach to preserving natural resources while developing land he’s purchased.
The world of film is changing. For one thing, there’s not much actual film anymore. The future is digital; more and more, it’s streaming on our computers, too. Every week in Legal Download, we survey the landscape of online movies to bring you a snapshot of what’s available. This week, prepare for rapier wit and cutlasses supreme with our list of swashbuckler movies.
THIS WEEK’S THEME: Swashbucklers
Photo credit: Screened
We hate to admit it, but life is tough. To persevere, rise above and truly succeed, a very simple choice must be made every day: Am I going to do what it takes to take care of myself and those around me, or am I not? It may feel like that decision gets harder and harder in light of new challenges that present themselves day after day, but the choice always remains our own. The brand new Sundance Channel series GET TO WORK examines this process, following down-and-out unemployed citizens as they try to pick their lives back up, find work and unlock their forgotten potential.
Article: Top 10 films about sexual extremes
Photo credit: Listal
It’s mid-August and Hot Summer Nights is in full swing on Sundance Channel. Some of the upcoming movies featured in this “steamy” series focus on sexual extremes: There’s sex addiction in John Waters’ outrageous comedy A DIRTY SHAME and also in the autobiographical tale I AM A SEX ADDICT; AUTOEROTIC follows the sexual obsessions of four Chicago couples; the compelling (but unfortunately named) documentary SEX MAGIC: MANIFESTING MAYA follows the polyamorous life of a sex guru; and INDIE SEX: EXTREMES looks at independent cinema that pushed the boundaries of sexual content in film.
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 road-trippin’ couple, a bike messenger in a serious rush, a sleepwalking Mike Birbiglia, some weepy French friends and a badass undead army vet.
Article: Now Playing on Sundance Channel: L.A. CONFIDENTIAL, THE DARJEELING LIMITED, Tony Scott's DOMINO
This week we’ve got a crime thriller that’s both sexy and surprising; a Sundance Film Festival favorite that’s both witty and bawdy; a Wes Anderson exploration of brotherly love; and a tribute to one of Hollywood’s most successful directors of the past few decades, Tony Scott.
Every week there are dozens of film news stories. We read them all and bring you the five most important ones in the single most important blog post you’ll ever read (today [at this moment]). This week: a tragic end, Bible stories, toxic avengers, and small children crying for our amusement.
Environmental regulations kill jobs. If companies didn’t have to spend money on such nonsense, they could afford to hire more people. That’s a consistent narrative coming out of the right-wing media in this country, and one that’s heavily promoted by various nonprofit organizations funded by Charles and David Koch (aka the Koch brothers). The brothers and their company, Koch Industries, have also paid out millions in lobbying expenses and contributed hundreds of thousands of dollars to politicians willing to fight various forms of environmental regulation.