Martha Marcy May Marlene

Genre big and small permeates screens

Article: Genre big and small permeates screens

Are we inside a genre revolution? Lately the amount of content hitting screens that features either a modest nod or full-fledged over-the-top bow to genre is simply overwhelming. ANOTHER EARTH is indie-drama-with-a-side-of-sci-fi. MARTHA MARCY MAY MARLENE is indie-drama-with-a-touch-of-thriller. WE NEED TO TALK ABOUT KEVIN, the highly anticipated third feature from Lynn Ramsay, is indie-drama-experimental-fantasy. Yep, that’s right, on the surface it’s about raising a child who turns out to be a Columbine-like murderer, but in reality, I hear, it exists as a true art film. Lead actress Tilda Swinton said in last Sunday’s New York Times Magazine that the film is “a fantasy that has as much to do with the practical business of bringing up a child as ROSEMARY’S BABY has to do with being pregnant.”

The simple photographic approach of MARTHA MARCY MAY MARLENE

Article: The simple photographic approach of MARTHA MARCY MAY MARLENE

I finally saw Sean Durkin’s Sundance standout MARTHA MARCY MAY MARLENE, and I too found it absolutely deserving of the awards and accolades it has recently garnered. It’s a wonderfully compelling flashback narrative, the likes of which we really haven’t seen since SHINE, wherein the dramatic tension comes from the audience discovering the past and watching its inevitable collide with the present. But even more interesting than that, the film is lean and beautiful in its simplicity, specifically in the way in which it’s covered, or filmed from different angles.

MARTHA MARCY MAY MARLENE sweeps the festival circuit

Article: MARTHA MARCY MAY MARLENE sweeps the festival circuit

Elizabeth Olsen, aka the younger sister of the Olsen twins, may be poised to upstage her famous older sisters with a performance in MARTHA MARCY MAY MARLENE that critics are calling “a tour de force, full of depth and complexity.” It’s kind of amazing that her first film credit, one of the Olsen twins’ childhood capers, HOW THE WEST WAS FUN, was made less than ten years ago. In the meantime, she graduated from NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts and the Atlantic Theater Company Acting School, and now she’s back at the tender age of 22 to show us what she’s got.

But Olsen isn’t the only fresh new face…

And the winner is… Drake Doremus' LIKE CRAZY

Article: And the winner is… Drake Doremus' LIKE CRAZY

Director Drake Doremus accepts the Grand Jury Prize: U. S. Dramatic for ‘Like Crazy’ at the 2011 Sundance Film Festival Awards Night Ceremony at Basin Recreation Field House on January 29, 2011 in Park City, Utah. (Photo by Fred Hayes/Getty Images)
And the winner is… Drake Doremus’ LIKE CRAZY, which was just awarded the Grand Jury Prize at this year’s awards ceremony.

The film arrived at Sundance with tremendous buzz—Los Angeles Times critic Kenneth Turan was particularly laudatory—and went on to be rapturously received. It was quickly picked up for distribution by Paramount Pictures and Indian Paintbrush for $4 million, a sale that kicked off a week-long flurry of deals and acquisitions, the likes of which haven’t been seen in Park City since the 1990’s.

Along the way, there were other films that captured audiences’ hearts—MARTHA MARCY MAY MARLENE; HIGHER GROUND; THE GUARD—but LIKE CRAZY, which stars up-and-comers Anton Yelchin and Felicity Jones as college students in Los Angeles whose romance is interrupted by the INS (Jones plays a Brit who overstays her visa), was a persistent favorite throughout the week, thus its win is not much of a surprise.

Sundance Film Festival Deals: HOMEWORK, MARTHA MARCY MAY MARLENE

Article: Sundance Film Festival Deals: HOMEWORK, MARTHA MARCY MAY MARLENE

Fox Searchlight Pictures has snapped up two Sundance Film Festival films in rapid succession. On Sunday night, Fox Searchlight presidents Stephen Gilula and Nancy Utley announced that the company had acquired “most worldwide rights” to first-time filmmaker Gavin Wiesen’s HOMEWORK, a coming-of-age story starring Freddie Highmore, Emma Roberts, Michael Angarano, Elizabeth Reaser, Rita Wilson, Sam…

Lizzie Olsen is this year's "It" Girl

Article: Lizzie Olsen is this year's "It" Girl

Lizzie Olsen at Sundance Channel HQ. A week ago, Elizabeth “Lizzie” Olsen was just another 21-year-old senior at NYU who happened to have two very famous half-sisters: the TV-movie-fashion-and-overall-marketing phenomenon known as Mary Kate and Ashley. This week, thanks to the Sundance Film Festival, where she’s starring in two much-buzzed about films (MARTHA MARCY MAY…

The Making of MARTHA MARCY MAY MARLENE

Article: The Making of MARTHA MARCY MAY MARLENE

Here’s a curious (vaguely creepy) detail about the making of MARTHA MARCY MAY MARLENE, directed by Sean Durkin and starring Elizabeth Olsen (in a breakout role — the New York Post is calling her “the new supernova in the Sundance galaxy”) as a girl who escapes from a cult in the Catskills and struggles to…

Sundance Watch List: Elizabeth Olsen

Article: Sundance Watch List: Elizabeth Olsen

Interesting celebrity-sibling fact: Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen’s younger sister, Elizabeth Olsen, is starring in not one but two films premiering at the Sundance Film Festival this month. In writer/director Sean Durkin’s MARTHA MARCY MAY MARLENE, the 21-year-old actress (a graduate of NYU Tisch School of the Arts and the Atlantic Theater Company Acting School in…