Indie News

A Real Chinese Story: Wang Xiaoshuai Discusses "So Long, My Son"

  • MUBI
Wang Xiaoshaui's So Long, My Son is Mubi Go's Film of the Week of December 6, 2019.Coming to international attention in 2001 with his social drama Beijing Bicycle, Chinese director Wang Xiaoshuai has been on the rise ever since. His latest film, So Long, My Son (2019), premiered at the Berlinale in an edition marked by a couple of films pulled out at the last-minute films by China. Surprisingly, So Long, My Son was granted the “dragon seal”—the Chinese mark of censorship approval—and started scooping prizes for its leading couple’s staggering performances. A graciously elaborated, time-leaping tale of loss and friendship, So Long, My Son attempts to catalogue all the political and cultural changes China went through in over the last three decades. Opening on the dramatic apparent death by drowning of Yaojun (Wang Jingchun) and Liyun’s (Yong Mei) son Xingxing while playing at a reservoir with his best friend Haohao,
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‘In Fabric’: Marianne Jean-Baptiste May or May Not Believe in Haunted Dresses

  • Indiewire
‘In Fabric’: Marianne Jean-Baptiste May or May Not Believe in Haunted Dresses
Peter Strickland’s “In Fabric” is all about a killer dress. When the middle-aged Sheila Woodchapel (Marianne Jean-Baptiste) buys it, she knows it’s flattering, artery red, and perfect for her tentative reentry into the dating pool. What she doesn’t realize is it carries a mysterious and malevolent curse that will threaten everyone who comes in its path, including her. It’s a project and role unlike anything the veteran actress has ever done.

“We’ve had killer cars, killer toys, but nothing quite like this,” Jean-Baptiste said. “But absolutely, it was for those reasons. When I first saw Peter’s past work, I thought, I’d love to work with this guy, because, even though I’m not always sure what to make of them, I loved the way he tells stories, the way he paints images.”

Strickland was the singular creative force behind the opulent sadomasochistic romance,
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‘Honey Boy’ Exclusive: Director Alma Har’el On Capturing Shia Labeouf As A ‘Puppet’ In Hollywood [Video]

Filmmaker Alma Har’el has been on a strange journey since debuting “Honey Boy” at the Sundance Film Festival almost a year ago. The film chronicles Shia Labeouf’s unconventional life as a child star through a character named Otis (Noah Jupe) which found him hiring his deadbeat father (Labeouf) to assist and watch over him. As the years pass he grows up (now portrayed by Lucas Hedges), becomes a bigger star and hits rock bottom thanks to the affects of Ptsd from his younger years and alcohol addiction.

Continue reading ‘Honey Boy’ Exclusive: Director Alma Har’el On Capturing Shia Labeouf As A ‘Puppet’ In Hollywood [Video] at The Playlist.
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‘Once Upon a Time in Hollywood’ and ‘Rocketman’: Mixing Reality and Fantasy with Iconic Rock Songs

  • Indiewire
‘Once Upon a Time in Hollywood’ and ‘Rocketman’: Mixing Reality and Fantasy with Iconic Rock Songs
Both “Rocketman” and “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood” rely heavily on iconic rock music to convey time and place and to immerse us in the mindsets of their principal characters: rising superstar Elton John (Taron Egerton) in Dexter Fletcher’s musical fantasy, and has-been TV star Rick Dalton (Leonardo DiCaprio), stunt double Cliff Booth (Brad Pitt), and rising actress Sharon Tate (Margot Robbie) in Quentin Tarantino’s love letter to Tinseltown.

Both films will be strong contenders in the Sound Editing and Mixing categories, distinguished by their utilization of rock music as part of the soundscapes.

“This was a musical fantasy rather than a straight-up musical, and it was an opportunity to go between the reality and fantasy worlds of Elton’s life, how to structure it, and how to make it feel like something an audience could run along with,” said re-recording mixer Mike Prestwood Smith. “From a sound point of view,
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‘Magic for Humans’ Review: Justin Willman Pulls Back the Curtain Even Further in a Delightful Season 2

‘Magic for Humans’ Review: Justin Willman Pulls Back the Curtain Even Further in a Delightful Season 2
Here’s the best thing about “Magic for Humans”: Even if you’re completely convinced every trick that host Justin Willman does on camera is part of a pre-planned pact with “unsuspecting” passersby, you can still enjoy the show. If your belief is that onscreen magic is all somehow a scripted scam, Season 2 of this Netflix series still works on a beat-for-beat comedic level that’s one step ahead of your objections. Therein lies the fun. Regardless of which side of that illusion/laugh divide is the hook, these latest six episodes pick up right where the first batch left off.

Season 2 follows the same rough outline the first season did, with Willman giving a thematic overview of each episode from the comfort of a blank-walled studio. From there, it’s out to various remote Los Angeles locales to watch Willman perform sleight of hand and unveil elaborate surprises
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‘Knives Out’: Rian Johnson Explains How He Built a Modern Murder Mystery (Spoilers)

‘Knives Out’: Rian Johnson Explains How He Built a Modern Murder Mystery (Spoilers)
[Editor’s note: This post and podcast contain spoilers for Rian Johnson’s “Knives Out.”]

Filmmaker Rian Johnson grew up reading and watching Agatha Christie-style mysteries. With his “Knives Out,” he wanted to translate his love of the whodunit in the form of a modern update, but he also went into the creative process fully aware of some of the inherent flaws and difficulties with the genre itself.

“As much as I love Agatha Christie’s books, in a lot of them there does hit a point about three-quarters of the way through where you start to flag,” said Johnson when he was a guest on the Filmmaker Toolkit podcast. “And you start to feel like, ‘Ah, yeah, okay, we just keep gathering clues, I’m never going to guess this. Let’s just get to the point where the detective gives me the solution.'”

Hitchcock, who hated the whodunit, defined this problem as the difference between audience surprise versus what he did,
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A Diversity Record: Almost Half of Sundance 2020 Competition Films Have Black Leads

  • Indiewire
A Diversity Record: Almost Half of Sundance 2020 Competition Films Have Black Leads
The 2020 Sundance Film Festival has broken a record weeks before it begins: Of the 16 films in Dramatic Competition, seven tell stories primarily about the lives of black characters: “The 40-Year-Old Version,” “Charm City Kings,” “Farewell Amor,” “Miss Juneteenth,” “Nine Days,” “Sylvie’s Love” and “Zola.”

Surveying the last 30 years of Sundance, there’s usually been at least one in-competition film with black leads. In 1992 and 1989, there was one black film in competition, while 1993 had two. But prior to 2020, there had never been more than five.

Black filmmakers saw a renaissance in the late ’80s and early ’90s, a period that introduced Spike Lee, Wendell B. Harris Jr, Robert Townsend, Keenen Ivory Wayans, Julie Dash, Matty Rich, the Hudlin Brothers, Leslie Harris, and others. Some of their films premiered and competed at Sundance, but even then they never composed a significant presence.

Between 1989 and 1993, a total of 10 films with black leads
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‘Beanpole’ Trailer: Russia’s Oscar Entry Takes a Haunting Look at an Obsessive Friendship in Post-wwii Leningrad

  • Indiewire
‘Beanpole’ Trailer: Russia’s Oscar Entry Takes a Haunting Look at an Obsessive Friendship in Post-wwii Leningrad
28-year-old Kantemir Balagov’s second film “Beanpole” has sickness in its marrow. Russia’s entry for the 2019 Best International Feature Film Academy Award centers on the sometimes toxic symbiosis shared by two women in post-wwii Leningrad, damaged by their experiences on the battle-lines and eking out what remains of an existence working in a veterans hospital — a rust-colored hovel amid the ruins of the city. IndieWire has the exclusive first trailer below, courtesy of distributor Kino Lorber.

This slow-motion twist of the gut features impressive first-time performances from two actors Balagov plucked out of obscurity in Russia from a country-wide casting call. Viktoria Miroshnichenko plays the long-limbed, ghostlike, sickly Iya, a.k.a. Beanpole, who’s rattled by a Ptsd condition that causes sudden spells of shortness of breath, played with an undercurrent of creepiness by Evgueni Galperine’s shivery string score. Vasilisa Perelygina plays Masha, prone to her own flights of mania,
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‘The Outsider’ Trailer Promises a Murder-Mystery With Horrifying Consequences

‘The Outsider’ Trailer Promises a Murder-Mystery With Horrifying Consequences
HBO has unveiled the first trailer for HBO’s “The Outsider,” the latest Stephen King horror novel to be adapted for the small screen.

The 10-episode series, which is set to hit HBO January 12, will follow police detective Ralph Anderson as he investigates the grisly murder of an 11-year-old. Although authorities quickly make an arrest, the police soon discover contradictory evidence, suggesting their prime suspect (Jason Bateman) was in two places at the same time. Though the case appears simple at first, the show’s trailer suggests that events soon take a more sinister — perhaps even supernatural — turn.

Although investigators looking into a child’s murder might seem like typical whodunit crime drama fare, the trailer for HBO’s “The Outsider” makes clear that the limited series will retain King’s signature horror flairs. Mendelsohn’s character might claim he’s just looking for “facts, evidence, [and] dumb cop shit like that,
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‘The Outsider’ Trailer: Ben Mendelsohn, Jason Bateman, Stephen King, & More HBO Horrors

There’s no denying it. With the release of “Doctor Sleep” and the continued success of “Mr. Mercedes,” author Stephen King continues to insinuate himself into today’s discussion of pop culture. His horror novels still receive praise and fly off the shelves.

Read More: The Best TV Shows & Mini-Series’ Of The Decade [the 2010s]

Actor Jason Bateman (“Ozark”) is also having himself a great couple of years.

Continue reading ‘The Outsider’ Trailer: Ben Mendelsohn, Jason Bateman, Stephen King, & More HBO Horrors at The Playlist.
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8 December TV Shows To Watch: ‘Mrs. Maisel,’ ‘The Witcher,’ ‘The Expanse’ & More

December is a weird time for television. While the way that TV is released throughout the year these days means that there are fewer ebbs and flows in overall content quality (not to mention quantity), it still feels as if December has less going on in comparison to other months in the year. Maybe that’s just because, in comparison, film is continuing its lightning-quick clip or, perhaps, networks are savvy enough to know that people are looking for an easy, digestible binge this time of year.

Continue reading 8 December TV Shows To Watch: ‘Mrs. Maisel,’ ‘The Witcher,’ ‘The Expanse’ & More at The Playlist.
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Never-Before-Seen Photos from the Making of ‘2001: A Space Odyssey’ Now Up for Auction

Never-Before-Seen Photos from the Making of ‘2001: A Space Odyssey’ Now Up for Auction
A private archive related to the production of Stanley Kubrick’s magnum opus “2001: A Space Odyssey” is up for auction (via Sotheby’s) and includes a handful of never-before-seen photographs from the making of the landmark science-fiction movie. The collection comes from Andrew Birkin, brother of actress/singer Jane Birkin and a director who earned Oscar and BAFTA nominations for his live-action short film “Sredni Vashtar.”

Birkin started as a runner on “2001: A Space Odyssey” and became an assistant to Kubrick. Since Kubrick was famously afraid of traveling by airplane, Birkin was one of several people tasked by the filmmaker to scout locations for the movie around the world. Birkin set out to the Namib Desert with a camera to take photographs of the location so Kubrick could evaluate. The Namib region would be used to film the legendary “Dawn of Man” opening from “2001.” Berkin also scouted locations
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Zack Snyder Seemingly Confirms His Cut Of ‘Justice League’ Would Have Been Longer Than ‘The Irishman’

In 2017, when #ReleaseTheSnyderCut was born, in light of Joss Whedon’s complete overhaul of “Justice League” after director Zack Snyder departed the production, the social media campaign was seen as a small, but passionate fanbase trying to point out some sort of injustice (no pun intended). But now, years later, the Snyder Cut legion has grown and now includes some of the actual actors from the film, as well as the campaign’s biggest supporter/cheerleader, Snyder himself.

Continue reading Zack Snyder Seemingly Confirms His Cut Of ‘Justice League’ Would Have Been Longer Than ‘The Irishman’ at The Playlist.
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Sundance 2020 Lineup Gallery: New Films From Festival Favorites and Many More

Sundance 2020 Lineup Gallery: New Films From Festival Favorites and Many More
Get a look at some of the films bound for the lauded annual festival, including returning favorites, new talents, and some big contenders.

The 2020 feature film lineup includes a number of highly anticipated 2020 titles, including the premiere of Jim Rash and Nat Faxon’s remake of the Swedish dark comedy “Force Majeure” (now titled “Downhill”), Julie Taymor’s inventive Gloria Steinem biopic “The Glorias,” and Lana Wilson’s Taylor Swift-centric entry, “Miss Americana.” The festival will host a number of long-awaited followups from previous Sundance breakouts, including Miranda July with her third feature “Kajillionaire,” Dee Rees’ Anne Hathaway-starring Joan Didion adaptation “The Last Thing He Wanted,” and Benh Zeitlin’s long-gestating “Beasts of the Southern Wild” followup “Wendy.”

Other recent Sundance favorites returning this year include “Lemon” filmmaker Janicza Bravo with the social media tall tale “Zola,” and Eliza Hittman, following up “Beach Rats” with “Never Rarely Sometimes Always.
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‘Queen & Slim’ & ‘Knives Out’ Both Tackle Tough Issues Plaguing America [Discourse Podcast]

I hope you all had a relaxing Thanksgiving, but, if you spent it arguing with your family about politics, then boy do we have a terrific double feature for you on the latest episode of The Discourse.

Read More: The 25 Best Films Of 2019

This week, I’m joined by Robert Daniels to discuss two topical, provocative films, albeit vastly different from one another.

Continue reading ‘Queen & Slim’ & ‘Knives Out’ Both Tackle Tough Issues Plaguing America [Discourse Podcast] at The Playlist.
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‘Portrait of a Lady on Fire’ Filmmaker Céline Sciamma Is Trying to Break Your Heart

‘Portrait of a Lady on Fire’ Filmmaker Céline Sciamma Is Trying to Break Your Heart
The first image that came to filmmaker Céline Sciamma when she began envisioning what would become her fourth feature, “Portrait of a Lady on Fire,” was not a happy one. While the majority of the action in the French filmmaker’s lush period romance takes place on an isolated island sometime in the 18th century, a handful of later scenes abandon the evocative location, picking up years later in a bustling city. The divide between settings (and tones) is stark, but it’s also necessary to the wild spirit of the film, one that is built around a love story that refuses convention at every turn. That’s where Sciamma started.

“The last scene came really, really early, disconnected from even the idea of a woman painter,” Sciamma said in a recent interview with IndieWire. “I wanted to write a love story and I thought, ‘What do I want to tell?
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Colin Trevorrow Refutes Reported ‘Star Wars’ Spoilers From His Aborted Film That Included A Particularly Bad Origin Story For Rey

Yesterday, a report made the rounds, aiming to shed some light on what was originally going to happen in the version of “Star Wars: Episode IX” that filmmaker Colin Trevorrow was set to co-write and direct. Of course, we know that the filmmaker departed from the film and was replaced with JJ Abrams, with the latest film given the title ‘The Rise of Skywalker.’ The details of what was reported were shocking, to say the least, with fans flabbergasted at what was in the script.

Continue reading Colin Trevorrow Refutes Reported ‘Star Wars’ Spoilers From His Aborted Film That Included A Particularly Bad Origin Story For Rey at The Playlist.
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‘The Boys’ Season 2 Teaser: More Carnage Is In Store For The World’s Worst Superheroes

Back in the ‘80s, comic books were at a crossroads. Marvel and DC were pumping out feel-good superhero stories that were treading water, for the most part, with the status quo firmly in grasp. Then the ‘80s brought a new era to superhero stories, where creators took risks, aimed stories clearly at adults, and flipped the entire genre on its head. While it took a while for live-action superhero films and TV series to catch up, 2019 was the year we finally saw the tried-and-true superhero formula flipped on its head thanks to series like “Watchmen” and “The Boys.”

Read More: Amazon Studios Boss Is “Thrilled” With ‘The Boys’ Viewership & Says The Superhero Series Is One Of The “Most-Watched” On The Platform

While “Watchmen” is still deep into its first season (which is absolutely incredible), “The Boys” wrapped up over the summer and was fast-tracked into Season 2.

Continue reading ‘The Boys
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Martin Scorsese Walked Away From A Greenlit Film Titled ‘Frankie Machine’ To Work On ‘The Irishman’

Since the film was officially announced as going into production, we’ve heard time and again that filmmaker Martin Scorsese has been passionate about making “The Irishman.” In a great new interview with Sight & Sound, the director explains that he was so invested in getting “The Irishman” made, even a decade ago, that he turned down a greenlit feature in favor of exploring a new project about a man who paints houses.

Continue reading Martin Scorsese Walked Away From A Greenlit Film Titled ‘Frankie Machine’ To Work On ‘The Irishman’ at The Playlist.
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Aubrey Plaza Is Returning To Host The Spirit Awards: “Bow Down To Your Host!”

The Oscars may or may not have a host again this year, but the Independent Spirit Awards are continuing the tradition and bringing back last year’s emcee, Aubrey Plaza. In a release from Film Independent, Plaza noted, Like all great independent film performances, this one deserves a sequel. The people have spoken. Bow down to your host!”

Josh Welsh, President of Film Independent remarked, “At a time when the world is so bitterly divided and civil discourse is almost impossible, it’s nice we can all agree that Aubrey Plaza is the greatest host in the history of hosting.

Continue reading Aubrey Plaza Is Returning To Host The Spirit Awards: “Bow Down To Your Host!” at The Playlist.
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