‘Krisha’ Dominates the Inaugural American Independent Film Awards

There’s a new awards show on the block, and it may just be the most indie yet.

If there’s one thing this February needed, it’s definitely another awards show. With this weekend’s Oscars and Film Independent Spirit Awards virtually identical in terms of nominees, and debate raging on what the term “indie” actually classifies, The American Independent Film Awards look to set a place for the best of the year’s truly low-budget, self-produced films.

So, while the Spirit Awards and Oscars may consider Jackie and Moonlight to be independent films, standout movies like Krisha and Kate Plays Christine are conspicuously absent from some of the more prestigious award show lineups. There is some crossover among the nominees, however. The Fits, whose DP Paul Yee took home the AIFA’s best cinematography honor, is also nominated for Best First Picture in the Independent Spirit Awards.

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No Film School

Alamo Drafthouse & Kodak Launch ‘Reel Film Day’ 35mm Celebration

Reel Film Day

“If you really love film, then join us to recognize, celebrate and support film screenings in independent theaters everywhere.” Yes! This is awesome news. Alamo Drafthouse has partnered with Kodak to launch the first ever “Reel Film Day“, a special event happening on March 5th at all of the Drafthouse cinemas around the country, to celebrate and support 35mm film. Drafthouse CEO Tim League announced the news: “This scrappy group of fellow cinephiles is truly preserving film history. Support your local theater, support 35mm (and 70mm) film on 3/5, the first annual Reel Film Day.” This is a great idea, and in conjunction with Art House Theater Day, will be an exciting annual event that all cinephiles should participate in every year. ›››

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FirstShowing.net

Watch: ‘Tears In The Rain’ Sci-Fi Short Film Inspired by ‘Blade Runner’

Tears In The Rain Sci-Fi Short Film

“I would know if I was a replicant!” We’re always on the lookout for good sci-fi short films. Tears In The Rain is an intriguing little short from South Africa that is clearly directly inspired by Blade Runner, set in the world of Philip K. Dick’s novel Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?. This short was made on a budget of only $ 1500 which is crazy impressive, and it looks great. I wish there was more taking place outside on the streets, but it’s still cool to see a well-made short film set in this world, and I can always appreciate some fascinating dialogue. This gets deep into the themes from the original novel about free will and whether or not our memories are real, and if we would know that we’re a robot, or are just designed to think we’re real. ›››

Continue reading Watch: ‘Tears In The Rain’ Sci-Fi Short Film Inspired by ‘Blade Runner’


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Watch: First Full Trailer for Terrence Malick’s Music Film ‘Song to Song’

Song to Song Trailer

“We thought we could just roll and tumble, from song to song, kiss to kiss…” Broad Green Pictures has debuted the first official trailer and poster for Terrence Malick’s latest feature film, titled Song to Song, set in and filmed around the Austin, Texas music scene. This was filmed a few years ago around the same time as Knight of Cups, but took Malick years to finish editing and finalizing it. The main cast includes Ryan Gosling, Michael Fassbender, Rooney Mara, and Natalie Portman, as well as Haley Bennett and Cate Blanchett. Featuring Malick’s iconic sweeping, swooping, dreamy cinematography (from Emmanuel Lubezki), the film definitely captures the vibe and emotions of the Austin music scene. This actually looks pretty damn good – but most of Malick’s movies look great from the trailer. Still, you should check this out. ›››

Continue reading Watch: First Full Trailer for Terrence Malick’s Music Film ‘Song to Song’


FirstShowing.net

What Film Noir Can Teach Every Filmmaker about Cinematography

In the age of color film, the high-contrast black and white of classic film noir has something to teach every filmmaker.

I’m sure we’ve all met people (you might be among them!) who espouse a distinct aversion to black and white films, for whatever reason. But according to this video essay from Jack Nugent of Now You See It, not only are they some of the most important movies, they can “do just as much if not more than color.” Check it out below to learn how the techniques of black and white filmmaking can be just as important to cinematography in the age of color film.

The essay lays its case primarily by looking at monochromatic filmmaking through the lens of film noir, as film noir is one genre where black and white cinematography is put to its full use (a handy guide to the stylistic elements of film noir can be found here).

“Black and white can do just as much, if not more than color.”

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No Film School

‘Logan’ Is an Extraordinary X-Men Film That’s Unlike Any Other [Spoiler-Free Review]

logan trailer

After nearly two decades, the X-Men franchise under 20th Century Fox’s stewardship has begun to feel too constrained by storytelling mechanics and full of characters that are warmed over. After the third or fourth time that you’ve seen the X-Men crew go up against a powerful supervillain and face off against a city- or world-destroying force (often accompanied by a blue beam shooting towards the sky), you begin to wonder whether this franchise still has new stories to tell.

These days, films that deviate heavily from the formula have felt refreshing (e.g., Deadpool, Days of Future Past), while those that hew closely to it are tiresome (e.g., X-Men: Apocalypse). This is why James Mangold’s Logan is a goddamn miracle. It unapologetically blazes its own trail in the X-Men universe. Logan throws the whole X-Men chessboard into the air, settles on the few pieces it wants to use, and then plays them off each other in ways we’ve never seen. The results are thrilling, and give me hope that the genre as a whole can still be fresh and inventive. It’s a near-perfect film, and one that I’ll be thinking about for a very long time.

Spoiler-free thoughts on Logan follow.

From its opening credits, Logan shows a different side of Hugh Jackman’s iconic character. Burnt out, grizzled, and physically ailing, Wolverine (or Logan, as he’s referred to throughout the film) is a shell of his former self, even though he still knows how to kill.

And kill he does, gruesomely and viciously throughout the film. Forget about the Wolverine of previous films that would bloodlessly thrust his claws into a hapless enemy’s chest. In Logan, the audience feels the full force of every injury that Logan inflicts. This movie is bloody, graphic, and full of viscera and F-bombs. It’s the R-rated X-Men film that some fans have wanted for years.

But the R-rated accoutrements aren’t just there for their own sake; they serve a storytelling purpose. By this point, Logan has killed dozens, if not hundreds, of people. In finally showing us the visual consequences of his actions, the film helps us feel the moral weight of these killings. We understand on a deeper level why this guy is tired of life among humans and why that drives him to make some of the decisions in this film. (Also: the kills look spectacular).

Since this review is spoiler-free, I won’t say much about the plot. But what I do feel comfortable saying is that the way the relationship between Charles Xavier (Patrick Stewart) and Logan is depicted in this film is unexpectedly intimate and powerful. Logan cares more about paying off this relationship than it does about any of its plot machinations. What still motivates these two characters? What have they been through together, and how are they dealing with it? The movie explores these questions in ways that will reward fans of the X-Men franchise but still welcome those that have no familiarity with it.

In addition, newcomer Dafne Keen plays Laura, a girl with a mysterious past placed into Logan’s care. She figures into the plot in major ways that aren’t really glimpsed in the trailers, but I thought she brought an incredible physicality and presence that helped to carry the film. Much is asked of her in this movie, but she delivers in a big way.

What makes Logan special is how it effortlessly navigates different genres and tones. It’s a road movie, but it’s also an action film with ambitious set pieces. It’s a sci-fi superhero film, but it’s also infused with a lot of humor and tenderness. Most importantly, it’s a fitting conclusion for one of the most iconic comic book character portrayals of the past 20 years.

I laughed. I cried. And I was grateful to have gone on the entire cinematic journey with Hugh Jackman’s character all these years. Logan is an incredible film. It’s my favorite X-Men film. And it might even be my favorite superhero film of all time.

/Film rating: 9.5 out of 10

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