My favorite festival hits coming soon to theaters, TV and DVD (August edition)


“Mud” (Dir. Jeff Nichols)
Festival Premiere: Cannes 2012
WHERE TO SEE IT NEXT: DVD, Redbox, Netflix and iTunes

First thing’s first – if you have not seen a film by Jeff Nichols, please do TODAY. I mean right now. I’m still reeling from TAKE SHELTER. Nichols is definitely a breath of fresh air, from his great working relationship with actor Michael Shannon to his eloquent stories featuring captivating protagonists set in the South. At the SXSW screening of MUD, Hollywood A-lister Matthew McConaughey (who played the title role) sang the praises of Nichols’ tight script (“A different voice than I’ve ever read”). Fingers crossed the Academy voters agree when it comes to Best Original Screenplay noms this year!

“In A World…” (Dir. Lake Bell)
Festival Premiere: Sundance 2013
WHERE TO SEE IT NEXT: Now playing in theaters

Want to really turn heads with your first feature? You might want to some notes from Lake Bell, writer, director AND star of IN A WORLD… Seriously in the hands of anyone else, this comedy about the world of voiceover artists could have gone quietly into the zone of forgotten directorial debuts. Luckily Lake Bell brings her A game and shows some real parallels between the sexism in both the voice talent world and the directing game. The fact that I laughed out loud too many times to count was just a cherry on top. Check out this Waldo Salt Screenwriting award winner at your local theater this weekend and help put an end to the “sexy baby voice” epidemic once and for all.

“The Sapphires” (Dir.Wayne Blair)
Festival Premiere: Cannes 2012
WHERE TO SEE IT NEXT: DVD, Redbox, Netflix and iTunes

While wonderfully familiar, THE SAPPHIRES stood out in many ways. It brought together a fun ensemble cast of female actresses to play the aspiring Aboriginal soul singers and even threw in the lovable Chris O’Dowd (“Bridesmaids”) as their boozy manager. What more could a girl ask for?

I was, however, disappointed to see the initial festival poster was drastically changed for the U.S. DVD cover. Americans could certainly get the wrong impression of the film’s message when they see O’Dowd pushed to the spotlight with the Sapphires as his backup singers. Fortunately thanks to a prompt petition backed by the real singers, the distribution company released an apology and hinted at a new DVD cover being considered.

“Ain’t Them Bodies Saint” (Dir. David Lowery)
Festival Premiere: Sundance 2013
WHERE TO SEE IT NEXT: In theaters August 16

AIN’T THEM BODIES SAINTS wins hands down for my favorite film score of the year. A prime example of using a simple technique (I can only describe as hands clapping in groovy rhythm) that could be used to fit multiple scenes. The raw tale of outlaw and his family set against a Southern 70′s-ish backdrop won Best Cinematography this year at Sundance. I’d certainly expect nothing less from the amazingly talented DP, Bradford Young.

If you’re lucky, you get to attend a film festival screening right after the film’s been picked up by a distributor. In that 8:30am Sundance screening of AIN’T THEM BODIES, someone asked director David Lowery what they would do now that the film had been sold to IFC Films. Lowery eloquently stated “We’re going to continue to care for the film like we did making it.” Amen to that.

“Filly Brown” (Dirs. Youssef Delara, Michael D. Olmos)
Festival Premiere: Sundance 2012
WHERE TO SEE IT NEXT: DVD, Redbox, Netflix and iTunes

When is the last time you saw a movie with a Latina lead? Not best friend, girlfriend or co-worker, but literally holding down the mic? “Filly Brown” is a vibrant take on the “young musician trying to make it big despite class/family obstacles” genre led by the talented Gina Rodriguez. Read my review from Sundance 2012 HERE.

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