2016 Independent Spirit Award Nominees

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We always dig on the Spirit Awards around here, it’s sort of our bread and butter of award shows. I just can’t believe it’s that time already; ya know, award season.

These nominees are fun to look through, it makes me happy to see things I’ve loved throughout the year getting some hat tips (Bone Tomahawk, It Follows, Beasts of No Nation, Love & Mercy, etc.), it makes me realize all of things I need to catch up on (Girlhood, Anomalisa, Me and Earl and the Dying Girl, etc.) and gets me excited for the things to look forward to (Carol).

Here’s the list of the best 2015 had to offer in independent studio cinema…

Best Feature
Anomalisa
Beasts of No Nation
Carol
Spotlight
Tangerine

Best Director
Sean Baker, Tangerine
Cary Joji Fukunaga, Beasts of No Nation
Todd Haynes, Carol
Charlie Kaufman & Duke Johnson, Anomalisa
Tom McCarthy, Spotlight
David Robert Mitchell, It Follows

Best Screenplay
Charlie Kaufman, Anomalisa
Donald Margulies, The End of the Tour
Phyllis Nagy, Carol
Tom McCarthy & Josh Singer, Spotlight
S. Craig Zahler, Bone Tomahawk

Best First Feature
The Diary of a Teenage Girl
James White
Manos Sucias
Mediterranea
Songs My Brothers Taught Me

Best First Screenplay
Jesse Andrews, Me and Earl and the Dying Girl
Jonas Carpignano, Mediterranea
Emma Donoghue, Room
Marielle Heller, The Diary of a Teenage Girl
John Magary, Russell Harbaugh, Myna Joseph, The Mend

Best Male Lead
Christopher Abbott, James White
Abraham Attah, Beasts of No Nation
Ben Mendelsohn, Mississippi Grind
Jason Segel, The End of the Tour
Koudous Seihon, Mediterranea

Best Female Lead
Cate Blanchett, Carol
Brie Larson, Room
Rooney Mara, Carol
Bel Powley, The Diary of A Teenage Girl
Kitana Kiki Rodriguez, Tangerine

Would you like to know more…?

Penelope Cruz, She’s So Hot Right Now: 2oolander Trailer

Let’s be honest, there isn’t much in here that is worthy of huge laughs and I would guess a lot of people are disappointed in this trailer for one of the better comedies of the previous decade. But the truth is, Derek, that the trailer for the first movie didn’t look very good either; sort of cheap, safe humor that would appeal to only the simpletons among us (not that there’s anything wrong with that). Then the genius of the comedy nuance mixed with the obvious really struck a chord with people and it’s now beloved enough that a sequel is getting released.

It might turn out to be a boring, lazy, cash grab, but with Ferrell returning in tip-top physical condition and the new faces of The Cumberbatch, Penélope Cruz (I trust her) and Kristen Wiig, I wouldn’t be surprised if this is actually a runaway critical success. So what I’m saying is, I guess you can derelicte my ballz el capitán.

 

Heist Trailer Starring DeNiro

Well it clearly isn’t a David Mamet script, but it looks like a fun, through probably a plot hole level 10, actioner. It seems like the big plan heist movie has been done about 1,323 times. And nearly every time, some screen writer’s creativity boosts and the film is something new and fun (even when it isn’t); so I’m in.

When their attempt to rob a casino owned by the feared gangster Pope goes awry and a shootout ensues, Vaughn and Cox are forced to flee on foot and hijack city Bus 657 and take the passengers hostage. Now, in a high speed chase, Vaughn will not only have to outwit the police, led by Officer Bajos who are in hot pursuit, but he will have to contend with Pope’s maniacal right hand man, Dog, in order to make it through the day alive. But we quickly learn that things are not what they seem, and Vaughn has more than one card up his sleeve.

HEIST stars Bob DeNiro, Jeffrey Dean Morgan, a talking Dave Bautista, Gina Carano, Morris Chestnut, Kate Bosworth… and would you look at that: Mark-Paul Gosselaar! And I’m kind of hoping D.B. Sweeney plays a bigger role while driving that bus. I’ve not seen any of the shorts or straight to VOD stuff that director Scott Mann has churned out, or writer Stephen Cyrus Sepher for that matter.

Have a quick look at the plan and see if you think we need one more

 

The Star Wars Prequels are Much Better in Japanese

A while back, Topher Grace (of “That 70s Show” fame) cut all of the fat off of the Star Wars prequels and it was praised by many. Peter Sciretta of /film pronounced it the best possible cut of a terrible series of films. Today I discovered Darth Lunar’s version. They wanted to test Sciretta’s claim and see if it could be done better. The result is this. A reworking of the entire trilogy using the Japanese overdub but with English subtitles that actually sound like they were written by someone… well, other than George Lucas.

Sometimes we make fun of our resident culture snob, Kurt Halfyard, for unwittingly giving passes to certain films just because they’re in a language other than English. He claims it isn’t so, but after watching bits of this, I’m starting to wonder if there maybe is something to that theory. This is surprisingly pretty good.

Film maker’s NOTE: Unlike many other fan-edits of the prequels, “The Blackened Mantle” is not simply three separate films glued back-to-back with the fat cut out. It has proper dramatic pacing, new character arcs, reworked image quality, and a heavily modified plot constructed from a brand new, non-chronological script. It is not necessarily compatible with any Star Wars canon other than the original film trilogy (such as the fantastic “Clone Wars” animated series). Apologies go out to fluent Japanese speakers, who will likely not be able to watch the film without muting the audio.

The film makers have also graciously included a downloadable version of the movie. Or you can just watch it right here…

 

Star Wars Battlefront

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We already know you love the game… or maybe you hate the game? Either way, discuss your misadventures within this specific video game title.

Remember not all of us have played it yet or we might be just starting out. Games are usually not as spoilery in the story department as movies are, but just to be courteous, if this is one of those very story intensive games (like “Knight of the Old Republic” or something) and you have some major plot development twist to mention, just be nice guy Greg and mark your statement as a SPOILER. Thanks!

spoiler markup to copy and paste:
***SPOILER***SPOILER***
***SPOILER***SPOILER***
***SPOILER***SPOILER***
***SPOILER***SPOILER***

Have fun!

Trailer: Alice Through the Looking Glass

Mia Wasikowska is back with the further adventures of little (sometimes tall), sweet Alice in Through the Looking Glass. Tim Burton is on board as executive producer this time round and director James Tobin is in the director’s chair. The name is familiar to me but it seems his only real experience in feature films so far are the recent Muppet movies – which arguably could make him very qualified for something like this.

I know Burton’s take on “Alice in Wonderland” was fairly polarizing but this author was on the side of positivity. However, this trailer for the next chapter in Alice’s fantasy doesn’t do much for me. Feels like another bland, fantasy picture for kids under 12 ala Golden Compass, Narnia, et. al. Plus the Depp schtick is over for me. I do really like the otherwise stacked cast (Spall, Rickman, Sheen, Fry, Hathaway, etc. etc.), but not sure if this will be particularly digestible. I hope to be proven wrong.

Flyway 2015 Pubcast: Kristjan Knigge & Sytse Faber

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If you go back into the archives and find our interview from last year with this guy, you’ll see why it’s probably the best interview Matt Gamble and I have ever done. So when he was back with a second attempt at getting an award (and succeeding!), we were pretty excited to hang out with him again. Of course I’m talking about the director of the most excellent, Second Honeymoon, Kristjan Knigge.

This time, Kristjan brings in tow the lead actor of the film, Sytse Faber, to talk about the experiences in making independent cinema and what it’s like to be at Flyway once again. Apparently great enough to start filming a new picture right here in Pepin, WI this week!

We look forward to speaking with you again next year sir. Have a listen!

 

Kristjan’s official site
Kristjan’s Vimeo page

The marketing poster we mention in the show can be seen below. When you see it…

 

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Flyway 2015 Pubcast: Rick Vacius

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Hanging out another year with the big cheese himself, Rick Vacius. Matt Gamble and I talk with Rick about the importance of alcohol consumption, the glory of The Eagles on LPs and occasionally a film festival that’s being run and growing each year. Flyway is the place to be in October folks, and it’s all because of this man.

Have a listen.

 

Maureen O’Hara: 1920-2015

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She certainly lived a full life. With 65 acting credits to her name, I have to admit I have a lot of catching up to do if I ever wanna watch even half of them. That said, she always sticks in my brain if I think of Miracle on 34th Street, Rio Grande or The Parent Trap.

At 95, she passed away quietly in her sleep; surrounded by family and listening to music from The Quiet Man. The ravishing beauty became known as the “Queen of Technicolor” because of the way the camera loved her pale complexion contrasted against her flame red hair. How will you remember her?

She will be missed by many. Rest in peace.