2014 has been wrapped up for a few days now, but I’ll be damned if that will stop me from reflecting on my favorite films of the year. As in past years, many of these films have yet to find their ways to general release (I’ve done my best to mention if the film isn’t out yet). But maybe that makes the list all the more relevant. Consider it a preview for 2015 and a chance to go back and scoop up a few titles you might have missed in 2014. Check out the list below and let me know what you think? Which of your faves didn’t make the cut? Or maybe I missed an obvious choice. Let me know in the comments below or on Twitter at @RylandAldrich.
To the list!
Another year of great cinema is coming to an end. Many have called it the best year in some time. I’m not so sure I agree. But there were some fantastic films and I saw a whopping 192 that qualified for my list. I’ve narrowed it down to a mere 50 for you to peruse, plus I’ve added three films to the bottom whose critical support made me all angry. For most films, I’ve included my reaction tweet to give you a bit of insight as to what I was thinking the moment I walked out of the theater. Check out the list and let me know where you think I dropped the ball.
See the full list
Here is the one-link-stop for the public videos for both features produced by Ryland Aldrich:
SNAP (Teaser trailer)
Directed by Youssef Delara & Victor Teran
Produced by Ryland Aldrich, Amir Delara, Youssef Delara, and Victor Teran
A stylish psychological thriller set against the underground dub step DJ scene that takes the audience on a dark and terrifying journey into the depths of the psychopathic mind as it threatens to explode into horrific violence.
SNAP premiered at SXSW 2013. It will make its international debut in London at Film4 FrightFest on August 23, 2013. SNAP will be released theatrically in the US in 2014.
@SnapMovie on Twitter | SNAP on Facebook
DO YOU DREAM IN COLOR? (Fundraising promo)
Directed by Sarah Ivy Dickerson & Abigail Fuller
Produced by Ryland Aldrich, Sarah Ivy Dickerson, Abigail Fuller, and Regina Saldivar
Do You Dream in Color? is a feature documentary that follows four blind high school students as they pursue
their unique dreams over the course of a year. Although separated geographically, the teens are connected by
their shared experiences and determination. The film brings the audience inside the lives of the teens and gives
us a deeper understanding of how the blind perceive the world via animated interpretations of sleeping dreams
and the subjects’ life experiences.
DO YOU DREAM IN COLOR? is currently in the final stages of post production and looking towards a 2014 festival debut.
There’s a first time for everything, I suppose the saying goes. This clipping was just sent to me from Twitch South Korean correspondent Pierce Conran who spotted the advertisement for Park Chan-wook’s Stoker. The translation is something along the lines of “Director Park Chan-wook shows his best direction,” which was taken as a translation of sorts from the sentiment in my Sundance First Impression piece STOKER Delivers on Director Park’s Brand. As is often the case, the quote is attributed to the site only. Too bad, as it would have been fun to see my name translated phonetically into Korean.
Oh boy! It’s end of the year reflection time once again. 2012 was another great year on the festival beat with trips to Sundance, SXSW, Cannes, LA Film Fest, Toronto International Film Fest, Fantastic Fest, AFI Fest, and the Amazonas Film Fest making for plenty of hot butt-on-theater-seat action. When it was all said and done (and assuming I kept my records straight), 178 movies qualified for my 2012 list. Each of these films either played at a festival or in theatrical release in 2012, but did not qualify for last year’s list. That’s why some movies that showed up on many critics’ 2012 list, such as Joachim Trier’s Oslo August, 31st, won’t be found here. That film was on my 2011 list (at #3, no less).
Still, there were plenty of potential chart middlers that I was unable to get to. Some popular titles that have made their way to other lists include Amour, Life of Pi, Wreck-it-Ralph, Tabu, Polisse,This is Not a Film, and Total Recall. Sorry — can’t see em all.
As like past lists, I’ve included my original tweet (sometimes a couple) that usually serves as my initial reaction to the film. I’ve also included a link if I reviewed the film on Twitch. This year I’ve also endeavored to include the distribution status for each film so you can know where to find it. Please take the time to drop me a note and let me know your thoughts.
On to the list!
A little horn tootin here, but the DVD for Will Lovelace and Dylan Southern kickass LCD Soundsystem documentary SHUT UP AND PLAY THE HITS has finally hit and Oscilloscope has included my quote on the box! Click the image for a slightly larger version.
The DVD box set itself is super impressive and includes the entire three-and-a-half hour concert. The movie is truly a masterpiece and one of the best concert docs in years.
Buy the DVD or Blu-ray at Amazon (affiliate link).
Read my full review from Sundance at Twitch
Fantastic Fest 2012 is kicking off this week and the Twitch Team will be covering the fest with all the gusto you’ve come to expect. The site has a brand new scheduling system that is great for selecting your films, but not so hot for printing a full schedule. So I went ahead and created a easily printable schedule PDF from screenshots and want to share it with you here. Click the image above or browse to the file at: http://enderzero.net/postfiles/FantasticFest2012PrintableSchedule_RA.pdf.
Please excuse the horn tooting, but I just spotted this the other day. The coolest part was that I just happened to be with Morgan Spurlock at the time (my first time meeting him). He got as much of a kick out of it as I did.
Read my full review of Morgan Spurlock’s COMIC-CON EPISODE IV: A FAN’S HOPE at Twitch:
TIFF 2011: Spurlock’s COMIC-CON Will Make You A Fan
I should have obviously posted this earlier, but while there is horn tooting going on, check out the first quote up in the awesome theatrical trailer for THE RAID: REDEMPTION (at 1:24).
Reprinted from Twitch
Ahhh, another snowy year at Sundance (particularly snowy this year) has come to a close. A lot of excellent films have been packed up in their canisters and sent to their new distributors. Even more will move along in the festival season, hoping to find a friendly home on some form of new-fangled download-to-your-alphanumeric-pager distro-strategy. But before these movies make it to screens of various sizes near you, I’d like to take you on a quick tour of all the titles I was able to catch this year. I’ve included my letter grade, a few words of what I thought, whether the film has yet to land distribution, and also my initial impression via my immediate tweet after seeing the film.
As you might notice, the films I saw at this year’s festival included a whole lot of B grades. Frankly, the quality of films this go-around was a bit lower than in past years. There weren’t a lot of bad films (I avoided both Lay the Favorite and Price Check after hearing rotten reports). It just seemed that filmmakers (or maybe the fest) was playing it a bit safe. While there are obvious exceptions (Compliance), no fewer than a dozen of the films I saw can be best summed up in one word: charming. I’ll avoid too deep of an analysis on this trend as to the role of the economic downturn or the perception that distributors are avoiding challenging films. But it is safe to say that this trend led to a generally less risky batch of films — and therefore a generally less rewarding crop. But there were certainly some gems to be found amongst the rhinestones. Now, here are my thoughts:
Read the full story
It’s time again to reprint my Twitch Sundance Previews in one easy to scroll through place. Be sure to check out all the originals and lots of reviews and wraps at TwitchFilm.com
Sundance 2012 Preview: Dramatic Competitions
Sundance 2012 Preview: Documentaries
Sundance 2012 Preview: Premieres & Spotlight
Sundance 2012 Preview: Midnight & Next
Sundance 2012 Preview: Short Films
To kick things off, we’ll be taking a look at a few of the notable films from each of the Dramatic Competition sections. It’s the nature of Sundance (especially the competition sections) to be a bit of a crapshoot guessing at which films will be the hits. Who would have guessed it would be Like Crazy not Little Birds or Another Earth instead of Another Happy Day that would get Park City buzzing last year. We’ll have wall to wall coverage of everything buzzing this year. For now, here are a few films that caught our eyes.
On to the Dramatic Competition.
Read the full preview
Here is a reprint of the SLAMDANCE Preview I ran on Twitch before the festival. Be sure to also check out Andy’s Awesome Round Up from the fest.
Sundance ain’t the only film game in town during Utah’s busiest week of the year. Our Park City Preview Week wraps up today with a look at what’s in store from the Slamdance Film Festival.
We had a chance to speak briefly with Slamdance co-founder and president Peter Baxter. We asked Mr. Baxter for his thoughts on about the competition slate:
“The documentary and narrative competitions are very strong this year. In many ways both represent the dramatic times in which we currently live. The filmmakers have drawn inspiration from the daily challenges of life that has provided a great sense of innovation and experimentation. It’s exciting because you are left thinking these emerging filmmakers really are leading us into the next wave of indie film.”
While it often plays second fiddle to the much larger Sundance fest, Slamdance is a great opportunity for the smallest of the small independent films to find an audience. Mark Jackson‘s Without from last year’s fest is the perfect example of such a film. Audiences raved about the film, giving particular kudos to star Joslyn Jensen‘s performance. Critics took note, and the film showed up on many year-end best of lists. What will be this year’s Without? Here are a few of candidates that caught our attention:
Read the full preview
It is time again for what has become an annual tradition here at enderzero.net: My end of year Best Of movie post. In years past I’ve created some version of a Top 10 (see: 2007 | 2008 | 2009 | 2010 ). 2011 brought a considerably more active year of film festival attendance via my role at Twitch. I was lucky enough to put in serious film viewing time at Sundance, LA Film Fest, Toronto, Fantastic Fest, and AFI Fest. Therefore, I’ve decided to expand things a bit this year and bring you my 50 Beautiful Films from 2011 (and 5 Ugly Ones). I’ve included a few words about each film along with my original impression of the film via my first tweet after seeing it. You’ll also find a link to my full review if one was written. As always, I look forward to your comments below.
Read the whole list
AFIFest kicks off at the Mann Chinese and Egyptian Theaters on November 3rd. Like in years past, the festival is FREEEE (if you can get tickets). The tickets become available to non AFI members on Thursday Oct. 27th at 10am. There are a ton of great films playing and I’ll have a full preview at Twitch next week. But I wanted to give you a heads up on what to try to grab if you are logging on at 10am tomorrow. It turns out I’ve seen most of the most exciting films so I’ll just give you a quick Top 10 of the films (#1 being most recommended) I’ve seen followed by my tentative schedule. Sorry I can’t provide more detaisl on each film now (next week, I promise) but hit me up if you have any specific questions. Grab some free tix tomorrow and let’s catch a flick!
Top 10 films you should see at AFIFest that I’ve already seen
10. Kill List
9. Carre Blanc
8. I Melt With You
7. Beyond the Black Rainbow
6. The Lady
4. The Artist
1. Oslo, August 31st (My review)
My Tentative Schedule
7:00p J. Edgar
4:00p The Invader
1:30p Once Upon a Time in Anatolia
6:00p My Week With Marilyn
9:30p Secret Screening
1:15p Into the Abyss
7:00p An Evening with Pedro Almodovar – Law of Desire
4:30p Jiro Dreams of Sushi
7:00p Jeff Who Lives at Home
10:00p The Zone
8:15p We Need to Talk About Kevin
It’s about that time of year. The Hollywood tentpoles have been taken down and the circus is moving on. Autumn is beginning and that means the award hopeful films start to fill the cinemas. The unofficial beginning of awards season for North American audiences is the Toronto International Film Festival which kicks off TOMORROW! I’ll be going and I’ve just completed my preview series TIFF 11 for ’11 at TWITCHFILM. Check out all six parts at Twitch!
TIFF 11 for ’11 Part 1: The Big Launches
TIFF 11 for ’11 Part 2: The Fantastic Side of Things
TIFF 11 for ’11 Part 3: Pacific Rim Offerings
TIFF 11 for ’11 Part 4: Big Screen Reality
TIFF 11 for ’11 Part 5: The Films That Could
TIFF 11 for ’11 Part 6: The Best from Other Fests
Or see it all after the jump
The LA Film Fest has wrapped up downtown – good thing because I’m pretty sick of Stella Artois. Here are the links to all my coverage of the fest at Twitch
LAFF 2011: A Chat with LAFF’s David Ansen and Doug Jones – My interview with the festival’s top two programmers.
LAFF 2011 Preview: The Low Down on What’s Up Downtown – My full preview – full text also after the jump.
Review: Linklater’s BERNIE is a Funny Mess
Review: Refn’s DRIVE is the No Nonsense Action Film You’ve Been Waiting For
LAFF 2011: Opening Weekend Wrap on a Raucous LAFilmFest – From Drive to drag queens, my thoughts on the fest’s opening weekend include details of the screenwriter and director panels.
Review: SENNA is This Year’s Most Exciting Doc
Review: NATURAL SELECTION is Indie Gold
LAFF 2011 – Narrative Feature Competition Wrap – Mini-Reviews of An Ordinary Family, Mamitas, How to Cheat, and The Dynamiter.
LAFF 2011 – Documentary Feature Competition Wrap – Mini-Reviews of Paraiso for Sale, Somewhere Between, Once I was Champion, and Unraveled.
LAFF 2011: Final Wrap on The Beyond and Fantastic Films of LAFilmFest – Mini-Reviews of Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark, The Innkeepers, Entrance, Karate Robo Zaborgar, Eternity, and Attack the Block.
Full text of Preview here
No it’s not a feature or even a TV pilot, but it’s still pretty fun to watch Bijou Phillips tear into her lover with an axe in this gory video for Broken Social Scene‘s “Sweetest Kill.” I’ve had a sweet spot for her since James Toback’s criminally under-seen Black & White (“I was at the libary”) so it’s at least nice to see she’s still alive. The video is directed by up and coming director Claire Edmondson who also directed this very NSFW video for the band Austra. Put these two videos together and we might have a TV pilot after all.