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Lazy Days in Memphis: Watch Indie “Open Five” For Free Online (photo)

Lazy Days in Memphis: Watch Indie “Open Five” For Free Online

“Open Five,” a new film directed by Kentucker Audley and shot by mumblecore’s own Joe Swanberg, just had its premiere at the Indie Memphis Film Festival, and is now watchable online for free for a limited time. The official description of the film calls it “a blend of reality and fiction that follows the story […]

Mumblecore is dead. Long live mumblecore. (photo)

Mumblecore is dead. Long live mumblecore.

Following the same principle that dictates that any band that jumps from the underground to the mainstream loses its street cred, it’s safe to say that “mumblecore” — an initially jokey tag subsequently attached to a series of movies that really did have something in common for a while — is all but dead. The […]

“Audrey the Trainwreck”: An ode to the everyday grind. (photo)

“Audrey the Trainwreck”: An ode to the everyday grind.

Reviewed at the 2010 SXSW Film Festival. Every day of Ron Hogan’s life looks exactly like the one before it. The alarm clock goes off at 6:30. After a stretch at the side of the bed, it’s time to shower and dress. Then a stop off at the convenience store for the same cup of […]

First Impressionism (photo)

First Impressionism

Already justly celebrated everywhere, Steve McQueen’s “Hunger” is a historical scald, a chillingly powerful portrait of state violence, a serious import about authentic political rebellion that frankly contemplates the psyches of both the oppressed and the victimizers, and one of last year’s best films by any measure. But how to write about it so that […]

Seven lessons from 2009. (photo)

Seven lessons from 2009.

Stars matter. Sort of. This one’s kind of up in the air (heh). On the one hand, it’s possible to launch and/or sustain a franchise these days with players who wouldn’t have the ghost of a prayer in opening a movie on their own (take Shia LaBeouf’s non-success-causing hand in the “Transformers” series, or the […]

Mumblecore mocks itself. (photo)

Mumblecore mocks itself.

I guess one sign that you’ve really made it is when you can poke fun at yourself and it’s not just an inside joke for your friends. With “Birthday Suit,” a new three-minute short on “Funny or Die,” mumblecore figurehead/sometime colleague Joe Swanberg achieves the latter, if only barely — hanging at a 48% approval […]

Sundance gets more annoying. (photo)

Sundance gets more annoying.

So Sundance woke up all sweaty and hungover a few days ago and apparently decided it was time to change its ways. The quirky Fox Searchlight acquisitions, the earnest Amerindie movies like “Sin Nombre” going nowhere slowly but self-righteously…something didn’t feel right. Was this the same festival that gave us Steven Soderbergh and Quentin Tarantino? […]

How to save indie film? Form bands, not labs. (photo)

How to save indie film? Form bands, not labs.

Ted Hope, the major indie producer behind “Happiness,” “American Splendor,” “Adventureland” and many others, is a worrier — he wants new distribution models and new ideas for independent film, and he wants them now. This week he’s got a provocative guest post on his blog from Caitlin McCarthy, a screenwriter and inner-city public high school […]

Minor Crises (photo)

Minor Crises

Whether he likes it or not — and we’re talking about a director whose characters feel so much ambivalence that you can practically see it radiating off of them in waves — Andrew Bujalski has become the patron saint of the burgeoning grassroots indie movement misleadingly known as mumblecore. (The people in these films may […]

Mark Duplass Braves “Humpday” (photo)

Mark Duplass Braves “Humpday”

When writer/director Lynn Shelton first asked Mark Duplass to star in a movie about two straight buddies who drunkenly challenge one another to make an amateur porno together (then in the sober light of day refuse to back down), he was unconvinced: “When I heard that pitch, I was like, ‘I don’t think this movie […]