Monday, December 29, 2008

Sundance Ticket Fulfillment

Today is the day we select the movies we will be seeing at Sundance. Five Minutes of Heaven and An Education were sold out for the first 5 days of the festival (both were only screening once in Park City during that time so you had to figure that might happen). I'm bummed I couldn't get tickets for those. Other films I noticed were sold out: World's Greatest Dad, 500 Days of Summer, and Crude, the documentary about oil (seriously?)

Anyway, here are the ones we got tickets for:


Jan 16th:
Mary and Max
The Missing Person
Helen

Jan 17th:
Brooklyn's Finest
It Might Get Loud
The Vicious Kind
Mystery Team

Jan 18th:
The Greatest
Louise-Michel
Endgame
Black Dynamite

Jan 19th:
I Love You Phillip Morris
Paper Heart
Adventureland
The Messenger

Jan 20th:
Brief Interviews with Hideous Men
Big Fan
Adam
Arlen Faber
The Immaculate Conception of Little Dizzle


So, the breakdown by category is:
6 films from the U.S. Dramatic Competition
1 from the World Dramatic Competition
6 from the Premiers category
4 from the Spectrum (non-competition dramas)
1 from the Spectrum Documentary category (non-competition docs)
2 from the Midnight Movies category

The breakdown by theater is:
7 at the Library
6 at the Eccles
5 at the Racquet Club
1 at the Holiday
1 at the Egyptian

7 of the 20 movies we're seeing are their absolute first showing at the festival, for whatever that's worth (Adventureland, Endgame, The Messenger, Helen, The Missing Person, Mystery Team, and Black Dynamite).


Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Preparations A through G were a complete failure

Less than a month to go, many preparations to be made, not the least of which is figuring out what movies we will pick when the 29th gets here. I've been pouring over the film guide and some difficult choices will indeed have to be made.

When I first decided to attend Sundance I checked around the Internet and stumbled across this cool blog about one persons Sundance experience. It's been four months now and it's still my favorite site on the subject.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

The Sundance Film Guide is Up

Check out the on-line film guide here or download the .pdf version here.

The following films (among others) are not being screened in Park City until the second half of the schedule, and since we're going for the first half (the aforementioned "A-week"). We can safely scratch these off our to do list:
  • Moon (sci-fi starring Sam Rockwell and made by David Bowie's son)

  • The Informers (odd looking film starring Billy Bob Thornton and Kim Bassinger)

  • Shrink (about a psychiatrist; stars Kevin Spacey)

  • In the Loop (described as a british political farce)

I had some interest in Moon and In the Loop, but all in all those four weren't in my top 10 anyway.

Sunday, December 07, 2008

Sundance 2009 Lineup Announced

Sundance officially announced their film lineup for 2009. You can see the full press release here and here. According to their site:

118 feature-length films were selected including 89 world premieres, 17 North American premieres, and 4 U.S. premieres representing 21 countries with 42 first- time filmmakers, including 28 in competition. These films were selected from 3,661 feature- length film submissions composed of 1,905 U.S. and 1,756 international feature-length films.
Of those 118 I've narrowed my list down to 50 you see below. So far we've only purchased 2 Ticket A packages, so that means 40 tickets or 20 movies (with 2 people attending). So my plan is to organize these 50 in order of preference so that I have plenty of backups when I go to select the films at the end of December.

Several factors conspire against us:

1) Depending on which day (Dec 29th, 30th, or 31st) we're assigned our ticket selection windows, some movies may already be sold out. Edit: We got late in the day on the 29th as our ticket selection window for both packages. yay us.

2) Judging from previous years' film guides, each movie only screens about 5 times during the course of the 10 day festival. The festival is divided into 2 sections, the first 5 days (A week) and the second 5 days (B week). So for our purposes, films may only screen 2 or 3 times during "week A". On top of that, one or more of those screenings may be in Ogden or Salt Lake. So it's highly likely that some movies will only screen once or twice in Park City during the first 5 days, and more than likely there will a couple of movies that show the same time as others on our list, forcing us to choose one or the other. (in 2003, for example, American Splendor only screened twice in the first 5 days: at 8:30 PM on day 4, and at 8:30 AM on day 5. Also, The Visitor didn't play at all in Park City last year during the first 5 days of the festival).

So, here is our list roughly in order of preference. I doubt so many films will be unavailable as to reach down into the extreme lower part of this list, but who knows we may want to purchase additional individual tickets oce we get there.

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Five Minutes of Heaven / UK
Liam Neeson, James Nesbitt, Anamaria Marinca
(Dir: Oliver Hirschbiegel; Screenwriter: Guy Hibbert)—Two men from the same town but from different sides of the Irish political divide discover that the past is never dead--in fact it isn't even past.World Premiere

An Education / UK
Peter Sarsgaard, Carey Mulligan, Alfred Molina, Emma Thompson.
(Dir: Lone Scherfig; Screenwriter: Nick Hornby)—In the early 60s, a sharp 16- year-old with sights set on Oxford meets a handsome older man whose sophistication enraptures and sidetracks both her and her parents. World Premiere

Brief Interviews with Hideous Men
Julianne Nicholson, John Krasinski, Timothy Hutton, Dominic Cooper, Christopher Meloni, Rashida Jones
(Dir/Screenwriter: John Krasinski) When her boyfriend leaves with little explanation, a doctoral candidate in anthropology tries to remedy her heartache by interviewing men about their behavior. World Premiere

Big Fan
Patton Oswalt, Michael Rapaport, Kevin Corrigan, Marcia Jean Kurtz, Matt Servitto
(Dir/Screenwriter: Robert Siegel) The world of a parking garage attendant who happens to be the New York Giants' biggest fan is turned upside down after an altercation with his favorite player. World Premiere.

Paper Heart
Charlyne Yi, Michael Cera, Jake Johnson
(Dir: Nicholas Jasenovec; Screenwriters: Nicholas Jasenovec and Charlyne Yi)—Even though performer Charlyne Yi doesn't believe in love, she bravely embarks on a quest to discover its true nature--a journey that takes on surprising urgency when she meets unlikely fellow traveler, actor Michael Cera. World Premiere

The Greatest
Pierce Brosnan, Susan Sarandon, Carey Mulligan, Johnny Simmons, Aaron Johnson, Mike Shannon
(Dir/Screenwriter: Shana Feste) After the tragic loss of their teenage son, a family is again thrown into turmoil by the arrival of a young woman. World Premiere

Cold Souls
Paul Giamatti, David Strathairn, Dina Korzun, Emily Watson, Lauren Ambrose, Katheryn Winnick
(Dir/Screenwrtier: Sophie Barthes) In the midst of an existential crisis, a famous American actor explores soul extraction as a relief from the burdens of daily life. World Premiere

Adventureland
Kristen Stewart, Ryan Reynolds, Bill Hader
(Dir/Screenwriter: Greg Mottola)—In 1987, a recent college graduate takes a nowhere job at his local amusement park and discovers the job is perfect preparation for the real world. World Premiere

Brooklyn's Finest
Richard Gere, Ethan Hawke, Wesley Snipes, Don Cheadle, Ellen Barkin
(Dir: Antoine Fuqua; Screenwriter: Michael C. Martin)—After enduring vastly different career paths, three unconnected Brooklyn cops wind up at the same deadly location. World Premiere

500 Days of Summer
Zooey Deschanel, Joseph Gordon-Levitt
(Dir: Marc Webb; Screenwriters: Scott Neustadter, Michael H. Weber)—When an unlucky greeting card copywriter is dumped by his girlfriend, the hopeless romantic shifts back and forth through various periods of their 500 days 'together' in hopes of figuring out where things went wrong. World Premiere

Spread
Ashton Kutcher, Anne Heche.
(Dir: David Mackenzie; Screenwriter: Jason Dean Hall)—A handsome young man survives in Los Angeles by seducing wealthy older women. World Premiere

I Love You Philip Morris
Jim Carrey, Ewan McGregor, Leslie Mann, Rodrigo Santoro
(Directors and Screenwriters: Glenn Ficarra and John Requa)—The true story about con artist and imposter Steven Jay Russell, a married father whose exploits land him in the Texas criminal justice system. Based on the novel by Houston Chronicle crime reporter Steve McVicker. World Premiere

Endgame / UK
William Hurt, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Jonny Lee Miller, Mark Strong
(Dir: Pete Travis; Screenwriter: Paula Milne)—A political thriller in which a businessman initiates covert discussions between the African National Congress and white intellectuals to try and find a peaceful solution to the Apartheid regime. World Premiere

Mary and Max / Australia
Philip Seymour Hoffman (voice), Toni Collette (voice), Barry Humphries (voice)
(Dir/Screenwriter: Adam Elliot)—The tale of two unlikely pen pals: Mary, a lonely, eight-year-old girl living in the suburbs of Melbourne, and Max, a forty-four-year old, severely obese man living in New York. World Premiere, Opening Night Film

Arlen Faber
Kat Dennings, Lauren Graham, Olivia Thirlby, Jeff Daniels, Tony Hale
(Dir/Screenwriter: John Hindman) A reclusive author of a groundbreaking spiritual book awakens to new truths when two strangers enter his life. World Premiere

Black Dynamite
Michael Jai White, Tommy Davidson, Salli Richardson-Whitfield, Byron Minns, James McManus
(Dir: Scott Sanders; Screenwriters: Michael Jai White, Scott Sanders, and Byron Minns)—When 'The Man' murders his brother, pumps heroin into local orphanages, and floods the ghetto with adulterated malt liquor, 1970s African-American action legend Black Dynamite is the one hero willing to take him on. World Premiere

Moon / UK
Sam Rockwell, Kevin Spacey
(Dir: Duncan Jones; Screenwriter: Nathan Parker)—Before returning to Earth after three years on the moon, things go horribly wrong for astronaut Sam Bell. World Premiere

Helen / Canada/Germany
Ashley Judd, Goran Visnijic
(Dir/Screenwriter: Sandra Nettelbeck)—A successful psychiatrist fights her own clinical depression. World Premiere

Manure
Téa Leoni, Billy Bob Thornton, Kyle MacLachlan
(Dir: Michael Polish; Screenwriters: Mark Polish and Michael Polish)—A comic tale centered on manure salesmen in the early 1960s. World Premiere

In the Loop / UK
Peter Capaldi, James Gandolfini, Tom Hollander.
(Dir: Armando Iannucci; Screenwriters: Armando Iannucci and Jesse Armstrong)—A fast-paced film about Britain and America's special relationship in the lead-up to a war no one seems to be able to stop. World Premiere

World's Greatest Dad
Robin Williams, Daryl Sabara, Alexie Gilmore, Tom Kenny, Geoffrey Pierson.
(Dir/Screenwriter: Bobcat Goldthwait)—A comedy about a high school poetry teacher who learns that the things you want most may not be the things that make you happy. World Premiere

Taking Chance
Kevin Bacon, Blanche Baker
(Dir: Ross Katz; Screenwriters: LtCol Michael R. Strobl, USMC (Ret.) and Ross Katz )—Based on real-life events, Lt. Col. Michael Strobl, a volunteer military escort officer, accompanies the body of 19-year-old Marine Chance Phelps back to his hometown of Dubois, Wyoming. World Premiere

The Messenger
Ben Foster, Woody Harrelson, Samantha Morton, Jena Malone, Eamonn Walker
(Dir: Oren Moverman; Screenwriters: Alessandro Camon and Oren Moverman)—Two soldiers from different generations form a unique bond as they cope with their assignment with the Army Casualty Notification department. World Premiere

Mystery Team
Dominic Dierkes, D.C. Pierson, Donald Glover, Aubrey Plaza, Glenn Kalison
(Dir: Dan Eckman; Screenwriters: Dominic Dierkes, Donald Glover, and DC Pierson)—A group of kid detectives called The Mystery Team struggle to solve a double murder to prove they can be real detectives before they graduate from high school. World Premiere

The Informers
Billy Bob Thornton, Kim Basinger, Winona Ryder, Mickey Rourke
(Dir: Gregor Jordan; Screenwriters: Bret Easton Ellis and Nicholas Jarecki)—A drama based on Bret Easton Ellis' novel, set in the 1980s, focusing on wealthy Angelinos consumed by a decadent lifestyle. North American Premiere

Spring Breakdown
Rachel Dratch, Amy Poehler, Parker Posey, Will Arnett, Rachel Hamilton.
(Dir: Ryan Shiraki; Screenwriters: Ryan Shiraki and Rachel Dratch)—Three thirtysomething friends attempt to break the monotony of their uninspired lives by vacationing at a popular spring break getaway for college students. World Premiere

Sin Nombre
Edgar Flores, Paulina Gaitan, Kristyan Ferrer, Tenoch Huerta Mejía, Luis Fernando Peña, Diana García
(Dir/Screenwriter: Cary Joji Fukunaga) A teenage Mexican gang member maneuvers to outrun his violent past and elude unforgiving former associates in this thriller set among Central American migrants seeking to cross over to the United States. World Premiere

The Missing Person
Michael Shannon, Amy Ryan, Frank Wood.
(Dir/Screenwriter: Noah Buschel) Private detective John Rosow is hired to tail a man on a train from Chicago to Los Angeles. En route, Rosow uncovers that the man's identity is one of the thousands presumed dead after the 9/11 terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center. World Premiere

Louise-Michel / France
Yolande Moreau, Bouli Lanners.
(Dir: Benoit Delepine and Gustave Kervern)—When a French factory is abruptly closed by its corrupt management, a group of disgruntled female workers pool their paltry compensation money and hire a hit man to knock off the corrupt executive behind the closure. North American Premiere

Humpday
Mark Duplass, Joshua Leonard, Alycia Delmore, Lynn Shelton, Trina Willard
(Dir/Screenwriter: Lynn Shelton) A farcical comedy about straight male bonding gone a little too far. World Premiere

It Might Get Loud
The Edge, Jimmy Page, Jack White
(Dir: Davis Guggenheim)—The history of the electric guitar from the point of view of three legendary rock musicians. U.S. Premiere

The Immaculate Conception of Little Dizzle
Marshall Allman, Vince Vieluf, Natasha Lyonne, Tania Raymonde, Tygh Runyan
(Dir/Screenwriter: David Russo)—After losing his high-paying job, Dory takes a gig as a night janitor in order to pay rent. Alone late at night inside a market research firm, he discovers something worse than his new job cleaning toilets - a conniving corporate executive has made him the subject of a bizarre experiment. World Premiere

Against the Current
Joseph Fiennes, Justin Kirk, Elizabeth Reaser, Mary Tyler Moore, Michelle Trachtenberg.
(Dir/Screenwriter: Peter Callahan)—Facing the anniversary of his pregnant wife's tragic death, thirty-five-year old Paul Thompson enlists the help of two friends to help him swim the length of the Hudson River. World Premiere

Motherhood
Uma Thurman, Minnie Driver, Anthony Edwards
(Dir/Screenwriter: Katherine Dieckmann)—A mother of two from Manhattan is having a day that would challenge even the toughest maternal multi-tasker. World Premiere

Once More with Feeling
Drea de Matteo, Linda Fiorentino, Chazz Palminteri, Susan Miser, Lauren Bittner
(Dir: Jeff Lipsky; Screenwriter: Gina O'Brien)—A comedy about a psychiatrist who undergoes a midlife crisis and pursues his long-lost ambition of becoming a singer through karaoke. World Premiere

The Maid (La Nana) / Chile
Catalina Saavedra, Claudia Celedón, Mariana Loyola, Alejandro Goic, Andrea García-Huidobro
(Dir/Screenwriter: Sebastian Silva)—When her mistress brings on another servant to help with the chores, a bitter and introverted maid wreaks havoc on the household. North American Premiere

The Clone Returns (Kuron Wa Kokyo-Wo Mezasu) / Japan
Mitsuhiro Oikawa, Eri Ishida, Hiromi Nagasaku
(Dir/Screenwriter: Kanji Nakajima) —A Japanese astronaut who dies during a mission is subsequently resurrected as a clone and returns to his childhood home. North American Premiere

Shrink
Kevin Spacey, Keke Palmer, Mark Webber, Dallas Roberts, Saffron Burrows.
(Dir: Jonas Pate; Screenwriter: Thomas Moffett)—Unable to come to grips with a recent personal tragedy, Los Angeles’ top celebrity psychiatrist loses faith in his ability to help his patients. World Premiere

Lymelife
Alec Baldwin, Kieran Culkin, Timothy Hutton, Cynthia Nixon, Emma Roberts.
(Dir: Derick Martini; Screenwriters: Derick Martini and Steven Martini)—Set in the 1970s, a unique take on the dangers of the American dream seen through the innocent eyes of a fifteenyear-old boy. U.S. Premiere

The Vicious Kind
Brittany Snow, Adam Scott, J.K. Simmons, Alex Frost
(Dir/Screenwriter: Lee Toland Krieger)—Suffering insomnia and testy by nature, Caleb Sinclaire reluctantly picks up his brother Peter at college and brings him and his new girlfriend Emma home to his estranged father's house for Thanksgiving. World Premiere

The Yes Men Fix the World / France/ USA
Andy Bichlbaum, Mike Bonanno
(Directors: Andy Bichlbaum, Mike Bonanno and Kurt Engfehr)—A pair of notorious troublemakers sneak into corporate events disguised as captains of industry, then use their momentary authority to expose the biggest criminals on the planet. World Premiere

Adam
Hugh Dancy, Rose Byrne, Peter Gallagher, Amy Irving, Frankie Faison, Mark Linn-Baker
(Dir/Screenwriter: Max Mayer)—A strange and lyrical love story between a somewhat socially dysfunctional young man and the woman of his dreams. World Premiere

Peter and Vandy
Jess Weixler, Jason Ritter, Jesse L. Martin, Tracie Thoms
(Dir/Screenwriter: Jay DiPietro)—Juxtaposing a couple's romantic beginnings with the twisted-manipulative-regular couple they have become, Peter and Vandy is a contemporary Manhattan love story with no beginning and no end. World Premiere

Afghan Star / Afghanistan/UK
Havana Marking
(Director: Havana Marking) After 30 years of war and Taliban rule, Pop Idol has come to television in Afghanistan: millions are watching and voting for their favorite singer. This film follows the dramatic stories of four contestants as they risk their lives to sing. North American Premiere

White Lightnin' / UK
Ed Hogg, Carrie Fisher, Muse Watson, Wallace Merck, Clay Steakley
(Dir: Dominic Murphy; Screenwriters: Shane Smith and Eddy Moretti)—The outrageous cult story of Jesco White, the dancing outlaw. World Premiere

Johnny Mad Dog / France
Cast: Christophe Minie, Daisy Victoria Vandy
(Dir: Jean-Stéphane Sauvaire; Screenwriters: Jean-Stéphane Sauvaire and Jacques Fieschi) A fifteen-year-old kid-soldier fighting in Africa is armed to the hilt and inhabited by the mad dog he dreams of becoming. North American Premiere

Død Snø (Dead Snow) / Norway
Cast: Vegard Hoel, Stig Frode Henriksen, Charlotte Frogner, Jenny Skavlan, Jeppe Beck Laursen
(Director: Tommy Wirkola; Screenwriters: Tommy Wirkola and Stig Frode Henriksen)—A group of teenagers had all they needed for a successful ski vacation; cabin, skis, snowmobile, toboggan, copious amounts of beer and a fertile mix of the sexes. Certainly, none of them anticipated not returning home alive! However, the Nazi-zombie battalion haunting the mountains had other plans. North American Premiere

Big River Man
John Maringouin
(Director: John Maringouin)—An overweight, wine-swilling Slovenian world-recordholding endurance swimmer resolves to brave the mighty Amazon--in nothing but a Speedo®. World Premiere

Dada's Dance / China
Li Xinyun, Li Xiaofeng, Gai Ge, Chen Jun
(Dir: Zhang Yuan; Screenwriter: Li Xiaofeng)—Dada is a flirtatious young woman who lives with her mother in a small town. Having to fend off the constant advances of her mother's boyfriend who tells her she is adopted, she undertakes a journey in search of her birth mother. North American Premiere

The Killing Room
Chloe Sevigny, Peter Stormare, Clea DuVall, Timothy Hutton, Nick Cannon
(Dir: Jonathan Liebesman; Screenwriters: Gus Krieger and Ann Peacock)—Four individuals sign up for a psychological research study only to discover that they are now subjects of a brutal, classified government program. World Premiere

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

I'm Gonna Make You A Little Less Gross Every Day

I know I’m about 4 months late with this, but I just found out that since Ebert & Roeper left the show, the new "At the Movies" review show is called At The Movies with Lyons and Mankiewicz and is hosted by Ben Lyons and Ben Mankiewicz. They've already aired at least one episode, although my TiVo didn’t catch it, maybe the slight name change is goofing it up, or maybe my TiVo is, unbeknownst to me, trying to protect me from what appears to be a dreadful turn of events for a once beloved show.

You can see their reviews of Slumdog Millionaire and Quantum of Solace here. I like Ben Mankiewicz (the one with the goatee). He’s one of the hosts (Robert Osbourne is the other) of the Turner Classic Movie channel. So far I don't care for the other guy, Ben Lyons (he does film reviewing for E! and is apparently the son of movie reviewer Jeffrey Lyons). His favorite Bond film is Goldeneye because it launched the James Bond videogame franchise? Oh please. We get that you’re trying to appeal to a younger generation. I recommend wearing a sun visor upside down and turned slightly to the left. They need to add DJ Dynasty Handbag as a reviewer if they want to appeal to young and hip, "Ooh wee, T'Shane. Let's review us some movies today, B'okay?”

Friday, October 31, 2008

Check, Check, and Check

Quick update on the Sundance front:
  • We registered for the opportunity to buy tickets on Sept. 23rd.
  • We were assigned two time-slots for the 2nd day of ticket buying (Oct 29th) and one time slot for the 4th day (you can only purchase one ticket package per registration/time slot).
  • On the 29th we successfully purchased 2 Ticket Package A, umm, packages. Twenty tickets per package, so that's 40 tickets for movies spanning the 1st five days of the festival (Jan. 16th - 20th). By the time our 3rd time slot rolled around Ticket Package A as well as the Discovery Packages (10 tickets) were all sold out, fortunately 40 tickets should be more than enough.
  • Now we have to wait until December to actually choose what movies we're going to use our tickets for.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

I Say Good Day!

I'm having trouble figuring out the complex rules system for Sundance ticket buying. I contacted customer support and received the following response:
Wrong, sir! Wrong! Under section 37B of the contract [...] it states quite clearly that all offers shall become null and void if -- and you can read it for yourself in this photostatic copy -- "I, the undersigned, shall forfeit all rights, privileges, and licenses herein and herein contained," et cetera, et cetera... "Fax mentis incendium gloria cultum," et cetera, et cetera... "Memo bis punitor delicatum"! It's all there, black and white, clear as crystal! You stole fizzy lifting drinks! You bumped into the ceiling which now has to be washed and sterilized, so you get nothing! You lose! Good day sir!
I responded back explaining to them that a) I have signed no such contract, and b) I'm pretty sure you just quoted a line from a Gene Wilder movie.

Actually, I did ask if I was allowed to trade tickets with other filmgoers because I had heard you could do that. I was told you can "exchange tickets that you do not want up until 2 hours before a screening at any Main Box Office". So there you go, one more mystery solved.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Upcoming Vacation


So we're planning our next vacation to Utah in January. We are going to attempt to go to the Sundance Film Festival in Park City in late January 2009. My people (and by people I mean Google) tell me it's cold there, like 8 degrees. Some of us might not be making it back. It is both easier and more difficult than I thought it would be to attend this festival. I'll keep you updated on our progress.
So far the hurdles are:
  • acquire lodging
  • acquire plane tickets
  • acquire movie tickets
  • make sure the dog is taken care of
Plans are in motion for all of the above. The one X factor to all of this is the movie tickets. You see, Sundance is a 10 day festival broken into two 5-day blocks. You either order tickets/passes for the first 5 days (A packages) or the second 5 days (B packages).

To order tickets you have to pre-register between September 23rd and October 10th. About a week after registration closes you get an email either telling you when you can buy tickets or that you were not selected to buy tickets. So there's the rub, you can wait until you know if you can score tickets at which point all the hotels will be sold out, or you can reserve now with the possibility of getting zero tickets. awesome.