Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Heading Home

It is the seventh day of the festival, a wednesday morning, and we are heading home weak, weary, abused, and in need of a warmer climate (nevermind Park City was warmer this year than in year's past). Below, Sam poses with his new Sundance T-shirt.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Sundance: Day 6

I watched 5 movies today. I don't recommend ever doing that. By the end of the day I was exhausted, my eyes hurt, my head hurt, and my back and neck were sore.

First up at 8:30 AM was Brief Interviews With Hideous Men. I liked this movie, it was funny but it was also pretty intense in some spots. Its not a movie for everyone and I think I had higher expectations, but it was still a solid movie.

Next was Big Fan starring Patton Oswalt. There were relatively few funny parts in this movie, but that's probably because its a drama not a comedy. That will probably disappoint some people expecting Patton Oswalt to be funny. It was a little slow, overall I liked it, but I had pretty high expectations going in and by this time I've seen some pretty darn good movies and this just doesn't stack up that well.

Film number 3 for the the day was Adam starring Hugh Dancy. Its a romantic comedy about a guy and a girl, except the guy has Asperger's syndrome which, in the context of this movie at least, leaves the sufferer unable to communicate as well as he's like because he takes everything literally and doesn't have the filter most of us have, on our comments. Jen and I ended up sitting behind the director and the lead actor, Hugh Dancy and his girlfriend, Claire Daines during the screening.

Next was Arlen Faber starring Jeff Daniels. This was one of the best movies I saw at the festival. Its a light-hearted classical romantic comedy in the vein of the 1930's and 40's screwball comedies. This was one of the few Q & A's I was at where only the director was available for the Q & A portion. It didn't matter though, the director John Hindman (pronounced Hynd-men) was fantastic. Apparently he got his start in stand-up comedy so he was a natural at the mic. He was also one of the most genuine, normal people we saw there. Definitely not pretentious or weird like a lot of filmmakers tend to be.

And closing out the marathon session of movies was The Immaculate Conception of Little Dizzle. A very odd movie indeed. I recognized one actor (Matt Smith) from Outsourced. During the Q & A when someone asked the cast the old "what is your next project" question, he said he had an auction next weekend as he was also an auctioneer. One of the female cast members (Tania Raymonde) revealed she had been on the TV show "Lost" (playing Ben's daughter, Alex) until her character was shot in the back of the head.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Sundance: Day 5

Today Jen & Mel saw I Love You Philip Morris and their review was positive. They apparently also came within three feet of Ewan MacGregor after the Q & A, and the review was glowing. animals.

My first movie of the day was Paper Heart and I really liked it although the lead actresses deadpan style definitely isn't for everyone. It features interviews with real couples talking about how they fell in love and I know it sounds sappy but it was actually really cool.

Next up was Adventureland made by the guy that did Superbad. It was mostly a by-the-numbers romantic comedy that brought nothing new to the table. It wasn't a bad movie, but if you go expecting something really funny like Superbad you'll be let down.

Last up for the day was The Messengers, a movie starring Woody Harrelson and Ben Foster as the guys the military sends out to notify the next of kin when a soldier dies. I didn't have high expectations for this. The first half was actually pretty interesting, you see them knocking on doors and informing different people that their father, son, brother, etc. has just died and you see all kinds of different reactions and it feels pretty true to the way you would think people would handle it. The second half spirals into a pointless meandering narrative on the two main characters and I quickly lost interest.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Sundance: Day 4

Today Mel and Jen are seeing The Greatest starring Pierce Brosnan and Susan Sarandon. The consensus was that it was just ok.

My first movie of the day was a foreign film at The Egyptian called Louise-Michel. It too, was just so-so. Not a terrible movie, but compared to everything else I've seen this year at the festival it was a bit of a disappointment. It's a wacky french comedy that tries to be outrageous to the point that there's a weird scene involving a man crashing small planes into a mock up of the twin towers. According to the director during the Q & A they cut a scene involving princess Diana because they decided that was too far.

Next up was Endgame starring William Hurt. It's a political drama (notice I didn't say political "thriller") that moves terribly slow. It's directed by the guy that did Vantage Point and it reminded me of why that movie wasn't particularly good either.

Last up, we went to the midnight movie, Black Dynamite and it lived up to the hype. It's a hilarious send up of 70's blaxploitation flicks like Dolemite and Shaft. Most of the cast was available after the movie for the Q & A (Arsenio Hall was missing). The director pointed out that there was a cameo in the film by a guy that played one of the cops in Dolemite.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Sundance: Day 3

It's day 3 and I'm still searching for a bad movie. The girls saw Brooklyn's Finest, which they enjoyed. They said the director, Antoine Fuqua, was available for the Q& A, but no other cast members were in attendance for the Saturday morning screening.

My first movie of the day was It Might Get Loud, the documentary about the electric guitar as seen through Jimmy Page, U2's The Edge, and Jack White from the White Stripes. This movie was a total blast, and crazy loud. I have a new found appreciation for The Edge's effects pedal wizardry and Jack White in general. Jack was available for the Q & A and was pretty funny. He actually seems pretty cool in person, and not weird and intense and weird.

Next up was a movie called The Vicious Kind. My expectations for this were pretty low and only bought tickets to it in order to finish off my ticket package. The synopsis I read in the film guide didn't make it sound like my cup of tea. As it turns out this is now my favorite film of the festival. I was totally blown away by how good it was. J.K. Simmons (Juno, The Ladykillers) was great as always and Adam Scott was hilarious and scary at the same time.

Finally for our midnight movie we saw Mystery Team, the feature length film by Derrick Comedy of YouTube fame. Mel and I were in physical pain from laughing so hard. The first half is especially funny. Just about everybody in he movie was in attendance. It was weird to be standing in line and then when the movie started everyone that came on screen I remembered from the line outside. The three main guys were available for the Q & A and seemed pretty at ease considering they just went from YouTube sensation to a sold out screening at Sundance.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Sundance: Day 2

It's Friday, and we have begun our movie viewing in earnest. Melody and Jen saw Mary & Max this morning and the reviews are positive. We took Sam to the park and he was able to experience snow for the first time. The review was mostly positive. Later in the evening, Jen and I headed out to the Library Theater and saw two films, The Missing Person and Helen.

The Missing Person was excellent, a modern day film noir that reminded me a lot of The Big Sleep. During the Q & A the director joked about having ripped off Raymond Chandler for the idea for the script, so there you go. It stars Michael Shannon (from Revolutionary Road) as a private investigator. The New York cab driver in the movie still makes me laugh.

The next movie, Helen, was quite a bit more depressing but still enjoyable. I think I liked The Missing Person better but Ashley Judd definitely put on quite a performance. The cast was available for the Q & A after the screening, which was pretty cool. The guy next to me was crying during the entire second half of the movie, so I guess it's safe to say it's a pretty sad movie. I find middle-aged men, sobbing uncontrollably while sitting next to me, somewhat unsettling. I don't care for it.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Sundance: Day 1

So we landed at SLC around 4:20 local time, then took a shuttle ride into Park City. Jen chatted with six young, nubile Brazilians as we checked into the Copperbottom Inn. Our room was great, all the comforts of home except TiVo. Not much to do the first day but get settled in and get the lay of the land. Jen and I walked down main street and saw Christie Brinkley; she smiled and said hello as we passed.

Monday, January 12, 2009

This will Only Take a Minute

One last thing before heading off to Sundance. One of the crazy movies we'll be seeing is Black Dynamite starring Michael Jai White in the title role. Here's the deleted scene from Kill Bill 2 that he stars in:

(edit: this link is no longer available)

Friday, January 09, 2009

Sundance Tickets Have Arrived

Sundance tickets have finally arrived. Also arriving: a voucher for a Sundance catalog, a fold out transit map, one ticket to the opening night party and two credentials and last but not least: a lanyard for the above-mentioned credentials.

Well I think that does it for the preparations. Our flight leaves on the 15th. So we'll have one day to get settled in before the marathon o' films begins.

Our second Ticket Package A will be waiting at the Main Box Office 'cuz we're crazy like that.