Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Seeking Movie Buddies 'cause I have unlimited access to IFC Center for a year!

I've gone and done it. Something I've been threatening to do for over a year. 

I bought the fancypants IFC Center membership. Not the "get $5 off any admission, and a coupon for a free small popcorn" membership but the "oh hey crazy person - now you can get unlimited tickets for you and a guest, plus we'll throw in a large combo at concessions each time you show up."

I've already used the membership twice since buying it yesterday.

Also - I found out that there are only 8 or 9 people who have this membership.

THIS IS GOING TO BE AWESOME! I apologize in advance that I am going to become obsessed with it and not be able to stop talking about it.

So, guests - who wants to see a movie with me (or five) at the IFC Center sometime (many times) in the next 12 months?

Declaration of War AKA My First Post-Sundance Movie was a Sundance Movie

You can't run a marathon without a little cool-down period, right?

I noticed that one movie that played Sundance this year, called Declaration of War, was opening in theaters in NYC immediately following the festival, so I made a point of not seeing it during this year's festival.

Instead I went and saw it the day I flew home from Sundance. This helped me slowly ease myself off of seeing nonstop festival films.

This was France's submission for the Oscars this year, and I think it even made the short list (but was not nominated). It's about a new, young family coping with the unthinkable: a child's serious illness.

The director made some really interesting choices - for example, huge life events are glossed over by montage but another element that might seem inconsequential are given 10+ minutes of screen time. Also there are some interesting quirks (musical and otherwise) that add a strange layer to what would normally be quite a serious drama. Those devices (except for one) worked fine, from my perspective.

What really added to my enjoyment of this movie was learning that not only was this a true story, but that it was written and directed by, and starring those who actually lived it. That fact alone makes it way worth anyone's time.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

My Sundance BFF Efrain has a Sundance Blog too

Read about his Sundance 2012 journey here:


Sundance 2012 Wrap Up Post - non-film version

I look forward to Sundance all year long.  I've said before (okay, I say it maybe daily) that it's my Christmas.  So, I have to post-mortem it into oblivion.

Allow me to list what I liked and what I didn't like about this year's festival experience. What ruled and what didn't. 

Sundance 2012 - All 55 Films I Saw, How I Rate Them

Sundance 2012 is over and my final count of movies seen comes to 55 - a personal best and one I'm not likely to top again.

Here's everything I saw, followed by how I'd rate it on a 5-point scale where 5 means I loved it and 1 means I hated it.

Queen of Versailles (4)
Hello I Must Be Going (4)
Searching for Sugarman (4)
I Am Not a Hipster (4)
About the Pink Sky (2)
Keep the Lights On (4)
Tim & Eric's Billion Dollar Movie (2)
Marina Abramovic - The Artist Is Present (4)
Detropia (3)
Robot and Frank (3)
My Best Day (3)
Me at the Zoo (2)
Black Rock (3)
The House I Live In (4)
The Pursuit of Loneliness (2)
Liberal Arts (4)
Red Hook Summer (1)
For a Good Time, Call... (5)
V/H/S (4)
Corpo Celeste (4)
Oslo, August 31st (5)
2 Days in New York (3)
The End of Love (3)
Grabbers (3)
The Surrogate (4)
Save the Date (3)
Gypsy Davy (4)
Ai Weiwei: Never Sorry (3)
Beasts of the Southern Wild (5)
Wrong (2)
Shadow Dancer (3)
Indie Game (4)
The First Time (1)
Wish You Were Here (3)
This Must Be the Place (3)
Shut Up and Play the Hits (4)
The Ambassador (3)
Safety Not Guaranteed (4)
The Comedy (3)
Teddy Bear (5)
Slavery by Another Name (3)
Room 237 (3)
The Impostor (3)
Sleepwalk With Me(4)
Smashed (3)
28 Hotel Rooms (5)
Young & Wild (4)
Price Check (4)
The Invisible War (5)
Love Free or Die (3)
Bachelorette (2)
Arbitrage (4)
Violeta Went to Heaven (3)
My Brother the Devil (3)
Chasing Ice (4)

You'll see that my favorites were Teddy Bear, Oslo August 31st,  28 Hotel Rooms, The Invisible War, Beasts of the Southern Wild and For A Good Time Call. 

When I get back from Sundance every year I am inevitably asked what movies folks should look out for.  My recommendations for my non-film-obsessed friends might vary a bit from the short list of movies I gave a "5" rating to, though. What I think will make a big splash in the specialty (if not mainstream) movie market in the next year are two movies - The Surrogate and Beasts of the Southern Wild.

The Surrogate is with Helen Hunt (the sex surrogate) and John Hawkes (the iron lung-confined polio survivor who hires Hunt to help him).  Audiences here freaked out about the performances (rightfully so) and the inspirational, moving tale of a disabled man exploring his sexuality for the first time in an attempt to live life to its fullest.

Beasts of the Southern Wild was the breakout discovery of the festival, the one people on the streets from casual moviegoer to filmmaker to critic couldn't help but gush over.  It's pretty hard to describe, but definitely be on the lookout for it.

I hope that The Invisible War gets a very wide release because it was the documentary that moved me the most of any.  It can best be described as an enraging look at the epidemic of rape in the US armed forces.  Well-made documentary, engaging subjects, important issue.

Bachelorette was in the premiere section and has a big name cast (Kirsten Dunst, James Marsden, Isla Fischer, etc) and will no doubt get a wide release but I would advise against seeing it unless you want to spend 1.5 hours shaking your head and glaring.   What a group of hateful and annoying people.

You may hear about Arbitrage a great deal in the coming year as well, and rightfully so - it had a great story and solid performance by Richard Gere as a billionaire who is faced with intense pressure in a week where his personal and professional life is falling apart around him. 

About to watch my final (and actually 54th I think) film of Sundance 2012

Eef left Sundance a day early!

But before he did, we recorded this final vlog, for your (or, let's face it, our own) enjoyment:

Saturday, January 28, 2012

How I found @iieeef when I returned from my midnight movie last night.

Not pictured - the Laura Brannigan music blasting from his laptop while he slumbered.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

The Dream Team including @ninjaworrier and @iieeef in the front row of the Prospector ready to watch Teddy Bear

A solar system of cell phones at the Eccles

Dor & Eef video blog from day before yesterday, now that hotel wireless is cooperating

Shut Up & Play the Hits, This Must Be The Place = 2 movies I also saw today.

It was another six-movie day.  If you were to meet me at this hour I'm not sure I could tell you my name.  I am fuckkkkked up tired, y'all.  But, I am staying awake during the movies for the most part, and I am in good spirits.  Can't believe the festival is already winding down.  Although at the same time it feels like a month ago that we were watching Queen of Versailles on opening night. Anyway - here's how these last two movies fared with me.

This Must Be The Place

I was not also planning on seeing this one since it was a late addition and I didn't even read about it until today.  But, they had me at FRANCES MCDORMAND.  Obviously.  From there, I was intrigued by the idea of Sean Penn playing an aging goth rocker.    What a bizarre movie, y'all.  I laughed a lot, especially during the first half, but I'm not sure if it's because it was funny or because of the shock of seeing Sean Penn in eyeliner and lipstick talking in his I Am Sam voice.  I *think* I enjoyed it - but I also think it went very down-hill once his road trip started. Oh yeah, did I mention this weirdo goth guy is on a quest to track down his late father's nazi persecutor? Even though it did get worse the longer I watched it, I'm indeed glad that I saw it and I might even recommend others seek it out, if only to be able to discuss it with me, please!

Shut Up and Play the Hits

I haven't bought (or downloaded) a new album since the late '90s.  I'm regularly teased for this.  So it should go without saying that I both missed the farewell LCD Soundsystem show in NYC and really wasn't that familiar with their music to begin with . I wanted to see this one solely because I knew my friend John would kill me if I didn't, since he loves them.

That same friend John as well as my friend Ahmad were in the front row of the show they filmed to make this movie.  They were featured in so many shots that I felt like I was watching a documentary of John and Ahmad going to a show.  It made me happy. At one point during a song which may be called North American Scum they had such a great shot of Ahmad that I was applauding and grinning and people were looking at me funny as I watched.

Aside from the John & Ahmad stuff which was of course utterly enjoyable, I thought the movie stood very well on its own even for a non-fan.   I loved how along with the actual concert shots, they interspersed interview footage (from an interview conducted at the Spotted Pig I see) and just some slice of life stuff from James' day or two following the last show.   Add to this the fact that it was all filmed in NYC, and heavily featured two of my dearest friends - I can safely say this movie made me start getting a little homesick!

Tomorrow is another six movie day ... cry........

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Here goes nothing. Not that excited for this movie

Not to mention I am the least cool person in this audience.

I think this is #36.

Who spots what is making me laugh about the ticket I was just handed outside the Egyptian?

Tim is 3 for 3 on getting a particular wait list number and he is NOT amused!

More Sundance impressions - Ai Wei Wei, Grabbers, Wish You Were Here

Wish You Were Here

I had this movie on my list the entire festival but I kept missing it. This usually works to my disadvantage because I hear things about a movie - either positive or negative - that shape my expectations. In this case, it may have actually worked to my advantage, because so many people I know were underwhelmed by the movie.

I liked it! I was engaged the entire time. The performances were good, the story was interesting, I bought it, I didn't know what was coming next - no complaints at all! This further solidifies the fact that Eef and I agree on almost NO movies. I MISS YOU, SHIRI! My movie twin. Wish YOU were here. Har, har.

Ai Wei Wei - Never Sorry

I'll admit I knew next to nothing about this artist before I saw the movie, outside of some of the basics of his recent detainment. So, I really enjoyed this glimpse into the personal life and career of China's most prolific artist and activist. Because I am neither an artist nor an activist but I am most definitely a cat lover, I appreciated the fact that it seemed like nearly every shot of the film contained a cat - the man owns 40+ house cats at his home studio - and there was even a shot in the beginning of a cat who learned to open doors using the handle. In all seriousness, I loved how the movie used social media graphics (particularly Twitter) to help both move the narrative along and illustrate this man's popularity among the masses. And all the museum footage actually inspired me (yes, me, philistine extraordinaire) to want to go home and buy a membership to the MoMA.


Folks who know me very well might think I had made up the name of this movie during a sleepy haze, because I am notorious for adding "-ers" to the end of silly words. Alas I cannot take the credit for naming this fun, adventurous, hilarious Irish movie, all about alien sea monsters invading a picturesque island port. Did I mention that that the monsters kill by drinking blood, and they're poisoned by alcohol, so the only way to fend off the beasts is by getting shit-faced? This is the kind of armageddon I hope befalls me later in life.

A few miscellaneous snapshots

Sundance - Must keep typing to stay awake

Two more movie impressions from this week.

Indie Game

It may come as a shock to hear that I am not much of a video gamer. Nevertheless I terribly enjoyed the documentary I just saw which profiled a handful of different indie video game designers - teams of one or two people who do their own video games from concept to execution. On a morning where I am so exhausted I was falling asleep while standing up looking for tickets, I could have so easily passed out in an even moderately-paced documentary. But I didn't get even the slightest bit drowsy. What drama, what intrigue, what artistry and humanity in these talented guys!

Save the Date

Los Angeles relationship dramas with a young beautiful cast can grate after a while and are no less than a dime a dozen 'round these parts, but this one stood out ahead of the pack to me. I thought it was clever and created a nice little world of an artist who doesn't quite know what she wants from two important men in her life, and can't rely as much as she should on her sister who is preoccupied with marriage planning. Mark Webber was my favorite part. This was a sweet and satisfying little movie.

Sundance Movie Post - Hopefully now with carriage returns

As you may have noticed, I am falling ever slightly behind in writing about the movies I've seen.

The three of you who've been reading my Sundance blog from years past won't be surprised by this - I always run out of steam about this point in time and then start feeling badly about it.

Maybe I'll take a different approach and just mention a few favorites, for now.

Gypsy Davy

This is a world doc, and a very personal story - written and directed by a grown woman looking to understand more about the father who left her and her mother when she was an infant. Her famous father, who despite having grown up in the US, became a successful Flamenco guitarist in Spain. For the first five or ten minutes of this movie I doubted the relevance or entertainment value of such a private drama, but as the story unraveled it got more and more compelling, thanks in part to the way she chose to reveal key details about her dad's past. In the end I found it surprisingly relatable even for someone without any dad issues. I hope this little movie has a life after Sundance.

Beasts of the Southern Wild

This is the one everyone's been freaking out about. I didn't have it on my list initially - not because it didn't look good, but simply because it was on the very first page of the film guide and when I printed out the PDF to select my films, I left that page behind. Of course after people started losing their shit about it I quickly squeezed it into my schedule and of course it did not disappoint. Which actually says a lot considering the massive hype around it - as only Sundance can manufacture.

I can't really add much to the dialogue about this one that hasn't already been said but I agree with everyone who says it's positively gorgeous to watch, heartfelt without being cheesy or sentimental, and original as just about anything I've seen here. It's a bit of a cop-out to compare an original movie like this to any other movie but if I had to, I'd say it's maybe Tree of Life meets The Rescuers. The movie does contain one device I normally cannot stand in movies and that's children who are wise far, far beyond their years. I can't explain why it didn't really bother me here - possibly based solely on the strength of the kid's performance.

Oslo, August 31st

This one is probably my #1 favorite of the festival so far. It's about a recovering addict out on a day leave from rehab, to sort out his affairs and go on a job interview in preparation for release. You've seen movies with a story like this before, but none this poetic, none this gut-wrenchingly real and beautiful. This one hit me very hard. A heavy film but also in some way revelatory.

30 film milestone = exhaustion

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Dor & Eef - Video Blog #4 (Sunday 1/22)

Please excuse me for eating lunch and not having worn any eye makeup. I woke up late today.

Sundance - More Movie Reactions

Robot & Frank

I chose this movie because Frank Langella is fantastic.  It's set in a "near future" where an older man who lives alone is having some... memory issues, and his son decides to invest in one of those new fangled robots that will him set a routine - everything from cook his food, to stimulate his mind by planning activities like gardening. When the old man decides

The film is being praised for its heart and I agree that exists there in abundance. And I did enjoy it, but I thought the script was sloppy - too many convenient turns of event, many of which I was like "ehhhh - I really don't believe that would happen."  But, I liked all the images from the future (really cool imagining of personal electronics and cars- felt credible, not silly) as well as some of the modern cultural struggles like what becomes of libraries.  I just couldn't really think of this movie as anything other than just "good."

My Best Day

Ah - a NEXT movie.  Quirky characters, off-the-wall situations, no actors you've ever recognized from anything before, a first time film-maker/writer/etc.  Not that ANY of those things are bad, it's just what I have come to expect from a movie screening in this section of Sundance.

And this one was no exception.  A movie where everything takes place in one day.  A young woman forced to work at her receptionist job at a refrigerator repair place on the 4th of July gets a call about a broken appliance, and when she takes down the info she realizes it's the name of her father, whom she hasn't seen since she was a toddler, along with her sister who left with him at that time.  From there we meet an entire cast of interesting folks, from his bullied-but-determined youngest son to the total player (and hilarious) lesbian repair woman.

I enjoyed a couple of the running gags, especially the one that had one adult traipsing around a small town looking for meatless meat.   To me, the film had great intent and kept me entertained throughout.  But a few of the performances left something to be desired, and the plot as a little zany.  I will remember the movie fondly and look forward to what the cast and crew do next, particularly the writer/director Erin Greenwell and one of the lead characters, Ashlie Atkinson.

Me at the Zoo

I'm not a YouTube person. I've used it more over the last three days, coincidentally, than I have in probably the last year.  I don't know why I selected this documentary of Chris Crocker since not only had I not heard about him, but the YouTube culture doesn't particularly interest me in and of itself.  I don't think it was a bad film at all - it was certainly put together well.  But there's just nothing redeeming or interesting about the subject who is, by the way, someone who I learned has been video blogging since his early teens and was the guy behind the "leave Britney alone" videos.  It reminded me of a vapid version of the film Tarnation. I didn't understand the need to make this movie.  I'm not saying the kid hasn't had tough times or that portions of his story weren't compelling but his overall persona was overwhelmingly obnoxious and nothing was really done to explain exactly why we should care about him.   If this is a movie for our time or that says something about the 21st century in any way,  all the more reason to really wish I'd been born about 50 years earlier.

Black Rock

The Duplass family (Jay & Mark, Mark's wife Kate Aselton) can do basically no wrong in my eyes. The Puffy Chair, Baghead, Cyrus, Jeff Who Lives at Home - all big favorites of mine (especially that last one).  Kate's first film as a director was The Freebie which I wouldn't necessarily rank above the aforementioned titles in any way, but it was good enough. Anyway - since Mark Duplass wrote Black Rock, with Kate directing and starring, I was expecting quite a treat.

It starts out as three 30 year old old friends going on a camping trip to an island off the coast of main. Two of them take some serious convincing since they have been out of touch following an incident several years back, but they're ultimately talked into it by the peacemaker of the group (Kate Bosworth).  Of course since this film in is in the midnight section, you can imagine that what starts off as a harmless camping with cute, natural dialogue set against gorgeous scenery quickly goes south when they meet a few other guys on a hunting trip on the island. They're military buddies who've been back from the middle east for only a few weeks. 

It was a fun and scary if not terribly original thriller, and I am glad to have seen it. It's not my favorite genre by any means but I enjoyed it a lot. The strength of the film came from the chemistry between the three women.  For some reason Kate Aselton reminded me of Jenny Lewis. I guess it was the red hair and the bangs.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

More Movie Reactions

I'm up to 9 movies so far.  Here's my impression of the last few.

Keep The Lights On

I loved Ira Sachs' short film from a couple years back called Last Address which was a documentary lovingly showing the audience the last homes of a number of noted NY artists who died of AIDS. So, I knew this guy had a tremendous eye for showing off the beauty of my city. This next film of his, equally sweet and serious, shows off how familiar he is with the life of a gay man. The director made a comment about how he never sees his world on screen, not exactly. I liked the way he told this story of a near decade long relationship between a Danish filmmaker and his publisher partner who has more than a few demons. But then again, don't we all? That's what I liked about this movie - that it managed to show everyday life's ups and downs within this community without over-stylizing or the element of cheese. I'm not sure this will make my list of Sundance favorites but I am glad to have seen it.

Tim & Eric's Billion Dollar Movie

This one didn't originally make my list of movies I was going to see, but I added it because a few friends were so pumped for it.  In hindsight I might have gone with my gut here.  Not to begrudge anyone who enjoyed it, but I don't think it's quite for me.  I did, however, think back more than once to Strangers With Candy, just in that they're both cult TV shows whose movie adaptations premiered in the Sundance midnight section at the Library.  What a night that was.  Fewer gross-out shit shots and "auuhgh no they did not just show that" ridiculous violence - but irreverence is irreverence and to each his own.

Marina Abramovic -  The Artist Is Present

I did not see Marina Abromovic's lauded performance art piece at the MoMA but I was strongly cautioned to see it many times by several friends.  As a way of making up for unceremoniously missing it, I figured the least I could do was catch the HBO Films documentary that profiles the life and 40-year career of this at times controversial woman.

I'm not regularly mistaken for a connoisseur of art, outside of film anyway. But that doesn't mean I can't be eerily drawn to a riveting and well-told story.  I would highly recommend this one.

Dor & Eef Mid-day sober Sundance video

Wherein we dish about the masturbation scene in Young & Wild, the Park Regency hotel's hypocritical security policy that could have lost us all our electronics if Amber was a shady person, and finally the day's films so far.

Late night Sundance round up

A few random thoughts at 2:30 AM, a mere five hours before my alarm goes off.

* I now see that updating my blog from Safari on iPhone completely removes carriage returns. No more that.

* Tim & Eric's Billion Dollar Movie = not really my cup of tea

* It is wayyyy too early in the festival to be this tired. I am blaming it on the vodka.  No more that, either.

Efrain & Dor Vlogging From Sundance - Day 2!

Friday, January 20, 2012

Dor and Eef out and about before our last 2 films of the day

Reactions to First Four Sundance Movies

Because I don't like to know too much about the movies I am about to see here before I see them, it's often a real gamble. Which is fine - anyone who comes to a film festival not expecting to see their fair share of crap is more than little deluded. That said, I've been really lucky with my first four choices thus far.

I am hoping to see my streak of great movies continue for at least the rest of the day if not beyond. Here is what I saw so far. You'll be kind to excuse the cliches and misspellings - I am not a writer, but I do like being able to come back and remember what I liked and didn't like throughout the year, and make recommendations to others, so I jot this down.

The Queen of Versialles

This timely documentary that started off being about a wealthy businessman building the largest home in the US and quickly quickly turned darker in tone after recent economic events has been getting some press recently because its subject is suing Sundance. Apparently the guy (without having seen the film) doesn't like the way he's portrayed in some of the promotional materials. The filmmaker wisely declined to discuss that at her Q&A, and that was fine because the film perfectly stands alone as a fascinating, sometimes funny, often sad story of greed and redefining what it is to live within your means. I made the comment before and I stand by it: it would have been so easy to take shots at wealthy people who are so far removed in a lot of ways from real life. But that would do them and the audience a disservice since real life isn't always that simple. These folks are more than cariacatures here, and the director thankfully resists the urge to turn them into that even though she must have had plenty of opportunities. I hope this film can get seen by a wide audience, because I really enjoyed it and I think just about anyone else would also.

Hello I Must Be Going

Melanie Lynskey may not be a household name but many remember her from her debut opposite Kate Winslet in Heavenly Creatures, or as the irresponsible mom of troubled wrestler teen from last year's unconventional family dramedy Win-Win. She admitted almost self-deprecatingly onstage last night after her film that she knows she's a character actress and is grateful for every role she gets. I for one would love to see her take the starring role a lot more ofte. Her performance was far and a way the best thing about this movie, which was about a bit of a lost soul of a woman, going through one hell of a rough time after moving back to live with her begrudging parents in Connecticut following a devastating divorce. Even though we've seen this type of character study/awakening at Sundance before, there was an authenticity to this one that resonated with me a great deal. The humor in this woman's story and her approach to her situation particularly stood out to me. I did think Lynskey's real-life husband was unconvincing as the investment banker stuff-shirt divorcee she awkwardly tries to date, and one quirk about a lie the male lead tells his mom didn't seem plausible to me, but other than that, I was completely onboard here.

Searching for Sugarman

I love a documentary that follows the solving of a real life mystery almost as much as I love documentaries about pop culture, fame and/or obscurity, especially if they can manage to surprise me, delight me, and make me cry. Searching for Sugarman mixes all of those elements up, adding a little South African history lesson, commentary on class and race in Detroit, and some music industry sleaze for good measure. This is an absolute cannot-miss movie. So watchable, so satisfying. I saw its second screening at the fest, at 9 AM, with a criminal 30 or 40 empty seats in the theater. No matter, because the crowd just exploded afterwards, with most of the audience standing right up to applaud even as the credits rolled. This one made my list of most anticipated and it's nice to see it was as good as I was expecting.

I Am Not A Hipster

This super-personal and intimate story of loneliness and grief set in San Diego's art scene is drawing some comparisons on Twitter to Once. I don't see that, quite, but I do see a really fantastic, sweet portrait of a not-so-nice guy struggling with how to still create and exist within his social circle and his partially estranged family following a devastating loss. The best thing about this film was a handful of characters it's easy to love including the indie rocker himself but especially his best friend. My one complaint was that the film rightfully juxtaposed the heavy overtones with some lighter moments involving the lead's three sisters, and sometimes those felt a bit twee or almost too cute to be real. But beyond that minor hesitation I did really like this one and I think many others will too.

Eef and Dor report live (and tipsy) in a rambling Sundance video

Don't say we didn't warn you!

Survived Sundance day one - pictures to prove it!

The first day of my 13th Sundance Film Festival was all I could have dreamed of, and more.

I can't write about the movies just now, but I will happily upload a few photos of the day.

That's a lovely Sundance poster on Main Street of Maggy Gyllenhaal, from Secretary.

Click "READ MORE" to see the rest of the photos including some recognizable faces from the opening night Dramatic Competition film Hello I Must Be Going.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Opening Night at Sundance

Bags unpacked.

Groceries bought.

Friends greeted.

Tickets bought.

So ready to see two great films tonight.

Sundance Day 1 - Park City Snapshots

I am legit this year! Also, Matt finds a poster for a doc he is very excited to see.

Now I see I have tickets to the opening night party though I am not sure I will attend.

Killing time (time! Extra time! At Sundance!) waiting for Eef to arrive. Sitting on main street without my jacket on. Might get a tan, it's so nice here.

Drowning in Brita water bottles and missing my pal Shiri.

Team Sundance - Day 1...

About to head up to Park City and we are giddy about how much extra time we have before movies start.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Most Anticipated Sundance Films

Certainly no stranger to procrastination, I find myself on the flight to Salt Lake finally banging out a list of movies I'm most looking forward to. (God bless in flight wifi.)

Will these end up being my favorites? Unlikely. Keep in mind I purposely try to avoid reading too much about any title in advance because I like to be as surprised as I can going into the film. That's part of what I love about Sundance - lack of influence in advance. Few set expectations. 

In no particular order, the titles that I am looking forward to:

Nobody Walks -  He probably only has a small part, but I would watch Justin Kirk in a dramatic reading of the fine print on the bottle of my prescription generic adderall.  Hottest. Minnesotan. Ever. (And yes, I am including Josh Hartnett.)

Smashed - In the middle of probably the only ten days all year I won't be boozing it up, I'm excited to watch a relationship drama where alcoholism takes center stage.  Add to this cocktail the fact that Mary Kay Place co-stars? I'll drink to that.

Detropia - By the directors of Jesus Camp. Even though their sophomore effort (12th & Delaware) was only "very good" as opposed to the masterpiece of their first, I have incredibly high hopes.

The House I Live In - directed by Eugene Jarecki, one of the most articulate directors I've ever watched at a Q&A (when I saw his doc Why We Fight).  This is about the war on drugs.  Sundance isn't all parties and red carpets, y'all. I'm gonna learn shit.

The Ambassador - I have no idea what this documentary is about.  As I was choosing my films, I stopped reading the description and starred the hell out of it in my film guide after I read it was by the director of The Red Chapel.

Searching for Sugarman -  Not much to say other than the description in the film guide made it sound like a fascinating and satisfying story. 

Shorts Program III -  Just kidding. Not really. Judge me all you like -  I have no damned time to see shorts. Just wanted to check if you were paying attention. (That said, I do usually try and squeeze in the doc shorts and animation spotlight.)

Liberal Arts - Josh Radnor's newest. Screw you, haters -  I loved Happythankyoumoreplease.; This one looks great, too. <makes a face>

About Face - I was really hoping last year's Misrepresentation documentary would be the complex but overdue look how media/advertising shortchange woman and girls that it completely failed to be.   Even though  the structure and purpose of this film seems to be only vaguely related, I am looking to this film to introduce a level of artistry, subtlety and thoughtfulness to the topic of women in fashion.

Shut Up and Play the Hits - there's just nothing quite like the feeling of learning all about an awesome band through a music documentary released after they broke up.  (I'm talking to you, Who Took the Bomp)