January 31, 2010
A few days ago we featured the first teaser poster for David Michôd's Animal Kingdom, one of my favorite Sundance films that I saw a week ago during the first half of the fest. Also a few days ago, while working at our condo, Dave Chen from SlashFilm decided to record a video discussion of Animal Kingdom involving anyone who had seen the film (which included me, our own Brandon Lee Tenney, and Dave Chen himself). You can watch that video review below but in addition to that we've got a quick written review from Brandon as well (below). Watch this if you want to know why Animal Kingdom is one of the best films of the fest!
January 25, 2010
Another new Sundance video review. It's just vastly easier to record video reviews of some films, which is why we have so many of them. This time Alex talked with Peter from SlashFilm about New Zealand director Taika Waititi's new film Boy. Both Peter and I were big fans of Taika's Eagle vs Shark a few years back and had high hopes for Boy. It's a good film but I don't think it's as great as Eagle vs Shark and it runs a little long. It's got some good performances but I didn't love it. Watch the trailer for it here. If you're interested in hearing our quick thoughts on the film, watch our 4-minute video review below. And sorry it was so dark!
January 23, 2010
The first film that most people, including our own Brandon Lee Tenney, saw at Sundance this year was actually a short film on Thursday night. Included in the Shorts Program I (which featured three other good short films) was Spike Jonze's I'm Here, a 31 minute short about robot love. We ran a trailer for the film earlier this week and have been talking about it lot because it's getting great buzz. After seeing the short, Brandon recorded a video review of I'm Here with Peter Sciretta and David Chen of /Film and also Erik Davis from Cinematical. For those interested in hearing their thoughts on Spike's short, watch the video.
January 24, 2011
A few days ago I posted my written review of Morgan Spurlock's awesome new Sundance documentary The Greatest Movie Ever Sold, a film that I absolutely loved, but I want to keep talking about it just because it deserves more exposure. So much so, that I've decided to also post this video review that Peter & Germain from SlashFilm recorded with me one morning while waiting in line for another movie. Because the film is all about product placement, and is officially sponsored by and titled "POM Wonderful Presents," we had a lot of fun recording and talking about the doc. It's worth watching in addition to my review, so check it out!
January 24, 2011
That was super awesome! The last world premiere we attended last night at Sundance 2011 was for Fox Searchlight's newest comedy Cedar Rapids, directed by Miguel Arteta, and starring Ed Helms as a small town insurance agent who takes the first trip of his life to the "big city" of Cedar Rapids. It also stars John C. Reilly, Anne Heche, Isiah Whitlock Jr. and Alia Shawkat. It's a hilarious film wrapped around a rather sweet story about friendship and morality, but I didn't love it that much. After the screening Peter of SlashFilm, FS.net's Ethan and I recorded a quick video blog talking about our thoughts on the film. Fire that up below!
January 22, 2011
One of the first feature films we (both Ethan and I) saw at Sundance 2011 was an "apocalyptic love story" titled Bellflower, named after the street it mostly takes place on in LA. It's written, directed by, and stars, Evan Glodell, who was also responsible for building props and vehicles in the film, including a Mad Max inspired flame-spitting car and homemade flamethrower. It's a story about a guy who meets a girl and their subsequent break-up but told through an apocalyptic and visually-stylistic lens, literally meaning they used homemade cameras and old lenses. Watch a video review that Peter from /Film, Ethan & I recorded below.
January 21, 2011
Our very first film of the 2011 Sundance Film Festival was the newest documentary from James Marsh, the Oscar winning director of the documentary Man on Wire. It's called Project Nim and tells the story of Nim Chimpsky (seen above), the chimpanzee who in the 70's was raised from birth by humans and taught sign language as an academic experiment at Columbia University. It's a fascinating story and both thrilling and heartbreaking, so after the first screening, Ethan and I recorded a video blog with our quick thoughts on the opening night film. We recorded this last night before heading to sleep, but it's still a good quick review.
January 25, 2010
Yet another video review courtesy of SlashFilm featuring our own Brandon Lee Tenney. This time he talks about Life 2.0, a documentary playing at Sundance about the virtual online world of Second Life. Directed by first-time feature filmmaker Jason Spingarn-Koff, the doc follows a group of four people whose lives are dramatically transformed by the virtual world - reshaping relationships, identities, and ultimately the very notion of reality. Brandon is also joined in the video by Peter of SlashFilm and Laremy Legel of Film.com. It seems like they all had mixed reactions to the film. Watch the full Life 2.0 Sundance video review below.
January 24, 2010
The Duplass Brothers' new film Cyrus premiered at the Sundance Film Festival. Almost everyone I know was at the screening, including our own Brandon Tenney. The Duplass Brothers have premiered many of their short films and their last two features, The Puffy Chair and Baghead, at Sundance previously, but this was the first year that their film has ever played in the biggest Eccles Theater. Dave and Peter of SlashFilm recorded a video review of Cyrus with Brandon after the premiere last night. In short, they all loved it, even Brandon, and all had great things to say. Cyrus is pretty much a knock out of the park. Watch these below!
February 1, 2016
The 2016 Sundance Film Festival has finally come to an end and to put a wrap on things and finalize our nearly two weeks of coverage, it's time to present our Best of the Fest list. This year it was only me (Alex) covering Sundance for FirstShowing, so I decided to simply reveal my own 5 favorite feature films and 5 favorite documentaries. There are always a couple of films that I didn't have time to see (The Intervention, Eyes of My Mother) that seem to be getting great buzz, just can't make it to everything. But I am very happy to say that I ended up seeing amazing films at Sundance this year that will be on my mind for a while. At least one (or maybe two) of these will end up on my Top 10 list at the end of the year. Let's get right into it.
January 29, 2016
This documentary is freakier than most horror movies. Tickled is not really a documentary about tickling, even though it is a documentary about tickling. Produced out of New Zealand, this entertaining and egaging documentary (co-directed by David Farrier and Dylan Reeve) follows Kiwi pop culture journalist David Farrier as he investigates a company that films professional tickling events. It all starts when he discovers a wacky video online of "competitive endurance tickling", and attempts to contact the people behind it. Suddenly, David is tumbling down a rabbit hole of legal threats and insane discoveries as he attempts to get to the bottom of this. It becomes a doc about the abuse of money, and how power hungry some people are.
January 28, 2016
There's no doubt about it - this is a film you're going to either love or hate. Swiss Army Man is one of the 2016 Sundance Film Festival's most divisive films, with some of my fellow critics walking out before they could even finish it. The film is unquestionably unique, I've never seen anything like it, and while it starts out totally wacky everything clicked for me about 30 minutes in. The film opens with Paul Dano playing a man stuck on a deserted island trying to hang himself. But before he can do so, a dead body in a suit (played by Daniel Radcliffe) washes up on shore. Attempting to ignore it, the body begins to fart, then before you know it he's riding this farting body like a jet ski back to land. I told you it's wacky, but actually quite fun.
January 26, 2016
There's nothing like great music that makes you so happy you want to get up and dance. The latest film from John Carney, the Irish director who broke out with the musical Once at Sundance in 2007, is called Sing Street and it's utterly joyful. It's almost an Irish version of School of Rock amped up to 11, but there's such an unique, energetic, exciting vibe to it, I think it's time to proclaim Sing Street as the new winner of the Battle of the Bands. Sing Street so much fun to watch, but it's also genuinely passionate about encouraging the weirdos and oddballs to be whatever they want. Sing your heart out, fight against authority, be someone.
January 18, 2016
Back to Sundance we go for another year of discovery. What's on the line-up this year? Out of the 120+ films showing at the 2016 Sundance Film Festival, I've chosen 10 that I'm looking forward to seeing the most. To keep things well balanced, I've chosen 5 feature films and 5 documentaries from the line-up. There are so many films playing at the fest, and so many I'll end up seeing (30+), that this is a quick list to get everyone acquainted with some of the work premiering in 2016 (and why I'm so excited for these). From docs about tickling competitions, to features about Obama's first date. Nothing like seeing movies in the mountains.