Yes, that's Eliza Dushku. I think that's all we need to show you to get you to watch this one. Bob Stencil is back again live from Sundance, this time talking with the stars of Humpday, quite briefly, as well as Eliza Dushku, Ewan McGregor, and the guy who started the "Girls Gone Wild" videos. And to make you even more interested, it seems as if Dushku has the hots for Bob. Admittedly, this isn't the greatest Bob Stencil video we've seen this week, but then again, we've still got 5 more days of this festival left. Things are starting to get quieter around here in Park City, but Bob is still hitting Main Street harder than ever.
Everyone has already heard about 500 Days of Summer by now, the film that is well on its way to becoming the breakout hit of Sundance this year. First-time director Marc Webb is one of the key people (obviously) that made it such a brilliant film. What he was able to do with it and turn it into is why it's becoming such a beloved indie gem. Ever since I first saw it was showing at Sundance, Webb was one of the filmmakers I really wanted to interview while I was out here, in order to talk about his filmmaking process. Luckily I had that opportunity yesterday and the resulting interviewed turned out fantastic.
Is it ironic, or just purely coincidental, that my favorite films of Sundance so far have been about falling in love? The two in particular that I'm talking about are 500 Days of Summer and Don't Let Me Drown. I've also seen around 4 or so other films about love and relationships, which in total makes up about half of the 15 films I've seen here so far. That also brings up another point. Only 15 films?! To the average moviegoer that's a lot of films to see in only 4 days time, but to me, I'm way behind. I only saw 2 today when I should be seeing 4 or 5 on a regular day. But that is the unpredictable, and crazy, Sundance life.
Hot damn, this was a fuckin' blast! I really don't think there is any better way to describe it. I don't know how Black Dynamite even got in here at Sundance, but it did. And it was one hell of an awesome world premiere experience. I could already tell from the trailer that this was going to be one crazy ass film and it certainly was. Michael Jai White kicks some serious ass and brings us a new cult classic that will earn some of the biggest laughs this entire year. For me especially, Black Dynamite is this year's Hell Ride - another midnight movie that earned my "fuckin' badass" title. Except this one is blaxploitation at its finest.
Due to fervent encouragement from the guys at Latino Review, I decided to catch a screening of Don't Let Me Drown, a 2001 Brooklyn set coming-of-age drama. I'm glad I did, because I loved it. While the film isn't anything particularly new (like 500 Days of Summer) and takes a little while to first get going, it is a very funny and still very emotional and charming look at a few teenagers living in the aftermath of the September 11th attacks. I'm not entirely sure why, but when I finally got into the story, I found myself laughing out loud at every funny moment and happily smiling at the wonderful romantic scenes.
There's no hiding that I was quite excited to see Big Fan, the directing debut of screenwriter Robert D. Siegel, who most recently wrote the screenplay for The Wrestler. Unfortunately the film was quite a let down, with Siegel himself being the biggest problem, and actors Patton Oswalt and Kevin Corrigan being the only redeeming aspects of the sports comedy. Even for die-hard football fans, I can't see Big Fan being anything that anyone can enjoy much. It was short on laughs, lacking a quality story, and boasting amateur direction at best. It's not the worst film I've seen here at Sundance, but it's definitely not that great either.
It seems the big sales at Sundance have almost all been comedies so far, or at least it looks like that'll be the case for the time being. Humpday, the "bro" comedy we reviewed a few days ago, was sold at Sundance today to Magnolia Pictures. Six various studios were competing for the rights, but Magnolia won over with a reported six-figure deal. In a very interesting change from the norm, they have decided to release it via video-on-demand first (on Mark Cuban's HDNet) before putting it into theaters one month later. This seems like it could be a good model for building up early buzz before getting crowds into theaters later.
Can you dig it? The second major studio purchase at the Sundance Film Festival (after Brooklyn's Finest) is none other than Black Dynamite. The film is a blaxploitation revival starring Michael Jai White as a jive fool named Black Dynamite who must save his city when the orphanages become overrun with crack. I saw the film at its world premiere last night and it was truly a blast. Following that premiere, Sony execs fought long and hard (all the way until 6AM) to close a deal for an undisclosed amount. The most important bit of this news is that Sony proper bought it, not Sony Pictures Classics, their independent arm.
Pizza, beer, hot babes, free shit, Paul Giamatti. Those are just a few of the things that you'll find in Bob Stencil's latest video update from Sundance. This time Bob doubles it up, with a trip to the Def Jam party to get handfuls of free swag from some hot girls, and then swings back around in time to chat with actor Paul Giamatti about Cold Souls and offer him some beer. Will this once-in-a-lifetime experience ever end? Probably not, as it seems Bob Stencil has made a home for himself in the mountains. And with girls like this, who wouldn't want to live here? Check out this latest video update fresh off the streets.
There was a magical feeling in the air when I sat down in Eccles to watch the world premiere of Marc Webb's 500 Days of Summer. As the lights dimmed, a chill went down my spine, as I somehow knew I was about to watch a phenomenal film. There are always outstanding indie gems like this at Sundance every year, but it's even more amazing to set high expectations have them still be surpassed. 500 Days of Summer did just that - it took everything I was hoping this would be and gave me so much more. Unless something else comes along by surprise in the next few days, this will easily be my favorite film of the festival.
One of the more underrated films here at Sundance that has been on my mind ever since I watched it is The Killing Room. The film is directed by Jonathan Liebesman, only known so far as the guy who directed both Darkness Falls and The Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Beginning. With this film, though, he's showing us that he's a much better director than you might have thought. I talked with Liebesman earlier today at Sundance about his films, including the upcoming Battle: Los Angeles, not only because I really wanted to chat about The Killing Room, but to give him a chance to redeem himself, as you'll see.
Last night's world premiere of Derrick Comedy's Mystery Team was quite an experience. Most people already know who the Derrick Comedy guys are, so seeing them finally take the leap from making YouTube videos to a full-time feature was quite impressive. But nothing can prepare you for this kind of never-before-seen crazy, kooky, and sometimes ridiculous, comedy that Mystery Team boasts. They've pulled it off - they've made a sketch comedy feature film that delivers consistent laughs for an entire 105 minutes. It's a different kind of humor, but it works. It looks like Mystery Team is on its way to becoming a hit.
This is the first film from Sundance this year that really has no buzz even though it turned out to be a great film. The Killing Room is a very taut thriller based on the real life MK-ULTRA top secret government psychological program in which various volunteer test subjects are put in a tense situation. In The Killing Room, four people are brought into an all white room with a table and some chairs and given a test to fill out. They are told that they'll make $250 at the end of the day and participate in numerous phases. Just as the first phase begins, the leader pulls out a gun and shoots one of them in the head. And then we're off.
Bob Stencil returns tonight with a recap from Day 2 here at Sundance in Park City, Utah. Bob chats with the stars of Spring Breakdown in this video, including Rachel Dratch, Amy Poehler, and Parker Posey, as well as the film's writer/director Ryan Shiraki. As we mentioned last time, this is only just the tip of the iceberg. Bob has been hitting the town every night, including the Ray Ban party and the Def Jam party. There is plenty more to come over the next week and a half, so be ready for more. Tune in now to check out the latest Bob Stencil Does Sundance video and check back tomorrow for another. We hope you enjoy!