I thought it couldn't get any better than 500 Days of Summer here at Sundance. I loved that film so much, that hardly anything could even compare to it. But then I saw Adam, a wonderfully charming and beautiful story about falling in love. While it doesn't necessarily reach the same heights as 500 Days, it's the next best thing, and easily one of my very favorite films from the fest. Adam begins by showing us the stars in the sky while Rose Byrne explains in a voice over that she thought she knew everything about love, but it wasn't until she met Adam (Hugh Dancy) that she realized she had so much more to learn. As did I.
When it comes to coming of age comedies, Superbad still remains one of my all-time favorites. So going into Adventureland, which is Greg Mottola's follow-up to Superbad, I had set some very high expectations. Right off the bat, I'll say that it doesn't exactly come close to matching Superbad, but it's not supposed to. Adventureland, while still a comedy, is much more of a story about love. Thus I had to change my expectations midway through, and as a result, I still came out thoroughly enjoying the film. It's not exactly a hilarious romp through the quirky antics of an amusement park, but it is a story about growing up.
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.