I've found another personal favorite film of this fest. I was first introduced to British director Sam Taylor Wood in 2008 when I saw her short film Love You More at the Telluride Film Festival. I instantly fell in love with it and have been anxiously awaiting Nowhere Boy, which is her first feature film about the early days of John Lennon and Paul McCartney from The Beatles. I'm a big fan of The Beatles and was interested in learning more about their formation and early days, and while Nowhere Boy isn't as much about the band as it is Lennon's younger years, it's still an incredibly well-directed film that most Beatles fans will enjoy.
Although it didn't make it onto my Best of the Fest list, one film that I had a great time at during Sundance was Tucker & Dale vs Evil, a comedic spin on horror films, where the hillbillies living in their vacation cabin are the peaceful ones, and it's the college kids who wrongly accuse them of being killers. It's hilarious and it works so well because it has the perfect balance between horror and comedy. Tucker & Dale vs Evil is the first feature film from director Eli Craig, who we interviewed at Sundance. Brandon and I talked with Craig about his background, finding the tone of the film, and what it was like shooting his first feature film.
Yesterday it was revealed that Blue Valentine was one of Brandon's and my favorite films of the Sundance Film Festival. After first seeing the film at its world premiere last week and being absolutely mesmerized, I walked out of the screening and immediately setup this interview. Brandon and I later both met with and talked with director Derek Cianfrance about the 12 years of work he put into making this film, his real life inspirations for the screenplay, and so much more. It's one of the most emotional interviews we've ever done and one of the best as well. There are no spoilers, but we talk about a lot of great things, so check this out!
The 2010 Sundance Film Festival has finally come to an end and Brandon and I are on our way back to sunny Los Angeles. It was truly an incredible year for the both of us. It was Brandon's first time attending Sundance and my fourth. He saw 35 films and I saw 26, so between the two of us, we saw a grand total of 61 films at Sundance. If you've been following our coverage over the last two weeks, we've been bringing you reviews, blogs, interviews, videos, and more from Park City. And as a final recap we present our Favorite Films of the Fest as well as a rundown of everything we wrote, including every last review we published.
I'm sitting here in what was dubbed "The Blogger Condo" as one-by-one the bloggers who made the condo what it was file out and head home. The kitchen is clean (sort of). The bathroom is clean. The living room is rearranged, but fairly clean. And I'm here, having just finished my last review, waxing on what I've learned throughout Sundance 2010. This is my final Sundance Experience blog (you can find the previous blogs here and here) collecting my thoughts as a first-time attendee of Sundance. Here's a few important nuggets of info (and tips for future attendees) that my brain has managed to soak up over the past ten days.
I'm on my way home from Sundance today and as I was reading through Twitter, I noticed an interesting tweet from a friend who said that he was missing a screening of the documentary Catfish being held on the Paramount lot tomorrow night. If you haven't heard all the buzz yet, Catfish is one of the few breakout films from Sundance this year, getting some of the best buzz of the fest (even though it didn't win any awards). I took at look at the invite, which is a standard test screening invite, but it's being held on the Paramount lot - and I know that Paramount never shows films there unless its their own. So did Paramount buy the doc?
I love this movie. Maybe I'm just a sucker for romantic comedies with quirky characters and storylines that aren't the exact same as those we all-too-often see in Hollywood. Or maybe I'm a sucker for happy, funny romantic comedies (like 500 Days of Summer). I'm not sure, but I loved HappyThankYouMorePlease. The film just won the Audience Award at Sundance and I saw it for my second time earlier tonight. It's such a sweet, charming, wonderful movie that's so uplifting and and so fun to watch. It won the Audience Award for good reason - everyone loves this movie. And even after seeing it twice, it's still one of my favorites.
Winter's Bone puts shit in perspective. In the tradition of Precious (then, Push) last year, Winter's Bone won the Grand Jury Prize in the Dramatic Competition. Like Precious, the film is a depiction of poverty and the dregs of society. It's a tough film to watch, both because of its subject matter -- a seventeen-year-old girl is tasked with rearing her younger brother and sister while trying to hunt down her drug-dealing father in order to keep her family intact -- and because it's just a slow film. All of the film's parts are excellent. The writing is stellar, and, in fact, it won the Waldo Salt Screenwriting Award here at Sundance as well.
There's been an outstanding showing of female filmmakers at this year's Sundance Film Festival. Lisa Cholodenko, director of The Kids Are All Right, is certainly among that group. The film finds its focus around a family that just so happens to consist of two lesbian parents and two children who were conceived through artificial insemination. It's when Joni, the eldest child played by Mia Wasikowska, decides to call her birth father -- read: the sperm donor -- that the film takes off. The film explores family, love, relationships, and all ranges of emotion better than most films. It's simply a beautiful portrayal of a
Heidi Ewing & Rachel Grady made one of the most terrifying films I've ever seen - Jesus Camp. Their even-handed, objective portrayal of their subjects is the hallmark of their filmmaking, and it's no wonder that objectivity continues with their latest documentary 12th & Delaware, which explores the microcosm in Florida where an abortion clinic and a pro-life pregnancy care center exist on opposite sides of the same street. I caught up with Heidi and Rachel in Park City (read my Sundance review) where they talked about their filmmaking process, the importance of objectivity, and what we can expect from them in the future.
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!
One location. One actor. One phenomenal filmmaking achievement. Directed by Rodrigo Cortes, starring Ryan Reynolds, Buried is the story of Paul Conroy who, after his convoy is attacked in Iraq, is buried alive inside a coffin with only a lighter and a cell phone. That's it. For 94 minutes, we, the audience, are inside that coffin with Paul. As impossible as it might sound, it works. It's tense and horrifying. Claustrophobic, shocking, and awe-inspiring -- if not always because of the script, then because of the filmmaking. Buried's directing, cinematography, editing, and score all act in concert to form a remarkably singular vision.
The official awards for the 2010 Sundance Film Festival were announced tonight at a ceremony in Park City. The big winner this year is HappyThankYouMorePlease, taking home the coveted Audience Award, but there are plenty of other big winners as well. As expected, the juries made some odd choices, and this year no one thought Sympathy for Delicious or Obselidia should've won anything (but they did). Anyway, these awards always start to put the finishing touches on yet another Sundance, which means things are winding down. You can see the full list of winners below. Audience Award winners can be found at the bottom.
Earlier this week, Brandon reviewed Adam Green's Frozen from Sundance, giving it a measly 3 out of 10. Despite that negative review, I still stayed up tonight to catch a midnight screening of Frozen and I'm glad I did. For what it is, essentially a brutal B-horror movie, it's actually a lot of fun. I mean a lot of fun, especially if you've ever been on a ski lift in your life. I'm not sure why exactly Brandon disliked it so much because I enjoyed it, despite the ridiculous characters and numerous logic problems. But it's a horror-thriller with a crazy concept, so I expected them to bend the rules and make it entertaining, and that's exactly what it was.