SUNDANCE 2010

Brandon's Sundance Review: Joost & Schulman's Catfish

Catfish

Immediately after the end credits completed, I tweeted: "Catfish is mind-blowing. Seriously one of the most odd, funny, weird, terrifying, sad, unique films I've ever seen. Honestly speechless." I still kind of am. Good thing all of this is in writing. Catfish is a documentary from directors Henry Joost and Ariel Schulman about Ariel's brother, Nev, a New York-based photographer who becomes pen pals with an eight-year-old girl from Michigan who sends him paintings of his photos. It's a very contemporary feeling film as the filmmakers make copious use of Facebook, Google Earth, Gmail, Google Street View, and YouTube in their

 Posted January 30 in Review, Sundance 10 | Comments Closed

Brandon's Sundance Review: Bryan Poyser's Lovers of Hate

Bryan Poyser's Lovers of Hate

Awkwardness makes me laugh. And if the awkwardness is so awkward that it kind of hurts, that it's shocking how awkward the situation has become, it makes me laugh even harder. Lovers of Hate, at times, is that awkward. And it's also hilarious. The film is, on the surface, about the rivalry between two brothers. Paul (Alex Karpovsky) is a successful young adult fantasy author and Rudy (Chris Doubek) is recently-homeless, having only just separated from his wife, Diane (Heather Kafka). When Paul sees his opportunity to seize Diane, Rudy must go to any length available to stop the germ of his brother's and ex-wife's relationship.

 Posted January 30 in Review, Sundance 10 | Comments Closed

Brandon's Sundance Review: Epstein & Friedman's Howl

Rob Epstein & Jeff Friedman's Howl

Howl was the opening night film at this year's Sundance Film Festival. Starring James Franco and Jon Hamm, written and directed by Rob Epstein and Jeffrey Friedman, the film centers on Allen Ginsberg's poem Howl, the obscenity trial levied against the book publisher who published it, and the analysis of the poem at large. The film is more experimental fare, mixing animation, black and white live action, color live action, and a faux-talking head interview with Allen Ginsberg played by Franco. Along with the interview, the other three sections are Ginsberg reading his poem aloud to a crowded bar, the obscenity trial, and a

 Posted January 30 in Review, Sundance 10 | Comments

Brandon's Sundance Review: Jacques Audiard's Un Prophete

Jacques Audiard's A Prophet

Un Prophete (or A Prophet in English) is on another plane of existence. Director Jacques Audiard's latest film since 2005's The Beat That My Heart Skipped is, simply, a tour de force. From its performances, including first-time actor Tahar Rahim's brilliant portrayal of Malik El Djebena, to its direction, to its writing, the film is wholly unique. In short, Un Prophete is a prison drama centering around new-inmate Malik and his six-year incarceration. But really, it's so much more. The film unfolds like a novel, not bound by any structure beyond Malik's experiences. The film is at its most powerful after it's ended and you're able

 Posted January 29 in Review, Sundance 10 | Comments

Brandon's Sundance Review: Aaron Schneider's Get Low

Get Low Review

Get Low, starring Robert Duvall as Felix Bush, Bill Murray as Frank Quinn, and Lucas Black as Buddy, is powerful cinema. The film is set in the 1930s in a rural, southern town where Felix Bush resides, though on its outskirts. He's a hermit, a recluse; to the rest of the town, though, he's a devil. Or at least something close. For forty years, Felix has kept himself secluded. But now, as he feels death approaching, he ventures out of his cabin. And he wants to attend his own funeral. Get Low is the story of this man's legend as much as it is about his life. It's this subtle weaving of the town's exterior perspective and his internal turmoil

 Posted January 29 in Review, Sundance 10 | Comments

Brandon's Sundance Review: Floria Sigismondi's Runaways

The Runaways Review

If ever there was film that was a perfect fit for this year's Sundance, it's The Runaways. This fest is all about rebellion, and not many people embody rebellion more than Joan Jett and The Runaways. Focusing on Joan Jett and Cherie Currie, over-sexualized teenage girls living the wild, reckless lifestyle of rock 'n' roll super stars, the film chronicles the band's conception, its rise to stardom, and its fall. Under the abusive management of Kim Fowley (played by Michael Shannon), the girls struggle with their budding sexuality, drugs, and the pressures of being stars.

 Posted January 29 in Review, Sundance 10 | Comments

Sundance 2010 Day 8: Winding Down for the Last Few Days

Sundance 2010

It's currently Day 8 here at Sundance (although technically I'm writing this the morning of Day 9). That means we've got two more full days of the festival left (or maybe three including Sunday?), and hopefully some more good films, but I don't know. The festival is starting to wind down, lots of people are already heading home, and the crowds are starting to dissipate. While there are still films premiering (tomorrow I'm seeing Joel Schumacher's Twelve), at this point it's starting to feel like the festival is already over. It feels like I've been here for month and I'm ready to go home. But, of course, we'll have more coverage for you.

 Posted January 29 in Editorial, Sundance 10 | Comments

Brandon's Sundance 2010 Reviews: Documentary Edition Pt 2

Exit Through the Gift Shop

And we're back. It's time for part two of my documentary round-up (read part one here). When I attend a film fest, I often gravitate towards the documentaries being screened rather than narrative features. Of course, I see tons of narratives, but I do my best to keep a high ratio of docs on my schedule for the reason that I already see tons of narrative stories during the year anyway. It's very rare for any documentary to see a wide release. For some really spectacular docs, they never even get a limited release. At film festivals, though, there are always a good amount of docs to choose from. This is especially true for at Sundance.

 Posted January 29 in Review, Sundance 10 | Comments

More Sundance Sales: Hesher, The Kids Are All Right, Twelve

Hesher / Newmarket Films

So far at the 2010 Sundance Film Festival, there have only been roughly five big sales. Before the fest began, Paramount picked up the documentary Waiting for Superman. Earlier this week we reported that Lionsgate had bought Ryan Reynold's Buried. And earlier today, three more films were officially sold. While there are many great films at Sundance worthy of theatrical distribution, this year's early sales seem a bit odd, to say the least. These are the three sales today: Newmarket Films picked up Hesher, Focus Features picked up The Kids Are All Right, and Hannover House picked up Joel Schumacher's new film Twelve.

 Posted January 28 in Indies, Movie News, Sundance 10 | Comments

Brandon's Sundance Review: Derek Cianfrance's Blue Valentine

Derek Cianfrance's Blue Valentine

I've been trying to start this review for three days. When I started the first time, I opened with how much I love this film, Blue Valentine (I do) and how much it made me feel and confront after seeing it (tons, on both charges). I've began by comparing the film to the lot of my relationships and how honest, real, and passionate a depiction of love the film is. (It's certainly that, too.) I even began a draft where I attempted to remove all of my connections and emotions. The next time, I wrote about the lush cinematography, brilliant performances, truthful writing, and sublime direction. While all of the previous is true, it was impossible to

 Posted January 28 in Review, Sundance 10 | Comments

Sundance Interview: Directors Jay & Mark Duplass on Cyrus

Jay & Mark Duplass

Jay and Mark Duplass are no strangers to the Sundance Film Festival. In fact, they're pretty much family, having premiered multiple shorts and feature films at the festival over the years. They've returned this year with their first studio feature, Cyrus, starring John C. Reilly, Jonah Hill, and Marisa Tomei. Brandon and I both saw the film at its world premiere and enjoyed it (watch our video review). A few days ago I caught up with Jay & Mark Duplass for a chat about their new film and their filmmaking process in general, since the ways these guys shoot their films is unlike anyone else out there. Anyway, check out the interview below!

 Posted January 27 in Interview, Sundance 10 | Comments

Sundance 2010 Day 6: This is Why I Prefer Going in Public

Sundance - Egyptian Theater

I love the Sundance Film Festival for many different reasons, but one of them is that the experience of seeing films here is second to none. What I mean is that I love attending the world premiere screenings of films in wonderful theaters like Eccles (the local high school auditorium), the Racquet Club, the Library, and of course, the world famous Egyptian Theater (which is where that marquee seen above comes from). This is also the exact same reason why I don't like attending press screenings. The experience just isn't the same. In fact, it's pretty dull in comparison. And after a bad experience today, I really don't like the press screenings.

 Posted January 27 in Editorial, Sundance 10 | Comments

Alex's Sundance Review: Derek Cianfrance's Blue Valentine

Derek Cianfrance's Blue Valentine

I didn't know what I was getting into with Derek Cianfrance's Blue Valentine and I'm still not sure I fully understand what I saw. I am fairly young and haven't been married so I couldn't compare my experiences in real life with those in the movie, since this film is about marriage. However, I do still feel like Blue Valentine is one of the best films of Sundance, despite being considerably depressing (I have to be honest). But I also consider films that leave me that emotionally affected some of the very best films, especially when they also have phenomenal performances, an intense captivating story, and incredibly gorgeous cinematography.

 Posted January 27 in Review, Sundance 10 | Comments

Brandon's Sundance Review: Eli Craig's Tucker & Dale vs Evil

Tucker & Dale vs Evil

Alan Tudyk was born to play a hillbilly. Well, no, not exactly. He was born to play Wash. But if he was reborn, it'd be to play a hillbilly. Tudyk, who plays Tucker, is one of a pair of hillbillies with hearts of gold who star in Eli Craig's feature writing and directorial debut Tucker & Dale vs Evil. The second half of this backwoods bromance is Dale, played by Tyler Labine, who commands the screen with his cuteness. Yeah, I said it. Labine and Tudyk are adorable together, displaying some of the best chemistry on screen since Rudd and Segel in I Love You Man. Not to mention that they're hilarious. Hell, the entire film is.

 Posted January 26 in Review, Sundance 10 | Comments

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