Sundance 2010 Day 4: Park City at Midnight Reigns Supreme

January 25, 2010

Eccles Theater

I can't believe it's only Monday! It feels like Sundance began more than a week ago. I've seen 12 films so far and I'm not at all tired yet, but I am wondering what's next. I've seen some great films, some good films, and a few mediocre films, but nothing terrible (thankfully). However, over the last three nights (since the fest kicked off) I've seen three different films from the Park City at Midnight category and they've all be fantastic. Looking back at the fest so far, the line-up in the midnight category is the strongest of the fest this year. I've enjoyed most of the films I've seen in the other categories, but nothing has been just incredible.

Suffice it to say, I haven't found this year's 500 Days of Summer yet. If you didn't already know, this is the first year that John Cooper is running Sundance as the festival's Director. Last year, and for nearly twenty years before that, Sundance was run by Geoff Gilmore, who stepped down to work for Tribeca instead. That means this year has a completely different theme, feel, and line-up and I think the selection hasn't been as top-notch as some year's previous. Then again, we still have seven more days to go, and there's many more great films yet to come. But I feel like the Park City at Midnight category does have the strongest line-up.

The three midnight films I'm talking about are: Vincenzo Natali's Splice (which was awesome), Rodrigo Cortes' Buried (one of my favorite's of the year), and John Stalberg's HIGH School (very funny), which I just saw a few hours ago. There are two more midnight films I'm planning to see later this week that I expect to be great as well: Adam Green's Frozen and Eli Craig's Tucker & Dale vs. Evil. Maybe it's just that I've been in the mood for some good genre films. Or maybe it's because the genre films made recently have been higher quality than before. I'm not sure what it is, but the midnight category really is kicking some ass.

Of course, all this could change in two days when I see some more new films that just blow me away. Or the midnight category could continue to be the strongest part of Sundance 2010, which is honestly what looks like will happen. There's nothing wrong with that, either, I feel completely satisfied with everything I've seen this year. In fact, there are some great films that aren't in the midnight category, like Blue Valentine and Animal Kingdom. But for now it's time to get at least a few hours of sleep as I've got some interviews scheduled tomorrow and more films to see. And hopefully they're all great films. I'll be back again soon!

Sundance 2010 Review List:

Thursday (January 21st):
1. Howl (dir. Rob Epstein & Jeffrey Friedman) - Just Okay
A. Shorts Program I: I'm Here (dir. Spike Jonze) - Loved It

Friday (January 22nd):
2. HappyThankYouMorePlease (dir. Josh Radnor) - Loved It
3. Hesher (dir. Spencer Susser) - Just Okay
4. Boy (dir. Taika Waititi) - Just Okay
5. Animal Kingdom (dir. David Michôd) - Loved It
6. Splice (dir. Vincenzo Natali) - Loved It

Saturday (January 23rd):
7. Welcome to the Rileys (dir. Jake Scott) - Liked It
8. Cyrus (dir. Mark & Jay Duplass) - Liked It
9. Buried (dir. Rodrigo Cortés) - Loved It

Sunday (January 24th):
10. Blue Valentine (dir. Derek Cianfrance) - Loved It
11. The Runaways (dir. Floria Sigismondi) - Hated It
12. HIGH School (dir. John Stalberg) - Loved It

Find more posts: Editorial, Sundance 10



Any thoughts on Happythankyoumoreplease? I've really been looking forward to that so seeing you say you loved it is a good sign. If you could elaborate as to why that'd be even better though :o)

peloquin on Jan 25, 2010


I'm glad Buried and Happythankyoumoreplease were good. I wanted them to both be worth seeing.

AlecDoherty on Jan 25, 2010


Alex I have been following this site for a few years now and really appreciate and enjoy all the news and reviews. Having said that I feel as thought your credibility is starting to take a turn for the worse. To think that Splice was "awesome" concerns me. I was there as well and thought that Splice was one of, if not thee, worst movies I have ever seen. I thought it had horrible pacing, a terrible story, and just flat out ridiculous/predictable. But that is just my opinion. I will obviously continue to follow the site as I love it, but come on man just because it's selected for Sundance doesn't mean its even worthy of being called good. I was shocked this was even a selection.

chris on Jan 25, 2010


#3 - I don't think that means I'm losing any credibility, I just think that means we have different tastes. I don't know a single person that has thought the exact same things about the 15 movies I've seen at Sundance. Even Brandon and I have completely different feelings on the same exact movies here and I don't discredit him. I like Splice, I thought it was fun, so be it.

Alex Billington on Jan 25, 2010


Alex, when will we be seeing your ANIMAL KINGDOM review?

Fry on Jan 25, 2010

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