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

January 27, 2010

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.

At Sundance this year, press screenings are being held at a local Cinemark movie theater with four screens. Basically, seeing a Sundance film there is just like going to a regular press screening of a Hollywood film in Los Angeles. And that's not the experience I'm looking for here in Park City. But tonight, when I was seeing Skateland, things got really bad. The film looked great, but the sound was screwed up. It must've been threaeded wrong from the start, because the center channel and dialogue sounded muted and quiet and the front left/right speakers were flipped (as in, when cars drove by the sound would go the opposite direction they went on screen). I even asked a volunteer to radio up to the projection booth but it never got fixed.

Suffice it to say, it's a bit unfortunate that the venue with the worst sound and projection is the actual movie theater where Park City locals come and see films year round, while the venue(s) with flawless sound and the best projection are unusual locations that have been temporarily converted to movie theaters for the duration of Sundance. I'm trying not to dwell on the negative, but rather focus on the positive by explaining why I love seeing public screenings so much more instead of press screenings. It's harder to get tickets, but I don't mind, because I much rather prefer to see films at Sundance that way with a public audience.

Anyway, maybe I'm just in a bit of a bad mood because the last two days I've seen almost nothing but awful films. Well, wait, that's not entirely true. I saw the midnight film Tucker & Dale vs. Evil and totally loved it, but besides that, the four films I saw before it these last two days were all pretty bad (see my list below for reference). I'm hoping that things start to turn around these next few days, but because we're in the second half of the fest, I don't have too much hope. Then again there always is a chance I could discover something amazing in the last days. But until I find that, well, sit tight and keep following our coverage of Sundance!

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

Monday (January 25th):
13. Holy Rollers (dir. Kevin Asch) - Just Okay
14. The Extra Man (dir. Shari Berman & Robert Pulcini) - Just Okay
15. Lucky (dir. Jeffrey Blitz) - Hated It

Tuesday (January 26th):
16. Obselidia (dir. Diane Bell) - Hated It!
17. Tucker & Dale vs. Evil (dir. Eli Craig) - Loved It
18. Skateland (dir. Anthony Burns) - Liked It

Find more posts: Editorial, Sundance 10



Seems like you liked most of the movies though man

Andres on Jan 27, 2010


So movies you grade with a "Just ok" basically mean you hate it?

Jos van den Atmos on Jan 27, 2010


^ Well, I didn't hate them, but didn't love them. They're "just okay..." 🙂

Alex Billington on Jan 27, 2010


Sucks about that venue. However, in terms of movies, you won't be seeing great movies all the time, so you need to calm down and be patient.

M on Jan 27, 2010


I feel you Alex. Keep up the good work, I love reading your stuff

Barnaby Barrilla on Jan 27, 2010


#3: Sure, I understand, but directly above it you say that the movies were "awful" and "pretty bad", sounds a bit harsh for movies you think are okay.

Jos van den Atmos on Jan 28, 2010

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