SUNDANCE 2013

Sundance '13: Kutcher Impresses in 'Jobs' But There's Not Much Else

Ashton Kutcher Jobs

The man, the myth, the legend. The first feature about the late Steve Jobs, co-founder of Apple Computers and legendary innovator/leader. Premiering as the closing night film at Sundance 2013 is Jobs, directed by Joshua Michael Stern starring Steve Jobs look-alike Ashton Kutcher. But is it any good? Will it live up to his legacy? That was the question on everyone's mind, however I must unfortunately report that it's not The Social Network for Apple. It's an attempt to tell that kind of story, but it's nothing special, just a polished, inspirational look at the man and the years of struggle running one of the biggest companies in the world.

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 Posted on January 26 in Review, Sundance 13, Video Blog | 10 Comments

Sundance '13: Crowd-Pleasing Summer Vacation in 'The Way, Way Back'

The Way, Way Back

Who wants to see Steve Carell be an insufferable jerk? That's just one of the many notable qualities in The Way, Way Back, a new indie comedy from actors and writers Nat Faxon ("Ben & Kate") and Jim Rash ("Community"), who are also making their directorial debut. Carell's role, though supporting, is where our story really begins as his chastising of his girlfriend's (Toni Collete) teenage son Duncan (Liam James) for being a 3 out of 10 as a person resonates with him and spitefully inspires a summer adventure that will change his life. And what better place to learn the ropes of life then a local waterpark with a colorful cast of supporting characters that includes a scene-stealing Sam Rockwell, Maya Rudolph and more. Read on!

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 Posted on January 25 in Review, Sundance 13 | 2 Comments

Sundance '13: 'Escape From Tomorrow' is Total Disney World Insanity

Escape From Tomorrow

This film should not exist. Yet, somehow, it does. The filmmakers wanted to take on this bold task, did what they needed to do at Disney World, made the film, and here it is. And it's totally insane. One of the most buzzed about films of the 2013 Sundance Film Festival is a small, extremely low budget feature film that was shot at and takes place entirely inside of Disney World. But it's no Disney movie (in fact, word is the powerful Disney legal team may go after this). It's a totally trippy, wacky, weird movie that is much better as an experience and concept than it is a film. However, I'm still extremely impressed that this was even made.

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 Posted on January 25 in Review, Sundance 13 | 10 Comments

Sony Pictures Classics Buys Sundance 2013 Favorite 'Before Midnight'

Before Midnight

Briefly: In a move that was certainly expected, but still wholly satisfying, Sony Pictures Classics has announced their purchase of all North American and UK rights to Richard Linklater's romantic sequel Before Midnight, the follow-up to Before Sunrise and Before Sunset starring Ethan Hawke and Julie Delpy. The press release says, "At Sundance 2013 with 'Before Midnight', we have further confirmation that Richard Linklater is a film master at the peak of his form." Not one person hasn't been talking about Before Midnight here at Sundance, and it's the favorite film for many attendees, including myself. Read my glowing review here where I think it may be the best romance of all time, and stay tuned for any release date info.

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 Posted on January 25 in Indies, Movie News, Sundance 13 | 1 Comment

Sundance '13: 'A.C.O.D.' Brings Smart, Hearty Laughs for Great Comedy

A.C.O.D.

With parents who have been married for over 25 years now, a comedy titled A.C.O.D. (which stands for Adult Children of Divorce) doesn't seem like it would be immediately appealing to me. But the directorial debut from Stu Zicherman (who wrote Elektra and the J.J. Abrams melodrama TV series "Six Degrees") features a cast that includes Adam Scott, Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Richard Jenkins, Catherine O'Hara, Amy Poehler, Clark Duke, Jane Lynch and Jessica Alba, and that's a bingo. Thankfully, the film which I was eagerly anticipating before it premiere at Sundance this week delivered a phenomenal comedy with some sharp writing, stellar acting and a direct line to the heart of all adult children of divorce.

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 Posted on January 25 in Review, Sundance 13, To Watch, Video Blog | Comments Closed

Sundance '13: Sleek Oregonian Truth in Kyle Patrick Alvarez's 'C.O.G.'

C.O.G. Review

One of my first introductions to David Sedaris' writing comes in the form of something that isn't exactly his writing, but rather a film based on his writing (specifically, his essay found in Naked). It's a film called C.O.G., adapted by up-and-coming filmmaker Kyle Patrick Alvarez, returning to Sundance with his second feature film. Starring one of my favorite actors mostly known for Broadway roles finally branching into movies, Jonathan Groff, the film is a sleek but intricately fashioned slice of Oregonian truth following a well-intentioned young man from Yale who goes to work at an apple farm for experience on the other side.

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 Posted on January 23 in Review, Sundance 13 | 5 Comments

Sundance '13: Porn Star Biopic 'Lovelace' Goes to Very Dark Places

Lovelace

The real Linda Lovelace endured some unspeakably horrible things during her rise and fall from fame, and a lot of those elements of her life have been used in other movies. Much of the biopic Lovelace feels familiar - we've seen stories about how the seedy porn industry comes with some dangerous characters and can easily corrupt people - but while this movie often feels like it's using cliches as storytelling crutches, it's important to remember that Lovelace actually lived through these events before they became fodder for popular fiction. Led by Amanda Seyfried, Lovelace is dark look at the life of porn's first adult superstar.

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 Posted on January 23 in Review, Sundance 13 | 11 Comments

Sundance '13: Brit Marling & Zal Batmanglij's 'The East' is a Thrill

The East Review

When it comes to modern thrillers, the tone, pacing and production values of the film are as important as the characters and story. At least for me. The second feature from up-and-coming director Zal Batmanglij, of Sound of My Voice from 2011, premiered at Sundance this year. Titled The East, it's an eco-terrorist thriller about a rogue collective that plans and orchestrates attacks against the corporations destroying the environment of this beautiful world. I wasn't particular a big fan of Sound of my Voice, but was surprised and thoroughly rocked to the core by The East, a vast improvement for Zal and outstanding film of its own.

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 Posted on January 23 in Review, Sundance 13 | 5 Comments

Sundance '13: 'Ass Backwards' Brings Big 'Dumb & Dumber' Laughs

Ass Backwards

Separately, Casey Wilson and June Diane Raphael have enjoyed lucrative comedy careers in TV and film. While Wilson blossomed as a "Saturday Night Live" cast member and can currently be seen on the underrated comedy series "Happy Endings," Raphael has been seen in films like Going the Distance and Year One with notable guest appearances on nearly a dozen TV shows. Individually they're rising comedy stars, but when they join forces, the result is a comedy dream team as the writers and stars of the hilarious, goofy and outlandish Ass Backwards, a film that fits right in with the Park City at Midnight selections.

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 Posted on January 22 in Review, Sundance 13 | 4 Comments

Sundance '13: 'Fruitvale' is a Heart-Wrenching Tale of Senseless Tragedy

Fruitvale

Headlines called attention to the shooting of Oakland man Oscar Grant following an altercation gone awry with some police officers at the Bay Area Rapid Transit train station in the wee hours of the morning on New Year's Day 2009, and riots broke out with accusations of police brutality, racism, and justifiable anger. Now newcomer Ryan Coogler takes the story in his hands as writer and director with Fruitvale, a film developed at the Sundance screenwriting labs with support from the Sundance institute and the result is a true indie film recounting one of the most harrowing tales of a man at the wrong place at the wrong time.

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 Posted on January 22 in Review, Sundance 13 | 14 Comments

Sundance '13: Dave Grohl's 'Sound City' is a Rocking Tribute to Music

Sound City

Though you might know Dave Grohl as the frontman for the Foo Fighters or drummer for Nirvana, he's also co-founded the supergroup Them Crooked Vultures (in addition to being the band's drummer) and stepped in for session work with bands such as Queens of the Stone Age, Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, David Bowie, Nine Inch Nails and Sir Paul McCartney. Now he's adding film director to that list with Sound City, a documentary about the famed recording studio in Los Angeles that has seen albums recorded from all those artists and more. Thankfully, Grohl rounded up these rock icons for some great interviews, classic rock star stories, and one hell of a jam session that must be seen and heard.

Fox Searchlight Picks Up Nat Faxon & Jim Rash's 'The Way, Way Back'

Way, Way Back

From improv, to comedy acting, to Oscar winning writing, to directing. These two talented individuals, Nat Faxon and Jim Rash, are definitely breaking out big. It has been confirmed via press release that Fox Searchlight very quickly acquired their film The Way, Way Back which just premiered yesterday the Sundance Film Festival. I was in attendance at the premiere myself, it's a fantastic and heartwarming film, but the kicker was the very warm standing ovation the film received at the end. A charming coming-of-age indie comedy set at a water park, this is very likely to be a strong sleeper hit if they put it out this summer.

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 Posted on January 22 in Indies, Movie News, Sundance 13 | Comments Closed

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