LOS ANGELES — It may be hard to believe, but the USC Scripter Award is honoring its 27th recipient this year. The Scripter is the equivalent of an Adapted Screenplay honor for both the screenwriter and the author of the original source material. The last five winners were "Up in the Air," "The Social Network," "The Descendants," "Argo" and "12 Years A Slave." Your 2015 winner? The duo behind "The Imitation Game."
Last night "Key & Peele" delivered a Super Bowl-centric special edition of their regular show on Comedy Central and, needless to say, it killed. Show stars and creators Jordan Peele and Keegan-Michael Key delivered another edition of their popular East/West Bowl skits, but they also released a bit that is laugh-out-loud funny for anyone who follows both awards season and the NFL.
PARK CITY - The Sundance Film Festival can often focus too much on films set in New York or Los Angeles, but this year it provided a unique perspective on the latter in three very distinct films. "Dope" centers on African-American high school students in Inglewood, "Tangerine" is set in a small part of Hollywood known for transvestite hookers (as well as shining a spotlight on the city's Armenian Immigrant community) and Patrick Brice's "The Overnight" is a window into the hipster family scene in the city's Silverlake neighborhood. Radically different communities that don't always find their way on the big screen.
PARK CITY — The Sundance Film Festival giveth, and the Sundance Film Festival taketh away…85 minutes of your evening. Those are the breaks when it comes to any major festival and, unfortunately, "I Smile Back" falls into the latter category. That may sound a tad harsh, but Adam Salky's latest is a disappointing effort that is the one film that truthfully doesn't belong in the U.S. Dramatic Competition this year.
PARK CITY — Sometimes the elements of a movie just gel together so well and you find yourself enjoying the ride so much that you instantly forgive the material for any of its inherent limitations. Case in point: John Crowley's new drama "Brooklyn," which premiered Monday night at the 2015 Sundance Film Festival. After 20 minutes I'd written the not-so positive words "earnest" and "cutesy" in my notebook. Almost an hour and a half later I was so moved by what had transpired I was fighting back the tears. The picture isn't the achievement expected festival grand prize jury winner "Me and Earl and the Dying Girl" is, but it's a damn good movie on its own terms.
PARK CITY — The 2015 edition of the Sundance Film Festival has already brought us star-making performances from Bel Powley ("The Diary of a Teenage Girl") and Thomas Mann ("Me and Earl and the Dying Girl"). But it turns out they are not alone. It appears we have a triumvirate of breakout talent in coming-of-age flicks with the addition of "Dope's" Shameik Moore. The Atlanta native is freakin' fantastic as an Inglewood high school senior trying to stay true to himself in Rick Famuyiwa's entertaining new dramedy.
PARK CITY — A great film is often one that it transcends the cliches of its genre. The 2015 Sundance Film Festival already debuted one movie that overcame the tropes of the coming-of-age picture, "The Diary of a Teenage Girl," Saturday. And on Sunday, it brought another genre-breaker to the zeitgeist with Alfonso Gomez-Rejon's powerhouse "Me and Earl and the Dying Girl."
PARK CITY — No one needs to worry about Noah Baumbach and Greta Gerwig experiencing a sophomore slump. After collaborating behind the camera for 2012's "Frances Ha," the duo have reunited for "Mistress America," a hilarious new comedy that premiered Saturday evening at the 2015 Sundance Film Festival. And yes, for those who care, this one is in color.
PARK CITY — The Sundance Film Festival has transformed the careers of many actors over the years. Parker Posey, Mo'Nique, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Jesse Eisenberg, Miles Teller, Amy Adams and Vera Farminga are just a few who had their lives changed after a phenomenal performance shook the festival faithful. Today, another name should be added to that list: Bel Powley. The 22-year-old Brit has her coming out party in Marielle Heller's directorial debut, "The Diary of a Teenage Girl," which premiered Saturday at the 2015 edition of the festival.
PARK CITY — There is a moment in Rupert Goold's "True Story" that is truly captivating. After watching her husband be manipulated from afar, Jill Finkel (played marvelously by Felicity Jones), goes to meet accused murderer Christian Longo (James Franco) at the county jail where he's incarcerated. In less than five minutes Jill uses the tale of 16th century composer Carlo Gesualdo, who murdered his wife and baby in cold blood, to unmask Longo as the killer she knows he is and to make it clear his charade will only get so far as long as she's around. It's a moment that demonstrates how talented the current Oscar nominee for Best Actress is in what has been a thankless role up until his point in the film. It also underlines how frustrating a film "True Story" is that the best scene in the movie doesn't include star Jonah Hill and barely involves Franco.