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<p>A scene from &quot;The Look of Love.&quot;</p>

A scene from "The Look of Love."

Credit: IFC Films

British films 'The Look of Love' and 'The Summit' both secure distribution at Sundance

IFC and Sundance Selects have opened their arms

PARK CITY - The acquisitions announcements are coming thick and fast in Sundance, and while I haven't been keeping up with that side of things, I did notice that two of the festival's bigger British entries have found a home with the IFC family.

Michael Winterbottom's "The Look of Love," a semi-comedic biopic of London porn entrepreneur Paul Raymond, has been picked up by IFC Films -- no surprise there, given that they've handled most of Winterbottom's recent work. The new film has enjoyed a mixed reception at the festival -- I thought it was so-so myself -- but is on the accessible end of spectrum, and might actually play better on a VOD platform. (In my review, I mentioned that I thought the material best suited to TV, so close enough.)

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<p>Michael B. Jordan and Ariana Neal in &quot;Fruitvale&quot;</p>

Michael B. Jordan and Ariana Neal in "Fruitvale"

Credit: The Weinstein Company

Michael B. Jordan impresses in Weinstein Sundance acquisition 'Fruitvale'

Will we hear more from this tearjerker on the circuit later this year?

PARK CITY - Going into Ryan Coogler's "Fruitvale" this afternoon, I was unaware of the unfortunate case of Oscar Grant. So my experience of the film is bound to differentiate from someone who was up on the story or, indeed, any number of audiences who are bound to catch up with the film after the festival, once the particulars are chewed on in the entertainment media a lot.

So, on those particulars, Oscar Grant, a 22-year-old Bay Area resident, was shot by a police officer at the Fruitvale BART station on his way back from New Year's festivities in the wee hours of January 1, 2009. The altercation was captured by numerous cell phones and led to strife and unrest regarding police brutality. It has been argued an accident and an execution, but what Coogler's film does so well, and when it is at its best, is when it fleshes out and defines the life lost, the father trying to put his life back together and the pain that came with his death.

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<p>Jennifer Lawrence on&nbsp;Saturday Night Live</p>

Jennifer Lawrence on Saturday Night Live

Credit: NBC

Jennifer Lawrence skewers fellow Best Actress nominees on 'Saturday Night Live'

'Naomi Watts her problem? She gonna lose!'

Sundance has been dominating my attention this week so it's been rather fortunate that there is a definitive lull in this year's Oscar proceedings. Perhaps that's one good thing to come of the Academy's new schedule. It gives those of us covering the fest some room to breathe before diving back into all that.

So then I missed "Saturday Night Live" this weekend, which featured "Silver Linings Playbook" star Jennifer Lawrence as guest host the very weekend her stiffest competition for the Best Actress Oscar, Jessica Chastain, was ruling the box office roost. And for her opening monologue, the writers set her up with some fun joshing toward her fellow nominees.

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<p>&quot;American Promise&quot;</p>

"American Promise"

Credit: PBS

Sundance Review: 'American Promise' is a provocative look at education and more

Lengthy documentary will air on PBS later this year
For the most part, the proper length for a Sundance Film Festival documentary is between 80 and 95 minutes. There is almost literally no subject matter that I don't have an hour-and-a-half of interest in. I just watched "The Machine Which Makes Everything Disappear," a 97-minute documentary from Georgia -- the former Soviet republic, not the home of the Falcons -- in which nothing at all happened, but it was still worthy, because it offered a series of vignettes from a national and a culture that are totally foreign to me. The same is equally true of docs about cows, killer whales and several variations on economic inequality themes.
"American Promise," already set to air on PBS' "POV," has a running time of just over 140 minutes. It isn't just the longest documentary in either the US or World competition, but it's the only doc in either competition to top two hours. 
"American Promise" has many lessons -- It runs an intellectual gamut -- but its biggest lesson is probably that there actually isn't a "proper" length for any documentary. Spanning over a decade in the lives of two kids and two families, "American Promise" is substantive and emotionally epic, one of the most thoughtful and nourishing films I've seen for this year's Festival. 
Joe Brewster and Michele Stephenson's documentary breaks the peculiar B-range grading logjam I've been in since hitting Sundance. It's a film that should have people talking, both in Park City and, in a few months, in living rooms and classrooms.
[More after the break...]
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<p>&quot;The Way,&nbsp;Way Back&quot;</p>

"The Way, Way Back"

Review: Sam Rockwell steals Nat Faxon and Jim Rash's rocky 'The Way Way Back'

Comedy works, drama weak in duo's directorial debut

PARK CITY - Not all screenwriters are meant to be directors, and there are many directors who should be kept arm's length away from a keypad.  After winning a best adapted screenplay Oscar along with Alexander Payne, Nat Faxon ("Ben and Kate") and Jim Rash ("Community ") move to the director's chair with the funny, but rocky "The Way Way Back."

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"The Bachelor"

 "The Bachelor"

Credit: ABC

'The Bachelor' recap: It's a battle on the beach and paramedics are called

Twelve bachelorettes play a nasty game of volleyball to win time with Sean

Okay, I had massive Slingbox problems, so I missed the first ten minutes of the show. Still, I think I can get up to speed pretty quickly. I'm just guessing, but I'm sure some bachelorette said she's falling harder than she expected to fall, another said she's worried she's going home, another said she will do anything to get a rose, and Sean said he's just so happy and blessed. Am I right? Am I right? 

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<p>James Purefoy as serial killer Joe Carroll in &quot;The Following.&quot;</p>

James Purefoy as serial killer Joe Carroll in "The Following."

Credit: FOX

'The Following' - 'Pilot'

What did everybody think of Kevin Bacon's new FOX serial killer drama?

I posted my review of "The Followingon Friday, and there doesn't seem to be a lot of middle ground for this one, based on the other reviews I've seen; the critics either love it or strongly dislike it. I'm assuming your reaction will be much the same way — and am prepared for a great number of you to disagree with me on this one — but as always with a major new show that's just premiered, the floor is now yours.

Did you find the show disturbing? Silly? Somewhere in between? Did you find all the Edgar Allen Poe talk profound or pretentious? Did you like James Purefoy as a hunkier Hannibal Lecter? Did Kevin Bacon work for you as the haunted profiler? Did the various twists and scares work on you, or feel clichéd? And will you watch again next week? 

Have at it.

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<p>Rob Corddry, Keegan Michael Key, and Leslie Bibb share the best part of waking up in a rare quiet moment from Lennon and Garant's 'Hell Baby'</p>

Rob Corddry, Keegan Michael Key, and Leslie Bibb share the best part of waking up in a rare quiet moment from Lennon and Garant's 'Hell Baby'

Credit: Sundance Film Festival

Review: Lennon and Garant's 'Hell Baby' is gross, dumb, crass, and wildly funny

A very good cast is game for a dirty silly gem

PARK CITY - Thomas Lennon and Robert Ben Garant addressed the fact that they seem to have two very distinct careers that they are enjoying simultaneously when they stood in front of the packed Library on Sunday night a few minutes before midnight to introduce their directorial debut, "Hell Baby."

Lennon and Garant are incredibly talented, incredibly funny guys.  The work they do that is pure comedy, like "Reno 911" or "The State," tends to be very funny, and Lennon is one of those comedy character actors who works pretty much non-stop, and he's able to weave minor miracles out of weak material at times.  I say all this so that when I say that the films that have most defined them and their success are largely terrible, you'll understand that it's not an all-or-nothing proposition with me.  I really don't like the "Night At The Museum" films or "The Pacifier" or "Herbie Fully Loaded," but that's pretty unimportant.  Those are big broad mainstream movies, and writing two "Night At The Museum" films is what gives Lennon and Garant the freedom to do things that they want to do.  So be it.  Especially if the end result is something as non-stop filthy, crass, and funny as "Hell Baby."

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<p>&quot;Gideon's Army&quot;</p>

"Gideon's Army"

Credit: HBO Films

Sundance Review: 'Gideon's Army' advocates for public defenders

Earnest documentary will air on HBO
Few documentary subgenres are more enticing than the "Fact is stranger than fiction" model that was embodied at last year's Sundance Film Festival by Bart Layton's terrific "The Imposter." That film had more than a few viewers walking out going, "I wouldn't believe a second of that, except that it was all true."
Another parallel subgenre, though, is the "Yeah, it's true, but if we just sexy-ed things up with a little fiction, this might be terrific" documentary. HBO, for example, bought the 2011 Sundance doc "Knuckle" with the intention of turning the Irish gypsy boxing saga into a scripted series.
The 2013 Sundance competition doc "Gideon's Army" falls into the latter category. Director Dawn Porter has made a worthy and aspirational documentary populated by interesting characters and if somebody could just get this film to Shonda Rhimes, I'm betting that she could have a lot of fun with this backdrop and these people on a weekly TV series. 
That shouldn't be taken as a slam against "Gideon's Army," which is nourishing and right-minded, but I think we can all agree that sometimes real life needs just a little more sizzle.
Already headed for HBO, "Gideon's Army" is guaranteed to get exposure, which will be a boon for its important subject matter. And if Shonda Rhimes just happens to watch it? All the better...
More after the break...
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<p>They might be starlings.</p>

They might be starlings.

Credit: Sundance Film Festival

Review: Shane Carruth's 'Upstream Color' is a beautiful mystery uninterested in answers

The director of 'Primer' has returned to the fest with a worthy follow-up

PARK CITY - Seeing the insane line outside the Eccles Theater today, I couldn't help but wonder how many of those people knew what sort of movie they were getting into when they sat down for Shane Carruth's "Upstream Color" this morning.  Based on the conversations I overheard on the bus afterwards, I'd wager the film caught a lot of those people by surprise, and little wonder.  Dense, beautiful, hypnotic, and almost willfully opaque, "Upstream Color" is a great movie, but it is not an inviting one.  Carruth expects you to do a certain amount of the work for yourself, and for some viewers, there is no more frustrating kind of film than that.

Personally, I see plenty of movies every year where every little detail is spelled out in such an obvious manner that I don't mind when I see someone change it up.  Carruth's movie starts strange, gets very dark, then takes a left-turn into one of the most damaged movie romances I can remember before finally lifting off into about a half-hour long finale with no dialogue whatsoever.  It is completely different in aesthetics and narrative approach than Carruth's previous film, "Primer," but like that film, it seems to have no real interest in conventional narrative.

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Watch: Kelly Clarkson sings 'My Country, 'Tis of Thee' at Inauguration

Watch: Kelly Clarkson sings 'My Country, 'Tis of Thee' at Inauguration

'American Idol' winner thanks Obama for 'opening for me'

Kelly Clarkson traveled from  “American Idol” to the American inauguration of President Barack Obama today, singing a stirring rendition of “My Country, ‘Tis of Thee.”

[More after the jump...]

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Watch: Beyonce performs 'Star-Spangled Banner' at Inauguration

Watch: Beyonce performs 'Star-Spangled Banner' at Inauguration

Does she hit it out of the National Mall?

On this uniquely American day, Beyonce added her own stamp to Barack Obama’s second inauguration as president of the United States.

[More after the jump...]

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