<p>Jessie Wiseman, Vincent Grashaw, and Rebekah Brandes braved the cold to discuss their new film 'Bellflower' with HitFix at the Sundance Film Festival</p>

Jessie Wiseman, Vincent Grashaw, and Rebekah Brandes braved the cold to discuss their new film 'Bellflower' with HitFix at the Sundance Film Festival

Credit: HitFix

Sundance interview: Watch the cast of 'Bellflower' discuss love, pain, and the end of the world

Jessie Wiseman, Vincent Grashaw, and Rebekah Brandes talk about their lovely Sundance surprise

PARK CITY - Before I came up here, I made my schedule based on the films I wanted to see and the handful of interviews I wanted to do.  I have a psychological spasm whenever I'm sitting in an interview during a festival because I know I'm missing a movie in order to do that interview.  Even if I'm interested, it still makes me twitch a bit.

But on rare occasion, I'll get to a festival, see a film, and then realize that I need to speak with the filmmakers or the cast before I leave town.  That's exactly what happened when I saw "Bellflower" and fell in love with it early in the festival.  I knew I needed to talk to these kids and let them tell their story.

And when I say "kids," I mean that with affection.  I love meeting filmmakers and performers younger than me who are already working at such a great, sophisticated level, and being able to get them on tape and presenting that to you makes me feel like my trip to Sundance is entirely justified now.  No matter what else happens.

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Sundance review: Lucky McKee's 'The Woman' outrages and offends with surgical skill at midnight
Credit: Moderncine

Sundance review: Lucky McKee's 'The Woman' outrages and offends with surgical skill at midnight

Finally, the complete story of what went on during the explosive Q&A

PARK CITY - So, anyway, that happened.

I wish even a fifth of the press who fought to get those tickets for "Red State" Sunday night had fought just as hard to get into the midnight Library screening of Lucky McKee's "The Woman."  Then again, the very nature of Lucky's work has somewhat marginalized him in the first place, so I guess it was fitting that people are ranting out there about having seen a "subversive and dark horror movie" tonight at this festival, while the truly piercing piece of horror filmmaking that screened was nearly ignored.

Lucky McKee is, without question, a radical feminist horror filmmaker.  All you need to do is go back to his first feature "May" and then work your way forward.  His sensitivity towards his actresses, and the perspective each of his films takes, is practically political.  He returns to themes of power inequality and gender struggle, and he externalizes his subtext.  He has been consistent in his interests, and as a result, he hasn't been making $50 million studio films.  He doesn't seem terribly interested in remaking something or doing the easy jump-scare thing, and that can lead to some very difficult years for any horror filmmaker.

"The Woman," written by Jack Ketchum and McKee, is a fable about the smiling psychopath that our society is built to support, and the women he keeps under his thumb in his home.  The entire film's tone is somewhat heightened, the color palette jacked up, and the entire thing playing out more like a remembered dream than a literal story.  It is harrowing in a way that few horror films are for me these days, emotionally demanding.  It is extreme, but more in terms of the psychology and the toll on the personalities of the characters than in terms of overt onscreen violence.

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<p>Ed Helms had some comments on the ways fans will and won't recognize 'The Hangover Part II' when it's released this year</p>

Ed Helms had some comments on the ways fans will and won't recognize 'The Hangover Part II' when it's released this year

Credit: Warner Bros.

Ed Helms discusses how much further 'The Hangover Part II' goes

An informal moment turns into a major tease for the megasequel

PARK CITY - We're going to be bringing you a sit-down interview I did with three of the actors from "Cedar Rapids" closer to the release of the film, but I can share with you the conversation I had with Ed Helms before we started.

It wasn't planned, so I didn't grab the audio of it, but the way the interview was set up, i was the first one seated so they could mic me.  Helms came in next and sat down, and as they were putting his mic on, I mentioned that first "Hangover Part II" photo that appeared last week, and how much his new facial tattoo made me laugh.

As soon as I mentioned the image, Helms leaned forward, excited to talk about the movie.  "You know there are a few other photos out there now, too, right?"  I told him I had seen those as well, but the monkey one was the clearest indication of some of the differences we could expect this time around.  He smiled when I said that.  "Oh, no.  This one's nothing like the first one."  His smile got even bigger, and he repeated, "Nothing."

I asked him how it changed the dynamic shooting in Bangkok, and he said there was absolutely no comparison.  In Vegas, you're a few hours from Los Angeles.  You're staying in luxury hotels.  Even the craziest places they shot in Vegas were still places in Vegas.  By contrast, Helms admitted that the Bangkok shoot, which was four full months, was basically the comedy version of "Apocalypse Now," always on the edge of total chaos, shooting in places Helms said felt genuinely "unsafe."

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<p>Isiah Whitlock Jr., John C. Reilly, Ed Helms, and Anne Heche raise a little heck in 'Cedar Rapids'</p>

Isiah Whitlock Jr., John C. Reilly, Ed Helms, and Anne Heche raise a little heck in 'Cedar Rapids'

Credit: Fox Searchlight

Sundance Review: Ed Helms feels a mild hangover in 'Cedar Rapids'

A strong supporting cast helps make this low-key charmer work

PARK CITY - When Fox Searchlight arrives at Sundance or Toronto, it always feels to me like the world's most elaborate test screening process.  These are films, after all, that already have trailers in theaters, that already have release dates, and that arrive with the full support of a studio arm firmly in place.

That's not a slam on these films.  One of the things that it gives the studio is a chance to have all the press in one place at one time, and "Cedar Rapids" is a film that is made by people who have come up through the indie system.  Screenwriter Phil Johnston made short films originally as a writer and producer, and is the writer of Alexander Payne's next film, "Nebraska," and director Miguel Arteta is responsible for films like "Chuck and Buck" and "Star Maps."  This may be a studio-scale film, but its heart is in the right place.

Ultimately, your feelings on "Cedar Rapids" will depend on how much heart matters to you, because as a film, it's a little soft, but it means well, and there is a genuine charm to it.  Ed Helms stars as Tim Lippe, a stunted guy who basically grew up as part of the insurance company he works for, and who seems perfectly fine living his life in a small town with no ambition at all.  When the guy who normally goes to the big annual insurance industry convention in Cedar Rapids dies of auto-erotic asphyxiation, Bill Krogstad (Stephen Root), Tim's boss, decides to send Tim instead.  After all, the "coveted Two Diamonds award" is on the line, and Lemke, who won the award year after year for the company, has now hurt their chances with the nature of his death, since part of what it's given for is moral decency.  Krogstad figures there is no one as essentially, effortlessly moral as Tim.

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<p>Michael Parks certainly works as hard as anyone could in Kevin Smith's 'Red State,' but is it enough?</p>

Michael Parks certainly works as hard as anyone could in Kevin Smith's 'Red State,' but is it enough?

Credit: The Harvey Boys

Sundance review: Kevin Smith's 'Red State' fails onscreen and off at its world premiere

A shoddy film and a bait-and-switch event fail to satisfy on any level

PARK CITY - If nothing else, it was worth attending tonight's 6:30 premiere of "Red State" at Sundance so that when I speak of tonight in the future, which will only be under duress, I can do so with authority.

Let me quote a tweet from earlier today, when @ThatKevinSmith was talking about tonight's screening.  For months now, he's been calling his shot a la Babe Ruth, talking about how he would auction off the rights to distribute "Red State" from the stage of the Eccles auditorium.  And let's be clear… this is not a case of me distorting his words or misrepresenting him, as he is so fond of claiming people do with him.  Here's what he said today, less than 12 hours ago:

"We've heard a few sight-unseen pre-emptive bids.  THIS MOVIE HAS NOT ALREADY BEEN SOLD.  After the screening, THEN we'll pick the distributor."

Kevin Smith… you are a liar.

We'll get into that after I review the film, which is actually not that difficult, since the film is almost unbelievably straightforward.  I think he's mistaken about the genre, since I wouldn't call what he made "a horror film," but let's grant him that much.  It's a horror movie.  Fine.  The set-up of the film seems to follow a familiar model, and at the same time, allows Smith to lampoon one of his favorite recent targets, the Phelps family. 

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<p>Even at 83, Roger Corman continues to make movies, guns blazing, and the new documentary 'Corman's World' pays tribute to his life and his work</p>

Even at 83, Roger Corman continues to make movies, guns blazing, and the new documentary 'Corman's World' pays tribute to his life and his work

Credit: A&E Indie

Sundance review: 'Corman's World' offers affectionate look at the legendary filmmaker

Great interviews help set the right context to appreciate Corman's life and work

PARK CITY - Before I get into the actual review, I'd like to start by directly refuting something Penelope Spheeris says during her interview in the film.  She talks about how sad it is that young film fans in their 20s these days have no idea who Roger Corman is.

Rest easy, Miss Spheeris.  Roger Corman's legacy was safe even before Alex Stapleton's charming new look at the man and his legacy.  Roger Corman was, is, and always will be.

"Corman's World" opens on the set of the latest uber-cheapie SyFy "original" film by Corman, called "Dinoshark," and one of the first things that is obvious is that no matter who is listed as the director of "Dinoshark," it's Corman calling the shots.  It's his movie.  And I suspect it's been that way for most of his career.  His imprint is visible in most of the hundreds of movies he has produced and directed over the decades, and his voice is incredibly clear.  He is, of course, most often canonized for the way he gave opportunities to a whole host of young filmmakers who went on to become some of the biggest names in Hollywood, but the great thing about this film is that it also finally brings the focus back to Corman himself as a filmmaker, and not just as a river to his people, so to speak.

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<p>Morgan Spurlock and Peter Berg, director of 'Hancock' and the upcoming 'Battleship,' discuss the use of product placement in Hollywood movies in a scene from the new documentary, 'The Greatest Movie Ever Sold'</p>

Morgan Spurlock and Peter Berg, director of 'Hancock' and the upcoming 'Battleship,' discuss the use of product placement in Hollywood movies in a scene from the new documentary, 'The Greatest Movie Ever Sold'

Credit: Sony Pictures Classics

Sundance review: The Greatest Review Ever Written For Morgan Spurlock's 'Greatest Movie Ever Sold'

Documentary on the omnipresence of advertising lands its points with humor

PARK CITY - Both public and press screenings were held today of the new Morgan Spurlock documentary "The Greatest Movie Ever Sold," and already I'm seeing wild disagreements about the film.  What's interesting is that I can see both sides of that argument, and my own take on it doesn't mean I discount some of the things I'm hearing about it.  If you aren't entertained by the film, and if the sense of humor with which Spurlock throws himself into the idea of product placement doesn't work for you, then there's going to be little point sitting through it.  While I do believe it offers some new material regarding our relationship with advertising, I think the way it does it is so head-on self-aware meta-funny that it could easily turn off a viewer completely.

Spurlock takes a lot of heat from documentary snobs in the first place, and it's because, like Michael Moore, he shamelessly, happily indulges in agitprop, and even more than Moore, he's a populist.  His movies are meant to play to the cheap seats.  He is a commercial documentary filmmaker, and that's not an easy thing to be.  I don't think he is the most incisive or the most visually remarkable or narratively adept of documentary directors.  He is, however, an engaging onscreen presence, and he genuinely enjoys poking at things in a way that is meant to raise questions.  I don't think he answers the questions he raises, and I don't think this film is meant to be a mind-blowing expose.  Instead, it's Spurlock intentionally dunking himself into a process and filming it as a way of simply casting a little light on the way it actually works.

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<p>Evan Glodell, seen here with Jessie Wiseman, is the writer/director/star/producer/editor of the remarkable, wholly unique Apocalyptic love story 'Bellflower'</p>

Evan Glodell, seen here with Jessie Wiseman, is the writer/director/star/producer/editor of the remarkable, wholly unique Apocalyptic love story 'Bellflower'

Credit: Coatwolf

Sundance review: 'Bellflower' offers up an Apocalyptic vision of love and heartbreak

An amazing discovery marks Evan Glodell as a major new voice

PARK CITY - One of the very best experiences you can hope to have a festival is when you walk into a theater knowing absolutely nothing about a movie beyond a title and you walk out at the end of it head over heels in love.

Such is the case with me and the wild, gorgeous "Bellflower," a film that's playing here as part of the NEXT showcase, and one which I look forward to arguing about for years to come.  It is not an easily or immediately digested film, but I am fairly convinced that it's a special one, and I think writer/director/star/producer/editor Evan Glodell is something of a marvel.  This is such a personal, driven, particular film that I'm not sure what to expect from him in the future, but in this case?  Thank god he made this film, because no one else could.

"Bellflower" begins with a few quick images of violence and blood and fire, moving backwards, terrible things unhappening for a few moments, and then cuts to black, where we see an opening quote from Lord Humungous.  If you don't know who that is, you're probably not a giant fan of "The Road Warrior," aka "Mad Max 2."  He's the mostly-naked guy with the hockey mask and the crazy voice who seems to rule over all of the crazy bad guys trying to get into the oil refinery in that film, and since I saw that film in '82, that character has been one of my favorite in any film. 

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<p>Rutger Hauer is, indeed, a 'Hobo With A Shotgun,' and Sundance is better for it</p>

Rutger Hauer is, indeed, a 'Hobo With A Shotgun,' and Sundance is better for it

Credit: Magnet Releasing

Sundance review: 'Hobo With A Shotgun' offers up unhinged, depraved fun with Rutger Hauer and both barrels

Jason Eisener throws down with a wicked slice of gore-soaked mayhem

PARK CITY - As you may know, since you've decided to read a review for a film called "Hobo With A Shotgun," there is a film that is indeed called "Hobo With A Shotgun."

Let's back up.  When Quentin Tarantino and Robert Rodriguez were getting ready to release "Grindhouse," one of the things that people were excited about were the fake trailers that were going to be included in the film, and there was a SXSW/AICN contest for people to make their own fake grindhouse trailers, and the winner got to have their trailer shown before the premiere of the movie.  The winner of that contest was the absolutely deserving "Hobo With A Shotgun" by the absolutely talented Jason Eisener.  It's taken from that moment until tonight for Jason to finish the journey from that fake trailer to a real movie, and as far as I'm concerned, it was totally worth the wait.

He made another film in the meantime, a short that I saw here two years ago called "Treevenge," and that short is genuinely wonderful.  I didn't need him to make "Hobo" in particular, but I knew that Eisener was a guy who needed to be making feature films, and soon.  He's got a great sense of energy, and beyond that, he's able to mix an aggressively wild and sleazy style with some real smart just-under-the-surface substance, due in no small part to his collaborators John Davies and Rob Cotterill, who worked on the story and script with him.  I think something like this works best as collaboration because it's almost like you can hear them sitting together, cackling as they write, daring each other, spurring each other to go farther.  One thing's for certain… "Hobo With A Shotgun" is utterly unafraid to offend, exploit, excite, and entertain, drenched with hyperviolence and shot through with a wicked wit.

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<p>oh how 'meta'... again</p>

oh how 'meta'... again

Watch: 5 reasons to scream for the new 'Scream 4' trailer

Scream for joy, mostly

• "Peeping Tom" story line. If you're a fan of the 1960 classic directed by Michael Powell, about a disturbed young man who films the faces of the women he murders  you'll see the homage of sorts now that one of the "new version" rules is that the killer must "be filming the murders"

•Alison Brie - We love her as Annie on "community" and here she is at minute 1:15 in a slightly less humorous situation.

•Hayden Panetierre. There's a lot more Hayden in this trailer, and we like that. She's brassy and can rattle off a slew of horror remakes so fast it'll make your head spin. (min 1:44)



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