Sunshine Cleaning earned praise earlier this year at Sundance, including on this site from Owen Gleiberman and Whitney Pastorek, but Fox Searchlight turned down the chance to buy it, perhaps because it was just too similar to the distributor’s Little Miss Sunshine — quirky family comedy, Southwestern setting, Alan Arkin as a blunt-talking father figure, that word in the title. Fortunately, British indie HanWay has picked it up, though it doesn’t appear to have a release date yet. Still, you can watch the engaging trailer, featuring Amy Adams and Emily Blunt as sisters (genius casting already) who start their own crime-scene cleanup business. I’ll watch Adams in anything, but it’s nice to see her play flawed and frazzled for a change after princess-y roles in Enchanted and Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day. Check out the clip below. (Warning: Some NSFW language.)
Tag: Sundance Film Festival (21-30 of 88)
"I realized where I was the other night when I had to walk in the street, in the traffic, just to get to the bus. A giant vehicle started coming straight at me, and I moved against the barrier because there were kids running alongside the car, pounding on it, shouting. The dome light was on inside, and Paris Hilton was inside the vehicle, dancing. And I said, Okay. This is truly a Nero-fiddling moment in our culture. Could this place survive without all the froo-frau now? The same stuff gets done, but all that [celebrity culture] sort of lends itself towards the economy that holds the other thing up. I guess you have to have the Gomorrah with the paradise." — Terry Kinney, director, Diminished Capacity
Well, PopWatchers, we made it. After 10 days, 2 snowstorms, 4 sleepless nights, 23 movies, 1 Kim Kardashian sighting, and 1 bout of food poisoning (unrelated), you and I have survived Sundance for another year. Is it just me, or did it all seem a lot less epic in ’08? Maybe it’s because I knew what to expect, but I actually think all of us EW scribes felt like things were just a little bit off this time around: the parties were a non-starter, the swag suites were weak, the celebs were mostly gone by Tuesday, and there were very few big sales. On top of that, with a few exceptions, the movies didn’t blow us away. It’s not going to be one for the books, in other words.
Still, there are things to remember, pocket people. After the jump, a bulleted list of random stuff. Because after a week and a half of obsessive coverage, it feels weird to just… stop.
A few weeks ago, my colleague Simon Vozick-Levinson posted a PopWatch item wondering if the first-week sales totals for Josh Groban’s Noël — 669,000 copies sold — were just one digit off from indicating the bombastic young singer had a close and personal relationship with Satan. (The record went on to sell more than 3 million copies, making it the highest-selling album of 2007.) Nearly 100 of you responded, many violently, defending the singer and calling poor Simon a variety of not-so-nice names.
Whether Simon deserved it for poking the wasp’s nest is beside the point. All I know is that when I heard Groban would be performing a small acoustic show here at Sundance, I had to grab a couple minutes with him to get to the bottom of his fans and their devoted behavior. After the jump, my exceedingly pleasant — and dare I say opinion-altering — conversation with the man himself, in which he discusses fan loyalty, his plans for the Grammys, the surprise success of Noël, and moving away from "the glossy thing."
addCredit(“Josh Groban: Jemal Countess/WireImage.com”)
Continuing a Sundance tradition begun by Corey the Bartender last year (hi, Corey!), I’m proud to give the floor to this year’s cocktail maker, napkin giver, and all-around good guy, Jimmy the Bartender. Please devote your full attention to what he has to say (after the jump), and if you’ve got questions, leave them in the comments — he’d be glad to follow up with you. From Meg Ryan to Diddy, Anjelica Huston to the Young@Heart crowd, this guy’s seen (and cleaned up after) it all.
In the hit-and-miss-and-miss world of Sundance, it practically goes without saying that sometimes an interview can be way (way) better than the movie it’s for. And such was the case with The Year of Getting to Know Us. Starring Jimmy Fallon, Tom Arnold, Sharon Stone, Illeana Douglas, Lucy Liu, and Tony Hale (Arrested Development), it’s about a sad-sack New York City writer (Fallon) who returns to his childhood home in Florida after his golf-loving lout of a father (Arnold) suffers a stroke. The film itself… well, let’s just say it leaves a great deal to be desired. But from the first question I asked Fallon — who started our Q&A solo and was shortly joined by Arnold, Douglas and writer-director Patrick Sisam — this freewheeling convo was one of the most entertaining I’ve had since I arrived in Park City. After the jump, I’ll give you the highlights, as the rest of it was so difficult to make out — what with all the cross-talk and laughter — that a full transcript of it was nigh impossible.
As we come down to the dregs of Sundance, PopWatchers, a lot of EW reporters are still pounding the pavement, seeing our last assigned screenings, and picking up final interviews before this whole circus packs up and goes home. Of course, thanks to my visit from Uncle Pukey, I’m about a day behind schedule and very thankful for the lack of traffic on the streets as I careen around from screening to interview to video blog with mere moments to spare.
When last we spoke, I was heading out for Palestinian rap documentary Slingshot Hip-Hop – while all-too-cognizant of the fact that I still had to get home and watch my screener of Sundance’s closing-night film, CSNY Deja Vu in preparation for my interview with ROCK LEGEND NEIL YOUNG this morning. But did I go straight home after Slingshot Hip-Hop? No. No, I did not. Instead, I ended up following the Slingshot folks to the World Cinema party, where the members of DAM — the founding fathers of the growing Palestine rap scene — performed a (very) short set. I wish there’d been more people there to see it. I’m not a huge hip-hop scholar or anything (despite the efforts of many people to educate me), but even my inexperienced ears can tell there’s a flow to rap in Arabic that’s natural and hypnotic, even if you have no earthly idea what they’re saying.
I won’t say I regretted the decision to stay out too late, because I didn’t, but I will say it made Thursday that much more challenging. I’m going to just whip through my activities, most of which will be discussed in larger detail later on: Woke up in my clothes, having fallen asleep on my laptop while researching questions for ROCK LEGEND NEIL YOUNG; shot Sundance wrap-up video with Missy "Still Has No Adequate Nickname" Schwartz; interviewed ROCK LEGEND NEIL YOUNG AS WELL AS CROSBY, STILLS, AND NASH MY GOD I STILL CAN’T BELIEVE THAT HAPPENED on camera for EW.com; interviewed the directors of documentaries Nerakhoon (The Betrayal) and Bigger, Stronger, Faster back-to-back; headed over to the Zone/Fuse/Warner Bros./Whatever venue to interview up-and-coming singer-songwriter Jeremy Lister; ate sandwich; interviewed Josh Groban (I am completely serious); transcribed interviews at photo studio until about 7:30 pm, when Vanessa "Ciudad" Juarez distracted me with a dinner of donuts and beer.
Seems like enough… except there were two more screenings to hit tonight: Sunshine Cleaning, and that poor, darling Chronic Town, whose premiere I was forced to skip due to the unfortunate purging events of Sunday night, and whose star, JR Bourne (pictured), politely tolerated doing an interview with me despite my not having seen the film. We’d originally called him in to do a "My First Sundance (TM)" sort of deal, but instead I think it turned into "My First Experience With Unprepared Journalists at Sundance (TM)."
To make up for that, I am dedicating the entirety of after the jump to him. Please join me there, PopWatchers. The guy’s a handsome Canadian who grew up sailing instead of playing hockey. What’s not to love?
Some folks come to Sundance, show their movie, win raves, grab a distribution deal, and feel artistically satisfied. Some arrive with distribution already in hand, pick up some early buzz for their film, and leave with momentum. And then there are the people who manage to do both.
Okay, I don’t know how many people were in the third category this year, but I’d venture to say it’s a small fraternity. So when director Mark Pellington (pictured) walked into the EW photo studio on Tuesday — just hours after Variety reported that Henry Poole is Here had sold to Overture for $3.5 million, and just hours before U2 3D (which he co-directed with Catherine Owens) was to open wide on IMAX screens around the country — I knew I had to pull him aside for a chat.
After the jump, my Q&A with one of Sundance’s big winners.*
* "Winner" here referring to Pellington’s all-around festival success, not any official Sundance awards. I keep forgetting there’s an actual competition buried somewhere in this snowbank.
Okay. So some of you Popwatchers out there were — eh-hem — disappointed that I did not provide more details about the Sundance dinner with Alan Rickman. Shall I explain? For one thing, I was leaving that detail duty to Rickman’s No. 1 Most Awesomest Fan, Whitney Pastorek. For another, I was waiting until I interviewed the guy because I wanted to find out if he was going to use the Las Vegas hotel voucher he won at said dinner. Also, though I knew he’d never comment on it, I shamelessly had to tell him that his portrayal of Snape made me love the grumpy ole prof well before the last book revealed his heartbreaking secret. (El Jefe Pastorek and I share this sentiment.) So here you have it, Rickman lovers: After the jump, a peek at my chat with him from the day after his film, Bottle Shock (pictured), premiered.
I had a rough night last night, PopWatchers. Against my better judgment, I went to a midnight screening of Funny Games. I’m still in shock and probably will be for some time to come.
I really have no one to blame but myself. I knew what I was in for. A few years ago, my husband was watching Michael Haneke’s original German-language Funny Games, in which two young men terrorize a family in their country home. He suggested I stay away from the film, since I have a very low tolerance for brutality and cruelty in entertainment (and, of course, in real life, too). So I never watched it. But here at Sundance, I somehow convinced myself that I would be able to handle Haneke’s new, shot-for-shot remake of his own movie, this time starring Naomi Watts and Tim Roth (watch the trailer here). Honestly, I was curious. So I joined Greg Kirschling and Christine Spines at the Egyptian Theater. I took an aisle seat, in case I needed to leave without disturbing the rest of the audience. I wish I had.
Michelle Williams’ performance as a grieving wife in the Sundance drama Incendiary (pictured) was already intensely poignant, but by Tuesday afternoon, as word of Heath Ledger’s death spread across Park City, it took on an eerie new meaning for those who’d seen it. In the film, Williams — Ledger’s real-life ex and mother of their young daughter, Matilda — plays a woman who loses her husband and child in a London terrorist attack.
The screening I went to on Monday seemed to spark a lot of interest (spotted in the audience were Christine Vachon, Ron Yerxa, Albert Berger, and Elvis Mitchell); afterward, I spoke with director Sharon Maguire (Bridget Jones’s Diary) about how people who have lost someone in their lives could really connect with what Williams’ character was going through. "Somehow we always tend to talk about grief in the abstract. Her very point is to make people understand that it’s not in the abstract. It’s a very real thing."
Maguire added that the death of her father at the age of 18 was a source of inspiration. "I grew up Catholic…and I was caught up in that whole dichotomy of like, ‘He’s gone somewhere better, but his cardigan is still hanging up in the bathroom and I can smell it. Is he in heaven? Is there a heaven? He’s not coming back, I know that much.’ Death is very final."
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