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Tag: Sundance Film Festival (51-60 of 90)

Sundance BuzzCheck™: 'What Just Happened?'

Whatjusthappened_lOn Saturday, the premiere of Barry Levinson’s What Just Happened? was the hot ticket of the night. (Well, other than the ultra-private U2 3D party that was infuriatingly "closed to media.") The movie stars Robert De Niro (pictured, with Moon Bloodgood) as a beleaguered Hollywood producer who can’t get his temperamental, bad-boy director (Michael Wincott) to change the ending of his Sean Penn flick to please a demanding studio head (the divine Catherine Keener). De Niro’s character also has to convince Bruce Willis to shave off his "Grizzly Adams" beard before starring in a new film. Penn plays himself, as does Willis, but in a bizarre twist, Robin Wright (soon to be no longer) Penn costars as De Niro’s ex-wife.

The movie’s a self-referential, hyper-insidery tale with echos of Robert Altman’s wonderful The Player. All told, it seemed to fare well last night. The audience laughed in all the right places — and they often laughed big. That said, there were those who wondered if What Just Happened? was perhaps too insidery for lay people who don’t really care about rich, over-privileged Hollywood types. It might strike some distributors as a tough sell. But of course, studios have the strike to contend with, and might be ready to bust out the checkbook based on the all-star cast alone.

Guest blogger: Eliza Dushku does not climb the walls, okay?

All right, PopWatchers. For the past two days, Missy Schwartz and I have claimed that during a wine-soaked dinner for the Sundance movie Bottle Shock, we spied ex-vampire slayer, one-time world-class cheerleader, and all-around kick-ass chick Eliza Dushku literally climbing the walls. It was reported back to us today that certain publicists were displeased with our choice to leak that information — and yet the image of the lithe, gorgeous Dushku up in the air of the Bon Appetit Supper Club stuck. How thrilled were we, then, when at last night’s EW Party — more on that later, to be sure — Ms. Dushku came over to say hello to Missy (who’d interviewed her earlier), and we got a chance to clear up what, exactly, was up with that wall thing. Ladies and gentlemen, I give you Eliza Dushku, who dictated the following to me as my thumbs of fury entered it into my BlackBerry:

"A brotherly, well-intentioned cameraman buddy had a little too much wine at dinner, and came over during a photo op. He saw my leather pants, and had a drunken moment. Couldn’t resist. He picked me up and twirled me in the air, and slapped my ass. I gave him a little headlock, a finger to the throat, and made him release me. No hard feelings. Saw him the next day. He was apologetic and hung over. We’re meeting him tonight for chicken and waffles at the hip-hop mansion. [Referring to the notion that someone might have gotten the wrong idea] If this was a couple years ago, I would have thought something had happened. But now I don’t drink, and I don’t smoke. I curse a lot so people still think I have a f—ing edge. But it wasn’t anything scandalous."

And there ya have it, PopWatchers, straight from the starlet’s mouth: Eliza Dushku was not, in fact, climbing the walls. Don’t ever say I’m not one hell of an investigative reporter. El Jefe gets the scoop!

Sundance BuzzCheck™: 'American Teen'

Americanteen_lThe buzz on American Teen — a documentary feature that follows four small-town Indiana high schoolers through their senior year — was quite high cominginto Sundance. That much was clear as festival officials jammed as manybodies as they could into the 448-seat Library Center theater. And by the roarof approval from the audience at the end (not to mention the huddles ofpotential buyers both inside and outside of the auditorium), I’d say the fest has perhapsits first true hit. Expect more tomorrow after I speak with director Nanette Burstein andthe students in the film. —Adam B. Vary

Sundance Diary: Days 2 and 3 (or: And So It Begins)

Mass chaos in the EW photo studio right now, PopWatchers, as the casts of Bottle Shock, Be Kind Rewind, and American Son appear to have converged on our land simultaneously, creating a great deal of chatter and a dearth of places to sit. I’ve been relocated about six times: I interviewed Melonie Diaz on the green sofa, and Jack Black on camera in the video room, and Michel Gondry in the furniture store across the hall, and now I’m sitting on a black cowhide chair that I’m pretty sure was in our studio last year but I can’t really remember.

And so it is that Saturday, which started out slowly — with me sleeping through a screening of Blind Date (sorry, Stanley Tucci) and then visiting the Village at the Yard swag shoppe with Missy "Needs a Nickname" Schwartz — has suddenly ramped up to an impressive degree. In about 20 minutes, a cab will arrive to whisk me to the Racquet Club, where I will watch American Son (Iraq war movie starring Nick Cannon and the lovely, ubiquitous Melonie Diaz). After that, it’s off to somewhere else. I’m not sure where, and I can’t find my backpack in this crowded room to look at my schedule. I think Matt Labov might be using it as a placemat. I really want to steal one of Matt Labov’s fries.

So let’s look back, instead of forward, and try to assess how, exactly, I ended up with a crushing headache this afternoon. It may have something to do with Alan Rickman and wine. After the jump, we examine this vital issue, as well as Young@Heart, The Yellow Handkerchief, and Sweet at the Dance — self-billed as the first stand-up comedy show ever at Sundance. So that’s something.


Sundance Diary: Dinner with Alan Rickman!

Rickmansundance_lHello there, PopWatchers! It is currently 1:40 a.m. here in Park City, Utah. And after a very long day that began at 6:30 a.m., I am going to put off sleep a bit longer to report what fun, snowy, movie-ish things happened to me today at the Sundance Film Festival.

My first screening today was Good Dick, which was being touted as some sort of reinvention of the romantic comedy. I thought it was the reinvention of torture. And I wasn’t alone: At the 11:30 a.m. premiere, almost the entire left-hand side of the theater, which is where the fancy-pants acquisitions folks were seated, left after 30 minutes. I was jealous. But in the interest of trying to say at least something positive about the movie, um…well…Jason Ritter was cute.

Later, I caught the premiere of The Guitar, the directorial debut of Amy Redford. It’s the story of a woman (played by model Saffron Burrows) who reacts to the news that she has throat cancer by buying a lot of stuff that she can’t afford and sleeping with the parcel delivery guy and the pizza delivery gal. Sometimes both of them at once. She also learns to play the guitar. Janeane Garofalo plays her doctor. (Garofalo’s pink-lipsticked mouth got a lot of very tight close-ups. Weird.) As for how this movie played, all I’ll say is that I fear for the daughter of the Sundance Film Festival founder. Poor gal.

After the jump: Details on our dinner with Alan Rickman!

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Sundance BuzzCheck™: 'The Wackness'

Thewacknessbenkingsley_lGoing in to its late-afternoon screening today, The Wackness had been pegged by many as the "movie where one of the Olsen Twins makes out with Ben Kingsley." After the screening, it’ll probably now be pegged more as "the movie where Ben Kingsley smokes pot and quotes the Notorious B.I.G. with Josh from Nickelodeon’s Drake & Josh."

In his introduction, festival director Geoff Gilmore called the 1994-set film — about an 18-year-old, rap-loving NYC pot dealer (Josh Peck) and the rather messed-up Upper East Side shrink (Kingsley) he befriends — a "comedy." And it’s true, the audience laughed a great deal. But I couldn’t help but notice that most of the laughter came from the side of the massive Racquet Club theater populated with much of the cast, crew, and their friends and family. The other side…not so much. And that’s the half that left the auditorium quickly after the movie concluded (though jury members Marcia Gay Harden and Quentin Tarantino, who sat together, stuck around for a bit). It’s too bad they departed so quickly, though, because the post-show Q&A did feature one gem: Mary-Kate Olsen explained that her make-out session with Kingsley was "fun" — although she was afraid she was going to pull out his hairpiece.

Seeing Robert Redford at Sundance

Robertredfordsundance_lAs a Sundance virgin, I had no idea what to expect of Park City. Well, I got my first taste of it last night. It’s cold, obviously. It’s dry. And everybody blames everything on the elevation, which explains why I was more winded on the elliptical this morning than the overweight guy who chases Colin Farrell around in Bruges (that heavy Mexican dinner I had last night had NOTHING to do with it).

So my first event of the night was attending the In Bruges premiere with Whitney "El Jefe" Pastorek. As she’s noted, I got lost (somehow ended up on a highway, but not in a ditch, thankfully). It was all worth it, because I slid into my seat in time to see Robert Redford, aka My Biggest Crush of the ’70s (Paul Newman’s got the ’60s title), make an opening remark. There he was, 15 feet away from me, the man of The Sting, The Great Gatsby, The Way We Were and All the President’s Men. Just to give you some context, when I first got hired at EW a little less than two years ago, one of my first thoughts was, "Maybe I’ll get to interview Bob and Paul someday." While I have yet to interview either, this is a good start. Here’s hoping to run into him again in the next 10 days. If I do, what do you Redford fans think I should ask him? 

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Sundance: Opening Night 2008

Inbrugescollinfarrell_lWell, hidey-ho, PopWatchers, and greetings from Park City, where the 2008 Sundance Film Festival is upon us. You’re in my pocket once again for 10 days of movies, snow, and malnourishment as we journey into indie film’s heart of darkness. Yes, I will be mumbling like Brando by the 27th. No, I will not be paid as well for my performance.

Much like during last year’s festival, I’ll be using PopWatch to post observations, anecdotes, and all the celebrity guest-blogs I can score. There’ll be Buzz Checks™ to gauge how various films are playing among the festivalgoers. There will also be videos courtesy of our resident insomnomaniac Jason Averett and his crack EW.com camera team. And thanks to the addition of our Hollywood Insider blog, you’ll be kept up to date on acquisitions and other newsworthy events as they happen. You can keep up with everything that’s going on at our 2008 Sundance hub, accessible via the home page.

Even better for me this year: I’ll (hopefully) be joined in blogtopia by my EW colleagues here in Park City, so you’ll get a wider perspective and a greater variety of voices as we bring you Q&As, on-the-scene premiere and party reporting, and a comprehensive look at the hunger-sating properties of assorted snack bars and trail mixes. (Dammit, colleagues, you had better f*ing blog or so help me. For here it is, Day One at 1:20am, and I’m once again stringing together random thoughts from a Marriott hotel room that is an exact replica of last year’s, only flipped left to right, which is really freaking me out.)

But I can’t lose it quite yet. So! After the jump, it’s Sundance 2008’s Opening Night Premiere: In Bruges (starring Colin Farrell, pictured), written and directed by Martin McDonagh. Get yer Irish on, kids!


Sundance Alert: Who Wants to See 'Hamlet 2' As Bad as I Do?

Hamlet_lLooks like I’m not going to the Sundance Film Festival this year. (I know, I can hear all the tiny violins playing.) And I’m bummed. Not because I’m going to miss the raucous parties, thin air, and swag by the metric ton. It’s because I’m not going to get to see the greatest idea in the history of independent cinema.

Hamlet 2.

I don’t know anything about this world premiere besides what the press release says: "In this rambunctious comedy, a high school drama teacher injects love and passion for theatre into his students by creating a musical sequel to Shakespeare’s Hamlet." And the to-die-for cast includes Steve Coogan, Catherine Keener, Elizabeth Shue, Amy Poehler and David Arquette.

Of course, it could suck. This is Sundance, after all. But the only thing that could make me more curious would be if it was called Hamlet 2: Dane Harder. Or Hamlet 2: Electric Boogaloo. (But I’d see anything that ended in "Electric Boogaloo.")

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Trailer Blazer: 'In Bruges'

Colin Farrell’s was the buzz that backfired. He stood out in Minority Report, but took ill-conceived risks with Alexander and Miami Vice. Can he turn his career around? His new role in Woody Allen’s upcoming Cassandra’s Dream, with costar Ewan McGregor, looks promising. But I think the new trailer for the oily little indie In Bruges (slated to open the 2008 Sundance Film Festival) is proof that Farrell isn’t a movie star who’s meant to carry giant films on his pale Irish shoulders. He’s at his best ordering a pint with a twinkle in his eye — and, in this case, bickering with Ralph Fiennes about how best to begin a shootout in a little Belgian town built on a canal. You can download the trailer at the movie’s official site or watch it below, though be warned that it’s full of colorful, NSFW profanity.

So, to sum up: No bad hair and no bad accents. A delicious amount of swearing and shooting. A cranky Colin Farrell cracking wise in Europe. The result is a seriously fun trailer. Check it out and weigh in: Do you think this movie will do anything to improve Farrell’s hype-to-success ratio?

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