The 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
Tag: Sundance Film Festival (51-60 of 88)
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.
Hello 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!
Going 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.
As 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?
addCredit(“Robert Redford: WireImage.com/ Fred Hayes”)
Well, 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!
Looks 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.
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.")
addCredit(“‘Hamlet’: Everett Collection”)
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?
Hate to interrupt my coverage of one festival to talk about another, but fans of this blog and those concerned about my post-Sundance mental health will be glad to know this breaking news: The Nines, John August’s three-part fantasy starring Ryan Reynolds, Hope Davis, and Melissa McCarthy, has just sold to Newmarket, the house that brought you the equally challenging-but-great Donnie Darko. No official release yet — you heard it here first, PopWatchers!
Only sad part: No one could hear my screams of joy over the Southern screams of Kings of Leon. Ah well. Wooooooooo!
Welcome to the last installment in my Pulitzer prize-winning series, "Three Depressing Issues and the Men Who Brought Them To Sundance So I Could Get Really Sad About the State of the World." Today I present Zack Godshall, the director and co-writer of Low and Behold, a docudrama about post-Katrina New Orleans. Zack wrote the movie with his friend Barlow Jacobs (pictured), who also stars as the shy, repressed Turner Stall; Barlow actually lost his house in Katrina and spent some time after the hurricane working as an insurance claim adjuster, and the movie is based on his experiences. They’ve also spliced in interviews with real live NOLA residents who are now either living in FEMA trailers or struggling to rebuild what they had. It’s not a party-time movie, I can tell ya that, but I did laugh out loud several times, mostly just at the communication breakdown between Turner and his insurance clients. It’s possible I was laughing to avoid looking at the mold on all the walls, or the cars overturned in the streets.
Anyway, Zack was my last interview of Sundance, and this is my last Sundance post. I’m sorry if I’m going out on a downer, but I really thought this was important to throw in here. Mr. Godshall is a handsome, unassuming Southern lad with a slight drawl and a tentative way of speaking. Check out the clips and photos on the movie’s site; some of the shots—of empty lots, abandoned warehouses, vast wastelands—will hang with me for a while.
This is your first Sundance—how’s it going?
Showing the movie to people is overwhelming. Just showing it to a crowd of 400 people. I’ve only watched it in a room with like 15 people, so I’m pretty excited about the way people are responding to it.
Are there certain moments people are jumping on?
I think the thing that excites me most is that the film balances some tragic, sad stuff with some comedic elements—the characters are pretty funny, or at least I think they are—and so I guess it makes me happy when I hear people laughing. ’Cause we’re from down around New Orleans, and me and the co-writer, Barlow, wanted to make a movie that would touch on all the different emotional responses, the different ways people are behaving in that environment, and some of the more offbeat, almost absurdist things that are going on. The tragedy is very obvious. But there are moments of comedy you don’t see other places, and that’s something we thought was interesting. Just the fact of a stranger coming into another person’s home and going through all their personal belongings—that’s a very odd situation. So things come out of that that are pretty weird.
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