It'll be tough this year to follow the happenings from afar at Sundance without accidentally reading anything about Richard Linklater's Before Midnight, which reunites Jesse (Ethan Hawke) and Celine (Julie Delpy) for a third go round, but I shall try! In truth though Sundance, like TIFF and other A list festivals is nearly impossible to follow in general -- even if you're there! The "Opening Night" Film badge is kind of an annual myth -- this year that was May in the Summer from Amreeka director Cherien Dabis which drew mixed reviews -- as there are always multiple films playing at any big festival.
I couldn't not share from the cuteness. That's Ellen Page and Juno mamma Alison Janney reunited for Lynn Shelton's Touchy Feely (Josh Pais, pictured is alo in the cast). Shelton's follow up to Your Sister's Sister also stars Rosemarie DeWitt in the lead role of a massage therapist.
While we're on the subject of Juno, here's a strange trivia note about Sundance '13: Michael Cera has made not one but TWO unrelated pictures with the Chilean director Sebastián Silva (most famous for the wonderful dark comedy The Maid) and they're both showing at Sundance. The first is Crystal Fairy which is about a boorish American (Michael Cera) travelling in Chile and 'creating chaos at every turn' as he and his friends seek a shamanistic hallucinogen called the San Pedro Cactus. More after the jump...
Movies That Got People Talking:
Here are two TFE friends Katey Rich & Matt Patches talking about Crystal Fairy...
Austenland (from Napoleon Dynamite writer Jerusha Hess) stars Keri Russell as a lonely Jane-Austen obsessee who blows her life savings on a vacation to the a place where everyone lives like there in a Jane Austen novel and Mr. Darcy's abound including yummy Bret McKenzie (who we interviewed shortly before his Oscar win for that "Man or Muppet" song)
- Screencrave says "tickled my bonnet and steamed up my pantaloons. Jolly good."
- Peter Sciretta says "more 'Gentleman's Broncos' than Napoleon Dynamite. Has some fun moments but is boringly predictable"
- Mike Ryan says "great ... well, up until Jane gets to Austenland -- which, unfortunately, is 80 percent of the movie."
Two Mothers which features current Oscar nominee Naomi Watts and Robin Wright having affairs with each other's teenage sons has already raised the hackles of conservatives in Utah (and there are so many of them!) due to its sexual content but unfortunately people aren't really talking about it sans spoilers.
Kyle Buchanan teases so well here it's hard not to read the rest. But supposedly there are spoilers galore in his Vulture review so I'll have to pass on following his juicy instructions!
"What's the best and worst of the fest so far?" Normally I wouldn't have an answer because so few movies have actually screened by this point, but as it happened, I had just come from watching the best movie and the worst movie. In fact, they were the same movie. It's called Two Mothers and it's imperative that you close all your other browser windows and memorize everything I tell you about it, because it is a doozy.
The Spectacular Now a teen romantic drama starring Shailene Woodley and Rabbit Hole's Miles Teller is winning terrific notes so it looks like a major breakthrough for Smashed director James Ponsoldt. So expect it to get a deal... maybe by the time you're reading this. Here's what some tweeps are saying:
- Josh Dickey "really popped. Throwback teen drama...but modern, naturalistic sensibility. This is a winning cast.
- Katey Rich "If The Spectacular Now doesn't make Miles Teller a star, nothing will.
- Chase Whale "Overheard Harvey Weinstein made a large offer... I hope Fox Searchlight or Focus Features gets The Spectacular Now. Movie Gods, make this happen."
- James Rocchi "about 12,000 times better than The Perks of Being a Wallflower."
A tweet so good I don't wanna read anymore about the movie until I see it
On Joseph Gordon-Levitt's directorial debut Don Jon's Addiction which co-stars Scarlett Johansson, Julianne Moore and... Tony Danza.
DON JON'S ADDICTION = SHAME + JERSEY SHORE. #Sundance— Matt Dentler (@MattDentler) January 19, 2013
Movies That Sound Interesting That We Didn't Hear Much About
Fat Shaker (Mohammad Shirvani) is an "iranian alternative film"
Mother of George (Andrew Dosunmu) is a film about a young Nigerian wife in Brooklyn who is torn between her family's culture and her new life in Americah. More importantly than any plot synospis is that this is shot by rising cinematographer Bradford Young who did such amazing work lighting Pariah (honorable mention 2011) and Middle of Nowhere (top ten 2012) so recently. He has another film in the festival called Ain't Them Bodies Saints, too.
They already remade that Mexican family-of-gruesome-rituals horror flick We Are What We Are? That was just a couple of years ago and tough enough to sit through the first time (though well made, certainly). This English language version
Though it's nearly impossible to suss out which documentaries will actually make the leap from festival showings to theatrical showings and/or audience love and/or awards glory Sundance is always teeming with possibilities. Frankly, the last time I attended I heard more about the docs than the fictional features on the buses that everyone crowds into to take you from one theater to the next (it's quicker than hiking through huge snowbanks). The big opening weekend was that Harvey Weinstein's label bought a documentary about back-up singers called Twenty Feet From Stardom which has a killer marketing hook since famous musicians appear frequently, a necessity of the topic. Another star-kissed documentary is Who is Dayani Cristal since Gael García Bernal attempts to play him to recreate his last days in this documentary drama co-directed by Marc Silver about the dangers facing illegal immigrants.