Archive for the ‘Sundance selection’ Category
Douchebag is the story of Sam, who is about to be married and his fiancés concern that his absentee little brother will not be attending the wedding. She has never met the brother and doesn’t understand the animosity between the siblings. So, she decides to surprise Sam with the gift of family.
This is a remarkably fresh take on relationships and the dynamic of brotherhood. Andrew Dickler gives a break out performance along with the principle cast. His character’s dry wit, the need to be right and in control of everyone is hilarious and painful. It’s like watching an articulate monkey manipulate and bully a group of reasonable people… Comedy gold!
I believe Douchebag and Andrew Dickler to be the dark horse breakout of the 2010 Sundance Film Festival. I give this movie a huge
Sundance did it to me again. Suckered me in and made me cry. There is always a film or a subject matter that tugs at your heart strings. This film and it’s subject did that to me.
James (Ryan O’Nan) returns home. After a tour in Iraq. Now home in his Texas small town. James must get back into a civilian lifestyle. His transition is going to be his biggest war. Not remembering a significant event in Iraq. Which killed two and wounded others. James drives a wedge between his family and friends. His wife Sarah (America Ferrera) leaves him do to his constant aggressive flashbacks. His best friend (Jason Ritter) tries desperately to help. But, James refuses any help. So, he sets out to find what happened that day in Iraq. He is joined by his fellow Army buddy (Wilmer Valderrama). The two ex-soldiers head to Walter Reed Medical center. To visit one of the injured soldiers. What James learns. Haunts him and filled the void of that unanswered question. The trouble of his Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome will lead James down a rocky road.
We may have seen films touch on this subject matter. But, none quite like this. Director Ryan Piers Williams did a phenomenal job tackling this subject. The acting was solid. The need for this film today is warranted. Soldiers are coming home daily. We need to support them. With the suicide rate of returning soldiers out numbering the casualties over seas. We have to bring this to the table. Discuss it and help!
We all watched “March of the Penguins”. Now prepare yourself for “AvaToad”. A 3-D journey through the Australian continent. As the infestation of the Cane Toads becomes overwhelming.
Director Mark Lewis released a documentary in 1988 called “Cane Toads: An unnatural history”. And now he catches up with these ever growing (Population) toads. This documentary is enlightening and witty. The 3-D aspect lends a lot to it. Not sure if there is a market for this film. But, well worth checking it out.
Now Sundance has this category called “Spotlight”. A category exclusive to films that have played before somewhere else. But, they find impressive. This film was one of their selections.
A father divorced and alone. Lenny (Ronnie Bronstein) has his two sons for two weeks a year. It is clear from the opening scene. Lenny is not the father type. Loose and childlike in his behavior. Lenny struggles with work, relationships and his kids in those two weeks. One bad choice followed by another. You begin to feel sorry for him. And at the same time loathe him.
This is by no means a “Mainstream” movie. It has Art House written all over it. But that is why I liked it. It was real, gritty and honest. If you enjoy raw artsy films. See this.
I sat in the packed theater house. Eagerly awaiting this film. Why? Well, I remember 1983 and how it felt. The sights, the sounds, the emotions. It was my age of innocence. And a decadent time for many. And now I was going to visit that time for 90 minutes.
The film takes place in North Eastern Texas town. The year is 1983. Ritchie (Shiloh Fernandez) is a 19 year kid. Not sure where his life is going to go. And quite content working at Skateland for his life. Ritchie’s choices. Only include. Not making a choice. With the closure of Skateland and his parents looming divorce. Ritchie is confronted with the question all 19 year olds hear. “What you going to do with yourself”.
For a directorial debut. Anthony Burns held his own. However, we have all seen this film before. Nothing new here. A John Hughes throwback. Great music with very few great scenes. Ashley Greene of “Twilight” fame also stars in “Skateland”. So, now I have watched 3 films with her that were “Ehhh” Wait for DVD. Or rent “Dazed & Confused”.
I knew nothing of this film. When I received a email from the Sundance Institute. Stating a surprise Documentary to be screened at Sundance. I jumped at the opportunity. And what I discovered was brilliant.
Sundance announced the surprise documentary was to be “Exit through the gift shop”. Now I still knew nothing at this point. Then I overheard many conversations about this Bansky fellow. So, I felt the need to find out a bit. Not too much. Wanted to go into this feeling surprised. And I was.
The documentary starts off with Terry Guetta a France native living in L.A. Terry filmed everything. I mean everything. Then on a trip back to France he followed his cousin “Invader” a well known street artist. Terry found the rush of street art addicting. So, once back in L.A. Terry filmed another famous street artist Shepard Fairey. Now Terry was now looking to film the greatest street artist ever. Banksy! After Banksy and Terry finally met. Their friendship blossomed. Allowing Terry to film the mysterious Banksy. As the film progresses Terry’s film making subsides. And he has the “Bug” to become a street artist himself. Now as Banksy turns the camera on Terry. The film changes direction and reveals some interesting facts and faults.
I will leave the storyline there. I wouldn’t want to give away the whole documentary. The artwork and the story is engaging. The documentary is thought provoking and honest. A must see for all.
Stoners beware! This will be the film you buy and keep next to your bong. In case of a need for laughter emergency.
Sitting in a packed theater. Stars of the film a mere popcorn toss away. I kept thinking to myself. “Why is Oscar winning actor Adrien Brody in a stoner film.” When all was said and done. As the crowd cheered and laughed upon the rolling of credits. It all made perfect sense to me. The script as “neck aching funny.”
A high school valedictorian Henry Burke (Matt Bush). Allows himself a break from his strict studies. Of course he was persuaded by his long lost stoner pal Travis(Sean Marquette). As Henry inhaled his first hit ever. You knew it can only get worse. Announced at school the following day. Principal Gordon(Michael Chiklis) was enacting a mandatory drug test. Where if any student failed. It meant expulsion. After hearing this collegiate(scholarship to M.I.T) death sentence. Travis and Henry decide to get the whole high school high. Brownie bake sale baby.
As Travis and Henry begin such a tall order. They first must score the weed. To pull off such a feat. So, like all good plans. They decide to steal from Travis’s drug dealer. Psycho Ed (Adrien Brody). And like all stoner plans. It gets worse around every turn.
I will leave the storyline there. And I will tell you. It is laugh out loud hilarious. Entertaining from start to finish. With some great acting from the star studded cast. So, look for this in theaters sometime this year. I will leave you with one word “WHUT?”
Lars and the Real Girl Trailer
This fresh and at times uncomfortable take on coping with a loss. Is worth every uneasy scene. This Academy award nominee for best screenplay. Leaves you wondering who actually won that year. Lars is a quiet, withdrawn man. He resides in his family’s garage. His only interaction with the outside world. Is via church and work. Until he orders himself a “Real Doll”. At first the community is taken back by such an awkward act. But, the community begins to see the reasoning behind it. And embraces the idea. This film is brilliantly written. Ryan Gosling knocks this out of the park. As uncomfortable it is at the beginning. The end will leave with no doubt as to why you watched it. I give this a F-YA!
Knowing this film was an official selection into the 2009 Sundance film fest. I thought this would be good. Then when I was asked to screen and review it. I was hoping it would be good. But, unfortunately it was just O.K. The plot was good. A private investigator (Michael Shannon) hired to track down a man. Who was presumed dead following the collapse of the World Trade Center. Sounds like this could go in amazing directions. But, No! Trying to capture the film noir of such great crime movies. It fell a bit short. I say wait till it is on “The Sundance Channel”. I give a WTF rating.