Sunday, February 12, 2012

Sundance 2012 – Day 8

As I continue to get caught up on my Sundance Blogs, here is Day 8! I wanted to make sure I made it to a screening of the film ‘Safety Not Guaranteed’ Dir: Colin Trevorrow. I’d been hearing a lot about it and wanted to make the screening. Well, low and behold I got up later than expected and by the time I got to the Eccles Theatre, there were NO more Volunteer tickets and the wait list had already been cut off. I was a highly attended screening, and it was the THIRD screening at that. So the Buzz was out and it looked like I was just SOL. Well, right as I was about to give up, a man just offered up one ticket! YAY! I was in! Now the film is about a reporter and two interns looking into a classified ad for someone seeking at partner to time travel with them. I’ll leave the rest of the details out; you really need to see this film. It’s fun, humorous and has a great twist at the end. Mark Duplass of the Filmmaking Duo has a great performance as the man seeking a time travel partner. This one was fun and obviously well written, as it did win the Waldo Salt Screenwriting Award.

Also, screening with ‘Safety Not Guaranteed’ was the short film ‘Bear’ Dir: Nash Edgarton. It’s about a man with great intentions of a Birthday surprise for his girlfriend and how those plans can go horribly wrong. Truly a dark comedy with laughs at tragic moments, but amazingly well done. It was a great companion to ‘Safety Not Guaranteed’.

Next, I raced over to the Prospector Square Theatre for Shorts Program 3. The program contained 6 very different short films. Here is the list: (Now, I’m going to give the descriptions directly from the Sundance Website)

‘Dol (First Birthday)’ Dir: Andrew Ahn - A gay Korean American man yearns for a family life that is just out of reach.

‘The Fort’ Dir: Andrew Renzi - On a rainy day, a young boy builds a fort in the woods when a man appears and offers to help.

‘Frozen Stories’ Dir: Grzegorz Jaroszuk - The two worst employees of the supermarket are ordered to find a goal for their lives.

‘L Train’ Dir: Anna Musso - Sunny is a self-regarding teenager fighting her way through an inner-city blizzard—again. Suddenly, she encounters someone who forces her to consider an altruistic, though perhaps absurd, action.

‘Rolling on the Floor Laughing’ Dir: Russell Harbaugh - Two grown brothers return home for their widowed mother's birthday, only to find themselves competing with a strange man for her affection.

‘Surveillant’ Dir: Yan Giroux - It's another quiet summer day in Park Dufresne. The neighborhood youth loiter until a new park monitor appears for his first day of work. Two universes clash, and a territorial struggle begins.

Now, of all three Shorts Programs I screened this year, this one appealed the least. I hate saying that, as so many wonderful films screen at Sundance, but these just didn’t get me as motivated as the other two shorts programs did. I guess these shorts seemed a lot more traditional, more film school feel; I’m really not totally sure what it was. They still were Sundance worthy, so I give them mad props!

From there, I was originally heading back to my condo to get some writing done and change for my shift. I ended up waiting at the transit center for a connecting bus, when I ran into a friend who said “Hey, I’m going to see ‘I’m Not a Hipster’ right now, you should come!” And low and behold, something just said “GO!” So, I went. Now, ‘I’m Not a Hipster’ Dir/Scr: Destin Daniel Cretton was in the NEXT Category. It was about a struggling singer/songwriter dealing with his sisters coming to town with their dad to pay their last respects to their Mother, and spread her ashes other the ocean. The story looks at the struggles of both family and the indie music scene. It also has an amazing soundtrack of original songs. It’s gritty, raw and very real. I could see so many elements of myself or friends in the characters and easily believed the story. SO WELL DONE. I highly recommend this film. I’d buy a copy to keep in my collection, as well as the soundtrack… And that’s saying something.

So, Three Screening all back to back, raced home, quick change and off to my shift. Our two screening tonight are at 9:00 PM ‘The Pact’ Dir: Nicholas McCarthy. We showed this earlier at midnight. And at Midnight tonight we have ‘Grabbers’ Dir: Jon Wright.

Now, I didn’t watch ‘The Pact’ the first time we screened it because it is a horror film and a little much for my taste. But last time I didn’t comment about the short film that preceded the feature. The Short Film is ‘Once It Started It Could Not End Otherwise’ Dir: Kelly Sears. It’s a short made up of yearbook photos moving across school building photos and images and gets darker and more gruesome with both music and bloody imagery. Interesting, but just not my cup of tea.

Now, the Midnight Film tonight, ‘Grabbers’, is a monster comedy about aliens attacking Erin Island, a small fishing village off Ireland’s coast. The reluctant authorities realize there is only one way to not have their lives sucked out by the monster… Get VERY DRUNK! I thought it was very cute and funny. In the same vein of ‘Shaun of the Dead’ or ‘Hot Fuzz’, this Irish Monster comedy keeps the drinks and laughs coming, even as the monster tries harder and harder to kill everyone. If you want a monster movie with a few laughs, I highly recommend this one!

OK… There is Thursday (Day 8)! I’m working to get each and every day of Sundance 2012 caught up on. I know I can do it.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Sundance 2012 – Day 7

So, today began my second big push to be productive at screening films while at Sundance this year. I started my morning off with a Press and Industry screening of ‘Ethel’ Dir: Rory Kennedy. The film looks over the life of Ethel Kennedy, her relationship with Bobby, their 11, yes 11, children, and how she handled the Kennedy life in politics. It was actually an interesting documentary. I wanted the chance to see a doc about one individual person. I have been considering a doc about my brother for a while, which I haven’t totally forgotten about. I guess I thought this might be a little inspiration and motivation. And, it kind of was. Be sure to look for ‘Ethel’ when it airs on HBO later this year.

I followed that up immediately with a quick bite to eat and the Press and Industry Screening of ‘The Words’ Dir: Brian Klugman & Lee Sternthal. Now this was an interesting film about a writer played by Dennis Quad reading two sections from his new book entitled ‘The Words’ about a writer, played by Bradley Cooper, dealing with the origins of his hit novel. It really was quite a story within a story, and sometimes within another story. I know right, how do you keep them all straight, but in this film, it really well written and produced, so you stay on track without getting lost. The film was in the Premiere Category of films, so it should be coming to theater or at least a cable channel near you soon. I recommend you check it out.

For those who are curious about the P&I screenings I got to go to, it’s one of the perks of being a volunteer. Now, it is only on a space available basis, but if I’m early for what I REALLY want to see, I can usually get in.

After leaving the Holiday Theatre I ventured over the New Frontier at The Yard. There was an Adobe Presentation I wanted to attend, but because of the run time of the screening, I didn’t make it in time. However, I was about to take in several exhibits at the New Frontier. Now, since New Frontier moved out of the Main Street Mall across from Egyptian Theatre, I really haven’t been able to experience it as much or as often I have in years past. There were several interactive exhibits, but several took a while for the interaction, and I passed. One did stand out to me. ‘Evolution (Megaplex) Artist: Marco Brambilla was a 3-D Media Installation with a scrolling mural of images from classic films throughout the ages, but only a character or single image, and IN 3-D! It was quite amazing. And also quite fun to see how many films you could notice as the mural scrolled by before repeating itself. Another ‘Hunger in Los Angeles’ Artist: Nonny de la Peña was an Immersive Game Environment, basically a live action 3-D video game. I wasn’t able to stay and wait my turn, because there was a line, but it sure looked interesting. I’m actually kind of upset I missed the chance.

After my visit to The New Frontier at The Yard, I headed home to get ready for my shift that night. Our two films tonight were: at 9:00 PM ‘This Must Be the Place’ Dir: Paolo Sorrentino; and at Midnight was ‘Black Rock’ Dir: Katie Aselton. I was actually about to screen both of these film while on my shift, so here goes.

‘This Must Be the Place’ is about a former Goth rock musician played by Sean Penn who must confront his fears to deal with the death of his estranged father. He in turn decides to take up his quest to get retribution from the Nazi soldier who humiliated him in a concentration camp. The film is a very interesting look at one man realizing it is never too late to discover who you really are, and how you can help others along the way. As odd as the film is, it is quite good.

‘Black Rock’ is a female thriller about three girls who travel to a remote Maine Island for vacation, and a little soul searching, only to run into the wrong group of guys. When innocent advances get taken too far, the girls must fight to defend themselves and try to make it off the island alive. This is the second film from Aselton, who also happens to the wife of actor/producer Mark Duplass. Quite a change from her first film, this one shows women being more empowered, sometime aggressive, especially when their life is on the line. As much as there were a few parts that were somewhat predictable, others really caught me off guard. The film looks beautiful, the locations in Maine are quite breathe taking, and the action isn’t too bad either. I enjoyed the film, and think it is definitely worth seeing. I’m glad it was picked up for worldwide distribution. Keep your eye out for it!

OK, there is Wednesday! I know I’m WAY behind now, but I’m fighting to get caught back up. My time as you can see by the length of this Blog was quite full for several days, and once back in Baton Rouge, I was right back to work with little sleep. So, I’m going to get caught up as fast as possible. Sorry for the delay everyone, but I promise, they are all coming! Talk to you tomorrow.