Facts about Sundance TwentyTen: Most buzzed about film was “Winter’s Bone.” Most buzzed about film that lost steam: “Catfish.” Out of the nine films I screened, none of the films had deals with theatrical distribution companies except for “The Runaways” (a biopic about Joan Jett’s first band) and “Enter the Void.” Since my departure, two of the films of the nine films have been acquired. Please find below the titles and ratings (just like in school – A being awesome, F being fail) of Sundance films that were screened in TwentyTen.
Winter’s Bone (acquired by Roadside Attraction) – C + — Over hyped melodrama. Other than a solid performance from leading actress Jennifer Lawrence, who really cares about her character’s search for her deadbeat drug-addled father, who may or may not be in jail. Her character is unlikable as are the rest of the people she encounters. Nevermind the pacing of the film is super slow.
Enter The Void (acquired by IFC Films) – D (borderline F) – Sundance Programmers have declared director Gaspar Noé a genius. And yet they happily ask festival attendees whether they stayed for the entire screening. They don’t need to ask; they know the answer. When half the theater walks out in the middle of the film, there is something seriously wrong. Enough said.
Jean Michel-Basquiat: The Radiant Child – B – see my report from Park City for my analysis.
The Runaways (scheduled to be released on March 19, 2010 by Sony’s Apparition) – B – Story has been told before (legendary band rises and falls together) but there is something enjoyable about watching Dakota Fanning play a “bad” girl. Make no mistake — this is her film; she kills in the Cherie Curry role (movie is based on Currie’s autobiography) as does Michael Shannon, who plays the scrupulous band manager. Beautifully directed by former photographer Floria Sigismondi and of course the soundtrack rocks.
Holy Rollers – B + – see my report from Park City for my analysis.
High School – C – – Billed as a comedy, the film is not particularly funny as humor is very low brow. Film will no doubt become a cult classic for the stoner set given that the plot is about two high school students who lace the bake sale brownies with concentrated THC crystals.
The Romantics – C – A poor man’s Big Chill and/or St. Elmo’s Fire, “The Romantics” explore similar themes (friendship, love, betrayal) but the aforementioned films do it so much better. The characters in “The Romantics” are underdeveloped and unlikable. Film belongs on the Lifetime channel.
Exit Through the Gift Shop – B + – see my report from Park City for my analysis.
The Kids Are Alright (acquired by Focus Features) A – My favorite film of the bunch. The title is in reference to the teenage kids of a lesbian couple (played by Annette Benning and Julianne Moore), who search and ultimately befriend their sperm donor (Mark Ruffalo). Needless to say, things can’t stay the same for this happy family unit now that the sperm donor is in the picture. “The Kids Are Alright” is relevant, authentic and poignant without being overly sentimental.