Discussion in 'Movies' started by Scott Weinberg, Jan 14, 2004.

  1. Scott Weinberg

    Scott Weinberg Lead Actor

    Oct 3, 2000
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    For the second consecutive year I'll be spending some time in Park City, Utah, for the Sundance (as well as Slamdance) film festival. I slapped together an article on the 'Premiere' titles, ones that you movie freekz might be most interested in hearing something about.

    There's certainly no guarantee that I'll get to see all of these films, but here's what the Premiere titles look like:

    BAADASSSSS! - OK, follow me here. Writer/director/star Mario Van Peebles portrays his father, writer/director/star Melvin Van Peebles, of Sweet Sweetback's Baadasssss Song, (1971) in this fact-based bio-pic that tells the tale of the controversial film's production and release. Sounds solid to me. Also stars T.K. Carter, Nia Long, Ossie Davis, David Allan Grier, Paul Rodriguez and Saul Rubinek.

    Sundance Quote: A heartfelt and incredibly resonant ode to his father's achievement, Mario's film relives the blood, sweat, and tears that went into the making of Melvin's pioneering effort.

    Bright Young Things - The many-hatted Stephen Fry makes his directorial debut with a comedic drama period-piece sorta thing, based on Evelyn Waugh's novel Vile Bodies, starring the eclectic mixture of Emily Mortimer, Jim Broadbent, Dan Aykroyd, Peter O'Toole and two newcomers (Stephen Campbell Moore & Fenella Woolgar) to boot.

    Sundance Quote: Bright Young Things may be a sexy, funny pastiche of good times gone by, but its overtones still ring true.

    The Butterfly Effect - This one hits wide on the 23rd and I've already seen it courtesy of local screenings. Brace yourselves: it's good! If you dig mind-twisty Twilight Zone-y stories, odds are you'll enjoy this one. Ashton Kutcher is a fella who can turn back time and revisit certain traumatic points in his childhood, but whenever he comes back to the present day...something's gone horribly...wrong. Amy Smart, Ethan Supplee, Eric Stoltz, Elden Henson and Melora Walters make up a strong support system for Kutcher's best movie work to date.

    Sundance Quote: A compelling, entertaining, and surprisingly unpredictable story that is gripping and engaging from start to finish.

    The Clearing - Robert Redford and Helen Mirren are an affluent married couple. Willem Dafoe is a very disgruntled person from their past. Kidnapping is involved. It may seem weird to have a Robert Redford movie screen at his OWN festival, but hey, The Clearing comes from a first-time director (Pieter Jan Brugge) and a first-time screenwriter (Justin Haythe) so clearly it's not some fluff flick. Plus, Bob's a bigger man than that.

    Sundance Quote: A marvelous precision, an attention to detail, and a subtlety distinguish all aspects of The Clearing, the debut feature of Pieter Jan Brugge.

    D.E.B.S. - I was fortunate to see the 'short' version of D.E.B.S. at last year's SXSW Festival. Apparently the 'short' was rather well-received by someone, as Angela Robinson now has a feature-length version for us to enjoy. Oh, didn't I mention that the short was sexy, slick and very, very funny? Picture a comic-book-style, over-the-top action comedy about a squad of evil-bashin' lipstick lesbian lovelies. Sort of a Charlie's Angels with some real wit and audacity. If the short film is any indication, this one's a winner. Sara Foster, Jordana Brewster, Devon Aoki, Jill Ritchie, Meagan Good, Holland Taylor and Michael Clarke Duncan(!) star.

    Sundance Quote: With her exciting and stylish feature debut, D.E.B.S, director Angela Robinson gives us a bubbly, sexy, fun-filled send-up of secret-agent espionage movies, action thrillers, wild parties, and teen angst.

    The Dreamers - Bernardo Bertolucci presents the story of an American youth who explores 1968 Paris (and a whole lot more) in what clearly seems to be a rather...sensual...romantic drama. Michael Pitt, Louis Garrel and Eva Green star.

    Sundance Quote: Bertolucci is one of the few film artists for whom carnal desire, the process of creation, and class conflict hold equal interest. In The Dreamers, he spins a web which entrances and transports us into a realm where we can reevaluate the past and see the present in a new light.

    Edge of America - James McDaniel, Irene Bedard, Tim Daly and Wes Studi star in what appears to be a likeable sports drama about a new African-American coach who inspires his Native American students to succeed.

    Sundance Quote: Edge of America is a sweet, endearing film that will inspire and provoke you with its unique approach to race and prejudice.

    Employee of the Month - Matt Dillon? Steve Zahn? Christina Applegate? Heck, I'm sold already. Seems to be a dark farce about one poor schlub being forced to withstand the Day from Hell. Sounds right up my alley.

    Sundance Quote: Assembling an extremely clever script with cowriter Jay Leggett, director Mitch Rouse spins a fantastic yarn filled with wonderful surprises.

    Eulogy - Done well, there's nothing more entertaining than a solid ensemble comedy. Make it a "dark" comedy and that just sweetens the deal! Given the title, obviously the flick is about death...but check out this cast: Ray Romano, Hank Azaria, Rip Torn, Debra Winger, Zooey Deschanel, Famke Janssen, Jesse Bradford, Glenne Headly, Piper Laurie, Paget Brewster and Kelly Preston! How first-timer Michael Clancy was able to finagle this cast is beyond me, but this is my #1 pre-fest choice.

    Sundance Quote: First-time feature director Michael Clancy masterfully handles his own script, where characters play perfect counterpoint to each other's eccentricities.

    Iron Jawed Angels - 1912, Washington D.C., The Woman's Suffragate Movement. This one stars a truckload of great actresses, including Hilary Swank, Frances O'Connor, Julia Ormond, Anjelica Huston, Carrie Snodgress, Vera Farmiga and Molly Parker. Oh, and Patrick Dempsey! How'd he get in there?

    Sundance Quote: A formidable testament to the sacrifices and the blood shed for women's enfranchisement, Iron Jawed Angels may just embarrass people into actually going to the polls.

    Love in Thoughts - Debut director Achim von Borries presents what looks a whole lot like a stark and sobering tale of one fella's posthumous recap of his last four days on Earth. Might not be a laugh-a-minute movie, but it sounds pretty compelling to me.

    Sundance Quote: ...passionate and engrossing storytelling that transports desire and despair to the screen in a fervent discourse on the pitfalls of romantic disillusionment.

    The Machinist - Now THIS is one I've been reading about for quite some time now. Apparently screenwriter Scott Kosar caused quite a buzz with his debut script a little while ago, and now comes the movie. The always-interesting Christian Bale stars as Trevor Reznik, a man with dwindling sanity who hasn't slept in over a year. Director Brad Anderson's last movie was the supremely underrated Session 9, so I'll be first in line for this one. Jennifer Jason Leigh and Michael Ironside co-star.

    Sundance Quote: The Machinist is an inspired text on melding performance, sound, and image to convey a bizarre mental state, a stylized combination that rightly evokes comparison to such masters as Polanski and Hitchcock.

    Marie and Bruce - Julianne Moore and Matthew Broderick star as a married couple, and we're privy to one fateful day as their marriage begins to crumble. Written by Wallace Shawn and director Tom Cairns, this one co-stars Bob Balaban, Griffin Dunne and Campbell Scott and feels like it could be something quite cool.

    Sundance Quote: It's rather delightful, brimming with nasty wit, observations, and humor that are as insightful as they are self-reflexive.

    The Motorcycle Diaries - Based on the journals of Ernesto "Che" Guevara, Walter Salles' film details the cross-country chopper trek undertaken by Che and his pal, Dr. Albert Granado in 1952 South America. Gael Garcia Bernal, Rodrigo de la Serna and Mia Maestro star.

    Sundance Quote: With a gentle yet stirring power, Salles and his creative colleagues forge a work that touches the spirit as well as the mind, that gradually immerses you in the often-harsh realities of life across their native continent, that sears images into your brain of peoples and culture and a land's history.

    Never Die Alone - Based on the novel by Donald Goines, this one's about a drug kingpin who returns home from prison and ends up lighting up a few powderkegs along the way. Sounds like cable-flick potential, except that the director is Ernest Dickerson and also that, well, it's playing at Sundance. DMX plays the lead with support from Michael Ealy, Clifton Powell and David Arquette.

    Sundance Quote: With Never Die Alone, Ernest Dickerson has fashioned a richly literate film noir that partakes of the heritage of that genre while slyly parodying its contemporary manifestations.

    Redemption - Director Vondie Curtis-Hall looks to wipe away his last directorial effort (that would be Glitter) with this promising-looking bio-pic about Stan 'Tookie' Smith, who was both the creator of the Crips street gang and a highly-decorated youth counsellor later in life. Jamie Foxx plays Tookie with support from Lynn Whitfield and CCH Pounder.

    Sundance Quote: Jamie Foxx turns in an exceptional performance as a man who transforms himself, while Curtis Hall skillfully weaves Tookie's troubled past and life in prison with the developing tender connection he makes with Becnel.

    Riding Giants - If Stacy Peralta's new documentary about surfing is even half as fascinating as was his documentary on skateboarding (Dogtown and Z-Boys), then we're in for a great time with this one.

    Sundance Quote: Riding Giants is a study in individuality and freedom, the pursuit and techniques of pure kinetic pleasure, and the risk taking and attitudes that characterize its leading figures.

    The Saddest Music in the World - Wow does this one sound like a gloriously insane confection: former Kid in the Hall Mark McKinney and the lovely Isabella Rossellini star in Canadian director Guy Maddin's tale of a 1930's beer baroness who holds a competition among songwriters to see who can pen the saddest ditty in the world. Sounds very weird, but in a good way.

    Sundance Quote: Unspeakably funny and brilliantly absurd, Guy Maddin's The Saddest Music in the World is a delightfully twisted musical melodrama that serves up a heady brew of surreal storytelling and madly caffeinated characters.

    Saved! - This one sounds like a happily non-PC farce that pokes fun at the teenage conventions and religion in equal doses. Which means I'll probably love it. Throw in a cast of indie-flick faves (Jena Malone, Macaulay Culkin, Heather Matarazzo, Patrick Fugit and...Mandy Moore? Insteresting.) and you're looking at something potentially quite tasty.

    Sundance Quote: A gleeful, nondenominational, politically incorrect comedy for anyone who's been to Bible camp, Saved! takes the conventions of overwrought After School Specials and turns them inside "out."

    Sky Blue - Slick-looking futuristic animé (also known as Wonderful Days) about an Earth ravaged by war and pollution, and the survivors who aim to get one last peek at the heavens. Sounds pretty solid.

    Sundance Quote
    : Director Moon-Sang expertly utilizes cutting-edge, multilayer compositing techniques that combine cell animation, miniatures, and live action with three-dimensional, computer-generated locales.

    Tiptoes - Director Matthew Bright gave us both of the bizarrely cool Freeway flicks, so whatever he comes up with next is fine by me. Here we get Matthew McConaughey, Gary Oldman, Kate Beckinsale and many others in this tale of love, acceptance and dwarfism. Expect something brave and brazenly funny.

    Sundance Quote: In these characters, [Bright] instills all of our fears and hang-ups: fear of rejection, fear of commitment; fear of relationships--the whole gamut.

    Touch of Pink - A comedy about a traditional Hindi fella (Jimi Mistry) who must inform his family that he's gay? Kyle MacLachlan as the ghost of Cary Grant? Sounds pretty interesting, to say the least.

    Sundance Quote: A comic clash of cultures, values, and sexuality, Ian Iqbal Rashid's Touch of Pink cleverly borrows from several cinematic traditions to concoct this romantic romp.

    Trauma - Marc Evans (director of the rather cool My Little Eye) helms this dark & nifty sounding tale. Colin Firth wakes up from a coma, finds out his life is now a shambles, and promptly reverts into an alternate based on a past memory that seems just a little Sign me UP for this one! Mena Suvari and Brenda Fricker co-star.

    Sundance Quote: The tone, sustained by the entire cast, creates the ideal conditions for dread to grow just under the surface. In Trauma, Evans expertly builds tension by slowly and deliberately stacking images, reshuffling them, and letting them fall where they will.

    Zatoichi - Legendary Japanese filmmaker Takeshi Kitano revisits the beloved Blind Swordsman legend with his own remake, and it's a film that should be absolutely overflowing with high-grade action goodness. Highly looking forward to this one.

    Sundance Quote: Breathtaking composition, slow-motion action, stunning fight choreography, and the infusion of a modern score are evidence of Kitano's fine-art gloss. That is not to say Zatoichi is without plenty of thrilling, glorious, blood-splattering carnage.
  2. Vickie_M

    Vickie_M Producer

    Dec 31, 2001
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    Thanks for that Scott. I haven't read it thoroughly yet, but I'm sure I'll be referring to it often.

    You lucky bastard you! [​IMG]
  3. Tino

    Tino Lead Actor

    Apr 19, 1999
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    Metro NYC
    Real Name:
    I read in today's N.Y Daily News that Bertolucci's film will be released NC-17.

    In response to the rating, he said he'd rather have an orgasm than a bomb.:b
  4. Mikel_Cooperman

    Mikel_Cooperman Producer

    Jan 16, 2001
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    Some day I will go to this festival as well as Cannes.
    My friend is going this year so at least I will hear stuff from him.
  5. Arman

    Arman Screenwriter

    Jan 10, 2003
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    Enjoy and have fun Scott! I'll be waiting for your Sundance festival updates here. [​IMG] [​IMG]

    Yeah, you lucky bastard (but then I hate the cold weather out there!) [​IMG] Have you been to Toronto International Film Festival? (I just remember now that Michael Perez did). Probably, that's the one I'm going to attend this year. Oh yeah, I can daydream here, someday Cannes.
  6. Arman

    Arman Screenwriter

    Jan 10, 2003
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  7. Scott Weinberg

    Scott Weinberg Lead Actor

    Oct 3, 2000
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    I'm back!

    Back in Philadelphia!

    Where everyone... is in... mourning. [​IMG]

    I have not! But I have done Sundance/Slamdance (twice now), SXSW (and again this March!), Tribeca (once) and of course the ever-lovely Philadelphia Film Festival.

    Updates and blather to follow! I missed you freaks!
  8. Scott Weinberg

    Scott Weinberg Lead Actor

    Oct 3, 2000
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    The movies and my star rating (5 star scale!) - Reviews (for all of 'em, hopefully) to follow!

    Sundance (Feature Length)

    Azumi - 4.5
    The Corporation - 5
    CSA: Confederate States of America - 4
    D.E.B.S. - 3
    Dirty Work - 3.5
    Down to the Bone - 2.5
    Easy - 2.5
    Employee of the Month - 1.5
    Eulogy - 3
    Garden State - 5
    Grand Theft Parsons - 3.5
    Haute Tension - 4
    I Like Killing Flies - 3.5
    Los Angeles Plays Itself - 4.5
    The Machinist - 4.5
    Open Water - 4.5
    A Place of Our Own - 4
    Primer - 2
    Proteus - 3.5
    Redemption - 2
    Saw - 5
    Seven Times Lucky - 2
    Super Size Me - 5
    Trauma - 2
    The Woodsman - 3.5
    Word Wars - 4.5
    Zatoichi - 2

    Sundance (Short) (I won't rate the shorts on a 5-star scale for reasons that are my very own, but I'll highlight the ones I most enjoyed.)

    99 Scents
    100 Lovers of Jesus Reynolds
    American Nutria
    Black Boots
    The Cold Ones
    Exit 18A
    Fake Stacy
    Fears of a Clown
    Foo Foo Dust
    Kinetic Sandwich
    Light is Calling
    LSD a Go Go
    Meridian Days
    Mt. Head
    Out of the Ether
    Papillon d'Amour
    Phase 5
    Pol Pot's Birthday
    Pretty Dead Girl
    Risky Business
    Scalpel to Vein
    Talking with Angels
    Wet Dreams False Images
    we todd did
    Who's Your Daddy?

    Slamdance (Features)

    Big City Dick: Richard Peterson's First Movie - 5
    Bruce Haack: King of Techno - 4
    Death and Texas - 4
    Graveyard Alive: A Zombie Nurse in Love - 4.5
    Hair High - 4
    IPO - 3.5
    Monster Road - 4
    The Watershed - 3.5
    X, Y - 2.5
  9. Andy Sheets

    Andy Sheets Cinematographer

    Aug 6, 2000
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    What's this about? Haven't heard of it. I've read one or two nice things about Graveyard Alive.
  10. Nick C.

    Nick C. Second Unit

    Dec 27, 2001
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    can't wait for your reviews of Garden State and Zatoichi [​IMG]

    thanks for the updates
  11. ThomasC

    ThomasC Lead Actor

    Dec 15, 2001
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    Scott, how about your thoughts on Garden State and The Machinist? [​IMG]
  12. Scott Weinberg

    Scott Weinberg Lead Actor

    Oct 3, 2000
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