Tuesday, February 9, 2010

US release dates for 2010 Sundance films

Here's what I was able to find. I'll update if I find more:

UPDATED 3/19/2010 

*Frozen - NOW PLAYING (limited release opened 2/5/2010)

*A Prophet (Un prophète) - NOW PLAYING (released 2/26/2010)

*The Runaways - NOW PLAYING (released 3/19/2010 - limited)

*Please Give - 4/30/2010 (CHANGED from 4/23)

*Mother and Child - 5/7/2010

*Holy Rollers - 5/21/2010

 *Daddy Longlegs  (formerly Go Get Some Rosemary) - 5/14/2010

*Splice - 6/4/2010

*Winter's Bone - 6/11/2010

*Cyrus - 7/9/2010

*Get Low - 7/30/2010

*Buried - 9/24/2010

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Sundance 2010

After YEARS of wanting to go, I was FINALLY able to attend the Sundance Film Festival in Park City, Utah this year! I had every intention of reading up on how to make the best out of the festival, had tons of web pages bookmarked, and then, in true slacker fashion, didn't read a single one of them! I went in completely blind, and I don't think I would have had it any other way. I definitely got a good lesson what to do and not do for next year. To start, here's a list of films that I caught. I'll write more about the festival later, and add my reviews. This is just to get me motivated and back in the habit of writing again:

(in viewing order:)


*Please Give





*3 Backyards

*Blue Valentine

*Holy Rollers

*The Extra Man

*Welcome To the Rileys

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I plan on making a list of my fave films of 2009... Soon... Stay tuned...

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I'm gonna try to actively start updating again. I'll try to give quick little reviews of things I'd seen at the end of the year here when I get a chance.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009


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I'm starting to think that I should just start writing about movies that I'm GOING to see, rather than review movies taht I acually HAVE seen. Well... not REALLY, but that seems to be the trend lately. I'll catch up on reviews one of these days. In the meantime, I'll continue to update with what I'm going to see, in hopes that I can just sit back down when I get home and knock out a review.

My choices of (free) screenings tonight were either Law Abiding Citizen or Trucker, and I went with the choice that I knew less about, and one that I would be less disappointed if I wasted my time at a crappy movie. I don't expect this to be a crappy movie though. I like both Michelle Monaghan and Nathan Fillion, so that right there is already more promising than Jamie Foxx. It apparently made the festival tour last year, and is finally hitting a few screens here and there. After the screening is a Q&A, so that's always (well, usually) enjoyable.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

From Dusk Till Dawn

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...work in progress...

Saturday, October 10, 2009

The Damned United

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So I adore Michael Sheen. He's been wonderful in EVERYTHING I've seen him in, and I doubt he'll disappoint this time around either. He has a knack for portraying actual people, and I admire him greatly for that, especially because the people he portrays are still living. That seems to be a rather daunting challenge, but Sheen always handles it like a champ. I also love soccer and though I know less about details and backstory of British football than I do of most American sports, but I LOVE watching it and can't wait til I can afford a trip to England to see a game!

This film is about Brian Clough, a famous British football coach. Apparently it's written by the same screenwriter as The Queen and  Frost/Nixon (Peter Morgan), both of which also starred Michael Sheen. Morgan does an excellent job at writing about actual people and events and also wrote the screenplay for The Last King of Scotland (which I LOVED), and also for The Other Boleyn Girl. I'm guessing that this would be of similar sentiment to a film about an American coach of either a Football or Basketball team. Every now and then these types of films and be REALLY British, and while they don't lose me completely, I CAN miss some of the nuances and background behind different aspects or elements of the story and characters. I have high hopes for this film!

Friday, October 9, 2009

An Education

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This film has been greating GREAT reviews, especially for female lead, Carey Mulligan. I also LOVE Peter Sarsgaard, but he doesn't always pick the best roles. More to come:

Wednesday, October 7, 2009


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So I'm blindly going into a screening tonight. It's in Pasadena, and all I know is that it's a horror film. There's no title or cast listed. This could mean one of three things:

* This will be a highly anticipated film that they REALLY don't want any info leaking from
* It's SO bad that if they actually tell people what it is, no one will show
* It's too early for it to have a title and they don't want to say who the actors are yet

I was never really into horror films growing up, but mainly because I just wasn't exposed to them. Nowadays, I'm picky about them. I don't really like gnarly gore for the sake of gnarly gore. The first couple Saw movies, though gorey, were done with purpose. I have no problem with that. I just saw Zombieland, and while there were some way gnarly scenes with zombies, it was necessary. I don't care for the "slasher" type of film because they're done mainly for shock value. So we'll see how this goes...

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Whip It

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Confession time: A few years back, a couple of my good friends tried to talk me into joining a roller derby team. I had always been a good roller blader and even played a good deal of street hockey as a kid. I'd also skate around the cul-de-sac as if I were training to be a speed skater in the Olympics. I hadn't actually ROLLER SKATED for YEARS though. With the slightest bit of consideration, I bought myself a pair of skates, looked up all the info, and realized that I needed to have health insurance (which I didn't have, and couldn't afford), so my dreams of roller derby were shot to hell. Now that I have time and motivation to train, and health insurance, I'm afraid it'll be way too trendy now that the movie's out. *sigh*

I'm hoping to like the movie. I'm not the biggest Drew Barrymore fan, so I'm hoping that her directing is better than her acting. I like Ellen Page, Kristen Wiig, Juliette Lewis, Zoë Bell, and Alia Shawkat, so regardless, I'm optimistic.

Before I'm able to write a proper review, I have to throw in that the dude who plays Ellen Page's love interest seemed oddly familiar, so when I saw the name "Landon Pigg", I jumped in excitement - eyes welled up and everything! I think he's fantastic and I'm stoked to see him play with A Fine Frenzy next month!

Friday, October 2, 2009


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Truer words have never been spoken! I'm actually HOPING to see this movie today. If not today, then it'll be tomorrow for sure! The only other film that I've been anticipating THIS much this year was 9, to which I was COMPLETELY let down! There's other movies that I'd been and am super excited about, but not quite in the same realm of "fun". I'm expecting this to be a more plot-driven type of "Shoot Em Up" (which is a total "dude" film, but I actually LOVED it)!

I love the nutjob that Woody Harrelson is. I think Jesse Eisenberg is adorable! Abigail Bresslin is a talented young actress. And the jury's still out on Emma Stone. Maybe this will help me make up my mind on her. Either way, I'm SUPER excited to see this! I don't even know how else to pre-review this thing, so I'll show you the trailer and then some of the brilliant viral ads! My fingers are crossed tightly this for this!!! (I even like the VO in the trailer!)

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Wednesday, September 30, 2009

A Serious Man

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So... yeah... I'm seeing this movie tonight, and I'm not quite sure about it. I'm SUPER hit-or-miss with the Coen Brothers, and am not sure I'm on board with this trailer. It's getting GREAT reviews (as much of their stuff does), but nothing really grips me. As far as a quick run-through of their films and my opinions:

*Raising Arizona (1987) - saw it FOREVER ago - wasn't amused. (I should probably see it again though)
*The Big Lebowski (1998) - only saw it a couple years ago - liked it, but am not signing up for LebowskiFest anytime soon.
*Oh Brother, Where Art Though? (2000) - REALLY liked it! I think part of it was the cast, part was the music, and part was the story being based on Homer's Odyssey.
* No Country For Old Men (2007) - OVERRATED!!! It was watchable, and the acting was GREAT! It was a well made film, but There Will Be Blood should have taken Best Picture FOR SURE!
*Burn After Reading (2008) - meh. I enjoyed some of the quirkiness of the film, and again, GREAT performances, but it just didn't resonate with me. Maybe it needs a second viewing, but I'm not sure I want to waste another 2 hours, just to be let down again.

OK, I know people are gonna say "Why isn't Fargo on that list?" Confession: I STILL haven't seen Fargo! (*runs and hides, while grabbing a baseball glove to catch the tomatoes*) I know, I'm a failure, but that seems to be an ongoing trend, AND one of the main reasons that I started this blog. THEN they made Intolerable Cruelty... REALLY Joel and Ethan? THAT'S the route you go? Romantic comedy? I tend to avoid those at ALL costs! I LOVE me some George Clooney (though I didn't used to back in the day), and I'm fine w/ Catherine Zeta Jones, but the Coens and romantic comedy??? I'm out! I also DO need to see Blood Simple and the Ladykillers, and I DID see their segment of Paris, je t'aime (and liked the film altogetherm but can't recall which was their segment), but overall, the Coen's are WAY more miss than hit for me!

So tonight, or maybe tomorrow, I'll report back on my thoughts. A Jewish dude and his dismal life just doesn't seem all that gripping, but I could be wrong. I DO like that the trailer doesn't spoil the plot though, and the head-pounding (literally) beat, but I'm not getting my hopes up. Maybe I'll be pleasantly surprised!


(confused, quietly to self)
Seriously?! What the hell?! Wow...

(sigh, slight irritated)
Eff you Coen brothers!

I think that's how I leave most Coen brothers films. This one threw me off though because I actually enjoyed it! I can never really tell if I overthink their films, or whether they completely fly over my head. Either way, they always create topics of discussion for me! The lead in A Serious Man, Michael Stuhlbarg, is pretty much an unknown, and is fantastic! Everyone in the film was SO good! So believable! I always enjoy going into movies that I know next to nothing about; movies in which the trailer doesn't give the ENTIRE thing away!

It's been said that this sort of chronicles the story of Job from the Bible, where everything in his life falls apart, but he continues to stay faithful.  I get that. Larry Gopnik (Stuhlbarg) is a man of integrity; just a college professor, up for tenure, who is trying to do right by his unfaithful wife, his selfish daughter, his bullied, soon-to-be-bar mitzvahed son, and his socially awkward gambler brother. He has a Korean student who's trying to buy a grade, and his wife's lover who is tying to be his friend as if nothing's wrong.
(to be completed...)

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Anvil! The Story of Anvil

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Space15Twenty is a little shopping area (rather "anti-mall"ish) in Hollywood that has free movie screenings. Last week I saw Weird Science there because they're doing Tuesdays in September for John Hughes movies (Ferris Bueller's Day Off is tonight). October will be Patrick Swayze month. (SIDENOTE TO ACTORS: if you want a film screening series dedicated to you, all you have to do is die?) Mondays however are often put on by Amoeba Music. I had heard nothing but great things about Anvil, and meant to see it during it's limited LA release, but was broke and lazy at the time (though not much has changed), and missed out. I don't know much about the band, Anvil, other than the fact that they've been around forever! So here's to a love of music and free movies!

Ok, so Anvil... dang! Those guys have been around for 30+ years, and have never really "made it". The documentary shows them and their families, and shows their daily lives in Canada. There's 2 original members:  Steve "Lips" Kudlow (guitar/vocals), and Robb Reiner (drums). As high schoolers, they started this band, and it's all they've ever wanted to do! Both are married with families, and their wives just want to see them happy, though Robb's wife seems to think it might be time to hang up the hat. 

The film's director, Sasha Gervasi, met them in London at 15 years old, worked as a roadie for a while, and is still, to this day, and friend and supporter of this band that he so deeply admires for their perseverence and love of their art. Anvil is a band that has just never taken off like a band who is THAT passionate usually would, While showing some older footage mixed in, we see the band where they are at present, still working their day jobs and trying to book tours on their own during their vacation time. They're shown being given an opportunity to play a 10,000 seat arena... and 174 people show up. They book club gigs all over Europe, and money matters aren't resolved til years later! They can't seem to catch a break! As a viewer, part of me feels like they're ridiculous for chasing the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. They talk about their career as musicians as if they're JUST on the cusp of making it... 30+ years in... and at 50+ years old.

At that point, I was really wondering how this documentary was going to end up! They hired one of their old producers to produce "Thirteen", their thirteenth album, and hand delivered it to labels all over the place in hopes that someone, ANYONE, would be willing to pick them up and work with them. This was all AFTER Lips' older sister, still wnting to believe in the band's dream, lent them money to continue on. It brought on such a real sense of love! She wanted her brother to be happy and continue pursuing his dream, no matter how foolish it may seem to most. They finally got a call from a promoter...from Japan... saying that they wanted to  book them to play a festival. They head to Japan to find that they're playing a 20,000 seat arena... and are FIRST on the bill at 11:35am. I was sitting in a PACKED house and audible groans of pity could be heard from almost EVERYONE! The band was trying SO hard to make it and they were just being dealt the WORST hand EVER! They get ready to go onstage... and walk out to a PACKED HOUSE!!! Everyone where I was started clapping and couldn't be happier to see Anvil get some love and respect from fans! (My note of advice: move to Japan, make some money, and then retire in style!)

The documentary sums up the band's current state by saying they're recruiting the same producer for their FOURTEENTH album, and are hoping for success. It's such a bittersweet film that thoroughly enjoyed. It showed the trials of a struggling band wonderfully.

Overall: Thumbs up!!!

Here's a clip that was from Sundance '08, where the film was originally showcased:

Saturday, September 26, 2009

King of California

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The main reason for wanting to watch this movie this week is for Evan Rachel Wood to redeem herself! I DO think she's a good actress, but her new role in True Blood is awful!!! Her character as the Vampire Queen, Sophie-Anne, should be a huge presence, and instead she seems like a spoiled prep-student á la Cruel Intentions. She needs to have a Maryanne type presence, but that just isn't how it's been going down. I understand that she's been training and rehearsing for Spider Man on Broadway, but that doesn't mean that she should play her screen role as if she's on the stage. It's not really that she's overacting, but it's the way that she talks and delivers lines. It feels a bit emotionless and almost as though she's performing for a live audience rather than a camera. I hope that changes for next season, but for the time being, I'm giving her a chance to step it up by watching King of California. This movie looks like a charming little indie that's quirky and fun, and right up my alley, so we'll see...

I'm actually really looking forward to seeing Michael Douglas in this role! I don't think I'm used to seeing him play roles like this, but it just might suit him well!

Hey... me actually following up with a review! Fancy that! So... King of California... I REALLY liked it a lot! To sum it up, it's about a high school aged girl named Miranda (Wood), who's had to drop out of high school to work and pay all the bills at home. Her mom had left the family years ago, and her father, Charlie (Douglas), had been taken to a nut house after trying to hang himself a couple years back. Miranda picks Charlie up upon release, and is trying to get accustomed to life living with her father, who lacks all sense of responsibility. He is a bit of a conspiracy theororist, and thinks that there's some sort of burried treasure below the local Costco, and recruits Miranda to help, and his jazz band friend, Pepper to be the lookout man.

I think there's something that everyone can relate to in this movie no matter what type of family you came from. Miranda has pretty much had to be the adult in her family her entire life, given her absent mother and her irresponsible father. I think that everyone, deep down inside, wants to believe in their parents, no matter how screwed up they are. We want to believe that they'll step up and play the nurturing role that we expect of them. Miranda knows how flawed her father is, but she's willing to go along with his crazy play because she really does love him, and she realizes that regardless of his take on the world, he's happy. Charlie is a total optimist! I related to his character SO much! He may not have everything completely thought out, but he's got a game plan that he believes in and is willing to see it through with a chance that he's right. He loves his daughter and only wants the best for her, even if he isn't really aware what the best thing is. He really means well in all things; there just happens to be a screw loose. It's all about the quest for happiness, and belonging in the world.

They break into Costco (and set off alarms), drill through the floor, and find a water-filled tunnel that Charlie decides to explore with scuba gear that Costco has unknowingly provided.  At the end of the film, Charlie ties up Miranda in the employee break room of Costco and tells her that when the cops inevitably catch them, she should say that he forced her into all this. Being a minor would get her off the hook of any charges. It ends up with Miranda not knowing whether he father, who went back down into the tunnel, survived. The cops never caught him, nor found a body. He did, however, leave her with a note that led her to a specific dishwasher (one that she'd been eyeing earlier, which Charlie said was unnecessary). She purchases that specific dishwasher with the credit card Charlie had given her (which SHE thought to be unnecessary), and takes it to the coast to open it with no one around. There's a golden glow that is shown on her face, but we don't see the inside of the dishwasher. I would like to believe that Charlie actually found treasure, but either way, Miranda gets a sense that her father really loves her and has always had her best interest in mind despite his imbalance. He actually payed attention to her when she showed interest in something and that meant so much to her.

I don't know if I properly conveyed my enjoyment of this film, but it really is one of the better ones that I've seen recently. It had a very limited theatrical release, but given the opportunity, I feel like it could have been another Little Miss Sunshine or Juno. It was a little indie gem that I can't recommend enough!

Overall: TOTAL thumbs up!!!

Friday, September 25, 2009


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OK, so I love Ben Foster, but he's one of those actors that just doesn't always take the greatest roles, though is usually good in each role despite the crap movies he's in. He's had some great roles though too. If you've seen 3:10 To Yuma (and you SHOULD HAVE), he was fantastic as Charlie Prince! I remember him all the way back in the day from a little show on the Disney channel, and then again from a few episodes of Freaks and Geeks (one of my ALL TIME favorite TV shows). More recently he was in Hostage, Alpha Dog, and X-Men 3. Dennis Quaid is also in Pandorum, and other than... or wait... nope. That guy hasn't made a good film in 5 years(?)... 10 years(???). That doesn't give me much hope for this movie. *sigh*

OK, so I'm reviewing this right away in hopes that I can help you save yourself $10! To sum it up, THANK GOD I SAW THIS FOR FREE!!! It started out odd, but decent enough, and them got progressively more and more odd and off track. There were little bits of plot that seemed to be there for the sake of filling time or just trying to give it an added depth (for which it failed miserably)!

The film opens with a scene from inside some giant spacecraft thing and the only character that we really see later is Gallo (Cam Gigandet), but that's not til later in the film. Oh, SIDENOTE COMPLAINT: Gigandet has a amazing body... that they DON'T show off! What's up with that??? Anyway, Peyton (Quaid) and Bower (Foster) are out of these frozen pod things and wondering where they are and how long they've been there. Bower starts to remember a little bit and realizes that he was part of a mission (based on the tattoo barcode-ish type thing on his arm). He decides that he's going to investigate and explore the rest of this seemingly empty huge spacecraft thing. To make a long (lame and drawn out) story short, Peyton is verbally guiding Bower around from the control room. They realize that their families are also on another part of the spacecraft somewhere, so Bower decides to try to find his wife ONLY TO FIND OUT LATER THAT SHE LEFT HIM BEFORE HE WENT ON THE MISSION, WHICH WAS THE REASON HE ENROLLED IN THE FIRST PLACE! He supposedly finds Peyton's wife's capsule, but I think we find out that they're all dead. Either way, it's a dead end plot line that is completely unnecessary! It doesn't lent to the film at all! Bower meets a few other humans along the way (all of which I can't remember their names because I don't recall them being mentioned). They spend the entire film fending off these alien-type creatures that look brainless, but are apparently smart enough to rig up booby-traps all over the place to catch and kill the humans.

In the meantime, back in the control room, Gallo emerges and is poorly acted by Cam Gigandet. I didn't really get his take on the ship's situation. Is he a newer crew member? Older? Well... we find out soon enough that Gallo is actually Peyton and deals with this BS cop-out time space continuum (SIDENOTE: I just spell checked "continuum"... I didn't realize there was another word in the English language that had consecutive "u"s besides vacuum). ENDING SPOILER: Bower makes it back to the control room and the few survivors shoot off in little pods to land in the ocean of some planet that is fairly earth-like to assume that the 1200ish survivors can now rebuild the human population on this new planet... Eff that!

Overall, I give this an enthusiastic thumbs down!!! Like I said, THANK GOD I didn't pay for this 2 hour waste of time! It actualy started with promise, but went to crap FAST!

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Weird Science

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After taking some time to catch up the current theatrical releases, I'm going to try to get back to some of the old movies that I'm lame to have not seen. Tonight's film came courtest of Space 15Twenty. This month is all John Hughes movies, hence, Weird Science. Next month is all Patrick Swayze films, so if anyone wants to join me on the Tuesday night that they show Point Break, let me know. Also, good to know that if an actor ever needs attention, all they have to do is die. Too soon? (Actually, that was my dorky attempt at an homage to Brand New, whose 4th album, Daisy, came out today. Buy it!) Anyway, I have trouble getting into 80's comedies that I didn't grow up with. They hold a sentimental value when you grow up watching them, but when you're introduced to 80's comedies as an adult, they just don't seem to see that funny. The comedic pacing is so much slower, and I usually just can't get into them. I recently saw Fast Time At Ridgemont High... meh. That's my sentiment. I didn't find it very funny, nor did I see what all the nostalgic hype was about. Someone the other day pointed out to me that Mr. Skin gave Fast Times... the distinction of having the #1 nude scene of all time. Um... Phoebe Cates getting out of a pool topless? That earns the #1 spot? Eff you Mr. Skin! Lame! Though I'd totally be willing to switch boobs with Phoebe Cates anyday!

*sigh* Back to the topic at hand; here's the Weird Science trailer... and as always, I'm a slack and will review in a (regrettably un)timely manner. Check out that floppy disk!

Sunday, September 20, 2009

The Baader Meinhof Complex

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To the few that are actually reading my ramblings, I'm sure you think I'm failing at my own game. that's cause I am! I think watching and reviewing a movie a day was a bit too ambitious and it's coming around to bite me. I've been doing pretty well at watching, but it's the writing that I just haven't had the patience to do lately. I know I keep saying that I'll catch up in a day or so, but this time I HAVE TO! I think I can do it by Wednesday! For the time being, here's what I saw tonight. More to come...

(This review might actually come sooner rather than later cause the movie was freakin' INTENSE! Just watch the trailer and get a feeling for it! CRAZY!)

Friday, September 18, 2009

The Informant!

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Saw it. Don't feel well. Allergies suck. Still trying to catch up!

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(I personally like this poster other than the fact that it reminds me of What About Bob? for some reason!)

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Big Fan

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When I think Patton Oswalt, I think comedy. And then I think animated rat comedy. Big Fan, however, isn't gonna be either one of those. It's written and directed by Robert D. Siegel, who was also the screenwriter behind Darren Aronofsky's film The Wrestler, so I'm hoping this captures the real, yet sad sentiment of that film. The Westler was one of those films that I liked better after I was able to digest it for a while, and the same will probably hold true for this one. I think the only films I've seen Oswalt in were his tiny bit parts in Observe and report (which I HATED, by the way), and Zoolander (where'd you'd blink and miss him), so we'll see if he can carry this through. I cheated a little and checked out the score on Rotten Tomatoes, and so far (in it's super tiny release), Big Fan is at an 81% with 47 reviews in  - not too shabby! (I'm seeing this tonight at the Landmark Nuart.)