DID YOU READ

Watch Sundance Shorts on YouTube

Watch Sundance Shorts on YouTube (photo)

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The Sundance Film Festival’s official YouTube channel has all sorts of content from the recently concluded 2011 fest, including interviews with filmmakers and reports from Park City. But I particularly like the fact that you can watch some of Sundance’s shorts in their entirety. I’ve embedded a few of my favorites here.

First up, “Close” by writer/director Tahir Jetter. The film is about the aftermath of a sexual encounter between two friends. It’s a bit on the profane side (so if you’re watching at work, you may want to grab your headphones), but it’s also intense and smartly edited for maximum interplay between past and present (and possibly the future too?).

Next up, “Andy and Zach” by writer/director Nick Paley. The Zach of the title is Zach Woods from “The Office” and “In the Loop.” He plays a guy abandoning his roommate (Andy Kachor) to move in with his girlfriend. Woods’ presence had me expecting comedy, but the film reveals more melancholic dimensions towards the end. Extra style points for shooting in a legitimately tiny New York apartment without sacrificing quality visuals.

Maybe the simplest, but my favorite of all is “Sasquatch Birth Journal 2″ from the Zellner Brothers. The title of this one kind of says it all. Four hot minutes of a sasquatch birth. Oh yeah:

Pretty sure the “2” of the title’s a goof, but I’d watch more of these. Or more Sundance shorts, in general, if they’d add them to their YouTube channel.

Jackie That 70s Show

Jackie Oh!

15 That ’70s Show Quotes to Help You Unleash Your Inner Jackie

Catch That '70s Show Mondays and Tuesdays from 6-10P on IFC.

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Photo Credit: Carsey-Werner Company

When life gets you down, just ask yourself: what would Jackie do? (But don’t ask her, because she doesn’t care about your stupid problems.) Before you catch That ’70s Show on IFC, take a look at some quotes that will help you be the best Jackie you can be.


15. She knows her strengths.

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14. She doesn’t let a little thing like emotions get in the way.

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13. She’s her own best friend.

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12. She has big plans for her future.

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11. She keeps her ego in check.

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10. She can really put things in perspective.

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9. She’s a lover…

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8. But she knows not to just throw her love around.

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7. She’s proud of her accomplishments.

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6. She knows her place in the world.

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5. She asks herself the hard questions.

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4. She takes care of herself.

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3. She’s deep.

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2. She’s a problem solver.

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1. And she’s always modest.

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Tobey Maguire and Jacob Aaron Estes Fill in “The Details” in L.A.

Tobey Maguire and Jacob Aaron Estes Fill in “The Details” in L.A. (photo)

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A crisp, cool night in Los Angeles might’ve been the perfect evening to catch the Tobey Maguire/Elizabeth Banks dark comedy “The Details,” but it may not have been the best idea to ask for writer/director Jacob Aaron Estes for any. Giving incredibly gracious answers to the assembled crowd, he still concluded the post-screening Q & A for the film in Los Angeles by answering the final question about a speech in the film, “I don’t really have a great answer, but at the next Q & A, if you come to it, I will have thought about it.”

As Estes told the audience, part of the beauty of writing “The Details” was not thinking about it too much, though he certainly can’t be blamed for just not wanting to right now. Having endured many post-screening Q & As during a whirlwind week that saw the film sell to the Weinstein Company for a reported $7.5 million, Estes may have a case of festival fatigue as well as having a film that’s best not to be spoiled in advance. And yet frustratingly for the few who have seen it early, “The Details” is one that’s completely worth talking about.

A far cry from either Estes’ earlier slow-burning thriller “Mean Creek” or the group of quirky suburbia-is-hell comedy genre that it will inevitably be lumped into, “The Details” features Maguire and Banks as Jeff and Nealy, an upper-middle-class couple in Seattle whose 10-year marriage has lost its spark amidst the upbringing of their young son and the renovation of their already idyllic home, which is why their constant bickering is of far less concern to Jeff than the raccoon infestation that is pockmarking the family’s back lawn. Banks’ Nealy actually disappears from most of the picture when Jeff goes about finding ways to exterminate the vermin while appeasing those around him for whom he has about as much respect, like a slightly off neighbor (a wonderfully mercurial Laura Linney) or the couple’s closest married friends (Kerry Washington and Ray Liotta). Although he finds it in his heart to help out a basketball buddy (Dennis Haysbert) first with a job and then with a kidney transplant, Jeff’s preoccupation with plotting out a perfect life without thinking about any of the fallout it wreaks on others or even himself causes considerable headaches when he starts putting poison on his lawn to rid it of raccoons and the results end up far more toxic.

Though there are cheeky allusions to other films about domestic frustration (Jeff’s cell phone ringtone sound an awful lot like Thomas Newman’s chimes for “American Beauty”), “The Details” separates itself by placing the onus on its main character’s self-delusion rather than the typical suspect of suffocation by his environment, giving Maguire the room for one of his darkest and most mischievous performances since his all-too-short appearance in Steven Soderbergh’s “The Good German.” Amped up by a nearly carnivalesque score by tomandandy for the film’s first half, Maguire’s Jeff piles up one seemingly inconsequential lie after another to preserve a way of life, if not necessarily happiness, and Maguire is one of the few who could pull it off with a straight face. The same could be said for all of the cast Estes assembled, some of whom appear at first to take on roles that would frankly not be worth their time until a perfect, unexpected moment reveals why they were hired.

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“Like Crazy” Tops Sundance Award Winners

“Like Crazy” Tops Sundance Award Winners (photo)

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After an unprecedented year for sales and a year that longtime trade critic Todd McCarthy said was the best Sundance he’s ever been to, this year’s winners of the Sundance Film Festival were announced this evening, with many of the prize winners like recent Paramount acquisition “Like Crazy,” a romantic drama starring Anton Yelchin and Felicity Jones (who also picked up a special jury prize), and Fox Searchlight pickups “Martha Marcy May Marlene” and “Another Earth” coming soon to a theater near you. Without much ado, the winners are here:

Grand Jury Prize, U.S. Drama: “Like Crazy,” directed by Drake Doremus

Grand Jury Prize, U.S. Documentary: “How To Die in Oregon,” directed by Peter D. Richardson

Directing Award, Dramatic: Sean Durkin, “Martha Marcy May Marlene”

Directing Award, U.S. Documentary: Jon Foy, “Resurrect Dead: The Mystery of the Toynbee Tiles”

Waldo Salt Screenwriting Award: Sam Levinson, “Another Happy Day”

(Note: Levinson, son of Barry, had the acceptance speech of the night with the emotions spilling out of him as he said, “When I introduce the film I cry, so I don’t know what the fuck’s going to happen now.”)

U.S. Documentary Editing Award: Matthew Hamachek and Marshall Curry, “If A Tree Falls: A Story of the Earth Liberation Front”

Special Jury Prize for Dramatic Film: Mike Cahill and Brit Marling, “Another Earth”

Excellence in Cinematography, U.S. Dramatic Film: Bradford Young, “Pariah”

Excellence in Cinematography, Documentary: Ryan Hill, Peter Hutchens, Eric Strauss, “The Redemption of General Butt Naked”

Special Jury Prize, Acting, Dramatic Competition: Felicity Jones, “Like Crazy”

Special Jury Prize, Documentary: “Being Elmo: A Puppeteer’s Journey,” directed by Constance Marks

U.S. Audience Award, Dramatic: “Circumstance,” directed by Maryam Keshavarz

U.S. Audience Award, Documentary: “Buck,” directed by Cindy Meehl

World Cinema Audience Award, Documentary: “Senna,” directed by Asif Kapadia

World Cinema Dramatic Award: “Kinyarwanda,” directed by Alrick Brown

Best of NEXT: “to.get.her,” directed by Erica Dunton

World Cinema Documentary Special Jury Prize: “Position Among the Stars,” directed by Leonard Retel Helmrich

World Cinema Documentary Award: “Project Nim,” directed by James Marsh

World Cinema Documentary Award: “The Black Power Mixtape 1967-1975,” directed by Göran Olsson

World Cinematography Award, Dramatic: Diego Jiminez, “All Your Dead Ones”

World Cinema Grand Jury Prize: “Happy Happy,” directed by Sykt Lykkelig

World Cinema Dramatic Directing Award: Paddy Considine, “Tyrannosaur”

World Cinema Screenwriting Award: Erez Kav-El for “Restoration”

World Cinema, Grand Jury Prize: “Hell and Back Again,” directed by Danfung Dennis

World Cinema, Special Jury Prize: Olivia Colman and Peter Mullen for “Tyrannosaur”

All of our Sundance 2011 coverage can be found here.

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