Well, the wretchedly busy past two weeks have forever linked Sundance in our mind to the early onset of acid reflux disease (bring it on, ulcers!), but other people still seem to think it’s actually about the films. Most interesting are, of course, the annual attempts to discern from afar what films will be buzzworthy once the delirium of dozens of screenings, high altitudes, snow, rare celebs-eating-muffins-sightings and lack of sleep due to too much party-crashing sets in. SXSW’s Matt Dentler pipes up on behalf of Michael Cain‘s "TV Junkie," Logan Hill in New York falls for James Longley‘s doc "Iraq in Fragments," and Jeffrey Wells weighs in for "Little Miss Sunshine," while Rebecca Ascher-Walsh at the Hollywood Reporter surveys some of the big-name premieres (choice quote, regarding Julian Goldberger‘s Paul Giamatti-starring "The Hawk Is Dying": "One distributor admits that the film sounds ‘a bit precious’ but plans to line up for the Sundance screening anyway thanks to Goldberger’s track record"), USA Today‘s Anthony Breznican picks out ten possible fest hits, and Kenneth Turan in the LA Times, after wheezing out a few bars of that same old song about Sundance’s increasing commercialism, picks out a few potential highlights himself.
Mark Caro at the Chicago Tribune takes an interesting look at 2005 as the year of the "blockbuster specialized movie" that ends with a Sundance score card checking in on how the big buzz films from last year’s festival performed in the box office.
Other closer looks: David Halbfinger in the New York Times on IFC’s very own "This Film Is Not Yet Rated"; Lou Lumenick at the New York Post on Nicole Holofcener‘s opening night "Friends With Money"; a breathless Jason Silverman in Wired News on Roger Ingraham’s vampire flick "Moonshine" ("While ‘Moonshine’ has yet to be screened for the media or audiences — Ingraham was still fine-tuning the movie a week before its premiere — it already feels like the stuff of legend. It’s the kind of filmmaker-from-nowhere tale that Sundance and proponents of digital filmmaking have been promising for years, but so far has been relatively rare."); David Halbfinger again in the Times on Nick Cassavetes‘ "Alpha Dog" (which is looking to be Justin Timberlake‘s actual acting debut now that "Edison" seems to have vanished from the release date charts); The Reeler on just about anyone New York-based who’s headed out to the snowy reaches; and Logan Hill back in New York, who chats with three of the seven filmmakers behind "Destricted," which sounds like as excellent throwback to the days when art films were an excuse to glimpse some skin for anyone too chicken to venture into the realms of the actually pornographic. Speaking of that much-toed line, Ray Pride at Movie City Indie reports that Carlos Reygadas‘ already infamous "Battle in Heaven" has gotten bumped from its announced screening at Sundance’s largest venue, because the Eccles Theatre is part of a local high school, and official were concerned about showing the film, as planned, during school hours.
+ Two words: TV Junkie (Matt Dentler’s Blog)
+ Sundance Standout: Iraq In Fragments (New York)
+ I haven’t done any serious Sundance digging… (Hollywood Elsewhere)
+ The hit squad (Hollywood Reporter)
+ Eagle-eyed studios circle Sundance (USA Today)
+ Excessive access (LA Times)
+ ‘Independents’ DAY (Chicago Tribune)
+ Rating (and Finding) the Movie Raters (NY Times)
+ SUNDANCE’S BEST FRIEND (NY Post)
+ Whither the DIY Auteurs of DV? (Wired News)
+ Filmmaker Is Snarled in Legal Web (NY Times)
+ From NYC to Sundance (The Reeler)
+ Sundance Porn (New York)
+ Battle in Park City: Heaven’s school crossing (Movie City Indie)