Sundance-bound and tired of flipping through each film individually on the schedule? Staying comfortably home, but don’t want to be left out of the conversation about the indies likely to dominate the discussion for the next year? Well, we’ve got a guide for you.
We’ve put together the ultimate cheat sheet to this year’s Sundance Film Festival. Although it’s useful as a preview to the 113 features this year’s fest (every title links to its respective Sundance page), consider it a living, breathing document with Facebook and Twitter links to follow filmmakers and our own Matt Singer (@mattsinger) and Alison Willmore (@alisonwillmore) as they negotiate the snowy slopes and occasionally treacherous festivalgoing experience that Park City has to offer, not to mention our constantly updated Sundance home page. (A full list of the Sundance winners is here.)
Sections: [Spotlight] [NEXT] [U.S. Dramatic Competition] [U.S. Documentary Competition] [World Cinema Dramatic Competition] [World Cinema Documentary Competition] [New Frontier] [Park City at Midnight]
The Cast: José María Yazpik, Karina Gidi, Carlos Aragon, Christopher Ruiz-Esparza, Gerardo Ruiz-Esparza
Director: Diego Luna
The Gist: “Y Tu Mama Tambien” star Luna makes his narrative feature directorial debut on this drama that tells the story of the titular young boy, a psychologically fragile child who assumes the role of head of the household until the arrival of a man claiming to be his long-absent father (Luna’s “Just Walking” co-star José María Yazpik). John Malkovich is a producer on this $2.73 million drama.
Must See: Sundance’s “Meet the Artist” interview with Luna. Anne Thompson has a video interview with Luna.
The Reviews Are In: Hollywood Reporter‘s James Greenberg writes, “It’s a bittersweet, if slight, story, buoyed by a winning and heartfelt performance by non-pro Christopher Ruiz-Esparza in the title role.” Variety’s Justin Chang calls it a “winning if somewhat creepy-around-the-edges feature debut.”
“Cane Toads: The Conquest” (Official site, IMDb, Facebook)
Writer/Director: Mark Lewis
The Gist: Lewis had to brave the worst floods in 30 years in North Queensland to make the sequel to his 1988 doc “Cane Toads: An Unnatural History” that examined the spread of the amphibians across the outback in order to protect Australia’s sugar cane crops. Twenty-one years later, Lewis looks back at how the move backfired in what is the first Australian digital 3D feature.
Must Read: An L.A. Times interview with Lewis. Anne Thompson has a flipcam interview with Lewis.
The Reviews Are In: On IFC.com, Sam Adams writes, “Lewis is well aware of the disparity between the brute naturalism of his subject and the cutting-edge technology of his methods. At times, the film almost plays as a joke on the faddish application of 3D technology to subjects where it adds little more than a marketing hook.” The A.V. Club‘s Noel Murray writes, “Frankly, the 3-D effects added nothing to Cane Toads: The Conquest aside from a few giggles, and I can’t argue that the movie is a must-see for people already familiar the first film. But it’s very entertaining, and Lewis’ bemused contemplation of how people try in vain to control nature is a shtick that never gets old.” AJ Schnack has a roundup of reviews.
“The Company Men” (Official site, IMDb, trailer)
The Cast: Ben Affleck, Kevin Costner, Maria Bello, Tommy Lee Jones, Chris Cooper, Rosemarie DeWitt, Craig T. Nelson
Writer/Director: John Wells
The Gist: After demystifying the daily lives of doctors on “E.R.” and politicians on “The West Wing,” John Wells is finally making his bigscreen directorial debut on this drama about the effects of corporate downsizing on three men (Affleck, Jones and Cooper) and their families. Not surprisingly, the film has top-notch production values, including the hire of cinematographer Roger Deakins to shoot the beautifully dreary Boston coastline, where coincidentally the film will be playing a one-off screening at the Coolidge Corner on January 28th as part of the Sundance Festival USA program.
Must Read: Cinematical‘s Sundance Primer interview with Wells. The L.A. Times has a profile of Wells. The Wrap‘s Sharon Waxman has video from the premiere. Reuters has an interview with Wells. /Film has a video interview with Wells.
The Reviews Are In: On IFC.com, Bilge Ebiri enjoyed the film quite a bit, with the minor caveat, “If “The Company Men” ever falters, it’s when Wells tries to enliven the proceedings with the occasional ennobling cliché.” HitFix‘s Gregory Ellwood contends the drama may be the year’s first Oscar contender. The Oregonian‘s Shawn Levy calls it a “sober look at the current hard times.” Jeffrey Wells says “It’s an honest and competently assembled attempt to capture the Great Recession lamentations of the moment, but the story just kind of plods along.” We Are Movie Geeks agrees. Karina Longworth, Film.com‘s Aaron Peck, /Film‘s Dave Chen, Movieline‘s S.T. VanAirsdale, and Cinema Blend‘s Katey Rich were impressed. Cinematical‘s Erik Davis counters it “just barely slips by without a pink slip.”
“Cyrus” (Official site, IMDb, trailer)
The Cast: John C. Reilly, Marisa Tomei, Jonah Hill, Catherine Keener
Writers/Directors: Jay and Mark Duplass
The Gist: The Duplass brothers long avoided the overtures of Hollywood in favor of having total control of their projects, but early word is that they were able to bring their loose, improvisational style to their first film for Fox Searchlight, a comedy starring Reilly as a middle-aged divorcé who finds love with a new girlfriend (Tomei), but must vie for her attention with her grown son (Hill). Consider the film a bit of a dream project for Hill, who places “The Puffy Chair” among his favorite films. And if you’re in Michigan, be aware that the film will play on January 28th at the Michigan Theater in Ann Arbor as part of Sundance USA.
Must Read: Cinematical‘s interview with Mark Duplass, a Sundance “Meet the Artists” interview with Jay and Mark Duplass. Apple has a new trailer for the film. Collider has two new clips from the film. Movieline and HitFix have interviews with Jonah Hill, Anne Thompson has a flipcam one with the Duplass brothers, and We Are Movie Geeks does too. Mark Duplass talks to Cinema Blend, John C. Reilly talks to HitFix. Cinematical has two new clips from the film.
The Reviews Are In: HitFix‘s Drew McWeeny writes “it is a small intimate film that Fox Searchlight can absolutely sell like a mainstream hit. It is a smooth piece of satisfaction, and that’s not soft praise.” /Film’s Peter Sciretta says it’s one of the best comedies he’s seen at Sundance. IndieWire‘s Peter Knegt, The Oregonian‘s Shawn Levy, Cinema Blend‘s Katey Rich, ScreenCrave‘s Mali Elfman, the New York Post‘s Kyle Smith and Salon.com‘s Andrew O’Hehir approve, as do Ella Taylor and Jeffrey Wells. Karina Longworth writes that “Cyrus” confirms why Sundance is still important. The A.V. Club‘s Noel Murray is the rare dissenter.
“The Extra Man” (IMDb)
The Cast: Paul Dano, Kevin Kline, Katie Holmes, John C. Reilly, Alicia Goranson
Directors: Shari Springer Berman and Robert Pulcini
The Gist: Hoping to rebound from their disappointing “The Nanny Diaries,” “American Splendor” co-directors Berman and Pulcini worked with “Bored to Death” author Jonathan Ames to adapt his comic novel about a sexually confused, recently fired prep school teacher (Dano) who comes under the tutelage of a failed playwright-turned-escort (Kline) for well-to-do women on the Upper East Side. Reilly plays the after hours competition. Oddly, Nashville, not New York, will be the only place you can see the film outside of Park City on January 28th at the Belcourt Theatre.
Must See: MTV has an exclusive clip from the film.
The Reviews Are In: Cinema Blend’s Katey Rich writes, “‘The Extra Man’ will probably get picked up before too long, and can sell itself based on Kline’s hammy performance, Dano’s sensitive one, and the promise of seeing a lot of weird stuff in a short running time. But ‘The Extra Man’ is primarily a giant disappointment, proof that quirk without direction or purpose can feel just as boring as a story about more ordinary people.” The New York Times‘ Melena Ryzik writes that it has Kline’s “funniest role in years.” ScreenCrave‘s Brendan Walsh writes, “It would be very easy to peg this film as ‘Little Miss Sunshine’ meets ‘Midnight Cowboy,’ however it is much more than that.” The Hollywood Reporter‘s Kirk Honeycutt was hoping for something more substantial, saying, “This odd collection of oddballs doesn’t quite play out as a satisfying movie.” Dark Horizons‘ Paul Fischer says the film “shines.” Screen Daily‘s Tim Grierson, The A.V. Club’s Noel Murray and Variety‘s Todd McCarthy agree it’s one of Kline’s most enjoyable performances.
“Get Low” (IMDb)
The Cast: Robert Duvall, Bill Murray, Sissy Spacek, Lucas Black
Director: Aaron Schneider
Fest Cred: Toronto
The Gist: Following a successful premiere in Toronto, Sony Classics has already picked up $7 million Southern-fried dramedy set in 1930s Tennessee about a crotchety shut-in (Duvall) who emerges from his cabin to plan a funeral for himself while he’s still alive after receiving word of the death of one of his only friends. Murray co-stars as the funeral director who attends to his wishes in the feature debut of Schneider, a second-unit cinematographer on “Titanic” before going on to direct the Oscar-winning live-action short “Two Soldiers” in 2004.
Must Read: L.A. Times interview with Schneider.
The Reviews Are In: Positive notices abound from MTV, ScreenCrave, Film.com, We Are Movie Geeks and JoBlo.
“It’s a Wonderful Afterlife” (IMDb, Trailer)
The Cast: Shabana Azmi, Goldy Notay, Sendhil Ramamurthy, Sally Hawkins, Mark Addy, Jimi Mistry
Director: Gurinder Chadha
The Gist: Even though the “Bend It Like Beckham” director’s last film “Angus, Thongs and Perfect Snogging” only recently made it to the U.S. via DVD, Chadha’s latest comedy is wasting no time in getting to American shores and tells the story of an overbearing Punjabi mother (Azmi) who involves herself with her daughter’s search for a husband by suspiciously spicing her curries and chutneys for potential suitors, which happens to coincide with a local police investigation of a serial killer.
Must Read: IANS interview with Chadha, who says it’s her best film to date.
The Reviews Are In: Wall Street Journal‘s Michelle Kung got generally good vibes off the film’s premiere. Hollywood Reporter‘s John DeFore writes, “Director Gurinder Chadha and her team, with their TV-sitcom color palette and quick comic pacing, clearly aren’t shooting for plausibility, and audiences in search of a few easy laughs won’t be disappointed — though they might secretly wish for more interesting characters and richer local color.” Cinema Blend and Dark Horizons also chime in. Variety‘s Justin Chang surmises, “‘It’s a Wonderful Afterlife’ is a movie to make Frank Capra roll over in his grave from indigestion.”
“Jack Goes Boating” (IMDb)
The Cast: Philip Seymour Hoffman, Amy Ryan, John Ortiz, Daphne Rubin-Vega, Tom McCarthy
Director: Philip Seymour Hoffman
The Gist: For his directorial debut, Hoffman is adapting the Bob Glaudini’s 2007 LAByrinth Theater Company production for celluloid, putting in pals Ortiz and Rubin-Vega to reprise their roles as a married couple that sets up their wannabe Rastafarian friend (Hoffman) with a fellow pothead (Ryan). Overture Films will be releasing the romantic comedy later this year, though if you’re in Chicago, the Music Box Theatre will screen it on January 28th as part of Sundance USA.
Must See: Hoffman explains the title and a little about the plot in this clip. Meanwhile, Collider has the first two clips from the film. Hoffman talks to the Minneapolis Star Tribune at the festival. Gordon and the Whale has an video interview with Hoffman.
The Reviews Are In: On IFC.com, Alison Willmore writes, “As a director, Hoffman shows a nice touch with his fellow actors. Stylistic gambles, like visualization exercises superimposed on the screen and wordless montages set to music, are less successful.” HitFix‘s Daniel Fienberg says the film “marks an unexciting, but sturdy directing debut for Philip Seymour Hoffman.” New York Post‘s Kyle Smith also weighs in with a positive notice. Wisconsin State Journal‘s Rob Thomas was moved, The Hollywood Reporter‘s Kirk Honeycutt felt Hoffman wasn’t making much of a stretch.
“The Kids Are All Right” (Official site, IMDb)
The Cast: Julianne Moore, Mia Wasikowska, Josh Hutcherson, Mark Ruffalo, Annette Bening
Director: Lisa Cholodenko
The Gist: Sundance vet Cholodenko (“High Art,” “Laurel Canyon”) teamed with frequent Edward Norton collaborator Stuart Blumberg to write this Sherman Oaks-set dramedy that stars Bening and Moore star as Nic and Jules, a well-to-do lesbian couple whose teenage children (Hutcherson and Wasikowska) begin to wonder about the identity of their biological father. When the kids decide to call the sperm bank, Nic and Jules find their lives upended by the appearance of their sperm donor (Ruffalo). Focus Features reportedly picked up the film on January 27th.
Must See: Anne Thompson interviews Cholodenko. Salon.com‘s Andrew O’Hehir also interviews Cholodenko.
The Reviews Are In: The L.A. Times and IndieWire both report on the film’s strong first screener, which attracted plenty of buyers and left IndieWire’s Peter Knegt writing, “The performances are across the board fantastic, and it would not be a surprise if a year from now Bening, Moore and Ruffalo all find themselves in contention for Oscar nominations…wherever ‘Kids’ ends up, audiences should prepare for something truly special: one of the most endearing cinematic portraits of a contemporary American family, and one that just so happens to be reared by a same-sex couple.” New York Magazine’s Logan Hill was similarly wowed, Screen Daily‘s Tim Grierson calls it a “consistently amusing delight.” Variety‘s Rob Nelson prefers Cholodenko’s previous film to her latest, but enjoyed it nonetheless. HitFix‘s Gregory Ellwood writes, “What’s also remarkable about “Kids” is that the characters are so well drawn out and there are so few false notes that when its funny, “Kids” is, frankly, hilarious.” Movieline‘s Seth Abramovitch and Kyle Buchanan and Salon.com‘s Andrew O’Hehir also weigh in with positive notices. New York Times’ Manohla Dargis calls it Cholodenko’s “best work yet,” and Entertainment Weekly’s Lisa Schwarzbaum was similarly delighted. Karina Longworth comes to closest to panning it, musing, “it sure is fun to watch decently-written comic dialogue performed by movie stars.”
“The Killer Inside Me” (IMDb, trailer)
The Cast: Casey Affleck, Kate Hudson, Jessica Alba, Simon Baker, Elias Koteas, Liam Aiken, Bill Pullman
Director: Michael Winterbottom
The Gist: Not that the “24 Hour Party People” director is ever dull, but the always provocative Winterbottom may have won some new admirers (and detractors) when an international trailer leaked for what appears to be a spare adaptation of pulp writer Jim Thompson’s noir about a quietly deviant West Texas sheriff (Affleck) that happened to feature Jessica Alba being spanked sans panties. Alba wasn’t even born yet when filmmakers began thinking about taking a second crack at the twisty thriller, which was already adapted once into a 1976 Stacey Keach starrer, and arrives now with a script from “The Painted Veil” director John Curran, but not without its difficulties, including confusion over who would direct the film and the loss of a financier. After handling the marketing challenge of Lars von Trier’s “Antichrist,” IFC Films picked up the film on January 30th in a deal reported to be “north of $1 million.”
Must Read: Filmmaker has an interview with Winterbottom. Anne Thompson reports on the premiere and the fallout. Michael Winterbottom talks to the Guardian.
The Reviews Are In: Apparently, Jessica Alba
didn’t like what she saw [UPDATED: We’ve been informed by the film’s publicist that she had seen the film prior to Sundance and needed to catch a flight.], walking out of the screening halfway through (Ft. Worth Star-Telegram‘s Christopher Kelly did too, but for other reasons), so consider this Movieline report from the film’s infamous first screening to be the first review. Logan Hill writes for New York, “‘The Killer Inside Me’ is unrelentingly intense, guided by a menacingly bizarre performance from Casey Affleck, and may go down in history as the worst date film ever made.” ScreenDaily’s David D’Arcy adds, “Audiences up to their ears in cinematic serial killers may enter this film, thinking blithely that they already know them all. Like it or not, Winterbottom will prove them wrong.” Cinema Blend‘s Katey Rich calls the film “cliched punishment.” USA Today’s Anthony Breznican says it all with the headline “‘The Killer Inside Me’ = ‘The Andy Griffith Show’ directed by Eli Roth.” Not surprisingly, The Hollywood Reporter’s Jay A. Fernandez considers it a black comedy.
“Nowhere Boy” (IMDb, trailer)
The Cast: Aaron Johnson, Kristin Scott Thomas, Thomas Sangster, Anne-Marie Duff, David Morrissey
Director: Sam Taylor Wood
Fest Cred: London, Turin
The Gist: As the star of “Kick-Ass,” Johnson is poised to become a fanboy icon in 2010, but here he steps into the shoes of a young John Lennon in the feature debut of noted conceptual artist Wood. Although the 19-year-old Johnson and 42-year-old Wood made headlines for reasons other than the film when they recently announced their engagement, they also received positive notices for the film when it premiered in London in October. Matt Greenhalgh, who previously wrote the Ian Curtis biopic “Control,” gives the similar treatment to the future Beatle during his early life in Liverpool under the care of his Aunt Mimi (Thomas) following the death of his mother. The Weinstein Company is set to release the film later this year.
Must Read: Times Online interview with Johnson. The Wall Street Journal interviews Taylor Wood. Gordon and the Whale has video interview with Johnson.
The Reviews Are In: On IFC.com, Alison Willmore says “‘Nowhere Boy’ has the frustrating dilemma of ascribing to biopic tics without applying them to its subject’s life,” but notes the charisma of leading man Johnson. New York Post‘s Kyle Smith is a fan, and Cinematical‘s Erik Childress isn’t. Cinema Blend‘s Katey Rich, JoBlo‘s Chris Bumbray, Cinema Blend‘s Katey Rich, Aint It Cool‘s Quint and PopMatters‘s Andrew Blackie weigh in. Boston Globe‘s Ty Burr calls it a “well-turned disappointment.” Salon.com‘s Andrew O’Hehir is much more positive, calling the film one of the few to be “a potential hit,” coming out of the festival.
“Please Give” (Official site, IMDb)
The Cast: Amanda Peet, Oliver Platt, Rebecca Hall, Catherine Keener, Sarah Steele
Writer/Director: Nicole Holofcener
The Gist: Holofcener last flew in to Park City with the 2006 opening night film “Friends With Money” and apparently Keener is still looking for a way to expand her home, trading in her would-be duplex in “Friends” to a two bedroom apartment in Manhattan that she’d like to expand if it weren’t for her pesky elderly neighbor, who she and her husband (Platt) hope will die soon. However, the couple’s best laid plans are complicated by their burgeoning relationship with the old lady’s two daughters (Peet and Hall). Sony Pictures Classics will be releasing the film on April 23rd.
Must Read: L.A. Times’ Kenneth Turan interviews Holofcener.
The Reviews Are In: On IFC.com, Matt Singer writes, “‘Please Give’ asks ‘Is it fair to declare something valuable?’ Holofcener examines the issue effectively, thoughtfully, and humorously for an hour and a half and doesn’t ultimately arrive at an answer. I wouldn’t have expected her to.” L.A. Weekly‘s Karina Longworth writes, “Holofcener eschews the standard anti-commercialism of indie film to present the accumulation of wealth and stuff as the complicated moral process it is. ‘Please Give’ may about-face from Holofcener’s unique darkness a little too quickly for my tastes, but I appreciate its celebration of the positive potential of consumerism.” The L.A. Times’ Betsy Sharkey is quite fond of the film, as is The Oregonian‘s Shawn Levy. Largely positive word is flowing in from Roger Ebert, Salon.com‘s Andrew O’Hehir, Variety‘s Justin Chang, New York Magazine’s Logan Hill, Boston Globe‘s Wesley Morris, Ella Taylor, Dark Horizons’ Paul Fischer, and IndieWire‘s Brian Brooks. The Hollywood Reporter’s Kirk Honeycutt offers a contrarian viewpoint.
“The Romantics” (IMDb)
The Cast: Katie Holmes, Josh Duhamel, Anna Paquin, Adam Brody, Malin Ackerman, Elijah Wood, Candice Bergen, Jeremy Strong, Dianna Agron
Director: Galt Niederhoffer
The Gist: A longtime visitor to Sundance as a producer of films like “Grace is Gone” and “Lonesome Jim,” Niederhoffer finally arrives as a director with an adaptation of her own novel about a wedding that reunites seven friends from college and reignites a love triangle between the groom (Duhamel), the bride-to-be (Paquin) and her maid of honor (Holmes). Along with “The Extra Man,” Holmes returns to Sundance for the first time since her infamous “Thank You for Smoking” premiere, though she almost didn’t make it — her role in “The Romantics” was originally tipped for Liv Tyler.
Must Read: Filmmaker has an interview with Niederhoffer.
The Reviews Are In: HitFix‘s Gregory Ellwood writes, “Disturbingly, the film comes across as a mix of “Rachel Getting Married” for the Hamptons crowd which isn’t exactly a compliment.” Hollywood Reporter‘s Kirk Honeycutt is slightly more positive, writing, “Landing somewhere between a generational comedy and soap opera, the film is forgettable fun.” The L.A. Times‘ Steven Zeitchek believes Holmes’ performance saves the film. USA Today‘s Anthony Breznican imagines it on a double bill with “(500) Days of Summer.” The Boston Globe‘s Ty Burr writes, “Holmes for the first time seems careworn by life’s experiences, and she keeps the character’s emotions pulsing just under the skin. It’s a heartbreaking piece of acting, and I say that as someone who has never taken Holmes seriously before.”
“The Runaways” (IMDb, trailer)
The Cast: Kristen Stewart, Dakota Fanning, Scout Taylor-Compton, Michael Shannon, Alia Shawkat, Tatum O’Neal
Writer/Director: Floria Sigismondi
The Gist: If visits to the Sundance Web site are any indication, this reunion of “New Moon” co-stars Stewart and Fanning as ’70s rock icons Joan Jett and Cherie Currie, respectively, will be one of Park City’s toughest tickets. (You might have better luck in Wisconsin where it will be playing at the Sundance Madison on January 28th.) Veteran music video director Sigismondi makes her feature debut on this appropriately down-and-dirty look at the rise of the L.A. punk rockers.
Must Read: An extensive L.A. Times feature on the film. Collider has a picture gallery. Cinematical has a new clip from the film. MTV Movies Blog has a new poster. The L.A. Times has coverage of the premiere and the Salt Lake Tribune has a feature on the film. We Are Movie Geeks has an audio roundtable interview with Stewart and Fanning. Cinematical has an interview with Michael Shannon. Anne Thompson flipcams Stewart and Fanning. Cinema Blend has an interview with Sigismondi.
The Reviews Are In: On IFC.com, Sam Adams writes, “As much as for its characters, ‘The Runaways’ is a rite of passage for its stars.” Colin Covert of the Star-Tribune lived up to his surname with an early peek at the film and says Fanning steals it from Stewart. Mixed response has followed from the ecstatic Steve Weintraub of Collider, Paul Fischer from Dark Horizons, Hollywood Elsewhere‘s Jeffrey Wells, and Kevin Kelly of Cinematical, who says they “really should have been called The Joan Jett & Cherie Currie Show, because the other Runaways are hardly featured in this movie at all” to the more circumspect HitFix‘s Melinda Newman, New York Post’s Kyle Smith and Owen Gleiberman of Entertainment Weekly, who writes “As a band, the movie gives them their due, but as individuals it doesn’t make them interesting.” MTV’s Josh Horowitz calls it “electrifying, if formulaic.” Count Ella Taylor and Karina Longworth among the nays, though Longworth writes, “‘Runaways’ is refreshingly honest and explicit about teen girl self-destruction and their complicated sexual power, but it’s frustratingly slight when given an opportunity to show girls taking control of something other than their bodies.” New York Times’ Manohla Dargis writes that the film “settles into a middle-of-the-road groove turning down the volume when it should go to 11.”
“Shock Doctrine” (IMDb, trailer)
Director: Michael Winterbottom and Mat Whitecross
Fest Cred: Berlinale, Donostia-San Sebastian, IDFA
The Gist: The reteaming of “Road to Guantanamo” co-directors Winterbottom and Whitecross has actually been floating around for nearly a year in varying stages of completion, with author Naomi Klein having to dispel rumors that she disavowed this doc based on her 2007 book about how economist Milton Friedman’s championing of a free market around the world allowed corporate interests to run rampant during times of panic. Sundance Selects will make the doc available on demand at the same time it premieres in Park City on January 28th.
Must Read: Times of London interview with Winterbottom. The Wall Street Journal gets Klein and Robert Redford’s reaction to the film and /Film has an interview with Whitecross and Winterbottom.
The Cast: Chace Crawford, Emma Roberts, Kiefer Sutherland, 50 Cent, Zoë Kravitz
Director: Joel Schumacher
The Gist: Laying low since helming the Jim Carrey thriller “The Number 23” in 2007 (so low that his last film “Blood Creek” was unceremoniously dumped in dollar theaters), Schumacher hopes to get back to his “Tigerland”/”Flawless” days with a gritty drama based on Nick McDonell’s novel about a 17-year-old dealer (Crawford) whose spring break of selling pot to privileged prep schoolers is interrupted by the murder of his cousin, allegedly at the hands of his best friend. The film was picked up by the upstart Hanover House for a reported $2 million on January 28th.
Must Read: Cinematical‘s Sundance Primer interview with Schumacher. The Wrap has a more extensive interview with Schumacher.
The Reviews Are In: On IFC.com, James Rocchi writes, “Schumacher, at 70, is kidding himself if he thinks he has any attachment to or understanding of the lives of real teens, and screenwriter Jordan Melamed’s adaptation results in a final product that feels less like a film than a book-on-tape played over a well-shot sparkling wine commercial, as pretty things prance and cavort while the narrator’s gravelly, all-knowing tones tell us of the sadness and doom they face.” HitFix‘s Gregory Ellwood lays it on nearly as thick, calling the film “the most unintentionally campy piece of moviemaking to hit Park City in years.” /Film‘s Peter Sciretta and Collider‘s Steve Weintraub put their obituary on video. Screen Daily‘s Tim Grierson, Variety‘s Peter Debruge and Cinema Blend‘s Katey Rich aren’t any kinder.