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Sundance Spin for 1/29: “Delicious” Isn’t Tasty, “Blue” Is Bought

Sundance Spin for 1/29: “Delicious” Isn’t Tasty, “Blue” Is Bought (photo)

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We’re calling it a day in Sundance, but keep looking at our Sundance home page and Cheat Sheet for continuing coverage from this year’s fest. Since returning from Park City, we’ve already posted new photo galleries from the “Get Low” and “Winter’s Bone” premieres, and more is on the way. In the meantime, check out Matt Singer’s review of “Sympathy for Delicious” and our roundup of Sundance and Slamdance award winners, news of who will be distributing the Ryan Gosling-Michelle Williams romantic drama “Blue Valentine” and other Sundance flicks, and where you can see some clips of those films right now.

Matt Singer wasn’t very sympathetic to Mark Ruffalo’s directorial debut, “Sympathy for Delicious.” Here’s an excerpt from his review, which can be found in full here:

The Lord may work in mysterious ways; “Sympathy For Delicious” does not. The only thing that’s mysterious about this unsubtle film about the nature of healing and faith is the thought process behind the raft of bad decisions made by director/star Mark Ruffalo, a great actor making a disappointing directorial debut working from a script by his friend and co-star Christopher Thornton. Despite an intriguing premise taken to some unexpected places and some strong supporting performances, “Sympathy For Delicious” is a gangly mess of a movie.

Thornton plays Dean, a.k.a. Delicious D, a paraplegic DJ living on Skid Row. The night after an unsuccessful visit to a faith healer, Dean wakes up with a strange sensation in his hands and soon realizes he’s acquired the ability to heal almost anyone with a single touch. Dean doesn’t know what to make of his newfound powers – and is furious that he can’t use them to repair his own injured spine – but Father Joe (Ruffalo), who runs a local soup kitchen, believes Dean’s healing touch is a gift from God. As Father Joe tries to convince Dean to use his power to help the people of Skid Row, Dean tries to convince the members of an up-and-coming rock band to hire him to be their DJ.

From there, the worlds of rock ‘n’ roll and religion begin to mix in some interesting ways, particularly in one very effective scene that shows Dean healing people as part of a full-on rock concert. But just when “Delicious” starts to approach something really interesting, it backs off. Instead of truly exploring the implications of a rock band with a faith healing stage show, it becomes a ludicrous and extremely abbreviated episode of “Behind The Music,” careening through Delicious D’s rise, fall, and redemption arc in a matter of minutes. Just about every rock star cliché gets thrown in: from the jealous frontman (Orlando Bloom) to the crass, manipulative band manager (Laura Linney). Some of these scenes border on the unintentionally comic; after their first big gig as a band, Linney, the unambiguous devil figure in this religious parable, stokes the group’s egos with lines like “You were like an angel! You had wings on your back. I could see your wings.” (Angel! Faith healing! Religion! Get it?) She suggests they take the show on the road and call it “Healapalooza.” Shockingly, she’s serious. Even more shockingly, the band loves the idea. Even more even more shockingly, Ruffalo and Thornton don’t seem to realize just how silly the whole thing is.

01292010_BlueValentine.jpgNew clips from… MakingOf.com has unveiled plenty of exclusive clips from hot Sundance titles including “Blue Valentine,” “The Tillman Story,” Adrian Grenier’s “Teenage Paparazzo,” Josh Radnor’s romantic comedy “HappyThankYouMorePlease” and “Tucker & Dale Vs. Evil.”

Acquisitions: The Weinstein Company picked up the rights to the Ryan Gosling-Michelle Williams relationship drama “Blue Valentine” in a deal reported to be in the low seven figures and the Amir Bar-Lev doc “The Tillman Story” about the late NFL star-turned-soldier Pat Tillman. Wolfe Releasing picked up the World Cinema Dramatic Competition title, “Contracorriente” the Peruvian drama about a man struggling between revealing the truth about his gay love affair or saving his marriage and upholding local tradition. Despite exceptionally poor reviews, the Joel Schumacher-directed Chace Crawford drama “Twelve” was picked up by the upstart Hanover House for a reported $2 million. Newmarket, who is currently distributing the Paul Bettany drama “Creation,” picked up the rights to the Joseph Gordon-Levitt starrer “Hesher”. In documentary news, Oprah Winfrey’s OWN Network picked up the rights to Chico Colvard’s “Family Affair” to premiere as part of the new “Documentary Film Club.”

Award Winners: A new episode of Funny or Die’s “Drunk History”, “Douglass Vs. Lincoln” featuring Don Cheadle and Will Ferrell, took home the Jury Prize in Short Filmmaking. Mark Albiston and Louis Sutherland’s “The Six Dollar Fifty Man” (a clip can be seen here), about a young boy who battles bullies, won the Jury Prize for International Short Filmmaking. A list of the honorable mentions can be found here. Meanwhile, over at Slamdance, Charles-Olivier Michaud’s “Snow and Ashes” won the Grand Jury Prize for Best Narrative Film while Mark Claywell’s “American Jihadist” earned the Jury Prize for Best Documentary. A full list of winners can be found here.

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The Best Of The Last

Portlandia Goes Out With A Bang

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The end is near. In mere days Portlandia wraps up its final season, and oh what a season it’s been. Lucky for you, you can watch the entire season right now right here and on the IFC app, including this free episode courtesy of Subaru.

But now, let’s take a moment to look back at some of the new classics Fred and Carrie have so thoughtfully bestowed upon us. (We’ll be looking back through tear-blurred eyes, but you do you.)

Couples Dinner

It’s not that being single sucks, it’s that you suck if you’re single.

Cancel it!

A sketch for anyone who has cancelled more appointments than they’ve kept. Which is everyone.

Forgotten America

This one’s a “Serial” killer…everything both right and wrong about true crime podcasts.

Wedding Planners

The only bad wedding is a boring wedding.

Disaster Hut

It’s only the end of the world if your doomsday kit doesn’t include rosé.

Catch up on Portlandia’s final episodes on demand and at IFC.com

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Your Portlandia Personality Test

The New Portlandia Webseries Is Going Your Way

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Carrie and Fred understand that although we have so much in common, we’re each so beautifully unique and different. To help us navigate those differences, Portlandia has found an easy and honest way to embrace our special selves in the form of a progressive new traffic system: a specific lane for every kind of driver. It’s all in honor of the show’s 8th and final season, and it’s all presented by Subaru.

Ready to find out who you really are? Match your personality to a lane and hop on the expressway to self-understanding.

Lane 10: Trucks Piled With Junk

Your junk is falling out of your trunk. Shake a tail light, people — this lane is for you.

Lane 33: Twins

You’re like a Gemini, but waaaay more pedestrian. Maybe you and a friend just wear the same outfits a lot. Who cares, it’s just twinning enough to make you feel special.

Lane 27: Broken Windows

Bad luck follows you around and everyone knows it. Your proverbial seat is always damp from proverbial rain. Is this the universe telling you to swallow your pride? Yes.

Lane 69: Filthy Cars

You’re all about convenience. Getting your car washed while you drive is a no-brainer.

Lane 43: Newly Divorced Singles

It’s been a while since you’ve driven alone, and you don’t know the rules of the road anymore. What’s too fast? What’s too slow? Are you sending the right signals? Don’t worry, the breakdown lane is nearby if you need it.

Still can’t find a lane to match your personality? Check out all the videos here. And see the final season of Portlandia this spring on IFC.

Uncle-Buck

Last-Minute Holiday Gift Guide

Hits from the '80s are on repeat all Christmas Eve and Day on IFC.

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GIFs via Giphy, Photos via The Everett Collection

It’s the final countdown to Christmas and thanks to IFC’s movie marathon all Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, you can revel in classic ’80s films AND find inspiration for your last-minute gifts. Here are our recommendations, if you need a head start:

Musical Instrument

Great analog entertainment substitute when you refuse to give your kid the Nintendo Switch they’ve been drooling over.

Breakfast In Bed

Any significant other or child would appreciate these Uncle Buck-approved flapjacks. Just make sure you’re not stuck on clean up duty.

Cocktail Supplies

You’ll need them to get through the holidays.

Dance Lessons

So you can learn to shake-shake-shake (unless you know ghosts willing to lend a hand).

Comfy Clothes

With all the holiday meals, there may be some…embigenning.



Get even more great inspiration all Christmas Eve and Day on IFC, and remember…