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  1. #16
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    More from Sundance 2020 "Best Lists" (VARIETY'S).


    TIME

    ZOLA (Janicza Bravo) is based on a true story that emerged through "a notorious tweetstorm." It "takes a slow dive through the looking glass into the mind-bending tawdriness of the sex-industry inferno" by following two strippers, one with good sense and one not, who go down to Tampa for a "weekend engagement at an exotic-dance emporium." This is "The most audacious film at Sundance this year, and maybe the most powerful," say Owen Gleiberman and Peter Debruge, two veteran reviewers of VARIETY who include it in their combined two-man list of the 13 Best Films of Sundance 2020. The rest in this VARIETY Best List are:

    THE DISSIDENT, THE FATHER, THE GLORIAS, HERSELF, KAJILLIONAIRE, THE KILLING OF TWO LOVERS, MINARI, ON THE RECORD, PALM SPRINGS, PROMISING YOUNG WOMEN, SHIRLEY, and TIME.

    We need to take a moment describe three of these - HERSELF, THE KILLING OF TWO LOVERS, and TIME - not mentioned yet on this Filmleaf thread.

    HERSELF (Phyllida Lloyd) is "about a battered wife who builds her own house," and Peter Debruge of VARIETY calls this Irish-set tale "the standout of the 2020 Sundance Film Festival." Phillida Lloyd is the MAMMA MIA director. The film, summarizes Kate Erbland of INDIEWIRE, " traces Sandra’s journey from doting mother and abused wife to emancipated woman, thanks to her own ability to dream big in the face of overwhelming obstacles." And Eerbland feels Lloyd mostly steers clear of clichés - much helped in this by the strong lead performance of Clare Dunne, says Fionnuala Halligan of SCREENDAILY , that pulls the "comfortable rug away."

    THE KILLING OF TWO LOVERS (Robert Machoian) is really about "the pain of marital separation," says Dennis Harvey's VARIETY review, especially when one partner wants reconciliation and the other wants to separate "as is so often the case," Harvey notes of this "stripped down but emphatic indie drama," as he calls it. It is the man who wants to save the marriage and the family. This sounds like one of my favorite films of 2019 - nearly my favorite - Noah Baumbach's MARRIAGE STORY(NYFF 2019 Centerpiece Film) - and in HOLLYWOOD REPORTER David Rooney calls this a "rural counterpart" to Baumbach's film: so how is it different? It's about far more marginal people, "somewhat desolate, probably financially hard-pressed environment"; not about a rising star in Hollywood and a theater director with his own company, but "an odd-jobber" in a "podunk town" whose marital state - taking a break but discovering adultery - is harsher, rougher and more confused, the spareness underlined by use of Academy Ratio imagery - with a layered "brooding mechanical droning" instead of a conventional score, and with a rough event coming to surprise the viewer. A " lean, bruising exploration of the minefield of an imperiled marriage," writes Rooney.

    TIME (Garrett Bradley) uses new footage and video diaries to reconstruct a Louisiana woman's "tireless 20-year struggle" to gain the release of her husband from prison. She is raising six children while her husband serves a 60-year sentence in Louisiana State Penitentiary, Sheri Linden of HOLLYWOOD REPORTER explains. Mother and wife Fox Rich has become a powerful voice of change in her community and kept a video diary. "Time details her struggle," says Alissa Wilkinson in VOX, "demonstrating how mass incarceration persistently separates black families in America," and also "how bureaucracy and centuries of narratives conceal the truth and pain of those separations,"

    NOTE: seven HOLLYWOOD REPORTER critics combined to choose their 20 best films of Sundance -and again there are some titles not covered on this thread. But ones that come up repeatedly we have now covered here. . .
    Last edited by Chris Knipp; 02-01-2020 at 11:37 PM.

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