Results 1 to 6 of 6

Thread: Sundance Film Festival January 19-29, 2023

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jul 2002
    SF Bay Area

    Sundance Film Festival January 19-29, 2023

    Sundance January 19-29, 2023 - with in person premieres again.

    The following reports are from various sources.

    Reviews from Sundance: top film?

    PAST LIVES (Celine Song) (Premieres)
    Close childhood friends/sweethearts from South Korea reunite in New York decades later. One has now been seven years married; but the bond has remained strong. This one listed for A24 in the Screen Daily list of deals so far, the screenplay/director debut of playwright Celine Song, is given a rave now on YouTube's The Oscar Expert; both "bros" give it a ten out of ten and say the entire Sundance theater was in tears, that it will be in critics' top tens at end of year. They mention MINARI (also A24): it is also a deeply touching American movie much of which is in Korean. See the David Rooney HOLLYWOOD REPORTER review "Greta Lee plays a woman observed at three points in time, with Teo Yoo and Kelly Reichardt actor John Magaro as the men whose fates are tethered to hers across two continents." Rooney is certain this will one of the years' best films. Other critics agree, including Alissa Wilkinson in VOX, Benjamin Lee in the GUARDIAN, Peter Debruge in VARIETY. With 12 reviews there, the Metacritic rating is already 95%. Sounds like an indie/arthouse triumph, one full of deep, subtle emotional beats that you just have to see, not read about. And maybe the top film of this year's Sundance?

    FAIRYLAND (Andrew Durham)
    About gay life in San Francisco and the AIDS crisis, specifically families impacted by AIIDS from the POV of the daughter of a gay man who died of AIDS during the worst time of the virus. Sofia Coppola originally planned to direct, then passed the project on to her creative collaborator Durham. With Scoot McNairy and Emilia Jones, based on Alysia Abbott's memoir of her father, they're calling it a "Queer father-daughter weepie," which sounds dismissive (so does Abbott's own title, perhaps), but reviews seem positive.

    RYE LANE (Raine Allen Miller)
    The Oscar Expert bros on YouTube loved this movie - one gave it a ten out of ten - about a black couple in England who meet and go around remembering breakups. They said the mise-en-scène was incredible and it was a joy from the start with "unstoppable" energy, one of the best debuts in memory. They watched it with an enthusiastic Sundance audience but regret that it's only slated for release to HULU now. Other reviews on RottenTomatoes are uniformly positive.

    MAGAZINE DREAMS (Elijah Bynum)
    It has a "decidedly mixed" from "Brother Bro" on "The Oscar Expert' on YouTube, who*reviewed*it today. On*Metacritic it has a 73. There is no trailer; premiere, no release date yet. Jonathan Majors, Haley Bennett, Talour Page and Harriet Sansom Harris are featured and Majors (THE LAST BLACK MAN IN SAN FRANCISCO, DA 5 BLOODS) is "Killian," an over-the-top, very isolated and socially needy amateur body builder whom Owen Gleiberman in*VARIETY compares to Travis Bickle: "Jonathan Majors Is Fantastic as a Bodybuilder Grappling with a Self-Destruction Borne of Rage." Could be a 2024 Oscar Best Actor nominee; but how many will want to see it? 2 hours 4 minutes. (Does every "serious" movie have to be over two hours now?)

    FAIR PLAY (Director: Chloe Domont)
    Also reviewed very favorably earlier by the "Oscar Expert" bros. It's about a romance in a Wall Street firm the couple (Phoebe Dynevor and Alden Ehrenreich) has to hide, and seemed to them engaging and very well researched. A promotion alters the balance and surprises gender expectation and the relationship goes on altering dramatically so it turns into a psychological thriller. Benjamin Lee in his GUARDIAN review gives it 4/5 stars and calls it a "knockout thriller," a "ruthless, and ruthlessly entertaining, feature debut." Netflix acquired the film in a $20 million deal.

    FANCY DANCE (Erica Tremblay)
    Lily Gladstone (of Kelly Reichardt’s CERTAIN WOMEN) stars as Jax, a Queer woman, in Erica Tremblay’s FANCY DANCE, set in the Seneca-Cayuga Reservation in northeast Oklahoma. It's about custody and parenting. Gladsone takes on the care of her young niece when her sister disappears, but then a CPS (Child Protective Services) person shows up and finds her unfit for this task. This illustrates the paternalistic role of CPS with Native Americans. Explores the systematic mishandling by the police and the FBI of missing and murdered indigenous women. The "Oscar Expert" bros love Lily Gladstone ("a phenomenal actress") and felt you care a lot about the people and gave it high eights out of ten.

    EILEEN (William Oldroyd). Mixed reactions on this one from the maker of the arresting LADY MACBETH - even the Oscar Expert twins split on it. About an exciting woman (Anne Hathaway) who brightens the life of the titular young woman (Thomasin McKenzie) in 1960's New England at a prison facility where they're now coworkers, and then a thriller shift to loony Hitchcockian crime develops. Similarities to Todd Haynes’s CAROL are mentioned by the bros and also Benjamin Lee in his 2/5 star GUARDIAN review. Not pushed to the weird enough, Lee feels. See the appreciative VARIETY review by Jessica Kiang, who calls EILEEN an "audacious, wondrously twisted period psychodrama" and "deliriously movie-literate."

    Much anticipated due to Finley's previous success with THOROUGHBREDS (2017) and BAD EDUCATION (2019). Meh but interestingly weird, this is sort of an indie sci-fi form critique of capitalism in which a race of alien invaders assume the highest level of economic control over all others. Bro calls it "wonderfully bizarre" and gives it 8/10, and "Expert" a 7/10. GUARDIAN's Lee would not agree and says the film is "baffling" and "misses its mark" and gives it only 2/5 stars. "Oscar Expert" admitted the ending was very obvious and there is too little relationship among characters. The twins said not to watch the trailer because the aliens and their look are the best part.

    FLORA AND SON (John Carney)
    By the maker of ONCE (2007) and SING STREET (2016) and BEGIN AGAIN (2013) - "Waddaya Know, it's another movie about people learning the power of music to uplift themselves" and "honestly, he could keep making these movies forever as long as he gives us interesting characters and he gives us that breezy John Carney movie charm," said YouTube's Oscar Expert. Eva Hewson's Flora rescues a guitar from a dumpster and it saves the life of her son Max (Orén Kinlan). Joseph Gordon-Leavitt is Flora's guitar teacher. VARIETY review by Owen Gleiberman who says this is Carney's best movie since ONCE. Metacritic has a solid 76% rating.

    PASSAGES (Ira Sachs)
    Benjamin Lee gives PASSAGES 4/5 stars in an enthusiastic review headlined: "The writer-director makes a return to form with an explicit, emotionally bruising film about a bisexual narcissist." I have reviewed Sachs' MARRIED LIFE (2007), KEEP THE LIGHTS ON (2012), LOVE IS STRANGE (2014) and LITTLE MEN (2016), all solid low-key indie explorations of relationships and sexuality. Sachs' 2019 Cannes-debuted FRANKIE, with Isabelle Huppert (which I've not seen) - AlloCiné press rating 2.9 (58%) - was a "misfire," Benjamin Lee says. Here, TRANSIT's Franz Rogowski plays self-obsessed film director Tomas, married to artist Martin (Ben Whishaw), "but forever curious for more." Adèle Exarchopoulos plays the woman Tomas takes into his exploitative web. Read the full VARIETY review by Peter Debruge. MUBI acquired it.

    THEATER CAMP (Molly Gordon, Nick Lieberman)
    The Oscar Expert and Brother Bro gave this 7/10 and 8/10 and found this film, which loosely follows the form of a mockumentary, to be a very entertaining partly improvised comedy about, and ode to, summer theater camp in which the director falls into a coma and her idiotic son is put in charge. The emphasis is more on laughs than plot and the laughs keep coming, they said. It's a directorial debut of Gordon and LIeberman and stars Ben Platt, Jimmy Tatro, Noah Galvin, Patti Harrison, Owen Thiele, and Gordon herself. Searchlight bought this reportedly for big money.

    Premiered already at Venice but US debut here. The French reviews were glowing: AlloCiné press rating 4.1 (82%). Virginie Effira plays a high school teacher who falls in love with a man and soon grows a close bond to his 4-year-old daughter, making her grapple with her own ambitions with motherhood. Costarring Effira with French cinema stars Roschdy Zem and Chiara Mastroianni, it's a surefire arthouse audience favorite. Music Box bought US rights prior to the Sundance showing.

    YOU HURT MY FEELINGS (Nicole Holofcener)
    The long happy marriage of Beth (Julia Louis-Dreyfus), an author, and Don (Tobias Menzies), a psychiatrist, is shaken when an overheard remark reveals to Beth that Don has been lying about liking her latest novel and it really leaves him cold According to Owen Gleiberman in his VARIETY review, "the whole movie is a sly satire of our fetishistically supportive and oversensitive therapeutic culture of positivity"; he says when Holofcener is "on her game," as here, where Louis-Dreyfus "shines," "the sparkle of her dialogue is like neurotic champagne; it gives you a lift." Benjamin Lee, in his GUARDIAN review, gives YOU HURT 4/5 stars and says Holofcener "delivers another winner."

    AND ALSO...
    Other important films at Sundance not here but included in VARIETY's 17-film best-of list, some of which are documentaries: BEYOND UTOPIA (Madeleine Gavin), CASSANDRO (Roger Ross Williams), CAT PERSON ( Susanna Fogel), THE DISAPPEARANCE OF SHERE HITE (Nicole Newnham), KOKOMO CITY (D. Smith), A. LITTLE PRAYER (Angus MacLachlan), LITTLE RICHARD: I AM EVERYTHING (Lisa Cortés), MILISUTHANDO (Milisuthando Bongela), NAM JUNE PAIK: MOON IS THE OLDEST TV (Amanda Kim), POLITE SOCIETY (ida Manzoor).
    Last edited by Chris Knipp; 01-29-2023 at 01:12 AM.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2002
    SF Bay Area
    More on Sundance - buys


    ScreenDaily has a big list of Sundance film acquisitions, "Sundance 2023: the deals so far" (Jan. 26) prior and on site. This provides a list of some visible titles without regard to their quality as films. Here are many of them:

    Flora And Son (Premieres)
    Musical crowd pleaser starring Eve Hewson and Joseph Gordon-Levitt.
    Dir. John Carney

    Apple Original Films has secured global rights to in a deal believed to be in the $20m range.

    Kokomo City (NEXT)
    Black trans sex workers tell all.
    Dir: D. Smith

    Magnolia Pictures acquired worldwide rights

    Passages (Premieres)
    Gay filmmaker questions sexuality, future after affair with woman.
    Dir. Ira Sachs

    MUBI acquired US, UK & Ireland, Latin American rights

    Theater Camp (US Dramatic Competition)
    Mockumentary about employees who must keep their camp afloat.
    Dirs: Molly Gordon, Nick Lieberman

    Searchlight Pictures acquired worldwide rights

    North American and worldwide pre-buys ahead of festival
    The Deepest Breath (Premieres)
    Doc about free-diving.
    Dir: Laura McGann

    Netflix has worldwide rights

    In My Mother’s Skin (Midnight)
    Philippines tale about the young daughter of a dying woman who seeks help from flesh-eating fairy.
    Dir: Kenneth Dagatan

    Prime Video has worldwide rights.

    Joyland (Spotlight) (Cannes)
    Oscar-shortlisted Pakistani film about love, yearning, and trans burlesque boss. Cannes premiere.
    Dir: Saim Sadiq

    Oscilloscope has US rights.
    Screen review here

    Little Richard: I Am Everything
    Doc about Black queer origins of rock n’ roll and key role played by Richard Penniman aka Little Richard.
    Dir: Lisa Cortés

    Magnolia Pictures has worldwide rights. HBO Max has global streaming rights

    My Animal (Midnight)
    Small town hockey player with a dark secret falls for a figure skater
    Dir: Jacqueline Castel

    Paramount Worldwide Acquisition Group has worldwide excluding Canada.

    Other People’s Children/Les of Enfants des autres (Spotlight)
    This Venice premiere title stars Virginie Efira as woman who living with her lover and his daughter.
    Dir: Rebecca Zlotowski

    Music Box has US rights.
    Screen review here

    Run Rabbit Run (Midnight)
    Australian horror film starring Succession’s Sarah Snook as a fertility doctor whose beliefs are challenged by her daughter and a ghost from her past.
    Dir: Daina Reid

    Netflix has worldwide rights excluding select territories.

    Squaring The Circle (The Story Of Hipgnosis) (Spotlight)
    Doc about design studio behind iconic album covers. Telluride 2022 premiere.
    Dir: Anton Corbijn

    Utopia has US rights.
    Release: Summer 2023

    SIZE=4]Films with distribution in place[
    20 Days In Mariupol (World Cinema Documentary Competition)
    Reporters risk their lives covering the Russian invasion of Ukraine
    Dir: Mstyslav Chernov

    Frontline/PBS has rights.

    All Dirt Roads Taste Of Salt (US Dramatic Competition)
    The life and loves of a Black woman in Mississippi
    Dir: Raven Jackson

    A24 has rights

    The Amazing Maurice (Kids)
    Streetwise cat and rodent pals hatch moneymaking plot
    Dir: Toby Genkel

    Sky Cinema has rights.

    birth/rebirth (Midnight)
    Shudder Original offers new take on Frankenstein story
    Dir: Laura Moss

    Shudder has North American rights.

    Cassandro (Premieres)
    Gay amateur wrestler turns Lucha Libre world on its head
    Dir: Roger Ross Williams

    Prime Video has worldwide rights.

    Earth Mama (Premieres)
    Pregnant single mother fights to reclaim her children from foster careDir: Savanah Leaf
    A24 has North American rights.

    The Eight Mountains (Spotlight)
    Cannes 2022 premiere about the lifelong friendship of two boys from an Alpine village
    Dirs: Felix van Groeningen, Charlotte Vandermeersch

    Sideshow Releasing and Janus Films have North American rights
    Screen review here

    Infinity Pool (Midnight)
    Luxury resort harbours secret horrors
    Dir: Brandon Cronenberg

    Neon/Topic has North American rights.

    Judy Blume Forever (Premieres)
    Profile of the beloved children’s author
    Dirs: Davina Pardo and Leah Wolchok

    Prime Video has worldwide rights

    Landscape With Invisible Hand (Premieres)
    Teens find a way to survive after tech-obsessed aliens take over Earth
    Dir: Cory Finley

    MGM has rights

    L’immensita (Spotlight)
    Venice premiere explores the relationship between a disillusioned wife and her child in 1970s Rome.
    Dir: Emanuele Crialese

    Music Box has US rights while Warner Bros has Italy.
    Screen review here

    Little Richard: I Am Everything (US Documentary Competition)
    Profile of musical icon reveals the Black queer origins of rock ’n’ roll
    Dir: Lisa Cortes

    CNN Films/HBO Max has worldwide rights.

    Murder In Big Horn (Premieres)
    Native American families in Montana seek answers about missing Indigenous women
    Dirs: Razelle Benally, Matthew Galkin

    Showtime has North American rights

    Past Lives (Premieres)
    Close childhood friends from South Korea reunite in New York decades later
    Dir: Celine Song

    A24 has rights.

    Polite Society (Midnight)
    We Are Lady Parts creator’s action comedy about an aspiring stuntwoman’s bid to thwart her sister’s wedding
    Dir: Nida Manzoor

    Focus Features has worldwide rights.
    Release date: April 28 2023 in US

    Pretty Baby: Brooke Shields (Premieres)
    Two-part profile of celebrated child star
    Dir: Lana Wilson

    Hulu has US rights.

    Rye Lane (Premieres)
    Pair of heartbroken young adults connect over the course of one day in London
    Dir: Raine Allen-Miller

    Searchlight Pictures has worldwide rights.

    Stephen Curry: Underrated (Premieres)
    Profile of basketball great Stephen Curry
    Dir: Peter Nicks

    Apple TV+ has worldwide rights.

    Still: A Michael J. Fox Story (Premieres)
    Beloved Hollywood 80s star recounts early successes and living with Parkinson’s
    Dir: Davis Guggenheim

    Apple TV+ has worldwide rights

    The Stroll (US Documentary Competition)
    History of New York’s Meatpacking District through the eyes of trans sex workers
    Dirs: Kristen Lovell, Zackary Drucker

    HBO has worldwide rights.

    A Thousand And One (US Dramatic Competiton)
    Mother kidnaps her six-year-old son from the foster care system in New York
    Dir: A.V. Rockman

    Focus Features has rights.

    Victim/Suspect (US Dramatic Competiton)
    Investigation into how women who report sexual assault are often accused of fabrication.
    Dir: Nancy Schwartzman

    Netflix has worldwide rights.

    You Hurt My Feelings (Premieres)
    An author discovers her husband dislikes her new novel.
    Dir: Nicole Holofcener

    A24 has rights.
    Last edited by Chris Knipp; 01-29-2023 at 03:11 PM.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jul 2002
    SF Bay Area
    Some more Sundance films

    POLITE SOCIETY (Nica Manzoor) (Midnight)
    As mentioned above, this is the TV "We Are Lady Parts" director's action comedy about an aspiring stuntwoman’s bid to thwart her sister’s wedding, to be a Focus Features release April 28. Adrian Horton in the GUARDIAN review gave it 3/5 stars and found the first half unusually refreshing but the rest disappointing. It's about Pakistanis in England and combines coming of age with Bollywood and martial arts. But the leap into social horror doesn't work. Other reviews (e.g. Frank Scheck, HOLLYWOOD REPORTER; Metascore:76%) suggest there is a lot of excitement and fresh creativity in this debut, the star, Priya Kansara, is great, this is fun, and we can look forward to more.

    A THOUSAND AND ONE (A.V. Rockwell)
    US Drama Grand Jury Prize - and reviews are enthusiastic if by nomeans not all raves (Metascore 70%). This debut feature is a decades-spanning look at Inez (Teyana Taylor), who kidnaps her son from foster care and struggles to provide him a better life in a rapidly gentrifying Harlem. Writing for THE PLAYLIST, Robert Daniels finds this "breathtakingly beautiful portrait of Black womanhood” to be "thoughtfully political,” but finds that the "fascinating parts rarely add up to a satisfying interpersonal whole." Adrian Horton in a 3/5-star GUARDIAN review agrees that "There are many things working well in Rockwell’s debut, Taylor’s performance chief among them, but the end result doesn’t match her character’s formidable strength." David Rooney reviewed in HOLLYWOOD REPORTER, Jessica Kiang'S VARIETY review "Teyana Taylor Electrifies a Graceful Tale") is a rave.
    Last edited by Chris Knipp; 01-29-2023 at 03:18 PM.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jul 2002
    SF Bay Area
    Sundance 2023: award winners


    BEYOND UTOPIA (Madeleine Gavin)
    US Audience Award (Documentary), this film about five members of a family escaping from North Korea and traveling through numerous countries has an 85% on Metacritic. It uses hidden camera video, archival footage, and interviews to tell the story. Any filming in North Korea that's not propaganda is difficult and dangerous to do. THE PLAYLIST calls this a "staggering achievement" that required "unfathomable guts and skill. Ben Pearson in his review for FILM called this "intense, thrilling, heartbreaking, and vital." SCREEN DAILY called it "a first-class example of bravery and reportage melding into a filmed testament."

    SCRAPPER (Charlotte Regan)
    World Cinema Grand Jury Prize (Dramatic). Metascore 67. Newcomer Lola Campbell plays a 12-year-old girl who hangs on at her London flat after her mother dies with a fake uncle and making money stealing things till her estranged father (played by Harris Dickinson) shows up with dubious intent. Critics found the script undernourished - or overly whimsical. In his review for DEADLINE Damon Wise describes the movie thus: "It deals with issues such as social care, single parenting, truancy, and grief, but director Charlotte Regan handles these matters with a candy-colored levity that can quite often be charming, in a whimsical, Wes Anderson way, but sometimes just plain baffling (there’s a reason why you don’t see talking spiders in a Ken Loach movie)."

    GOING TO MARS: THE NIKKI GIOVANNI PROJECT (Joe Brewster, Michelle Stephenson)
    US Grand Jury Prize (Documentary). Metascore 74. Uses archival footage, present-day interviews and vérité material to carry out an imaginative tour of the distinguished 79-year-old African American poet Nikki Giovanni. Critics found the portrait engaging and appreciated its avoidance of the conventional bio-doc template.

    THE PERSIAN VERSIAN (Maryam Keshavarz)
    U.S. Audience Award (Dramatic) This is a comedy drama about Iranians in the US and has a Metascore of 60. It won the Waldo Salt Screenwriting Award. It's a decade- and country-spanning look at the relationship between the queer, pregnant Leila (Layla Mohammadi) and her mother Shireen (Niousha Noor), who emigrated from Iran and became a successful realtor in America. In her VARIETY review Lisa Kennedy appreciated how the film "braids comedy and tragedy, vibrant aplomb and thoughtful soberness." Leslie Felperin in THE HOLLYWOOD REPORTER found its "infectious, fizzy energy [is] hard to resist." Flashbacks to Iran fill in the mother's past life.

    See Metacritic's article: "2023 Sundance Film Festival: Best and Worst Films" for more awards, ratings, and links to reviews.
    Last edited by Chris Knipp; 01-29-2023 at 03:19 PM.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jul 2002
    SF Bay Area
    One or two more things

    THE STARLING GIRL (Laurel Parmet)
    Led to this by the "Oscar Expert" bros, it's a " sensitive and devilishly detailed coming-of-age drama, says David Erlich in INDIEWIRE. It's about a Christian teen who sins with her sexy pastor, and for all that, it's sympathetic and understated (Metascore 80). It's writer-director Laurel Parmet's feature debut. Lots of good acting, and an in-depth picture of that southern Christian fundamentalist world from the inside.
    Last edited by Chris Knipp; 01-30-2023 at 03:50 PM.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jul 2002
    SF Bay Area
    Sundance 2023 Best-of Lists


    The YouTube "Oscar Expert" twins, back home in New York, have made a video listing their two separate "Top Ten Movies of Sundance". (There are lots of other lists, of course. But these young men have been a point of reference for me lately.) They had not reviewed all of the films on their lists previously. They saw at the festival, the Oscar Expert says, "about 26 films."
    The Oscar Expert's List
    10 The Starling Girl
    9 You Hurt My Feelings
    8 The Deepest Breath
    7 Fair Play
    6 Beyond Utopia
    5 Fancy Dance
    4 Infinity Pool
    3 Joylahd
    2 Rye Lane
    1 Past Lives
    Brother Bro's List
    10 Magazine Dreams
    9 The Deepest Breath
    8 Theater Camp
    7 20 Days in Mariupol
    6 A Thousand and One
    5 You Hurt My Feelings
    4 Fancy Dance
    3 Beyond Utopia
    2 Rye Lane
    1 Past Lives
    This confirms the importance (to them) of RYE LANE and PAST LIVES, and that documentaries rated high with BEYOND UTOPIA (Metascore 85%), about escaping from North Korea, the outstanding doc in their view, and THE DEEPEST BREATH, about deep-sea diving, also listed by both. FANCY DANCE ranked high, the drama about treatment of Native Americans. Both list Nicole Holofcener's YOU HURT MY FEELINGS, and Brother Bro gave an impassioned endorsement of it as not slight at all but full of life lessons about the crucial need for sincerity and supportiveness with those closest to us. Cronenberg's INFINITY POOL was from left field because the Oscar Expert went to see it in a theater post-Sundance (in New York: it's showing on at least six screens around Manhattan) but it was a Sundance film that happened to open in theaters right after its Park City showing.

    Richard Brody of The New Yorker lists only two favorites: PASSAGES (Ira Sachs) and ALL DIRT ROADS TASTE OF SALT (Raven Jackson). These both got attention from elsewhere too. Adrian Horton gave SALT 3/5 stars in his GUARDIAN review. Jessica Kiang was effusive in VARIETY. Kiang called it a "thoughtful, fragmentary portrait of a Black woman over four decades of rural Mississippian life," and spoke of its "gorgeous 35mm imagery," and compared its "audaciously non-linear" style to that of AFTERSIUN and said it "marks the arrival of an arresting new talent."

    Beyond Utopia
    Last edited by Chris Knipp; 02-04-2023 at 04:39 PM.


Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts