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The 2013 Sundance Review Report: Day 2

Criticwire By Matt Singer | Criticwire January 19, 2013 at 12:14PM

The highlights of reviews and tweets from Friday at Sundance.
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"Kill Your Darlings," A Killer Films production
"Kill Your Darlings," A Killer Films production

The Sundance Review Report rounds up each day's notable premieres, along with a sampling of their reviews and tweets from Park City, Utah. Here's the reaction to four of Friday's films:

"Austenland"
Category: U.S. Dramatic
Director: Jerusha Hess
Starring: Keri Russell, JJ Feild, Bret McKenzie, Jennifer Coolidge, Georgia King
Synopsis: "Jane’s life-size paper doll of Mr. Darcy and her 'I Love Darcy' tote may be tattered, but even in her thirties, she hasn’t grown out of her obsession with all things Jane Austen. Careworn by love, she saves enough to fulfill her dream of stepping into Austen’s world and heads to Austenland for an 'immersive' vacation to eschew all things modern. And it couldn’t be more perfect. There’s an imposing manor with verdant grounds for afternoon promenades, rosy-faced servants, trusty steeds for hunting expeditions, gilded drawing rooms for evenings spent in polite conversation, and, yes, gallant young suitors. Unfortunately, due to limited funds, she’s relegated to lesser quarters and drearier costumes than fellow bachelorette guests, but her cares melt away as she catches the eye of a young footman, and she’s swept into a romantic adventure she could never have imagined."

Reviews:

Sean P. MeansSalt Lake Tribune:

"A witty and hilarious directing debut."

John DeForeHollywood Reporter:

"Finds new ways to exploit the Mr. Darcy archetype."

Mike RyanHuffington Post:

"'Austenland' as a movie is great... well, up until Jane gets to Austenland -- which, unfortunately, is 80 percent of the movie."

Gregory EllwoodHitFix:

"A crowd-pleaser with a smart script and a cast that appears to be having a jolly ol' time."

Kyle SmithNew York Post:

"I expect it to play well only to a small base of chick-lit lovers and casual Austen fans. I’d give it maybe 2.5 stars."

Tweets:

Stuart OldhamVariety:

"'Austenland' was a fun, well-received romantic comedy set in the world of "Pride and Prejudice." My girlfriend loved it #Sundance"

Steven WeintraubCollider:

"Liked 'Austenland.' Has some fun moments with a solid 3rd act and great ending credits. Will get picked up. #Sundance13"

Ryland AldrichTwitch:

"'Austenland' has a great cast & plenty of yuks, but musical montage alone not enough to develop main char & her troubles with love. #Sundance"

Cory EverettThe Playlist:

"'Austenland' (C) Cute comedy should appeal to Austen fanatics but it feels a little undercooked. Keri Russell sadly underutilized. #Sundance"

Patrick Z. McGavinLight Sensitive:

"Imagine 'Westworld' transposed to 19th century England, and you have the tone-deaf, insufferable 'Austenland.' Bad start to #Sundance"

"Escape From Tomorrow"
Category: NEXT
Director: Randy Moore
Starring: Roy Abramsohn, Elena Schuber, Katelynn Rodriguez, Annet Mahendru, Danielle Safady
Synopsis: "Jim White is an average American family man, mostly content to exist within his humdrum reality. At the tail end of a theme park vacation with his loving wife and two beautiful children, he is awakened by an unsettling phone call from his boss, who tells him that he has lost his job. Unwilling to disturb their sabbatical, Jim holds off on breaking the news to his family so they can enjoy their last day at the idyllic and beloved tourist destination. In desperate need of a distraction, he finds one amidst the long lines at the park -- two attractive and fun-loving teenage girls. In his fractured state, Jim falls obsessively in love, making any excuse he can to follow them everywhere. Along the way, his paranoid psyche spirals even further downward, and the fine line between fantasy and reality becomes blurred."

Reviews:

Drew McWeenyHitFix:

"It is not possible that this film exists. It is not possible that they shot long scripted sequences on the actual rides. It is not possible that I just saw a film in which it is suggested and then shown that the various Disney princesses all work as high-priced hookers who sell their wares to wealthy Asian businessmen. It simply cannot be true."

Eric KohnIndiewire:

"Has the potential to accrue major cult value."

Steven Zeitchik, Los Angeles Times:

"The movie seems to be denouncing a culture-of-distraction in a way that might call to mind 'Infinite Jest.'"

Peter Sciretta, /Film:

"Unlike anything you’ve seen before and will probably be unlike anything you see again."

James RocchiMSN Movies:

"Moore's work of mad obsession turns Disney's small world into a strange one, and while you have to laud his passion, you have to question his practicality."

Tweets:

Scott MacaulayFilmmaker Magazine:

"'Escape from Tomorrow' insane on so many levels. Never seen anything like it. Wally World has nothing on the real thing. #Sundance13"

Pamela PowellReel Honest Reviews:

"#sundance re 'Escape From Tomorrow'... Disney's not gonna like this! Mwahahaha (that's my evil laugh)"

William B. GossFilm.com:

"'Escape from Tomorrow:' an honest-to-God brain-melter; Polanski's idea of the family vacation from Hell. Your mileage may vary. #Sundance"

Steven ZeitchikLos Angeles Times:

"'Escape from Tomorrow,' a b+w surrealist movie shot guerilla-style at Disney parks, may be one of the strangest films ever to play #Sundance."

"Kill Your Darlings"
Category: U.S. Dramatic
Director: John Krokidas
Starring: Daniel Radcliffe, Dane DeHaan, Ben Foster, Michael C. Hall, Jack Huston, Elizabeth Olsen
Synopsis: "While he is attending Columbia University in 1944, the young Allen Ginsberg’s life is turned upside down when he sets eyes on Lucien Carr, an impossibly cool and boyishly handsome classmate. Carr opens Ginsberg up to a bohemian world and introduces him to William Burroughs and Jack Kerouac. Repelled by rules and conformity in both life and literature, the four agree to tear down tradition and make something new, ultimately formulating the tenets of and giving birth to what became the Beat movement. On the outside, looking in, is David Kammerer, a man in his thirties desperately in love with Carr. When Kammerer is found dead, and Kerouac, Burroughs, and Carr are arrested in conjunction with the murder, the nascent artists’ lives change forever."

Reviews:

Sean P. MeansSalt Lake Tribune:

"Director John Krokidas (co-writing with Austin Bunn) tell the tale with great care and affection, but they stumble by assuming we know enough about these Beat Generation icons that we'll fill in the gaps of character development."

Emma JonesThe Independent:

"Allen Ginsberg …has come of age by the end of the movie. And so, Daniel Radcliffe, have you."

Rodrigo PerezThe Playlist:

"Well shot and well-made, 'Kill Your Darlings' is a very competently constructed effort on a whole, but there’s an emptiness and familiarity at its core that it cannot transcend."

Justin Chang, Variety:

"Even if it doesn't fully connect the dramatic dots, the film is impressively realized on a scene-by-scene basis."

Matt PatchesHollywood.com:

"If Radcliffe's performance puts skeptics to rest, DeHaan's proves he's at the top of Hollywood's young actor's pack."

Tweets:

Logan Hill, Esquire.com:

"'Kill Your Darlings' is terrific: Unhinged as it catches fire, taut as it ratchets suspense. Spit-take one-liners, great perfs across board."

Steven Weintraub, Collider:

"'Kill Your Darlings' was really good. Best part was fantastic performances from entire cast. Will def get sold (if it hasn't already)"

Amy Kaufman, LA Times:

"Just saw 'Kill Your Darlings.' @danedehaan is going to be a huge star. And Dan Radcliffe growing a lot post-Potter. #Sundance"

Ethan Anderton, FirstShowing.net:

"'Kill Your Darlings' is electrified with energy, emotionally charged and has one hell of a performance from @DaneDeHaan."

Alonso Duralde, TheWrap:

"'Kill Your Darlings' - a compelling look at the baby Beats with standout perfs by Daniel Radcliffe and Dane DeHaan. #Sundance"

"Don Jon's Addiction"
Category: Premieres
Director: Joseph Gordon-Levitt
Starring: Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Scarlett Johansson, Julianne Moore, Tony Danza, Glenne Headly, Rob Brown
Synopsis: "Jon Martello objectifies everything in his life: his apartment, his car, his family, his church, and, of course, women. His buddies even call him Don Jon because of his ability to pull “10s” every weekend without fail. Yet even the finest flings don’t compare to the transcendent bliss he achieves alone in front of the computer watching pornography. Dissatisfied, he embarks on a journey to find a more gratifying sex life, but ends up learning larger lessons of life and love through relationships with two very different women."

Reviews:

Todd McCarthy, Hollywood Reporter:

"Both as a director and actor, Gordon-Levitt is switched on all the time, offering little shading or nuance."

Kyle Smith, New York Post:

"A far gutsier film might have explored what it was like for a character who resembles Gordon-Levitt to be addicted to porn. But then Gordon-Levitt would have to take his material a little more seriously instead of just going for cheap laughs."

Tim Grierson, Screen International:

"Gordon-Levitt’s usual charm goes a long way toward helping us warm up to a one-dimensional lout who eventually becomes less self-centred."

Peter Debruge, Variety:

"An endearingly masturbatory look at how a culture of objectification erodes our capacity for intimacy."

Rodrigo Perez, The Playlist:

"A charming and impressive directorial debut."

Tweets:

Alex Suskind, Moviefone:

"'Don Jon's Addiction' was a brilliant examination of sexual relationships and pornography. Still don't know how it's going to avoid NC-17"

Sam Adams, A.V. Club:

"'Don Jon's Addiction' (D): Saturday Night Feeble."

Chase Whale, Twitch:

"'Don Jon's Addiction' bulks up the body and career of Joseph Gordon-Levitt. What a fantastic directorial debut from the Boy Wonder. #Sundance"

Jeff WellsHollywood Elsewhere:

"Joseph Gordon-Levitt’s 'Don Jon’s Addiction' is a decent character-growth piece. It could almost be a play. I mean that as a compliment."

Erik Davis, Movies.com:

"'Don Jon's Addiction' = New Jersey's version of 'Silver Linings Playbook.' Well done @hitRECordJoe. #Sundance"

Click Below to Read More Sundance Reviews and Tweets Of:
"Crystal Fairy"
"May in the Summer"
"Twenty Feet From Stardom"
"Who Is Dayani Cristal?"

This article is related to: Sundance 2013 Reviews, Sundance 2013, Sundance Film Festival, Sundance Review Report


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