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The 2013 Sundance Review Report: Catch-Up Edition

Festivals
by Matt Singer
January 24, 2013 3:19 PM
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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, we're catching up with a few notable films from this year's festival that previously fell through the cracks.

"Prince Avalanche"
Category: Premieres
Director: David Gordon Green
Starring: Paul Rudd, Emile Hirsch
Synopsis: "An odd couple of sorts, meditative and stern Alvin and his girlfriend’s brother, Lance, dopey and insecure, leave the city behind to spend the summer in solitude repainting traffic lines down the center of a country highway ravaged by wildfire. As they sink into their job in the remarkable landscape, they learn more than they want to about each other and their own limitations. An unlikely friendship develops through humor and nasty exchanges, leading to surprising affection."

Reviews:

Jordan Hoffman, ScreenCrush:

"David Gordon Green’s best feature."

Drew McWeeny, HitFix:

"About a gentle a movie as Green's ever likely to make, and it feels necessary, as personal as it gets."

Chris Bumbray, JoBlo:

"A lovely little film."

Eli Reyes, Geek Tyrant:

"Rudd's impeccable delivery always leaves you wondering which lines were improvised and which were scripted."

Sam Fragoso, Movie Mezzanine:

"One of the more grating and sluggish films in recent memory."

Tweets:

Kim Voynar, Movie City News:

"'Prince Avalanche:' I love arthouse David Gordon Green so freaking much. One of my faves of this Sundance. This is what I come here for."

Katey Rich, Cinema Blend:

"'Prince Avalanche' is rambly and sweet and beautiful, the best work either David Gordon Green or Paul Rudd has done in quite a while."

Chase Whale, Twitch:

"'Prince Avalanche' embellishes the golden days of King David Gordon Green. I loved it so, so much. #Sundance"

Scott Macaulay, Filmmaker Magazine:

"Really liked David Gordon Green's 'Prince Avalanche.' Feels like something new for all involved."

Mike Ryan, Huffington Post:

"I really liked 'Prince Avalanche.' Glad that David Gordon Green still has a voice post 'The Sitter' and 'Your Highness.' #sundance"

"Lovelace"
Category: Premieres
Directors: Rob Epstein, Jeffrey Friedman
Starring: Amanda Seyfried, Peter Sarsgaard, Hank Azaria, Adam Brody, James Franco
Synopsis: "In 1972 -- long before the Internet porn explosion of today -- Deep Throat became a cultural phenomenon. As the first pornographic feature film to be embraced by mainstream audiences, Deep Throat took a multitude of risks: it boasted a plot, humor, and an unknown and unlikely star named Linda Lovelace. 'Lovelace' tells the story behind the phenomenon. Fleeing her strict religious family, Linda Boreman falls for charismatic hustler Chuck Traynor, who launches her pornography career. Reborn as 'Linda Lovelace,' the charming girl next door skyrockets to international sensation with her uncanny capacity for fellatio. Fully inhabiting this new identity, Linda becomes a spokesperson for sexual freedom and hedonism. But six years later, she reveals a far more sinister narrative -- the dark secrets of her own life story."

Reviews:

Todd McCarthy, Hollywood Reporter:

"Given all the ways a project like this could have gone wrong, the result is surprisingly good on several fronts, beginning with a shrewd structure that fosters an intelligent dual perspective on the public and private aspects of the 'Deep Throat' phenomenon."

Damon Wise, The Guardian:

"Though Rob Epstein and Jeffrey Friedman's handsomely mounted period piece evokes the era with impressive detail, Lovelace's journey remains difficult to tell."

Michal Oleszczyk, Chicago Sun-Times:

"An extremely old-fashioned piece of filmmaking -- even Bob Fosse's 'Star 80,' similarly themed and made three decades ago, seems more adventurous in comparison."

Eric Kohn, Indiewire:

"Positions itself as a serious investigation of its topic but always seems like it's on the brink of breaking down into giggles."

Jason Bailey, The Atlantic:

"Movies about porn shouldn't be this boring."

Tweets:

Matt Goldberg, Collider:

"Despite some melodrama, 'Lovelace' handles domestic violence with enough maturity so that the movie doesn't feel like a PSA. #Sundance"

Amanda Mae Meyncke, Film.com:

"'Lovelace:' less about porn, more about domestic violence. Seyfried is wonderful.#Sundance"

Scott Foundas, Village Voice:

"All hail the great Sharon Stone, brilliant as the mother of Linda Lovelace in #Sundance premiere 'Lovelace.'"

Erik Childress, eFilmCritic:

"'Lovelace' is decent. Seyfried and Sarsgaard are good. Somewhat interesting approach to telling story. Not groundbreaking but ok. #Sundance"

Matt Cohen, TheWeek:

"'Lovelace:' By-the-books biopic devoid of any emotion or insight. We waited this long for that? #Sundance"

"Fruitvale"
Category: U.S. Dramatic
Director: Ryan Coogler
Starring: Michael B. Jordan, Octavia Spencer, Melonie Diaz, Ahna O'Reilly, Kevin Durand
Synopsis: "Oscar Grant was a 22-year-old Bay Area resident who loved his friends, was generous to strangers, and had a hard time telling the truth to the mother of his beautiful daughter. He was scared and courageous and charming and raw, and as human as the community he was part of. That community paid attention to him, shouted on his behalf, and filmed him with their cell phones when BART officers, who were strong, intimidated, and acting in the way they thought they were supposed to behave around people like Oscar, shot him in cold blood at the Fruitvale subway stop on New Year’s Day in 2009."

Reviews:

Zeba Blay, Shadow and Act:

"An important statement on the power of not merely the moving image, but the power of perspective."

Marlow Stern, The Daily Beast:

"A harrowing film that, despite its foregone conclusion, is never less than riveting."

Nora Chute, Thompson on Hollywood:

"Draws us into the characters and their community, heightening the tragedy of the film's climax."

Todd McCarthy, Hollywood Reporter:

"A powerful dramatic feature film."

Geoff Berkshire, Variety:

"Even if every word of Coogler's account of the last day in Grant's life held up under close scrutiny, the film would still ring false in its relentlessly positive portrayal of its subject."

Tweets:

Kate Erbland, Film School Rejects:

"'Fruitvale' is so, so good and so, so heartbreaking. I cried like a baby. #sundance"

Kristopher Tapley, In Contention:

"Any 'FNL' fan is well aware of the promise of Michael B. Jordan. He's amazing in 'Fruitvale' and the film just reduced me to open tears."

Lisa Schwarzbaum, Entertainment Weekly:

"My first wow at #sundance2013 is a first feature by Ryan Coogler: 'Fruitvale.' And oh that amazing Octavia Spencer!"

Ethan Anderton, First Showing:

"'Chronicle' star Michael B. Jordan takes his career to the next level in 'Fruitvale' with a performance that feels like young Denzel Washington."

Eric D. Snider, EricDSnider.com:

"Fruitvale:' quiet, powerful drama about a formerly bad kid trying to be good. Snuck up on me at the end. Solid stuff. #Sundance"

"Hell Baby"
Category: Midnight
Directors: Robert Ben Garant, Thomas Lennon 
Starring: 
Rob Corddry, Leslie Bibb, Keegan Michael Key, Riki Lindhome, Paul Scheer
Synopsis: "Expectant couple Jack and Vanessa move into the most haunted fixer-upper in New Orleans -- a house with a deadly demonic curse. When things soon spiral out of control, it’ll take the help of Vanessa’s Wiccan sister, a nosey “neighbor” who lives in their crawl space, two local detectives, and a pair of elite Vatican exorcists to save them—or is italready too late?"

Reviews:

Drew McWeeny, HitFix:

"Gross, dumb, crass, and wildly funny."

Matt Patches, Hollywood.com:

"A hundred times funnier than most of Hollywood's run-of-the-mill comedies."

William Bibbiani, Crave Online:

"Doesn’t amount to much on its own, besides a lot of laughter, and that’s just fine."

Kyle Smith, New York Post:

"The movie would have made a brilliant half-hour episode of a sketch-comedy show, but as it is it’s a long sit for a 90-minute flick."

Ryan Daley, Bloody-Disgusting:

"The vast majority of 'Hell Baby' goes nowhere and accomplishes nothing. Which wouldn’t be an issue if every member of the expansive cast wasn’t straining so hard for laughs."

Tweets:

Devin Faraci, Badass Digest:

"Keegan Michael Key flat out steals 'Hell Baby.' Great cast overall, but he's incredible. #sundance"

Total Film:

"'Hell Baby:' an old daft house/exor-silly horror-com. Scattershot, but the misses are worth enduring for the hits. #Sundance2013"

Eric D. SniderEricDSnider.com:

"Turns out 'Hell Baby' is a pretty funny horror parody comedy thingee. Not a classic, and not every joke lands, but I laughed a lot. #Sundance"

Travis Hopson, Punch Drunk Critics:

"I have to say, I enjoyed 'Hell Baby' a lot more than 'Lovelace.' But I laughed at both. Only one was a comedy, though."

James Rocchi, MSN Movies:

"'Hell Baby:' Walkout. Even worse than 'A Haunted House,' in that you expect nothing from Marlon Wayans. A blot on Sundance's programming record."

Click Below to Read More Sundance Reviews and Tweets Of:
"After Tiller"
"Ain't Them Bodies Saints"
"Austenland"
"Before Midnight"
"Computer Chess"
"Crystal Fairy"
"Don Jon's Addiction"
"The East"
"Escape from Tomorrow"
"In a World"
"Kill Your Darlings"
"Linsanity"
"May in the Summer"
"The Necessary Death of Charlie Countryman"
"The Spectacular Now"
"Stoker"
"Touchy Feely"
"Twenty Feet From Stardom"
"Two Mothers"
"Upstream Color"
"The Way, Way Back"
"Who Is Dayani Cristal?"

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