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The 2013 Sundance Review Report: Day 4

Criticwire By Matt Singer | Criticwire January 21, 2013 at 2:05PM

It was a busy weekend for critics at Sundance -- here's what they wrote and tweeted.
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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 are the highlights from Day 4 at Sundance.

"Ain't Them Bodies Saints"
Category: U.S. Dramatic
Director: David Lowery
Starring: Rooney Mara, Casey Affleck, Ben Foster, Nate Parker, Keith Carradine
Synopsis: "Bob Muldoon and Ruth Guthrie, an impassioned young outlaw couple on an extended crime spree, are finally apprehended by lawmen after a shootout in the Texas hills. Although Ruth wounds a local officer, Bob takes the blame. But four years later, Bob escapes from prison and sets out to find Ruth and their daughter, born during his incarceration."

Reviews:

Todd McCarthyHollywood Reporter:

"Will serve most decisively to put director-writer David Lowery on the map as one of the foremost young standard bearers of the Malick and Altman schools of impressionistic mood-drenched cinema."

Sam AdamsThe A.V. Club:

"It’s an entrancing mood piece, laconically intense and resonant in ways it may take more time, or at least a less crowded schedule, to process."

Guy Lodge, In Contention:

"The camera itself may be the true star of 'Ain't Them Bodies Saints,' specifically as wielded by the increasingly impressive cinematographer Bradford Young."

Tim Grierson, Screen International:

"No matter his derivativeness, Lowery is quite skilful at building emotion and crisscrossing between storylines."

A.A. Dowd, Time Out Chicago:

"To hear many critics tell it, the Grand Jury prize is Lowery's to lose; if that's true, I think we've just found this year's 'Beasts of the Southern Wild.' And no, I don't mean that as a compliment."

Tweets:

Logan Hill, Esquire:

"'Ain't Them Bodies Saints:' Familiar outlaw material wrought beautifully, quietly. not a false note from ensemble. DP B Young wows #sundance"

Kate Erbland, Film School Rejects:

"'Ain't Them Bodies Saints' is solid on its own, but its soundtrack & score and Ben Foster's performance put it on another level. #sundance"

Jordan HoffmanFilm.com:

"Call me crazy, but 'Ain't Them Bodies Saints'' biggest differentiator is how it allows so much inaction to happen. For good (mostly)."

Jeffrey Wells, Hollywood Elsewhere:

"'Ain't Them Bodies Saints' feels like a grandson of Altman's 'Thieves Like Us.' Young love, outlaws, rural flavor, guns, Keith Carradine."

Kyle Smith, New York Post:

"'Ain't Them Bodies Saints' getting ecstatic reviews fr those who don't understand purpose of a film=storytelling, not mood lighting. #sundance"

"Stoker"
Category: Premieres
Director: Park Chan-wook
Starring: Mia Wasikowska, Matthew Goode, Dermot Mulroney, Jacki Weaver, Nicole Kidman
Synopsis: "After India’s father dies in an auto accident, her Uncle Charlie, whom she never knew existed, comes to live with her and her emotionally unstable mother, Evelyn. Soon after his arrival, India begins to suspect this mysterious, charming man has disturbing ulterior motives, but instead of feeling outrage or horror, the friendless girl becomes increasingly infatuated with him."

Reviews:

Guy Lodge, Variety:

"A splendidly demented gumbo of Hitchcock thriller, American Gothic fairy tale and a contemporary kink all Park's own."

John DeFore, Hollywood Reporter:

"One of the most artful chillers in ages."

Drew McWeeny, HitFix:

"A stylish and often stunning exercise for Chan-wook Park, and it's worth seeing to check in on Wasikowska as she continues to prove herself one of the most significant talents of her age group."

Tom Huddleston, Time Out:

"A truly shoddy piece of writing, predictable and contrived, and so mired in cliché as to render Park’s intermittently interesting visual touches -- vibrant colors, extreme close-ups, ornate animation -- entirely redundant."

Rodrigo Perez, The Playlist:

" A brutally empty, deeply unfortunate movie."

Tweets:

Sam Zimmerman, Fangoria:

"'Stoker' is brilliantly composed. True American gothic. Thrilling and absolutely stellar."

Raffi Asdourian, The Film Stage:

"'Stoker' is classic Chan-Wook Park, if you are a fan of his style you will definitely enjoy. Hauntingly beautiful moody thriller. #Sundance"

Eric D. Snider, EricDSnider.com:

"'Stoker:' magnificently stylish, possibly not much more than that. Must contemplate further. Definitely enjoyed it. #Sundance"

Keith Simanton, IMDb:

"'Stoker' is 'Shadow of a Doubt' w/Clive Barker instead of Thornton Wilder. Stylish imagery & nut-bar, incestuous family = 6.5 of 10."

Chase Whale, Twitch:

"Wasn't too hot on 'Stoker.' Really well made, it just didn't jive with me. But, Mathew Goode has never been so good at being bad. #Sundance"

"The East"
Category: Premieres
Director: Zal Batmanglij
Starring: Brit Marling, Alexander Skarsgård, Ellen Page, Toby Kebbell, Shiloh Fernandez
Synopsis: "Someone is attacking big corporate CEOs and forcing them to consume harmful products they manufacture. An elite private intelligence firm is called into action and contracts ex-FBI agent Sarah Moss to infiltrate a mysterious anarchist collective, The East, suspected to be responsible. Skilled, focused, and bent on success, Sarah goes undercover and dedicates herself to taking down the organization. She soon finds, however, that the closer she gets to the action, the more she sympathizes with the group’s charismatic leaders."

Reviews:

Erik Davis, Movies.com:

"Good, tight, and tense... definitely worth watching."

Justin ChangVariety:

"Builds to a terrific level of intrigue before losing some steam in its second half."

Kristopher TapleyIn Contention:

"It's a piece full of tension and intrigue. But something inherent in the script kept me from taking it seriously enough to enjoy the ride."

Cory Everett, The Playlist:

"Despite my issues with the film, it's stylish and sincere and comes from a personal place."

Tweets:

Adam Chitwood, Collider:

"'The East' is a taut and sophisticated thriller. Marling and Batmanglij up their game with a larger budget, but maintain character focus."

Jeffrey Wells, Hollywood Elsewhere:

"'The East' is gripping, unusual, exotic, well-paced, well acted…and very persistently about Brit Marling’s drop-dead beautiful eyes."

Dor Dotson, Movies With Dor:

"'The East' shows Marling & Batmanglij are their own brand of anarchists, successfully infiltrating the studio system with a film of substance."

Russ Fischer, /Film:

"'The East:' Effective, very well-crafted, socially conscious thriller. Not unlike a 'Fight Club' for the #sundance crowd."

Ryland Aldrich, Twitch:

"A decent studio thriller, 'The East' shows more promise from Zal & Brit but studio growing pains evident. Script felt overdeveloped. #Sundance"

"In a World"
Category: U.S. Dramatic
Director: Lake Bell
Starring: Lake Bell, Demetri Martin, Rob Corddry, Michaela Watkins, Ken Marino
Synopsis: "Carol Solomon is a struggling vocal coach. Propelled by the hubris of her father, Sam Sotto, the reigning king of movie-trailer voice-over artists, Carol musters the courage to pursue her secret aspiration to be a voice-over star. Her fiery sister, Dani, becomes a trusted confidante, and Carol engages the skills of a charming sound techie named Louis. Armed with renewed confidence, Carol lands her first voice-over gig -- a primo spot -- nabbing the job from industry bad boy Gustav Warner. And then the real trouble begins. Carol becomes entangled in a web of dysfunction, sexism, unmitigated ego, and pride."

Reviews:

James Rocchi, MSN Movies:

"As hilarious as it is human, as silly as it is smart, as real as it is ridiculously funny."

Sean P. Means, Salt Lake Tribune:

"Bell proves she's not just a star, but something the movies can't get enough of: A distinctive voice."

Sam Fragoso, Movie Mezzanine:

"Most of the comedy is exponentially improved by a uniformly funny cast filled with comedians."

Sam Adams, A.V. Club:

"The movie can’t seem to decide if it’s a romantic comedy using the voiceover world as a backdrop or a Hollywood satire with a romantic throughline, but fortunately both are equally ingratiating."

Tweets:

Josh Dickey, Variety:

"Reviews on 'In a World' will be very strong. But how do you sell a VoiceOver movie?! SOMEBODY FIGURE IT OUT. Needs to be seen. #Sundance"

Anthony Breznican, Entertainment Weekly:

"Roaring laughs for @LakeBell's voice-over comedy 'In a World.' Can't imagine a world were it doesn't sell big. #Sundance"

David Fear, Time Out New York:

"Can't wait to see how they do the trailer for 'In A World'... #Sundance"

Daniel Miller, Hollywood Reporter:

"'In A World...' is charming and features an incredible Ken Marino-Lake Bell nose French kiss. Marino says it took one take. #Sundance"

Germain Lussier, /Film:

"'In A World' is great. Light, funny & inspiring. It’s pretty by the numbers but the VoiceOver world gives it a fresh enough spin.#Sundance"

Click Below to Read More Sundance Reviews and Tweets Of:
"After Tiller"
"Austenland"
"Before Midnight"
"Crystal Fairy"
"Don Jon's Addiction"
"Escape from Tomorrow"
"Kill Your Darlings"
"May in the Summer"
"The Spectacular Now"
"Touchy Feely"
"Twenty Feet From Stardom"
"Two Mothers"
"Who Is Dayani Cristal?"

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


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