The Playlist

Sundance Review: Disappointing 'Robot And Frank' Is High Concept Sci-Fi That's Low On Ideas

  • By Cory Everett
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  • January 27, 2012 7:55 AM
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In recent years Sundance has been hit with a handful of smart science fiction films tackling large themes within an extremely limited scope. From the $7000 “Primer” to the $5 million “Moon,” their respective filmmakers managed to put forth some interesting ideas without being hindered creatively by their minimal budgets. Last year’s breakout “Another Earth” may have suffered a bit from its great premise being pushed perhaps too far into the background of an otherwise standard grief drama. But it’s always a compromise between the resources that are available and how much of the hardware must actually be shown onscreen to create a believable world set in an alternate present or distant future. Arriving at a decision on what to cut and what needs to be shown must be agony for those films hoping to achieve any kind of scope. But in the best cases, smart filmmakers can use these restrictions to their advantage helping the films get their ideas across in the leanest way possible. This year’s sci-fi Sundance entry is “Robot And Frank,” a high concept, low-key heist film set in the near future.

Sundance: Joel Edgerton & Teresa Palmer Talk 'Wish You Were Here' & VOD Vs. Theatrical Release

  • By John Lichman
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  • January 23, 2012 11:56 AM
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Call it a resurgence of Australian cinema, but it seems the even-year Sundance Film Festivals are the place to catch the movies that find their way across the pond and to the audiences that desire dark, interesting thrillers that masquerade as family dramas. “Animal Kingdom” introduced a wide audience to Joel Edgerton who played as ruthless family man Baz. It's a fitting return for Edgerton to the 2012 Sundance Film Festival with “Wish You Were Here,” an examination of how three people deal with the loss of their friend after a week of partying in Southeast Cambodia. Of course, it wouldn't be a modern Australian thriller if there weren't hidden intentions, distorted memory and deconstruction of the nuclear family. Produced under the Aussie film collective, Blue Tongue Films (which counts among its members Joel's brother Nash and co-writer/director Kieran Darcy-Smith), the film opened the festival last Thursday and The Playlist caught up with Edgerton and co-star Teresa Palmer about their character choices, future projects and the distribution model they'd prefer for their film.

Sundance: Exclusive Clip From The Engaging & Provocative Documentary 'The Imposter'

  • By Kevin Jagernauth
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  • January 23, 2012 11:02 AM
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  • 4 Comments
What if your teenage son disappeared? What if he was found again, three years later, halfway around the world? Would you recognize him? Would your desire for a family to be reunited trump any doubts or inconsistencies about who this person might really be? Those are the questions are the heart of director Bart Layton's "The Imposter," a documentary that is sure to make waves when it premieres today at the Sundance Film Festival.

Sundance: New Looks At Elizabeth Olsen In 'Liberal Arts' & 'Red Lights' Plus Pics Of Clive Owen & Andrea Riseborough In 'Shadow Dancer'

  • By Kevin Jagernauth
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  • January 20, 2012 12:36 PM
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Can't be in Park City this week? We feel your pain, and while most of us will have to wait for months and perhaps even a year to eventually see some of the movies unspooling at Sundance, hopefully this batch of new images will be enough to tide you over for now.

Sundance Review: 'Wish You Were Here' With Joel Edgerton & Teresa Palmer An Overwrought, Undercooked Mystery

  • By Todd Gilchrist
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  • January 20, 2012 8:05 AM
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Although its title implies either a whimsical journey of self-discovery or an ironic riposte to the vacation from hell, the story of “Wish You Were Here” is, in either context, a disappointingly pedestrian experience. The story of a husband and father trying to return to his normal life after a vacation with his wife and her sister that ends in the disappearance of his sister-in-law’s boyfriend, Kieran Darcy-Smith’s Australian import inspires a deluge of possibilities and provocative thoughts in its audiences’ heads, but languid pacing undermines the too-simple and ultimately too-conventional revelations that wrap up its simmering mysteries. Nevertheless, strong performances from the four leads sustains its unhurried approach far longer than the payoff deserves.

Sundance: 'That's What She Said' Director Carrie Preston Keeps Men Out Of Frame In Woody Allen Style Comedy

  • By Jen Vineyard
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  • January 19, 2012 2:08 PM
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  • 2 Comments
Carrie Preston is best known as the ditzy-and-frustrated waitress Arlene Fowler on "True Blood" (and lately, as the ditzy-but-brilliant lawyer Elisbeth Tascioni on "The Good Wife"), but this year at Sundance, she'll be known as a film director for "That's What She Said," her sophomore feature effort behind the camera.

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