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Sundance Review: Richard Linklater’s Ambitious ‘Boyhood’ Starring Ethan Hawke & Patricia Arquette

  • By Rodrigo Perez
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  • January 20, 2014 1:11 PM
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  • 1 Comment
Boyhood
Last night in Park City, director Richard Linklater made cinematic history with the groundbreaking “Boyhood,” a time capsule-like exploration of childhood and family shot over the course of 12 years. And it’s unlike anything you’ve seen before, though the closest analogue might be the ambitious “Up Series," Michael Apted’s documentary series that revisits the same family every 7 years to catch up with where they are in life. Evincing many lucid and extemporaneous qualities, Linklater doesn’t do catching up though, as “Boyhood” feels much less like a greatest hits package and more analogous to being in the moment, watching the sprawling, occasionally dull home videos of family over more than a decade’s time. Warm, soulful, funny and quietly insightful, “Boyhood” shines in its engrossing, experiential understanding and it’s a special achievement that should be cherished and acknowledged.

Sundance Review: Ira Sachs' ‘Love Is Strange’ Is A Brilliantly Performed Romance That’s Always Real

  • By James Rocchi
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  • January 20, 2014 12:08 PM
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  • 1 Comment
Ira Sachs, Molina, Lithgow
Directed by Ira Sachs ("Keep the Lights On," "Married Life"), "Love Is Strange" depicts a New York love affair whose depth of feeling is only matched by the length of its duration. George (Alfred Molina) and Ben (John Lithgow) have been together for 39 years, and as the film begins, they’re fussing and getting ready for a big event—after all these years, they’re finally going to (and for that matter, finally able to) get married. It’s a beautiful day, and George and Ben are surrounded by family and friends and well-wishers, but it turns out to be one with consequences.

Sundance: Guantanamo Bay Drama 'Camp X-Ray' May Not Always Work, But Kristen Stewart Shines In First Reviews

  • By Kevin Jagernauth
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  • January 20, 2014 10:21 AM
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  • 16 Comments
Camp X
While we've got a few people currently on the ground at the Sundance, the festival's crammed scheduling still means that there are just some movies we aren't going to get to. And try as we might, we just couldn't make a screening of "Camp X-Ray" starring Kristen Stewart fit onto our calendar.

Sundance Review: ‘The Voices’ Starring Ryan Reynolds Wrings Dark Comedy From Candy-Colored Carnage

  • By James Rocchi
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  • January 20, 2014 9:06 AM
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  • 8 Comments
The Voices
The fourth film from director Marjane Satrapi ("Persepolis," "Chicken with Plums"), "The Voices" navigates the line between the gruesome and the goofy with a step as nimble as a tight-rope walker going over a sea of broken glass. It’s an extraordinarily warm and funny movie about a likable schizophrenic murderer; it’s candy-colored and meticulously composed and yet also shiny with fresh wet blood. It’s weird and funny and perfectly-pitched, and to cap off its catalog of rare feats, it also features an immensely likable performance from Ryan Reynolds.

Sundance Review: Phony And Forgettable 'Infinitely Polar Bear' Starring Mark Ruffalo & Zoe Saldana

  • By James Rocchi
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  • January 19, 2014 5:56 PM
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  • 9 Comments
Infinitely Polar Bear
With its based-on-the-director’s-life pedigree and stars Mark Ruffalo and Zoe Saldana, "Infinitely Polar Bear"—horrible title aside—sounds like many Sundance films past and present: a family struggles with mental illness, trying to keep one person whole while also keeping—or failing to keep—the family together. And after writing such good-to-indifferent big Hollywood product like "The Rocker," "Monsters vs. Aliens" and "Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Dog Days," you can hardly fault writer-director Maya Forbes for trying to create something a little more substantive and a little less glib.

Sundance Review: ‘Young Ones’ Starring Michael Shannon, Nicholas Hoult, Elle Fanning & More

  • By Rodrigo Perez
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  • January 19, 2014 5:13 PM
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  • 0 Comments
The Young Ones
In the not so distant future, a catastrophic drought has ravaged the United States turning it into an arid dystopian wasteland. While citizens have migrated away from the most heavily affected and devastated areas, some of the more hard-bitten and prideful survivors have refused to leave their lands, clinging to barren plots and drying water wells in the hopes that rains will come again and replenish the parched landscape.

Sundance Review: Zach Braff's Kickstarter-Funded 'Wish I Was Here'

  • By Cory Everett
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  • January 19, 2014 2:21 PM
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  • 12 Comments
Wish I Was Here
In the ten years since its release, Zach Braff’s debut “Garden State” has gone from Sundance darling to sleeper hit to pop culture pariah. The film still has its fans but the opposition seems to have grown louder, as every stylistic tic and soundtrack-cue has become a subject of easy derision. Between that film’s cooling reputation and the outcry when Braff turned to Kickstarter to help with funding for his latest, the actor-turned-filmmaker has faced the kind of backlash normally reserved for actor-directors who steal their source material and apologize with skywriting. Which is a shame, because Braff seems like a good dude and, like him or not, you can’t argue that his sensibility hasn’t connected with a lot of people.

Sundance Review: Belle & Sebastian Frontman Stuart Murdoch's Musical ‘God Help The Girl’

  • By Rodrigo Perez
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  • January 19, 2014 2:11 PM
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  • 11 Comments
God Save The Girl
The apogee of cinema that experienced filmmakers have either struggled to make (Steven Soderbergh, Danny Boyle) or tripped over on their first and only attempt (Francis Ford Coppola, Martin Scorsese), the musical has long been a holy grail quest of ambitious filmmaking. Beguiling for its challenging nature and degree of difficulty to pull off, many have tried and many have failed to successfully climb this desired genre-peak. Due to its cultural currency plummeting over the years, finding the finances for such a project is rare, hence a confluence of reasons why audiences seldom see the musicals (Lars Von Trier and Baz Luhrmann come to mind as recent exceptions).

Sundance Review: ‘To Be Takei’ Is A Fun, Fizzy Look At The Noted ‘Star Trek’ Star And Humanitarian

  • By Drew Taylor
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  • January 19, 2014 1:52 PM
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  • 0 Comments
To Be Takei
Anyone who follows George Takei on Facebook, has tuned in to his frequent appearances on “The Howard Stern Show,” or marveled at one of his amazing Amazon reviews (seriously, look them up), knows that the former “Star Trek” actor lives life with an unprecedented amount of zippy good humor, especially for a man well into his seventies. And this isn’t even taking into account his tireless humanitarian efforts, mostly on the subject of gay rights. For a tiny, elderly, Japanese man, he’s also an unstoppable force of nature. In the new documentary “To Be Takei,” it becomes clear that Takei is a man who defies expectations and subverts stereotypes at virtually every turn. It’s just a shame the movie wasn’t as progressive as its subject.

Sundance Review: 'Appropriate Behavior' Is A Funny, Irreverent, & Unique Take On The New York Rom-Com

  • By Katie Walsh
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  • January 19, 2014 10:04 AM
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  • 0 Comments
Appropriate Behavior
The feature debut of Desiree Akhavan, “Appropriate Behavior,” opens with the writer/director/star casually carrying a strap-on dildo down a Brooklyn street. Therein lies both the irony that makes the title so humorous and the thesis statement of her film: Akhavan is going to take her sexuality and walk it down the street for all to see—but in a cool, funny, casual way, with a healthy dose of irreverent self-awareness. Akhavan stars as Shirin, a bisexual Brooklynite going through a devastating breakup with her girlfriend Maxine. She’s also underemployed and almost magnetically drawn to the ridiculous situations that make living in a big city both exciting and ludicrous. To top it off, Shirin has the added challenge of living up to the expectations of her very particular Iranian-American family.

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