Daily Buzz: 'Hesher,' starring Gordon-Levitt as a dangerous drifter, seemed like a hot prospect for a distribution deal, until people actually watched it on Friday and decided that its bleak drama, raunchy humor, and disjointed narrative would make it a tough sell. IndieWIRE screened it and sat in on the Q&A with the star and director Spencer Susser.
Rounding up the reaction to the opening night films, indieWIRE finds the response to 'HOWL,' starring James Franco as Beat poet Allen Ginsberg, generally muted, suggesting the the movie didn't live up to its source (Ginsberg's impassioned, landmark poem of the same title). Response was stronger for Afghan War documentary 'Restrepo,' with many viewers making comparisons to current Oscar front-runner 'The Hurt Locker.'
Talking potential distributon deals, indieWIRE's Anne Thompson says 'HOWL''s prospects are dim. Aussie musical 'Bran Neu Dae,' starring Geoffrey Rush, proved a crowd-pleaser, she writes. She also suggests that Paramount's pre-screening purchase of 'Waiting for Superman,' a documentary with an uncommercial topic (our failing public schools) is less about its box office prospects than about banking a favor with Microsoft guru Bill Gates, who appears in the movie and is attending the festival.
News: No more acquisition deals on Friday (though Radnor's 'happythankyoumoreplease' did earn a standing ovation), but still plenty going on, according to Cinematical's daily 'Sundance in 60 Seconds' digest. Friday's premieres included 'The Company Men' (the downsizing drama with an ensemble cast led by Affleck) and 'Get Low' (the Southern tall tale starring Duvall, Murray, and Spacek). Watch this space for reviews and buzz.
Interviews: IndieWIRE has interviews with 34 (count 'em!) directors of entries in this year's Sundance.
Reviews: John Lennon appears to be nowhere in 'Nowhere Boy.' Cinematical says the biopic of the teen Beatle-to-be offers little insight into how he became one of rock's greatest songwriters. Cinematical gives a much more glowing review to 'I'm Here,' a 35-minute Spike Jonze fantasy about a doomed robot romance. IndieWIRE's review of 'HOWL' echoes other criticisms that the movie is disjointed and emotionally opaque.
Trailers: Cinematical presents a trailer for 'Cyrus,' a comedy in which a budding romance between John C. Reilly and Marisa Tomei is complicated by her co-dependent adult son (Jonah Hill).
Courtesy of Collider, here are two clips of Philip Seymour Hoffman's directing debut, romantic comedy 'Jack Goes Boating,' featuring Hoffman, Amy Ryan, John Ortiz, and Daphne Rubin-Vega. (Video contains some NSFW language.)