Daily Buzz: Stewart and Fanning attended Sunday's premiere of 'The Runaways' alongside the real-life women they play in the rock biopic, Joan Jett and Cherie Currie. Crowd response was reportedly positive, though the film doesn't have to worry about courting studios; it already has distribution and will be released March 19.
Other star-driven films at the festival, however, may not be so lucky. The Hollywood Reporter and the Los Angeles Times both claim that buyers are less impressed by such A-list-cast films as 'Welcome to the Rileys' (also starring Stewart), 'HOWL,' 'The Company Men,' and 'Hesher' than by such no-name-cast features and documentaries as 'Douchebag,' 'Catfish,' and 'Restrepo.' But Deadline Hollywood's Mike Fleming disagrees, saying he expects the fest's biggest payday to go to 'Company Men,' the downsizing drama that stars Ben Affleck, Kevin Costner, Chris Cooper, and Tommy Lee Jones. Fleming also says deals should come soon for 'Catfish,' 'happythankyoumoreplease,' 'Animal Kingdom,' and 'Blue Valentine.'
IndieWIRE attended Sunday's annual Producers' Lunch, where they found the assembled indie producers trying to put a brave face on the challenges of the rapidly changing indie marketplace.
The Wrap says deal buzz is strong for 'The Tillman Story,' the documentary about Pat Tillman, the NFL pro who gave up his career to fight in Afghanistan, only to have his death by friendly fire covered up by the military.
The Hollywood Reporter is fascinated by the Sundance short 'Logorama,' a violent action spoof whose characters are all familiar corporate mascots. Why haven't the filmmakers faced massive lawsuits, the Reporter wonders, and what will happen if the movie ends up on Oscar's shortlist?
News: Sundance's first big deal for a fiction feature this year did go to a star-driven film. 'Buried' is a vehicle for Ryan Reynolds; in fact, it's pretty much a one-man show for the actor, who plays a contractor in Iraq who finds himself taken hostage and trapped in a coffin. According to the Los Angeles Times, Lionsgate spent $3.2 million on the minimalist chiller. Apparently, the studio sees the low-budget creepfest as another potential 'Paranormal Activity' or 'Saw' (a previous prudent Lionsgate purchase from Sundance). 'Buried' could be in theaters by late spring.
Another, smaller deal: Adrian Grenier's 'Teenage Paparazzo,' a documentary that examines our obsession with celebrity through the lens of his own 'Entourage'-bred fame, sold international rights to T&C Pictures International, as reported in Cinematical's daily digest, "Sundance in 60 Seconds."
Interviews: The Wrap finds video footage of Stewart and Fanning at the post-'Runaways' screening Q&A.
'The Company Men''s Ben Affleck and Rosemarie DeWitt talk swag with MTV.
IndieWIRE has video of the post-'Cyrus'-screening Q&A with stars John C. Reilly, Marisa Tomei, and Jonah Hill (the clips contain some NSFW language), as well as a written interview with the film's creators, the Duplass brothers. The site also has a video Q&A with 'HOWL' star James Franco (clip contains some NSFW language) and a 10-minute flip-cam chat with Joseph Gordon-Levitt, who's at Sundance to promote both his starring role in 'Hesher' and his producing role in an open-source indie-filmmaking project called hitRECord.org. Cinematical has more on that project here.
Reviews: Cinematical liked 'The Runaways'; The Wrap, not so much. Cinematical also has positive reviews of 'Catfish' (the much buzzed-about social-media/romance documentary) and 'Enter the Void' (the latest formal and sexual provocation from 'Irreversible' director Gaspar Noé). And Cinematical liked 'Waiting for Superman,' the documentary about America's failing public schools that was the festival's first big purchase. Also weighing in on 'Superman' is Roger Ebert, who gives it a thumbs up, along with another Sundance documentary about poor schools (this time, in Kenya), 'A Small Act.'
'Buried' lives up to the hype, according to FirstShowing.net, but Film Drunk calls it "faux-artsy torture porn."
Empire Online liked pulpy noir 'The Killer Inside Me,' even though its reviewer was also shocked by the film's scenes of graphic violence against women - especially since those women are big stars (Kate Hudson and Jessica Alba).
The Hollywood Reporter liked the performances of Stewart, James Gandolfini, and Melissa Leo in 'Welcome to the Rileys' but found the film overall to be trite and clichéd.
One movie everyone seems to like is 'Four Lions,' a daring comedy about four would-be radical-Islamist terrorists. It gets strong reviews from indieWIRE, Empire, and IFC's Independent Eye blog.
Trailers: Here's the teaser trailer for 'Buried':
And here's the trailer for 'A Small Act,' which isn't just about Kenyan schools, but is also about how one person can make a difference. The film's subject, Chris Mburu, was the beneficiary of a Swedish samaritan who supported him through one of those sponsor-a-third-world-child-for-a-few-dollars-a-month programs. He grew up to become a Harvard Law School graduate and a UN humanitarian activist, and he's now trying to pay it forward by raising money for the education of Kenyan children.