This has been a pretty big day for Sundance, including Twitter fights, the first big distribution deal and so much buzz it's as if Devin Ratray finally received the spin-off movie he deserves (Home Alone fans out there, say yeah!). Let's get right into it:
Celebrity sightings: Obviously Kristen Stewart is still the big paparazzi draw of Sundance 2010. Entertainment Weekly has some photos of the actress with the rocker she portrays, Joan Jett. Other hot babes being sighted include My Blue Valentine star Jessica Alba in a fur jacket (via Celebrity-Gossip), Katie Holmes, who is in town to promote two films, Jared Leto (whose head Kevin Kelly got a picture of) and Bill Gates, who attended a screening for and applauded the HBO doc A Small Act. Less popular are regular Sundance-goer Paris Hilton and questionable attendee Jon Gosselin. Real indie film fans have also been crazy for sightings of Ronald Bronstein and the Safdie brothers.
Our coverage: Our team in Park City posted a number of reviews late last night and today. Here are some quotes from these posts:
Erik Davis calls the Facebook romance documentary Catfish, "one of the most fascinating stories you'll watch all year ... Revealing, profound and surprisingly therapeutic, Catfish is a must-see for the Friend-Me-Now generation, as well as a striking portrait of a modern-day online relationship from beginning to ..."
Scott Weinberg writes of Armless: "It takes a little while to warm up, but that's not a problem because Armless is packed with great performances ... hats off to director Habib Azar and screenwriter Kyle Jarrow for setting up an outlandish premise (sad man wants his arms taken off) and delivering a fascinating little handful of thoughts, themes, and ideas that might actually make one feel better about THEIR own 'creepy little secrets.'"
More reviews and additional buzz after the jump:
As for Davis Guggenheim's new documentary, Waiting for Superman, he says it's "full of refreshingly honest insights and some powerfully upsetting statistics, the film seems angry and critical, but never hopeless. We'd like to think that every kid in America has his own fair shot at a strong education ... but we know they don't. Not really. Movies like Waiting for Superman would like to change that."
Eric D. Snider gives praise to Frozen director Adam Green for having "some excellent ideas about how to torment his characters. What can he do with three people stuck on a ski lift? You'd be surprised. Think about the possible means of escape. Then think about what could go wrong. Then think about it for a hundred years and I bet you don't come up with the details Green does."
Eric also saw Gasper Noe's Enter the Void, for which he wrote, "Like David Fincher, Noé loves to make the camera do impossible things and access impossible locations, and it's not just to show off ... it's a powerfully bizarre movie, a psychedelic trip that must be experienced -- not just seen and heard but experienced -- to be believed."
Kevin Kelly writes about The Runaways, noting that the film belongs to neither Kristen Stewart nor Dakota Fanning: "Although he's not given as much screen time as Fanning and Stewart, Michael Shannon takes this movie, straps it to his back, and walks away with it completely. He plays their over the top manager Kim Fowley, and he looks like Frankenstein meets David Bowie. He chews up scenery left and right and steals every moment he's onscreen, even when he has no lines."
Meanwhile, he calls Tucker & Dale vs. Evil "awesome," further stating that, "it worked. In fact it worked so well that they could trim a few scenes, as it felt slightly too long. However, the comedy team-up of Alan Tudyk and Tyler Labine really sold this film. Director Eli Craig needs to be handed an award for putting these two in a movie together as best friends who just happen to seem like extras from Deliverance ... Tudyk and Labine work so well together in this that I hope there's a sequel, even though this hasn't been picked up yet. Cross your fingers to bring it to a theater near you."
Other coverage from our team's Twitter feeds:
@erikdavis: "Unfortunately, Sympathy for Delicious couldn't heal its hokey script. Shot well, but that's about it"
@ericdsnider: "Misunderstood HOWL; thought it was HOWELL, about Thurston. Turned out to be OK, though."
@scotteweinberg: "Hoe. Lee. S***. FOUR LIONS. Ballsy. Hilarious. Dark. Brilliant."
Deals: The first relatively big purchase of a movie that'll end up in multiplexes is for Ryan Reynolds' solo film Buried, which Lionsgate bought for a reported $3.2 million. Meanwhile, Adrian Grenier's doc Teenage Paparazzo sold international rights to T&C Pictures International. In a lesser deal, IFC is said to be picking up rights to air Spike Jonze's short film I'm Here on their cable network. Anne Thompson believes other buys are nearing for Catfish, Howl, Winter's Bone, Tucker & Dale vs. Evil and happythankyoumoreplease. Nikki Finke thinks the highest price will be paid for The Company Men, while distributors are hot for Happy, My Blue Valentine and Animal Kingdom.
indieWIRE Love: Peter Knegt shares video clips of the Q&A for Cyrus, with John C. Reilly, Jonah Hill, Marisa Tomei and directors Jay and Mark Duplass.
Knegt also praises the film: "The brothers did not disappoint with 'Cyrus.' The bizarrely hilarious, largely improvised dark comedy follows John (Reilly), a down-on-his luck film editor whose life takes a significant and strange turn when he becomes romantically involved with Molly (Tomei), a woman with an unusually close bond with her 21-year old son Cyrus (Hill). Their antics had the audience in hysterics, and the film received a very warm round of applause as the Duplasses and their cast took the stage (the film also has some great early scores on criticWIRE)."
"Independent producing is not a job you can interview for, nor does anyone really give us a road map. " said My Blue Valentine producer Lynette Howell delivering her keynote address at Sunday's Producers Brunch. "But what we all have in this room is an entrepreneurial spirit that you cannot teach. And I know most of the producers in the room have it, because despite all the challenges out there, you figured out how to get your movie made and now it is at Sundance.
Tweets, Blogs and Treats: Ben Affleck tells MTV News that he's basically at the fest just knocking on doors "looking for some free s---."
John Lichman of Current_Movies apparently gave away the ending of popular midnight selection Splice, raising the usual argument about spoilers, on Twitter. Here are his unapologetic words on his blog: "I started a twitter war when I revealed the big secret ending to Splice. Therefore the world's ending and I'm now "hip and cool." Or something." Kevin Coll at Fused Film, meanwhile, follows an entirely different -- more positive -- Twitter conversation about Splice, here.
3-D is such a big deal right now, it's invaded Sundance. Here's a bit about the 3-D doc Cane Toads. Hewlett-Packard's Phil McKinney has some quick words on the workshop he chaired. And Banksy is apparently getting in on the trend, too.
Buzz-feeding: Adam Best at FlickSided.com has listed the "Seven Movies That Are Burning Up Sundance."
Highest praise seen yet for any film, I think, comes from Damon Wise at Empire: "Four Lions will prove to be one of the most original, provocative and enduring comedies of the early 21st century. I'll admit now that I haven't always been a diehard Morris fan ... the closest equivalent I can think of is a classic Ealing movie, something like Kind Hearts And Coronets, or, to a lesser extent, The Ladykillers."
FilmDrunk's Vince Mancini, a blogger without credentials, stumbles upon a Sundance surprise: "Winter's Bone was sort of everything good about film festivals in a nutshell ... I went into second-choice Winter's Bone completely cold, seeing a movie I'd never heard of without movie stars or a provocative premise. And you know what? It kicked my ass."
Make sure you check out Joseph Gordon-Levitt's open-source film project hitRECord.org, which he's promoting at the festival. Kevin Kelly writes here at Cinematical of the effort: "it's an interesting collaboration between artists, where anyone can be the filmmaker, the composer, the effects artist, or ... pretty much anything you want to be. And by artists, we mean you."
Celebrity sighting Tweet of the day comes from Katey Rich of Cinema Blend: "Almost got in line with Jesse Eisenberg, until he was swept off to a special line and I went to the one "just for the peasants." democracy!"
Runner up comes from Vince Mancini of FilmDrunk: "Just bumped into Danny Trejo on the street. Wanted to say something but I was too intimidated. I froze. *cuts self for being a pussy*"
Okay, one more, from a disappointed Evelyn McDonnell: "Besides Joan Jett show, celebrity sightings at #sundance lame so far: Ben Affleck and Paris Hilton on Main St yesterday."
Best "overheard at Sundance" quote of the day, via Karina Longworth of LA Weekly, on line for The Tillman Story: "Even better, British guy on cellphone: 'Im waiting to see another miserable portrait of American imperialism.'"
Best relay of another critic's film experience is from Vadim Rizov of IFC's Indie Eye: "Update: Jeffrey Wells walked out of JACK GOES BOATING because P.S. Hoffman was too fat. 'I wasn't going to watch Hoffman in bathing trunks.'
Non-attendee curiosity of the day comes from our own William Goss: "Why couldn't they combine Armless and Buried, so that Ryan Reynolds loses his arms and THEN gets trapped in a coffin?"