Sundance Film Festival Wrap-Up – Day 1

Film Reviews:

  • The first and only film to premiere so far is Rob Epstein and Jeffrey Freidman’s Howl, based on Allan Ginsberg’s infamous poem. Jeffery Wells of Hollywood Elsewhere says its a great start to the festival:

It’s brisk, condensed, in some ways florid, engaging, intellectually alert and stimulating. You know what this thing is? It’s a gay Richard Linklater movie, only deeper and more trippy. It’s an half-animated exploration thing that contains scenes of actors reading and “being,” but in no way is this a movie that plays like a movie. It’s something else, and that’s a good thing for me.

  • Kevin Kelly at Cinematical feels quite different about Howl and predicts that it is not going to be one of the hits of the festival.

Howl wants to be three different movies: a dramatization of the court case deciding whether the publication of the poem was obscene or not, reenacted interviews with Ginsberg reflecting on Howl and the trial, and animated segments meant to picture the poem itself. The trouble is that none of them work on their own, and when you mash them together, you just end up with the three cooks who spoiled the soup. Three things that don’t work on their own add up to one big thing that becomes triply unengaging.

  • Tim Grierson of Screen Daily takes a more neutral stance on the film, acknowledging its flaws, but still calling it “thought-provoking”.

More coverage after the jump…

Sundance News:

  • Nikke Finke of Deadline Hollywood reports that Paramount gets bragging rights for the first acquisition of the festival. They have picked up Davis Guggenheim’s documentary about the public education crisis entitled Waiting for Superman. Expect it to land a summer release date.
  • indieWIRE has the story that three Sundance films will be available to watch online before they are screened at the festival.

Other Sundance Reads:

  • E! Online lists the 25 films that they are most anticipating at the festival this year.
  • Alex Billington of First Showing has a nice write-up of his first day at the Festival. I’m always amused at how people from warm climates get fascinated by the snow every year at Sundance.

Pictures and Video:

  • First Showing has the trailer premiere of the Duplass Brothers’ comedy Cyrus starring John C. Reilly, Marisa Tomei, and Jonah Hill.
  • CHUD has a pretty random, but hilarious clip from the Sundance selection Bass Ackwards directed by Linas Phillips. (Unable to embed. Click here to view.)
  • Killer Film has a series of images from highly anticipated Sundance selection The Runaways.

Stay tuned for more daily updates from Sundance throughout the week!

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