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Bonus View Digest - April 12, 2013
Tags: The Bonus View, Bonus View Digest, Roger Ebert, Aaron Peck, Fun Stuff (all tags)
Have a hankering for some HD-related news, reviews, and other great stuff? See what transpired on The Bonus View in our weekly recap.
We're having another contest! We'd ask if you were tired of them, but we know as well as anyone, no one tires of getting free stuff. Last week we gave away a free copy of 'Les Miserables' (check out the results here), this week we're giving away a free copy of 'Wreck-it Ralph.' Trust me, your kids will love it. My son has watched it around 40 times already.
This week was a pretty slow week as far as Blu-ray releases were concerned. Check out our Blu-ray Highlights post to see a few of the gems that made this dismal release week worth it.
Bryan Kluger has seen the Jackie Robinson biopic opening this weekend entitled '42.' Is it something you've been looking forward to seeing? If so you'll want to read his review to see if it’s a worthy account of his life.
It was with very heavy hearts that we said goodbye to Roger Ebert last week. Aaron took a few moments to write down exactly what the famed critic meant to him. What did he mean to you? Use the comments to tell your favorite Ebert stories.
Finally, E's Trailer Park features a hodgepodge of new movies slated to hit theaters in the near future. Check out trailers for 'Elysium,' 'This is the End,' and the remake of 'Carrie.'
The summer TV season is heating up and we've got a ton of recaps this week following some of the most anticipated new shows as well as returning favorites. Check out our recaps of 'Game of Thrones,' 'Bates Motel,' 'Hannibal,' 'Community,' 'Dr. Who,' and 'Happy Endings.'
Last week on the Weekend Roundtable we discussed what movies would be inappropriate for 3D conversions. It was a fun conversation. Have a few suggestions? Head on over and tell us in the comments.
That's it for this week. Thanks for being our faithful readers. Next week we'll try to pack in even more exciting HD fun!
Bonus View Digest - April 5, 2013
Tags: The Bonus View, Bonus View Digest, Aaron Peck, Fun Stuff (all tags)
More contests? Are we crazy! Apparently so. This week is your chance to win a free copy of the newest version of 'Les Miserables.'
In case you missed the previous paragraph, let me reiterate: we're having a contest and you can win a free copy of Tom Hooper's 'Les Miserables.' The deadline is Friday, so enter now.
Last week's contest was for a free copy of 'The Borgias: Season 2.' Check out the results of that contest here.
In his Blu-ray Highlights column Josh covered a the sparse offerings this week. The biggest release was Fox's TV miniseries 'The Bible.'
In the Steelbook department, check out the mighty fine metal packaging that can be purchased for 'Django Unchained' and 'Inglourious Basterds.'
This weekend has some interesting releases. We have a review for the highly anticipated horror remake, 'Evil Dead,' along with a review of Danny Boyle's new flick 'Trance.' Check out Bryan's takes on both films and see if they're something you want to see this weekend.
Josh continues to revisit the literary world of Ian Fleming. Find out what he thought about Fleming's Bond novel "Live and Let Die."
Video Game News
Brian Hoss continues to mourn the loss of video game company LucasArts after Disney closed them down and laid off all their employees. In Episode II of his series on LucasArts, Brian takes a look at some of the best games the company produced, along with some games we'll likely never see.
'Game of Thrones' began its third season last week. Follow along as Josh continues recapping the wildly popular fantasy show. Another big television event happened last Sunday. 'The Walking Dead' concluded its third season with, what Aaron thought to be, an extremely anti-climactic finale. We also have recaps for 'Doctor Who' and 'Happy Endings' for your reading pleasure.
Last week in the Weekend Roundtable we wanted to know your thoughts on your favorite zombie movie. Take a few moments to think about it and then let us know. That's all we have for the first week in April. Have a safe and happy Springtime weekend.
Top 5 / Bottom 5: Jessica Chastain
Tags: Aaron Peck, Top 5/Bottom 5, Fun Stuff (all tags)
by Aaron Peck
In the past couple years, Jessica Chastain's star has risen to unbelievable Hollywood heights. She's one of the most sought after actresses right now, and for good reason. She's usually great in everything she's in. This is one of those Top 5 / Bottom 5s where we find ourselves throwing a few good performances in the bottom simply because she brings it in just about every movie she does.
Get this, since 2011, Chastain has made 11 movies. Eleven! How is that even possible? That's not even counting two more movies she has coming out – 'Oblivion' and 'Tar'. And it's not like she's cranking out stinkers either. Most of her roles are beautifully memorable. Okay, I'll admit it... I have a slight crush on her. With that said, let's see the highs and lows of Chastain's quickly built career.
(Note: As always the movies are listed alphabetically. There are no specific rankings attached.)
While Chastain does a great job in 'Coriolanus' the bulk of the movie is bolstered by fantastic performances by Ralph Fiennes and Vanessa Redgrave. This modern day adaption of William Shakespeare's play ends up being wonderfully bloody and extremely well-acted.
While I personally lamented the fact that Chastain wasn't sporting her trademark red hair, I still found 'Mama' to be a frightening surprise of a film. Many people were let down by the ending, but 'Mama' found a way to scare, entertain, and become a stylish horror movie all at the same time. It was certainly an early surprise of 2013.
Acting opposite Michael Shannon is a tough task for anyone, but Chastain holds her own, and then some, in Jeff Nichols' suspenseful tale of a man terrified about an apocalyptic storm that he's sure is headed their way. It's unsettling, it's intriguing, and beautifully shot. This is one of the finest films Chastain has been a part of.
Speaking of beautifully shot films, Terrance Malick's 'Tree of Life' is an extraordinary cinematic vision of the variety of life. Much of the film's heavy presence can be directly attributed to Malick's unconventional filmmaking. However, Chastain is at her best here. Playing the mother, she provides a shelter for her boys that are caught in the storm of their father's anger. At times she's almost an angelic presence. Man, I really loved this movie.
Her Oscar nomination was well-deserved for her role as CIA agent Maya. Chastain easily commands each and every scene she's in, even though most of the time she's sharing the same screen with some of Hollywood's most notable actors. She becomes a believable unstoppable force here, but is still able to tap into the raw human emotion that must have been present when her real-life counterpart was struggling to find bin Laden all those years.
I feel like I was one of the only people that detested 'The Help' and its sugar-coated way of explaining how some plucky spirit is what overcame America's deep-seated racial problems of the '60s. It felt like one of those movies that try to pry the tears from your ducts by any means necessary. Of course it got a bunch of Oscar nominations. Go figure.
Sadly, the most memorable part of 'Lawless,' besides Tom Hardy's "Hey, look, I'm totally still Bane," voice, is Jessica Chastain's topless scene. When she was mentioned in Seth MacFarlane's boob song at the Oscars I thought, "Oh yeah, she was topless in that movie. I'd forgotten that." Because all I could remember was how much time the movie spent following Shia LaBeouf around when there were so many more interesting characters and actors in the movie getting the shaft.
Honestly, for a kids movie, it wasn't too terrible. And Chastain did simply provide a voice for a side character. Yet, we had to put some of her movies in the Bottom 5, right?
Whenever we do these lists there's always got to be at least one, "Huh, I've never heard of that," movie included. Well, that movie is the low-budget thriller starring Jon Hamm. It currently sits at 0-percent on RottenTomatoes. There's not much more to say, other than seeing 'Stolen' is a waste of time.
The movie isn't without talent. Along with Chastain, Jason Clarke, Chloe Moretz, Jeffery Dean Morgan, and Sam Worthington star in this little-seen detective thriller about a sadistic serial killer. It had such promise, but felt like it wallowed too much in the tired police procedural that we've seen a thousand times over.
There's a reason that Jessica Chastain has become a hot commodity in Hollywood. She's continuing to crank out the movies at an unbelievable clip, and I for one hope she continues. How would you rank her films? Do we have it all wrong? Let us know but clicking on the link below and making your opinion known in our forums.
Bonus View Digest - February 15, 2012
Tags: Bonus View Digest, The Bonus View, Fun Stuff, Aaron Peck (all tags)
Where does the time go? February is half over and the weather is starting to get a little warmer. Let's not jump to conclusions though. Warmer is a relative term here. Most of us are probably better off inside, next to our portable heater, reading The Bonus View.
Since Sundance is officially over now, we can get back to the business of killing off monsters in order to find the supreme ruler of them all. Remember to vote! Below are the matchups we had this week:
In case you didn't know 'Skyfall' hit Blu-ray this week, let me refresh your memory. 'Skyfall' hit Blu-ray this week. There. If you find yourself in the "I Hate 'Skyfall' So Much I Want to Scream," club, then take a look at Josh's Blu-ray Highlights column this week to see if there are any other releases that tickle your fancy.
Into collector cases? Well, this week on Full Metal Jackets we cover the impending release of the Steelbook for the 25th anniversary release of 'Who Framed Roger Rabbit?' We also took some time to take a look at the killer new giftset Blu-ray release of 'The Walking Dead: Season 3.' Zombie heads in an aquarium anyone?
The biggest opening this week was for the newest 'Die Hard' movie, 'A Good Day to Die Hard.' Bryan liked it, but there are plenty on the "Hated it," side also. What side are you on?
We also have a review for a little-known film called 'Bless Me, Ultima' if you're interested in what might be opening in your local art house cinema.
The Weekend Roundtable last week was an extremely interesting topic. We discussed famous last movies from actors and directors. What are some film titles that come to mind when you think about that? The Mid-Week Poll appealed to people's varying degrees of OCD. In a Blu-ray Combo Pack, which side of the package do you like the Blu-ray to be? Vote now.
Thanks for joining us for another week of tremendous high-def hilarity. Here's to warmer weather and better movies!
Bonus View Digest - February 1, 2012
Tags: Bonus View Digest, The Bonus View, Aaron Peck, Fun Stuff (all tags)
January is over and February is here, but that doesn't mean it's any warmer! So bundle up in your blanket, get a warm cup of Joe, and join us for some exclusive Bonus View content, because, let's be honest, going outside is not an option.
Sundance Film Festival
Aaron is back from Utah's premiere film festival. Over the next week or so his reviews will continue to be published on the blog. This week we published reviews for Shane Carruth's anticipated 'Upstream Color'; Joseph Gordon-Levitt's directorial debut 'Don Jon's Addiction'; the controversial film 'Escape from Tomorrow' which was filmed entirely at Disneyland and Disney World without Disney's permission; the frightening 'Blue Caprice'; a documentary about the ills of America's illegal immigration issues in 'Who is Dayani Cristal? '; Jeremy Scahill's journey into uncovering U.S. military abuses of power in 'Dirty Wars'; the sexual adventures of a lesbian housewife conked in the head by a softball in 'Concussion'; and finally, Aaron's favorite movie of the festival, the unconscionably sad 'Fruitvale.' Keep an eye out in the coming days for more Sundance reviews.
There were some interesting releases this week, including a 25th Anniversary set of 'Die Hard,' the hilarious 'Seven Psychopaths,' and the overtly dramatic Downton Abbey: Season 3.' Want to know what else was released this week? Take a gander at Josh's weekly Blu-ray Highlights column to see if you missed anything that you wanted to buy.
Director Steven Soderbergh has announced that he's going to retire, again. Does he mean it for real this time?
For the theatrical releases hitting cinemas this weekend you can check out Bryan Kluger's thoughts. See his reviews for the zombie love story 'Warm Bodies' and Stallone's 'Bullet to the Head' to see if they're worth your time.
The big news of the week was that J.J. Abrams signed on to direct the next 'Star Wars' movie. What do you think of the decision? Let us know in the poll.
The only television recap we had this week was for the new serial killer thriller on Fox starring Kevin Bacon called 'The Following.' Josh reviewed the pilot episode to give you an idea of whether or not you should be watching this new show.
We already covered the Mid-Week Poll above with J.J. Abrams directing 'Star Wars'. For the Weekend Roundtable we wondered "How did this movie get made?" Movies that completely baffle us as to how they were successfully pitched to a studio. What are some of the films you'd list? Let us know in the comments.
That's it for this week at The Bonus View. Hopefully, you had a warm January. Don't worry, we'll all make it through February together.
Bonus View Digest - Jan. 25, 2013
Tags: The Bonus View, Bonus View Digest, Fun Stuff, Aaron Peck (all tags)
Whoa boy, this week has been a crazy one. Between Josh moving and Aaron being at Sundance, we've been stretched way too thin. Even so, the content has kept flowing. Come see what you might have missed this week on The Bonus View.
Sundance Film Festival
Make sure you catch up with Aaron's daily journals about the festival experience on the High-Def Digest home page. Over on The Bonus View you can find his individual reviews for each movie he sees. Check out reviews for 'Upstream Color,' 'Stoker,' 'Mud,' 'The Inevitable Defeat of Mister and Pete,' and 'The Spectacular Now.'
Keep an eye on the blog for the next week or two as we continue to post reviews from the festival!
Yikes! What a dismal week for new Blu-ray releases. However, if you're interested in a week where the most interesting release is a 20th anniversary edition of 'Cujo' then take a look at Josh's Blu-ray Highlights column.
Home Theater News
Did you know that Porsche is getting into the home theater market? In case you wanted to know what a 201-inch outdoor LED TV looks like, check it out. This thing is a marvel. Save your pennies!
In other news Josh's home theater renovations continue to move along at a brisk pace. Find out what the new theater looks like with sheetrock and an ingenious trick used to move the entry way.
Want to know what to see this weekend? Check in to see what Bryan has to say about all the latest releases.
This week's Weekend Roundtable was the most popular post of the week with 116 comments. With the Oscar nominations still fresh in everyone's minds we decided to take a slightly skewed view. We asked what are the worst movies made by 2013's Oscar nominees. Join in on the conversation!
That's it for this week. Coverage has been a little spotty here and there due to some hectic scheduling, but we're still working to bring you as much high-def content as our little fingers can type. Thanks for joining us for another week at The Bonus View.
Aaron's Sundance 2013 Journal: Day 5
Tags: Sundance Film Festival , Sundance 2013, Film Festivals, Fun Stuff, Aaron Peck (all tags)
by Aaron Peck
Up until now there hadn't been many stand-out movies for me. It's a good thing that Day 5's plans included two of the festival's most anticipated titles 'Stoker' and 'Upstream Color.'
'Stoker' gained steam fast before the festival opened, mostly because it was Korean director Park Chan-wook's first English language film. His film 'Oldboy' had its North American premiere at Sundance in 2005. The man is a master at creating visually stunning movies and people were extremely interested to see what he'd come up with. The trailers depicted a creepy, unsettling film, which was exactly what was delivered.
Before viewing 'Stoker' I stood outside in the cattle tent. Usually, it's easy to make conversation with people. You end up meeting some pretty fascinating film fans. Either they work in film or simply love it so much that they're willing to hop on a plane and come to frigid Utah for a week of movies and line waiting. I wasn't so lucky this time around though. A man and woman behind me in line were droning on about how terrible his ex-wife is. In front of me a girl from New Jersey was telling an older couple about her newly extracted wisdom teeth and candy addiction.
A few days earlier, in this same tent, a stampede took place. Hundreds of people were lined up to see the premiere of 'Kill Your Darlings' when there was a loud hiss and then several pops that sounded like gunfire. People fled the tent like someone had opened fire. Turned out it was a fire extinguisher malfunction. Exciting and frightening things can happen while you're waiting in line, just not very often.
'Stoker' as expected, turned out to be a visual feast. I was a little taken back by how similar it was to Hitchcock's 'Shadow of a Doubt.' Eerily similar in fact. A young girl is taken with her new mysterious uncle that has come to live with the family. His name is Uncle Charlie. He has those same sweetly devious looks and flies off the handle at a moment's notice. Oh, and whenever he's about to do something really evil, he whistles.
Apparently in the Q&A after the movie's premiere, which a few nights ago, he stated that he had no intention of having any Hitchcock references in the movie. The script was penned by Wentworth Miller ('Prison Break') and was finished before Chan-wook was attached to direct. Even then, he must have known that there were some Hithcockian references, because many of them are pretty blatant. (Pictured above left to right: Producer Michael Costigan, Nicole Kidman, Matthew Goode, Mia Wasikowska, Park Chan-wook, and his translator.)
That said, 'Stoker' is a chillingly evil tale about killers. A bloodier, creepier version of 'Shadow of a Doubt.' In the Q&A after the movie, a press member (who, incidentally, comments at every single Q&A he attends) asked him the ridiculous question, "So, how does it feel to have out Hitchcocked Hitchcock." Chan-wook's interpreter relayed the remarks to the director. Calmly he put the microphone to his mouth, said a few words, and then put it back down. His interpreter grabbed the mic and said, "He says that he doesn't think he measures up to The Master. Not even an inch."
Shane Carruth's 'Upstream Color' came next, in the same theater. Where to start? 'Upstream Color' is a magnificently bold and utterly confusing movie about worms, pigs, thieves, lovers, confusion, mind-control, and the life cycle. It's told 'Tree of Life' style. A movie constructed of a labyrinthine puzzle of images coupled with limited dialogue. There isn't one piece of standard exposition in the whole movie. You're left on your own to figure out what's happening, why worms can control people's brains, and why the same people are connected to swine surrogates. It's absolutely bizarre and at the same time breathtaking. I left the movie feeling simultaneously confused and euphoric.
Carruth's Q&A was just as cryptic as his film. He had a hard time giving straight answers about the meaning of the film. He kept referring to the film as a "construct" of the life cycle. Although, he didn't seem so sure of what he was saying.
Lastly, the audio in this movie is some of the most enveloping I've ever heard. When it eventually comes out on Blu-ray (it damn well better get a high-def release) it should contain some of the best demo-quality audio on the format. If it doesn't, I'll demand a refund.
The last movie of the day was 'Manhunt,' which is being billed as the real-life story of 'Zero Dark Thirty.' Suggestion: stay with 'ZDT.' A good documentary should be able to take a subject that is unknown or inherently uninteresting and make it interesting for the audience. 'Manhunt' takes a subject that's already loaded with interest – espionage, spying, and the hunt for bin Laden – and ends up making a boring, repetitive doc. How you can take this material and make it appear mundane is a mystery to me, but they've done it.
With the night closing in and the cold starting to once again seep through my layers of clothing I decided to call it a night.
Aaron's Sundance 2013 Journal: Day 4
Tags: Sundance 2013, Sundance Film Festival , Fun Stuff, Aaron Peck (all tags)
by Aaron Peck
I put my stomach troubles behind me on Day 4. I felt like a new man, but I couldn't help but think about poor pregnant Kristen Bell who was in the wrong place at the wrong time. Hopefully, today would go smoother than the last.
I started the day off at Starbucks. It's the only place near the bus stop where a hot drink can be purchased. It's the same Starbucks where just a few days ago, I spotted Montel Williams buying lattes for his small entourage. Not all celebrity encounters are created equal. They can't all be sightings of Daniel Radcliffe taking pictures with dozens of squealing teenage girls – most of which were taller than him. No, sometimes it's just a lowly talk show host/infomercial guru buying coffee.
After getting a drink I went back to wait at the bus stop. I checked my phone, the temperature, according to a handy app, was around -2 – degrees. It's weeks like this that are frustrating when going to a winter film festival. Years past Sundance has been blanketed in snow and cold weather, but this year is an anomaly. A huge snowstorm hit Utah right before the festival kicked off. Since then it's been nothing but sunny skies and warmer than usual weather. Except the mornings and evenings are still crackling with ice-cold air. This presents a dilemma. Do I wear thermals to counteract the cold? Or do I tough it out so I'm not sweating when the temp rises substantially throughout the day? I don't know why I always choose the first choice seeing that it's so cold in the mornings that the wind rips right through however many layers I've put on. Then the afternoon rolls around and I’m cooking to death inside my layered protection against the cold. It's a no-win situation.
The first movie of the day was Michael Winterbottom's ('The Killer Inside Me') 'The Look of Love,' which could quite possibly be the worst movie up here. Even with more naked flesh than anyone could care to quantify, 'The Look of Love,' a story about British pornographer Paul Raymond, is utterly boring in every respect. Steve Coogan tries to save it with a few Coogan-y facial expressions and line deliveries, but the movie is dead on arrival. So, I guess it makes sense that IFC picked it up.
After the movie's Q&A with Winterbottom and actress Tamsin Egerton (both pictured above), I made my way back to the theater where the press screenings take place. The tent is starting to reek of exhaustion and Clif Bars. Press and industry people are waddling down the lines in a daze. What was once enthusiasm for a brand new collection of films has turned into "Just another job," kind of vibe.
The movie I see next is called 'Concussion.' It's a movie about a lesbian housewife who is frustrated with her increasingly loveless partnership so she looks for lovin' from hookers on Craigslist. Then she moves on to higher class escorts. And finally she becomes an escort herself.
I was surprised at how much I liked 'Concussion.' It's erotic without being vulgar. TV mainstay Robin Weigert ('Sons of Anarchy') gives a terrific, sexy performance as Abby. These are the kind of movies that make Sundance worth it.
Outside it was becoming dusk. The air was getting colder again and would soon blast through my layers and chill me to the bone. That didn't matter though because I was excited that I'd finally been able to procure a ticket to see a public screening of 'The Spectacular Now.'
A bus ride later I was standing in line waiting to see my most anticipated movie of the festival. Josh Radnor clomped by in the theater lobby looking rather glum. I debated briefly asking for a photograph with him, mostly because my wife loves him, but my shyness prevailed yet again. At the head of the line was an older man – late sixties – who was greeted by the filmmakers when they came walking through the doors. They insisted he didn't have to stand in line, but he did all the same.
'The Spectacular Now' was everything I thought it was going to be. It was honest and candid. A beautifully real assessment of high school life and the real dangers of young alcoholism. The reason I was anticipating this movie so much was because I had read Tim Tharp's novel before the festival began. While I enjoyed the characters he'd created and the arcs that they go through, I was struck with the hankering suspicion that this was an old guy writing dialogue for teenagers.
Then the Q&A came and the same guy from the front of the line walked up with James Pondsolt, the director. Pondsolt introduced him as Tim Tharp (pictured above) and I nodded to myself. I knew it! Fortunately the script, which was penned by the team behind '(500) Days of Summer' ironed out the gimmicky dialogue from the book. They made it sound much more natural coming from the mouths of Shaliene Woodley and Miles Teller. Both great leads. It was the perfect way to end the night.
Aaron's Sundance 2013 Journal: Day 3
Tags: Sundance, Sundance 2013, Fun Stuff, Aaron Peck (all tags)
by Aaron Peck
You know what they say; you can only eat so much Burger King before your body launches a full scale revolt against you. What? They don't say that? Well, they should, because, boy is it true.
This isn't a journal entry for the weak stomached. This is a cautionary tale, like many of the films up here at Sundance. This is a what-not-to-do festival rundown. If you ever find yourself taking on the mammoth task of a film festival, please use this information wisely.
The day started off nicely enough. I hopped on a crowded morning bus heading into the city. I put my headphones on and listened to some local radio as we traveled into town. The drive is a nice one, particularly when you're sitting at your own window seat gazing out at the snow-covered mountains. When you're crunched between a large man and a woman who has no idea where she's going and has to ask the bus driver every stop if this is hers, then it's not as enjoyable.
I had an early start to the day, which is always nice. There's something about sitting down for a movie at 9:00 AM that makes me happy. I don't know why, because by all rationality I should be sleeping.
The first movie of the day was a documentary called 'Dirty Wars.' A startling tale about covert operations, innocent people being killed during night raids across the world, and the U.S. government agencies behind it. A reporter pieces the labyrinthine puzzle together and what comes out the other side is staggering.
My original plan hadn't included 'Virtually Heroes,' but since the first couple days were ruined by weak planning on my part and the scarcity of press tickets for screenings I wanted to get in to, I decided to hit up the Park City at Midnight entry. It would've been better as a 20 minute short. It's a low-budget live-action version of 'Wreck-It Ralph.' A couple of guys in a first-person shooter video game become self-aware. All the references are used up in the first few moments of the movie. Oh yeah, Mark Hamill makes an appearance. So there's that.
It was about this time that I felt the first tummy rumble. Like a harbinger of doom my innards gurgled and popped. "Uh oh," I thought. "This can't be good."
'Austenland,' the new movie from the 'Napoleon Dynamite' people was next. Standing in the press line waiting to get in I was wondering what my body was trying to tell me. Was I coming down with the dreaded Sundance Flu? Or was it my careless fast food eating the previous two days?
I had a hard time sitting through 'Austenland.' My stomach was speaking more than an elderly lady in a complicated sci-fi movie. This was getting bad, but I had a packed schedule I didn't want to let up.
'Austenland' was agreeable enough. It's the best movie the Hesses have made, but that's not saying a whole lot. I'm not a huge fan of their weirdo quirky humor. Although, Jennifer Coolidge needs to take it down a notch, or five. She's so far over the top in this movie that it caused quite a few of my colleagues to simply give up and walk out. Keri Russell plays a woman who is obsessed with Jane Austen and the time period that her books portray. So, she travels to a reenactment place in England when it's all Austen all the time.
After getting out of 'Austenland' I had only 30 minutes to make it to the premiere of 'The Lifeguard' starring Kristen Bell. I underestimated the time it would take to get from the theater I was at to the theater where 'The Lifeguard' was playing. Any other day, I would have jogged there. Not today though. Not with my stomach feeling like a Xenomorph could burst through my gut at any moment.
The road to the theater was packed with cars. It was a parking lot. There was no way I'd get there in time on a bus, so I started walking. Time seemed to be passing faster than it should've been. I switched to a brisk walk, and then a light jog. The cold air stung my lungs. Exhaust fumes from the stalled cars on the road choked me. My stomach gurgled in resistance.
I barely made it and was greeted with the worst seat in the house: very front row, far right. I craned my neck all the way to the left like I was watching a one-sided tennis match. The movie started. Beads of sweat started forming on my head. This wasn't going to be pretty. I ran to the bathroom. Relief! Or so I thought.
'The Lifeguard,' directed by Liz Garcia (pictured above) is about an older woman, played by Kristen Bell, who falls for an underage teenager after she moves back home because her life is in shambles (FYI: A shamble-y life is a Sundance staple). It's a completely ridiculous movie that is made all the more unwatchable by the sheer number of implausible and uninteresting subplots they try to shoehorn in.
My stomach was feeling alright now, so I stayed for the Q&A session. Kristen Bell was there looking very pregnant. I took a few pictures and the session ended. Mrs. Bell came walking back over to my side of the room. I got up, put on my jacket, picked up my bag and started to walk out. The sudden change in position shifted something deep inside my bowels. "Uh oh," I thought. I half-turned my head to see pregnant Kristen Bell directly behind me. I couldn't hold it in.
Kristen, if you're reading this, I'm sorry for crop dusting you.
Aaron's Sundance 2013 Journal: Day 2
Tags: Sundance, Sundance 2013, Aaron Peck, Film Festivals, Fun Stuff (all tags)
by Aaron Peck
Today was the day I realized the schedule I had previously mapped out, simply wasn't going to work at all. I'd put too much faith in the memory of public screening tickets being easier to procure in earlier years. This year, press tickets for public showings have become a competitive race to see who can get to the press office first. Most movie bloggers are horribly out of shape, so this makes for a very awkward race indeed.
Yesterday I'd been shut out of 'The Spectacular Now' premiere, which caused my meticulously planned schedule to crumble like a house of cards. Now I was left scanning the schedule to see what tickets I could request instead. Premieres were being snapped up fast. So I decided to get a ticket to see Joseph Gordon-Levitt's directorial debut premiere of 'Don Jon's Addiction.' Thankfully, I got into that screening even though there was a long line for requests.
With my schedule somewhat set for the rest of the day, I tried to relax. This year I've been trying not to rush around so much. Last year I pushed myself as hard as I possibly could and became exhausted. This year, even though I wanted to see a lot of films, I really didn't want to push myself to point of exhaustion. This is a promise that sounds good, but ultimately is impossible. So many films to see, so little time.
To make matters worse, the organizers and Park City health services are scared of an influenza outbreak. Think about it. The nation is seeing one of the worst flu seasons ever and now all those flu strains are gathering in one small town in the mountains. It's a recipe for disaster. Someone even took it upon themselves to create a comedic Twitter account called @SundanceFlu to remind people that influenza is lurking everywhere. Ready to strike.
The first screening of the day was for 'The Inevitable Defeat of Mister and Pete.' The press tent was full of the all too familiar cattle guard gates where they herd everyone in, line them up, and then keep them confined until it's time to fill the theater. I immediately noticed the sea of coffee and Red Bull. People were already gearing up for what was going to be a strenuous week of watching and writing.
'Mister and Pete' ended up being a decent little story about two kids in the ghetto that are forced to live on their own for an entire summer. The performances are astounding and genuine. Even though the movie runs through some standard conventions, it still pulled at a few of my heartstrings.
The second movie I saw was 'Mud.' Another movie about two kids, with a couple more surprising performances by child actors. 'Mud', starring Matthew McConaughey, already premiered in Cannes to rave reviews. That buzz is well-founded. Jeff Nichols, who directed the fantastic 'Take Shelter,' puts together another wonderfully constructed movie filled with rich characters.
The last screening of the day was the premiere of 'Don Jon's Addiction.' There's no way that Joseph Gordon-Levitt's original cut of this movie will get an R rating. As it stands, I would bet anything that it'll get an NC-17. The movie is about a Guido from New Jersey who has an addiction to porn. Gordon-Levitt has decided to cut in real porn clips that show everything except for penetration.
Sundance likes risqué, but the MPAA will most certainly tell him to cut out a lot of the clips he included. The movie itself has too much of a tonal problem going on. It tries to be both hard and unforgiving – like 'Shame,' – and then sweet and loving – like '(500) Days of Summer.' The Q&A was fantastic though. Almost the entire cast was there. Scarlett Johansson and Brie Larson were missing.
Despite the scheduling snafus of the first day, the second day turned out to be a decent one. Day three, however, would prove to be one of the worst festival-going days I'd ever had...
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