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Sundance FF: Day 1

01.17.2004

I (JoBlo) wasn't able to get my ass up to Park City this freezing winter, but was lucky enough to receive an offer for coverage from friend of the site, Scott Weinberg, who will let us all know what the shit's going on up there...beam us up, my good man! More festival info here!

DAY 1:

The first day of any film festival is invariably dedicated to the laws of organization. You have badges to acquire, festival people to meet, schedules to iron out, beers to drink, and pretty girls to smile at. And all of these things are doubled for the Sundance Film Festival. While waiting for my credentials finalized (always a nerve-wracking activity), I saw Melvin and Mario Van Peebles arriving, and I’m pretty sure I saw the curvaceous form that could only belong to Ms. Jennifer Tilly. Stargazing is one of the more prevalent activities out here, perhaps even more prevalent than the actual watching of movies. But not for me. Celebrities in real life are boring; I’m here to see the flicks, and here’s what I was able to catch so far:

THE CORPORATION

A brilliant, fascinating and altogether addicting documentary about how corporate business has all but taken over the world…and not for the better. The poster for the film (which has been released in Canada and will hit the U.S. sometime this year) calls it “the next BOWLING FOR COLUMBINE”…only it’s even better than that.

THE BUTTERFLY EFFECT

Some people like to cry "foul" when a film festival grabs a soon-to-be-released studio movie for their line-up, but that’s just retarded. Any good fest will mix the tiny movies in with a few “Can’t Miss” titles. Film festivals are all about variety, and that’s absolutely the case with Sundance. New Line delivers this one to the multiplexes on the 23rd of this month, and guess what? It’s actually pretty damn good! Ashton Kutcher takes a long-overdue leap into the art of acting, and the movie is a rock-solid little Twilight Zone-y sorta mindbender. Good stuff.

ZATOICHI

Takeshi Kitano’s remake of the highly-adored Japanese tale boasts a few truly astounding action sequences…as well as a bunch of unnecessary subplots, some sincerely awful moments of strained comic relief, and an overabundance of amazingly fake-looking CGI bloodletting. Miramax already has this one penciled in for a June 4th release date, but if their treatment of both SHAOLIN SOCCER and HERO are any indication, I wouldn’t bet on anything at this point.

REDEMPTION

Jamie Foxx plays Stan “Tookie” Williams in this biopic scheduled for an April broadcast on the FX channel. Tookie was a street thug, the creator of the Crips gang in L.A., a longtime prison resident, and a two-time Nobel Prize nominee. Foxx does a great job with the role, but the flick seems a whole lot like “Hurricane Jr.” and the direction by Vondie (“Glitter”) Curtis-Hall is heavy on the dramatic flashbacks and ‘redemption’ cliches.

EASY

The painfully adorable Marguerite Moreau stars as a rather…easy…young woman who changes lovers like JoBlo changes his boxers, and the result is a rather glum romantic dramedy about how everyone in the world finds love and sex…except for our somewhat loose-moraled heroine. The characters switch partners so often that the few ‘surprises’ seem telegraphed from a million miles away…but man oh man, is that Marguerite a cutie-patooty.

Slim pickin’s so far folks, but looking over the Sundance schedule I see a LOT of potentially cool movies on the horizon. Stay Tuned!

---Sundancin’ Scott  

Tags: Hollywood

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