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JoBlo.com/Sundance #3

01.24.2005

by Scott Weinberg

Read Sundance Intro / Day 1 / Day 2

Since I spent just about ALL of Saturday watching flicks, let's just sklip over the "I ate at Burger King!" material and cut right to the chase. Tomorrow afternoon I'll be spending several hours at an NFC Championship Party, so I wanted to wedge as many movies in as possible. (Go Eagles!!)

REEFER MADNESS

REEFER MADNESS is an outlandishly silly (and intermittently quite funny) spoof of the infamous anti-marijuana propaganda flick from 1938. Based on the extremely popular stage play, this musical farce features solid work from the likes of Ana Gasteyer, Alan Cumming, Neve Campbell and the mega-lovely Kristen Bell. Personally, I thought the flick ran on way too long (and it offers as many duds as it does quality larfs) but it's still an exceedingly colorful and endearingly kooky little musical. Expect Reefer Madness to premiere on the Showtime channel later this year.

THE MATADOR

THE MATADOR is one of the festival's most pleasant surprises thus far. It stars Pierce Brosnan (who is drop-dead hilariously brilliant here) as a burnt-out assassin and Greg Kinnear as a nice-guy businessman who finds himself pals with the gleefully profane hitman. Hope Davis delivers a great supporting turn, the flick is directed with big doses of colorful zing, and the screenplay delivers surprises that don't feel tacked on or stupid. It's consistently funny, lovely to look at...and it even gets bizarrely sweet when all's said and done. Good stuff!

PRETTY PERSUASION

PRETTY PERSUASION is easily one of the most raunchy, vulgar and acerbic indictments of American teenagers that I've ever seen. Equal parts HEATHERS, ELECTION, WILD THINGS, yet it still has its own fresh ideas and targets. The cast is an absolute dream, with James Woods and Ron Livingston offering some of their best work in years. And the ladies in the cast are even better! Evan Rachel Wood is absolutely flawless as a young lovely with a heart of ice, while gals like Selma Blair and Jane Krakowski do bang-up supporting work. I cannot imagine that this version of the film could escape without an NC-17 rating, as it ranks among the most overwhelmingly profane I've seen in years. But the movie's not all about shock value and hot young girls. It's as savage a commentary on American High School that I've ever seen. Plus it's really just drop-dead funny. Let's hope some brave distributor gives it a shot!

MALL COP
( www.mallcopmovie.com )

One of Slamdance's stranger offerings is a kooky little romantic comedy-drama entitled MALL COP. It's about an unassuming mall security guard who, after chasing a thief through the mall, has his arm chopped off by a shattered window! It's an affably odd little character study, and one that features a solid handful of oddball characters. Lead actor Derek Cecil creates a quiet sadsack you can't help but root for, and the adorable Kathleen Robertson does some excellent work as well. This one might not be the best that Slam has to offer this year, but it's definitely worthy of a look.

-- I've seen a handful of other titles (with many more on the docket) but I'll save them for the next report. Today's football game takes the place of, say, three screenings...and I want to make sure I've got groovy reports all week! See ya tomorrow!!

Source: JoBlo.com

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