Surviving Sundance 2012: Day Four Recap


So, halfway into the day I sat next to this guy pounding the desk screaming “f*ck”, while a mean old lady screamed on the phone at her assistant (“Grow the f*ck up!”) These journalists are pretty serious, here. Way more intense than Red Lights, which — GUESS WHAT!?!? — I saw and reviewed today.

Read about it and other films I saw after the jump.


The First Time
Director: Jon Kasdan

While The First Time stays true to its title, it is a success because of the dialogues that take place beyond the bedroom. This isn’t a quirky film. This isn’t a sex-obsessed film. What it is, is a film by a guy who wrote episodes for both Dawson’s Creek and Freaks & Geeks and, boy, does it show. I mean that in a good way. A really, really good way. — 83, Great [Read the full review]

Red Lights
Director: Rodrigo Cortés

At its core, Red Lights is a film about discovering identity through understanding of our reality. It’s also about the models we use to define our reality can only ever be man-made and not absolute truth. It’s in these themes that the film gives the viewer something to chew on, while setting a unique, haunting mood that often recalls the X-Files (which the opening credits pay homage to). — 80, Great [Read the full review]

Lay the Favorite
Director: Stephen Frears

I kind of forgot what subpar early ’90s comedies were like, but then I saw Lay the Favorite. From the cheesy soundtrack (oh god, those keyboards!) to the weirdly cartoonish characters, this is a film that feels like it came from another time. It’s kind of charming in a way, but that charm doesn’t last long. This story of a stripper becoming a bookie’s assistant hits its peek early and becomes an absolute dud by its end. Stephen Frears’ (The Queen, High Fidelity) places his camera in awkward places and the editing lacks the energy that the script and actors bring to the film. Bruce Willis makes the film bearable, which is why I lost complete interest when he was off screen. — 41, Subpar

Shut Up and Play the Hits
Directors: Will Lovelace, Dylan Southern

Shut Up and Play the Hits gives me what all great live concerts give me: a re-sparked interest to rediscover to an artist’s catalog.  I’m disappointed this is more of a concert film than a biographical film, since Murphy is such a well-spoken, fascinating person. The Q&A after the film only reconfirmed that I can listen to this guy talk for an hour. But, Murphy isn’t a talker. He prefers to just shut up and play the hits and that’s perfectly fine. — 70, Good [Read the full review]