The Sundance Film Festival
The annual indie-filmapalooza in Park City, Utah, is a movie lover’s chance to discover fresh visions and talent – and watch as Hollywood stars venture (and often succeed) outside their comfort zones. Some highlights:
KRISTEN STEWART GOES TO GITMO
In Camp X-Ray, Twilight’s goth kitty goes gritty (to mostly positive reviews) as an untested guard bonding – sort of – with an inmate at the U.S. military prison at Guantánamo Bay.
KEIRA KIDS AROUND
So often the image of exquisite containment, Keira Knightley throws herself into comedy chaos for crowd-pleaser Laggies: She’s a hot mess of a 28-year-old who runs away from her life and hangs out with a 16-year-old (Chloë Grace Moretz).
FASTER, PUSSYCAT, KILL, KILL!
Ryan Reynolds, who made a splash at Sundance in 2010’s Buried, this time makes a blood spatter: In the horror-comedy The Voices, he’s a serial killer egged on by his cat. His dog is nicer.
ABOUT A BOY, AND BEYOND
There were raves for Boyhood, more than a decade in the making: Richard Linklater (Before Midnight) directed star Ellar Coltrane from ages 7 to 18 in a story scripted to mirror the actor’s evolving life. Ethan Hawke and Patricia Arquette play his parents.
ANNE HATHAWAY‘S FOLK PHASE
An actress with a lovely gift for wearing her heart on her sleeve and maybe even her sleeve on her heart, she falls for a folksinger (Johnny Flynn) in Song One. Ah, sweet harmony!
Both the jury and audience prizes went to this stinging drama about a young drummer (Divergent’s Miles Teller) and his relentless instructor (J.K. Simmons).
Aaron Eckhart, Yvonne Strahovski |PG-13|
Okay, fine, you’re Frankenstein. No one else wants to be. Aaron Eckhart is the famous reanimated monster in this terrible action-driven fantasy. Frankie, having survived into modern times, is stuck in a war between demons (led by Bill Nighy in corporate attire) and heaven-guided gargoyles. Eckhart has zero percent body fat and, given the demands of the role, the same expressive range. The one scene I enjoyed involved a laboratory Frankenrodent.
THE GREAT BEAUTY
Toni Servillo |Unrated |
Up for an Oscar for Best Foreign Language film, this Italian movie is a languid, sensuous tour of Rome at its chicest. It’s a simple morality tale – maybe too simple – about a society journalist (Servillo) weary of parties, performance art and Botox. The cinematography, which gives every image a luminous magic, does the real work: TripAdvisor for the soul.