A Closer Look at Sundance: PART ONE

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Another year, another Sundance. They lost my invite in the mail again so I’m forced to peruse the movie capsules looking for the good stuff. I’m trying to avoid the obvious picks you’ve seen everywhere else because you know we’re all about innovation here. Relax and enjoy part one, part two coming at ya soon!

AMERICAN BLACKOUT

I’m a little worried about the politics behind this particular film but I’m facinated by the subject matter. Here’s the official word:

Ian Inaba’s American Blackout is a stylish, intelligent, and provocative documentary that looks at the historic and systematic disenfranchisement of the black vote through the lens of the political career of Congresswoman Cynthia McKinney (D-Georgia).

If American Blackout can stay balanced this could be a very intriguing piece of film… of course balance is damn near impossible with politics but I’m willing to give it the benefit of the doubt right now.

AN UNREASONABLE MAN

It’s another political one but of a much different cloth. It’s all about your boy Ralph Nader, a political hotbutton if ever there was one. I don’t know what to think of the guy… is he a loon, is the only real activist left?

An Unreasonable Man skillfully dissects the life and work of an unparalleled human being. The film begs the question, when do we speak for what is right without compromise, and when do we surrender one battle for the sake of the war?

Big themes all the way around for a divisive political figure. I’d see it to get some clarity on a guy I’ve never really gotten.

TV JUNKIE

Another documentary about a guy who took 3000 hours of footage of his own life. Why so many documentaries? Much better hit/miss ratio with the smaller budget higher concept stuff in my mind. It’s not like the next Die Hard is going to be screened at Sundance y’know? Here’s the party line on this one:

What unfolds in TV Junkie is a riveting journey into the heart of darkness, where one man’s fight for survival is caught on tape in an unprecedented way. A self-imposed The Truman Show with a dark twist, TV Junkie transcends one man’s tragic story and becomes a harrowing reflection on a generation obsessed with celebrity and technology.

Got all that?

COME EARLY MORNING

One thing I know about screenwriters is they always put themselves in the work. That’s why I’m interested in this one by Joey Lauren Adams, because I think she’s an interesting gal. We could have the next Sofia Coppola on our hands or perhaps a dreadfully boring and obtuse effort. Either way it’s interesting. I’ll let the marketing folks have the last word:

Come Early Morning is a beautifully rendered film about a southern woman in a small-town, rural community, a subject director Joey Lauren Adams obviously knows intimately. Delicately told, and rather efficiently related, it is the story of Lucy, a 30-something woman who keeps waking up with a stiff hangover and a guy she doesn’t even want to look at.

FORGIVEN

Forgiven is an 80 minute debut film entered in the dramatic competition. 80 minutes? Debut? Consider me interested. This one involves capital punishment and politics, two subjects rife for intrigue. Here’s the man’s word:

On the eve of his campaign for the Senate, small-town D.A. Peter Miles (played by Fitzgerald himself) receives word that the governor has exonerated a death-row inmate, Ronald Bradler, whom Miles prosecuted some five years earlier. When a public vetting of Miles’s record, amid a media frenzy, discloses evidence of impropriety in the prosecutor’s conduct, Bradler seeks out Miles for answers.

At the worst it’s only 80 minutes of your life gone, less than your typical crap formula comedy.

SHERRYBABY

When considering what film’s to see I like to ask myself a series of questions. If I answer “yes” to enough of them I get off my couch and roll out to the movie theater. Question 42 is “Is Maggie Gyllenhaal in it?” On this film the answer is yes. I’m willing to overlook a potentially bad plot in the hopes that my girl Maggs pulls it through. Maggie I wish I’d never see your face.

Sherry Swanson is recently released from prison and dreams of getting a job, settling down, and being a mother to her five-year-old daughter. Big problems arise when she realizes her brother and his wife are invested in raising the child themselves. The constricting realities of unemployment and parole complicate things even more.

To check out some stills from the flick click here.

To check out our earlier Sundance preview, which includes looks at 14 of the bigger name films at the Festival, click here, but before you do that check out Part Two of my preview here.

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Weekend: Nov. 15, 2018, Nov. 18, 2018

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