Tuesday, January 23, 2007

The Monday Report

There are two kinds of screenings at Sundance- press screenings and regular screenings. The press screenings are full of members of the media and are held at two makeshift theaters in a hotel. The regular screenings are the ones that the general public and everyone else go to. They're cool because they're usually introduced by the director of the film and are followed by a Q&A with the director and cast. There's a higher energy at these regular screenings- tickets are hard to come by and people are generally very excited to be there, whereas at the press screenings it's all just "part of the job." On Monday, I saw three regular screenings:

Grace is Gone: A touching movie starring John Cusack as a father raising his two daughters, (8 and 11 yr.s old), while his wife is away on military duty. John Cusack gives an awesome performance and it's tough to even recognize him. The two daughters give incredible performances as well, and i don't think there was a dry eye in the house. I think this is my favorite film so far. One thing I noticed at the Q&A following the film: John Cusack is really tall. Some people have told me I look like him, and I was thinking maybe I could be his stand-in or something but I guess I'm too short...

The Go-Getter: A road trip movie starring Lou Pucci, Zooey Deschanel, and Jena Malone. Lou's character steals a car, only to develop a strange/nice phone relationship with the car's owner, (played by Zooey). Lou's trying to find his estranged half brother to tell him that their mom's passed away, and he is shot out on a veritable pinball game, running into a lot of colorful characters along the way, including Jena Malone as an uber-sexual friend in Nevada. The writer/director is an Oregonian and the it was partly filmed there, so this film holds a special place in my heart.

Everybody's been talking/crying out about this film, specifically the scene where Dakota Fanning's character, Lou Ellen gets raped. This is clearly one of the situations where the people getting upset hadn't even seen the film yet. Most of the scene consists of a third character looking on with a shocked look in his face. It was weird/disturbing to see Dakota Fanning in a role like this. She's still bright-eyed and bushy-tailed as ever, except now she gets hit and abused, uses the N word, and is haunted by a lot of snakes. She did a pretty good job, but the script was messy and neither the story nor the characters were developed very well. Dakota was very cute at the Q&A though, and she couldn't help but giggle as she answered every question.

We also did one swag stop on Monday- our only one of the festival- since they're continually reminding us with the buttons they've been handing out that read FOCUS ON FILM. If only the publicists didn't always get in the way...

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