“I can’t believe I made a movie that short,” cackled Quentin Tarantino following the 25th Anniversary Screening of Reservoir Dogs at the 2017 Sundance Film Festival. Returning to Park City a quarter-century after the premiere that launched his career, Tarantino was joined by co-star Michael Madsen and producer Lawrence Bender for a predictably boisterous Q&A. Some edited highlights:
My final dispatch from Park City ponders movies and meditations, thrilled by some philosophical sci-fi from an old pro and bored by more New York nattering from an up-and-comer. There’s also the festival’s most essential documentary and another Casey Affleck picture about death, this one so strange and wonderful I’m not quite sure how to describe it.
“Brattle regulars won’t be surprised to find Clive Barker’s Lord of Illusions on the schedule. ‘A guilty pleasure of mine,’ admits creative director Ned Hinkle of the 1995 thriller starring Scott Bakula as a paranormal private eye. ‘It is kind of a silly movie but the magic in it is compelling and, since it’s a Clive Barker adaptation, the themes are surprisingly sinister.'” – Metro, 01/27/2017
My second dispatch from Park City muses on the medium-rare pleasures of a well-done potboiler and when bad movies happen to good intentions. Two of my favorite actors don’t let me down in my most anticipated film of the festival, but the movie they’re in sure does. Finally, a break from looking for the next big thing to reflect on some cinema history.
My first dispatch from Park City kicks off with an inconvenient celebrity slighting on opening night, followed by yet another dud that doesn’t deserve Melanie Lynskey. Obvious Child‘s team returns with witty and sophisticated follow-up, but I’m underwhelmed by the festival’s first big darling. Finally, founder Robert Redford and an all-star cast whiff on their way to Netflix.
“Combining traditional documentary tropes with experimental animation techniques, director Keith Maitland’s Tower is like nothing you’ve seen before. An oral history as a visual poem, the movie expands and collapses time to place the viewer alongside the victims of sniper Charles Whitman’s UT Tower massacre on that hot August morning in 1966.” – Metro, 01/19/2017
“Ever since his 1984 breakthrough Stranger Than Paradise, Jim Jarmusch has been finding transcendence in stasis and Paterson is nothing if not a movie about the wonders of routine. It’s broken down over a week so the days themselves become like stanzas in a poem, with repeated shots and locations becoming his visual rhyme-scheme.” – WBUR’s The ARTery, 01/18/2017
20TH CENTURY WOMEN * * *
Starring Annette Bening, Elle Fanning, Greta Gerwig, Lucas Jade Zumann and Billy Crudup. Written and directed by Mike Mills.
“One of those movies that’s a lot of fun to watch without being particularly good, The Running Man is a chintzy-looking affair that gets by on stunt casting and a killer concept. Richard Dawson’s sly, self-mocking performance elevates the material, bringing the louche, creepy-uncle energy with which he leered at female contestants on Family Feud.” – Metro, 01/11/2017
BRIGHT LIGHTS: STARRING CARRIE FISHER AND DEBBIE REYNOLDS * * * 1 / 2
A documentary directed by Alexis Bloom and Fisher Stevens. Featuring Carrie Fisher, Debbie Reynolds, Todd Fisher, Eddie Fisher and Griffin Dunne.