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  • SydneysBuzz
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    Danish Docs At Sundance

    The Danish Broadcasting Corporation has FIVE docs here in Sundance. Although documentary filmmakers are finding the European TV stations' funds are diminishing and are increasingly looking to foundations and corporations for financing, in Denmark, funding for Danish docs is up to 50%. Their docs are meeting with artistic and popular success which is matched by political support, both in production and in distribution. Production funding from the Danish Film Institute is approximately 6.2 million Euros. Primetime public TV share of docs has gone up from 2% to 25% over the last years. 98% of the public has access to the films via local libraries, streaming service filmstriben.dk, and school children and their teachers can watch the films in the classroom via a school subscription. Don't we only wish we could boast a fraction of this?

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  • The Playlist
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    Sundance Review: Controversial & Upsetting 'Compliance' Is Still Affecting & Real

    If there’s a thin line between presenting unpleasant material to an audience and openly antagonizing them with it, there are going to be a lot of people accusing “Compliance” of the latter, when really what it’s doing is the former. Craig Zobel, the promising writer-director who made “Great World of Sound” in 2007, returns to the big screening with his deeply unsettling second feature, the fictional account of a real incident in which a caller impersonating a police officer contacted a fast food restaurant manager and enlisted her in enacting a sexual assault under the pretense of a criminal investigation. After immediately provoking intense feelings both positive and negative among audience members at the 2012 Sundance Film Festival, “Compliance” seems destined to become a lightning rod for controversy, but its success is so great in depicting the damage that can be done through complicity and inaction that the movie’s takeaway message may eventually be confused with the technique used in order to create it.

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  • The Playlist
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    Sundance Review: 'Black Rock' A Back-To-The-Wilds Slasher With Brains & Bonding Along With The Blood

    There is, ultimately, something to be said for the pleasures of a simple, sleek and well-shot run-or-kill-or-die thriller where our heroes, trapped in the middle of nowhere and confronted by hostile locals, strike back to survive. And that, at heart, is what "Black Rock," the second directorial effort from Katie Aselton is, no more, no less. If you're hoping for a transcendent reinvention of the form, keep moving. If you're looking for a film like Aselton's erotic, neurotic and superbly acted "The Freebie," pass along. If you're looking for a well-executed example of a sub-genre, not as good as "Deliverance," but far better than a host of similarly-constructed films with bigger budgets and smaller IQs, you'll probably appreciate what "Black Rock" offers with its Y-chromosome inflected plot and script.

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  • Shadow and Act
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    Didya Hear About Spike's Profanity Laden Rant At Sundance?

    Oh that Spike! Can't live with him, can't live without him (Or is it can't live with him, can't shoot him?)

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  • The Playlist
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    The Amazing Race: My Super Last Minute Oscar Predictions

    Lord knows why I'm doing this last minute. Maybe just to get it on the record so I can either be totally embarrassed or elated in the morning, regardless, while I've been thinking about this for some time, I just haven't had the time to sit down and actually write out my Oscar predictions.

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  • Press Play
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    MATT ZOLLER SEITZ: The Fan-Made Star Wars Uncut Is the Greatest Viral Video Ever

    "Star Wars Uncut: Director's Cut," a full-length sweding of the original Star Wars made by hundreds of participants, might be the greatest viral video in the still-young history of the Internet. It's also the best argument I've seen for an overhaul of outmoded copyright laws which, if enforced to the entertainment industry's satisfaction, would make such works illegal and essentially un-viewable.

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  • Thompson on Hollywood
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    Sundance Indies Flock to Memorial Service for Bingham Ray

    The tone was somber at the Highwest Distillery on Park Avenue Monday afternoon, as the San Francisco Film Society hosted a memorial service for beloved film leader, Bingham Ray.

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  • The Playlist
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    Sundance Exclusive: Spike Lee Says 'Brooklyn Loves MJ' Might Be His Next Film; Trio Of Biopics, Including James Brown Film, Might Be Dead

    The talk of the slopes, cold huddled buses and inebriated parties so far at Sundance 2012 has arguably been Spike Lee’s latest film, “Red Hook Summer” (read our review here). Evidently a polarizing film (some seem to love it, some hate it; our reviewer dug it), it’s nonetheless lit up the town with passionately divided yay or nay conversations and good films should always provoke at least some discussion.

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  • Thompson on Hollywood
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    Oscar Nominations Predictions

    Jean Dujardin in "The Artist"

    BEST PICTURE (alphabetical) "The Artist" "The Descendants" "The Help" "Hugo" "Midnight in Paris" "Moneyball" "The Tree of Life" "War Horse"

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  • The Playlist
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    Sundance Review: Mary Elizabeth Winstead & Aaron Paul Hit the Bottle, And It Hits Back, In Strong, Stirring 'Smashed'

    There is a sub-canon of films about alcohol as deep and as dark as a barrel of bourbon, from "Lost Weekend" to "Days of Wine and Roses" to "Trees Lounge." "Smashed," premiering at the 2012 Sundance Film Festival, casts Aaron Paul and Mary Elizabeth Winstead as Charlie and Kate, a married couple in L.A. whose love is strong, full and, more to the point, well-saturated. Charlie and Kate like to drink, and it shows; Kate's mortified to have a hung-over vomiting fit while teaching, apologizing to her 1st graders and answering, falsely, yes when her kids ask if she's pregnant. When Kate is busted by her vice-Principal Mr. Davies (Nick Offerman, in a performance that in a just world would be an Oscar contender), she confesses her lies and he simply notes "That's … not good."

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