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Film Festival News and Reviews: Sundance, Cannes and more

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    PARK CITY '08 2:25 a.m. | Pix Most LIkely to Click: "Hamlet 2," "Teen," "Henry Poole"

    Buzz from the annual Cinetic party... Cinetic's John Sloss, "American Teen" director Nanette Burstein, A&E Indie Film's Molly Thompson and others huddled upstairs at Zoom on Monday night. A deal for the doc, being brokered by Cinetic and CAA, is expected on Tuesday. Meanwhile, attendees buzzed about...

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    PARK CITY '08 REVIEW | Pretty Vacant: Rawson Marshall Thurber's "The Mysteries of Pittsburgh"

    Special performance awards are common at the Sundance Film Festival and here's an idea for this year's jury: Best Undressing - Sienna Miller in "The Mysteries of Pittsburgh." As Jane, the arty beauty at the core of a confused love triangle between her thug boyfriend Cleveland (Peter Sarsgaard) and their new friend Art (Jon Foster), Miller flashes a toothy smile, freckly cheeks and strawberry blonde hair. She's the type of woman men die to have, the key plot point in writer/director Rawson Marshall Thurber's "The Mysteries of Pittsburgh," premiering in dramatic competition at Sundance. "Pittsburgh" is an off-target, surprisingly weightless ada...

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    PARK CITY '08 REVIEW | A Dazzling Journey: Alex Rivera's "Sleep Dealer"

    True originality and artistic verve push filmmaker Alex Rivera's future drama "Sleep Dealer," above other films in Sundance's dramatic competition. Comparisons to popular sci-fi fare like "The Matrix" are understandable but "Sleep Dealer" has more in common with the utopian politics of Fritz Lang's silent epic "Metropolis." Rivera is not content to simply dazzle with "Sleep Dealer," although he and his crew have crafted the most beautiful of films. "Sleep Dealer" is a film with lofty dramatic aspirations, an ambitious visual palette and a folksy heart. To their credit, Rivera and co-writer David Riker have come up with something unique and ye...

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    PARK CITY '08 NOTEBOOK | Slamdance Offers Refreshing Alternative: "Paranormal"; "Fix"; "Project", "T

    Compact in terms of programming and scale, the Slamdance Film Festival offers a refreshing grassroots alternative to the Sundance Film Festival's glamour. This year's program includes several markedly similar attempts to tell fictional stories within a documentary framework. These aren't lighthearte...

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    Reuters: Emily Blunt works double shift at Sundance

    British actress Emily Blunt wants nothing better than to laze around on the couch, but at the Sundance Film Festival she is working double time to promote two movies in which she plays a pothead and a publicist. Mary Milliken reports.

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    PARK CITY '08 DISPATCH | Docs Continue to Stir Sundance: "Teen," "Water," "I.O.U.S.A."

    There's no question that documentaries have dominated the first weekend of the Sundance Film Festival; critically and business-wise, docs seem to be stirring the most talk. "No fiction films have sold yet?" one leading independent film producer emailed indieWIRE this morning, "That is crazy." While later, the head of a leading distribution outlet -- chatting with iW -- noted that documentaries and international narrative films have been the best of Sundance so far, while American dramatic features are lagging behind. Insiders are watching to see if the tide turns for narrative features in the dramatic competition and Spectrum sections of Sund...

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    PARK CITY '08 10:51 a.m. | "Polanski" & HBO?; Buzz Docs: "Teen," "Secrecy," "Recruit" Closing In

    Docs remain the hot on day four of Sundance... Marina Zenovich's "Roman Polanski: Wanted and Desired" seems likely to land at HBO, according to insiders, but contacted this morning HBO said that nothing is confirmed yet. Following an international deal with The Weinstein Company, HBO's high six-figure offer tops a combined ThinkFilm/History Channel/Netflix proposed pact, in a deal being brokered by Submarine and Cinetic. A theatrical run for the film is being considered but indieWIRE is awaiting more details from any official annoncement. Warner Independent Pictures and Roadside Attractions were also apparently in the running for the Polanski...

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    PARK CITY '08 REVIEW | Mikey's Got A Gun: Neil Abramson's "American Son"

    Politics turn very personal in "American Son," director Neil Abramson's standout drama about a young Marine (Nick Cannon) on leave before shipping off to Iraq. It's the Iraq War movie audiences have been waiting to see, one that reduces the Iraq debate to the conflicts of one man facing his decision to enlist and coming to terms with all that he may lose back home as a result. Abramson and screenwriter Eric Schmid wisely brush aside political debate and battle scenes for an emotional, intimate tale set in new recruit Mike Holland's (Cannon) hometown of Bakersfield, CA. Holland joined the Marines as a means to get away from his dead end life a...

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    PARK CITY '08 | Sundance Opening Weekend: Docs in Focus - "Polanski," "Secrecy," "The Recruiter"

    Any concern about the potential for documentaries at the 2008 Sundance Film Festival seems to be dissipating in the early days of the event. Doc deals have dominated industry talk (so far), with a number of other pacts announced and also pending. Zeitgeist nabbed Yung Chang's "Up The Yanghtze" and HBO scored rights to Timothy Greenfield-Sanders' "The Black List," while The Weinstein Company just secured a pact for international rights to Marina Zenovich's "Roman Polanski: Wanted and Desired," with a domestic deal expected soon and late today announced a deal for Susan Koch's "Kicking It." Finally, Nanette Burnstein's "American Teen" is stirr...

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    PARK CITY '08 5:15p.m. | "American Teen"'s Big Date

    Howls and loud applause concluded the world premiere of Nanette Burstein's Sundance Film Festival doc competition film, "American Teen," earlier this afternoon at the Park City Library. The film, which follows the trials and tribulations of a range of teens during their senior year in high school in small town Indiana, does not hold back on the intimate realities of growing up, including sexual experimentation and alcohol use. "I think it's a great way to look back on our senior year," quipped one of the teens at the post-screening Q&A. "People are so much deeper than they first appear to be." The film is already stirring serious acquisitions...

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