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Film Festival News and Reviews: Sundance, Cannes and more

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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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    PARK CITY '08 REVIEW | Lifeless Couple, Limp Love Story: Marianna Palka's "Good Dick"

    Static lead characters, little emotional build up and modest dramatic pay-off make filmmaker and actress Marianna Palka's dysfunctional lovers tale "Good Dick" a cinematic hamster wheel. The premise of two damaged young loners trying to connect is tried and true but Palka's movie, making its premiere in dramatic competition at the Sundance Film Festival, is one-note dull. By it's ambiguous finish, "Good Dick" has turned into a missed opportunity by a filmmaker who displays plenty of technical promise. All one can do is tuck away the disappointment, celebrate the film's brief sparks of life, and anticipate what an emerging talent like Palka wi...

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    PARK CITY '08, 2:24 a.m. | "Sunshine", "Wackness" and Blackout Update

    Eyes are on Christine Jeff's "Sunshine Cleaning," which drew many buyers tonight at its Sundance Film Festival world premiere at the Racquet Club. An indieWIRE insider reported good buzz for the film; Cinetic is handling the sale. Meanwhile, over at the party for "The Wackness" on Main St. Harvey We...

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    PARK CITY '08, 12:23 a.m. | "Polanski" and The Blackout

    Word of a deal for Marina Zenovich's competition documentary about Roman Polanski emerged late Friday night as Sundance Film Festival attendees buzzed about a blackout that hit Main St. after about 10 p.m. The outage lasted at least 30 minutes according to numerous sources. "Roman Polanski: Wanted and Desired" closed a worldwide deal (excluding North America) immediately after its Holiday Village world premiere. The buyer is expected to announce the deal soon. Buyers who missed the Friday night showing were watching hastily arranged screenings late Friday. A festival press and industry screeening is set for early Saturday morning and the rema...

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    PARK CITY '08 REVIEW | A Sparkling Tale of Loss: Christine Jeffs' "Sunshine Cleaning"

    Following her beautifully impressionistic debut "Rain" and the Gwyneth Paltrow vehicle "Sylvia," New Zealand director Christine Jeffs lands somewhere in between with "Sunshine Cleaning," an affecting, well-acted drama that casts an even brighter spotlight on rising starlet Amy Adams. First seen in s...

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    PARK CITY '08, 7:47 p.m. | Early Word on "Wackness"

    The world premiere of Jonathan Levine's Sundance dramatic competition entry "The Wackness," which concluded just a few minutes ago at the Racquet Club theater, is certainly the first screening of this year's festival to bring all of Indiewood's major players into one theater at the same time. Spotted after the showing were Fox Searchlight's Peter Rice, Tom Bernard of Sony Pictures Classics, Bob Berney from Picturehouse, Daniel Battsek and his team from Miramax Films, James Schamus from Focus Features, TWC's Harvey Weinstein, Lions Gate's Tom Ortenberg, Eamonn Bowles from Magnolia Pictures, Bingham Ray from Kimmel and key executives from Param...

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    PARK CITY '08 INTERVIEW | "Eat, For This Is My Body" Director Michelange Quay

    EDITORS NOTE: This is part of a series of interviews, conducted via email, profiling first-time feature directors who have films screening at the 2008 Sundance Film Festival.

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    PARK CITY '08 INTERVIEW | "Diminished Capacity" Director Terry Kinney

    EDITORS NOTE: This is part of a series of interviews, conducted via email, profiling first-time feature directors who have films screening at the 2008 Sundance Film Festival.

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