PARK CITY, UTAH - Sure it's cold and snowy and everything else that harsh winters in this end of the yard hope to offer the otherwise weary moviegoer. But still, you can't beat the heat of the cinematic competition, gearing up all over this burg in anticipation of what everyone associate with each and every film is like, for sure, banking on.
Namely, an enthusiastic first night reception, positive reviews that keep the ball rolling, a sweetheart of a pick-up deal, followed by a not exactly wide-wide release, but wide enough to garner some eventual well positioned, end-of-the-year Oscar buzz.
And, oh yeah, a boat load of money along the way wouldn't hurt either. Since, well, someone's gotta pay the freight on putting together the spin which launches them accordingly here at the ever-popular, always in demand, Sundance Film Fest.
Meanwhile, a few of the next incoming wave of must-sees, would most definitely have to be among these first day selections:
THROUGH A SNIPPET GLASS SPLENDIDLY
When a recurring a back injury forces a comical Houdini to temporarily wean himself away from the center stage spotlight, this football mad one-line machine gets the surprise of his life when it comes to his previously unbeknownst attention that every would-be funny late night TV laugh fest can't seemingly function without repeatedly (and ever so recklessly) ripping off much of his prime, well documented, there for the stealing, online material.
Meaning of course that, as luck and an uncertain amount of who woulda thunk it fate would have it, all laugh out loud roads lead directly to wherever this gifted gentleman was otherwise under the mistaken impression his safe, sane, and reasonable secure prone position would be allowed to remain. If only for a while, somewhere on the sidelines, where hopefully only a few friends and family would be the only out and about folks to find him.
Comedy Central stalwart Lewis Black tries hard to contain himself here, but you know how that goes. Rounding out the high-fives all around cast are: Virginia Madsen, John Goodman, Patricia Clarkson, Patton Oswalt, and Parker Posey.
Director Lasse Hallstrom, although no stranger to such had to be there works in the past ("My Life As A Dog," "The Cider House Rules," and "The Shipping News"), certainly finds nooks and crannies that way too many Thomas' English Muffins have seen fit to consistently either ignore completely, or just plain gloss over in the past. And thus, can't help but treat anyone hankering for you CAN take it with you whale of a good time, to the anything but down and out time of their lives.
BIDET OLE: UP TO MY YOU KNOW WHAT IN FRENCH FOLKS
An extremely well thought out, semi-reality-based, quasi-documentary about a cool, calm, and seemingly forever patient Englishman caught for the moment with his pants up somewhere in the French countryside. That, almost as if God planned it that way, is filled with a wide assortment of certifiable wack-a-doddle locals, who remain decidedly perplexed by the fact that this soft-spoken (but with big words) gent from the Isles insists he came to their mainland shores for the waters, and the rare, outside chance that he might someday play cards with Isabelle Huppert, if, and when their paths ever crossed.
Meanwhile, things take a decided haywire turn when his, more often than not, ungracious immediate superior at the local bookstore gives him the weekend off to pursue the legendary film star while she attempts to enjoy some well deserved rest and relaxation time during some unplanned downtime in the middle of lengthy film shoot in Clermont-Ferrand.
Tim Roth goes all studious for change in the lead, while Terence Stamp is, as usual, just plain spooky as a hitchhiker with a backstory that ties everything all together. Others in the cast include Juliette Binoche, Benicio Del Toro, Beatrice Romand, Kika Markham, and Stephane Audran.
Once again, Mathieu Kassovitz comes up with a real charmer, that should, most likely break semi-real wide. Or should, at least, until Hollywood gets around to (as is currently rumored) remake it with Kevin James, Julia Louis-Dreyfus, and Eric Stoltz, somewhere in Michigan.
IT SEEMED LIKE A GOOD IDEA AT THE TIME
A sometimes quirky, yet nonetheless heartwarming, tale of an altogether beleaguered, more or less, mild-mannered, work-a-day fella, who's noble efforts to spearhead his extended sewing circle of spare time writing compatriots into a more organized group of constructively critical satirists, takes a bizarre turn of "Exterminating Angel"-like proportions, once it seems no one is quite prepared to speak up and/or cast the first semi-politely worded series of anything but subtle "nothing personal" stones.
David Thewlis toplines, with Gina McKee as his heaven sent better half, and Alfred Molina as his boss from unholy hell. Directed with a decidedly deft touch of doomsday fatalism by Sam Mendes.
And so it slides. And with everyone schmoozing their way through another long evening of open-bar activities at all the better parties, things should slide all the way into the wee hours before this first night is officially put to bed.
Unless Charlie Sheen shows, in which case school's out, which means it's every cocktail hostess for themselves for the duration. And/or until the authorities arrive with their party hats all askew.
Cut, print it !
(Next - Part 3: Thrills, chills, and more than a few laugh out loud OMG's.)