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David Poland

By David Poland poland@moviecitynews.com

Sundance With David

23 Responses to “Sundance With David”

  1. anghus says:

    Sundance to me is still the best marketed film market posing as a festival.

  2. Here, here DP.
    I gotta say…seeing the 5+day stubble, the cynicism and the look of sheer exhaustion in your eyes…I really don’t miss being there. It’s as you said-almost totally about the market and the buzz and not so much about MOVIES.

  3. Jesus, was your cameraman wasted?

  4. waterbucket says:

    Looking kinda rough there, Davey. And go see Hounddog and let us know how good it is already.

  5. Tofu says:

    YouTube? No iKlipz, or was this just an unofficial… You know what? Whatever, right?
    And I guess the Sundance thing really is to be as shakycam as possible.

  6. Jeffrey Boam's Doctor says:

    I like how David uses the term “The Truth is..” when in fact he’s just espousing his opinion. The truth is Dave its the truth according to you. That’s all and no more. Please use “In my opinion yadda yadda” from now on.
    Thank you and godpseed you fijian emperoro.

  7. The Carpetmuncher says:

    I think its a matter of POV…if you are a journo, you need a story and for the most part the big story is a big sale which makes Sundance feel like a market. But if you re here for the movies it’s pure heaven…I feel like I haent seen a bad performance yet and hae loved a lot of films. And if Sundance is getting you jaded just ask one of the fantastic Sundance volunteers which movies they liked and why they re volunteering and youll quickly get your movie mojo back. if you focus on film as the fest asks theres not much to dislike…
    on a sidenote. Typekey blows big nasty chunks. it never remembers you. totally unpracticle. dave whats the deal? ugh…

  8. jeffmcm says:

    Oh, I would like to second any Typekey-hatred as well. Especially how you seem to be logged in, and then type in a length posting, and then it says ‘you are not logged in’ and has erased everything you’ve just written.

  9. THX5334 says:

    Dave if we are going to critique your choice of words while putting forth content….
    Can I please request that you stop finishing every column with: “And so it goes….”
    I can’t explain it, but this really is abrasive to me in a nails on a chalkboard way. I don’t know if it’s because it smacks of lazy writing (though I’m sure your work schedule is exhausting), seeing it repeated so often, or if I just don’t feel the sentiment.
    This is definitely one of those things, where it’s more me than you.
    I’m sure I’m alone on this one.
    Just sayin…..

  10. Tofu says:

    THX if we are going to critique your choice of words while putting forth content….
    Can I please request that you stop finishing every post with: “Just sayin…..”
    I can’t explain it, but this really is abrasive to me in a Madonna performing American Pie way. I don’t know if it’s because it smacks of dontgiveafuck writing (though I’m sure your posting schedule is exhausting), seeing it repeated so often, or if I just don’t feel the GRAVITAS.
    This is definitely one of those things, where it’s more me than you.
    I’m sure I’m alone on this one.
    And so it blows…

  11. THX- like that post won’t inspire us ALL to finish our posts with
    And so it goes…

  12. T.Holly says:

    Someone should do a doc at Sundance about global warming in Park City… it looks like a balmy winter tropical wonderland.

  13. Hallick says:

    “Oh, I would like to second any Typekey-hatred as well. Especially how you seem to be logged in, and then type in a length posting, and then it says ‘you are not logged in’ and has erased everything you’ve just written.”
    I just had that happen to me! And I did math, damn it! Twenty years of painstakingly precise Oscar stats gone poof!

  14. I asked it in the other thread, but I’ll ask here to. Any word on the sale of Aussie feature Clubland, apparently to Warner Indo for $5mil.

  15. Tofu says:

    The TypeKey thing is bull, but the words shouldn’t be gone. Just hit ‘Back’, copy them, signout, signin, and post again.

  16. scout33 says:

    Re word choices – I’ve been wondering why you have to talk at all, I mean, couldn’t you just mime or hold up cue cards with a musical background? (see Bob Dylan in Subterranean Homesick Blues: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=srgi2DkDbPU )
    The camera crews in the background are a nice touch – could they smile a bit more, maybe a few dance moves? And hey, keep the 5+ day stubble – sexaay!
    Also – what about John Carney’s “Once” – which one blogger from elsewhere calls “the Sundance heart & soul movie everyone’s talking about”. Which apparently is not entirely true, or at least you haven’t finished the cue cards for it.
    And so it goghs…

  17. jeffmcm says:

    When I hit ‘back’ the words I’ve typed are gone.

  18. Joe Straat says:

    By the way, David, that’s MISS Pac-Man. The only difference is bow, but you wouldn’t like being mistaken for a French prostitute. Or would you?

  19. gg says:

    The only difference between David and a French prostitute is a bow?

  20. THX5334 says:

    Tofu,
    I so deserved that.

  21. Oh…forgot to mention this! I think there’s so many camera crews every year at Sundance for, well, the obvious reasons (BUZZ BUZZ BUZZ) but also because it’s super easy to get a press credential. I know people who get one, do the press circuit and use it to promote themselves and their projects. One couple I knew had like, 7 years of press footage just sitting at home. Interviews, segments, etc. They had like, a half-assed website set up that didn’t serve any purpose other than to get a press pass for film fests.

  22. Do what I do and copy everything you’ve typed before pressing Post.

  23. everything I’VE typed. Obviously I’m not stalking your computers.

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This is probably going to sound petty, but Martin Scorsese insisting that critics see his film in theaters even though it’s going straight to Netflix and then not screening it in most American cities was a watershed moment for me in this theatrical versus streaming debate.

I completely respect when a filmmaker insists that their movie is meant to be seen in the theater, but the thing is, you got to actually make it possible to see it in the theater. Some movies may be too small for that, and that’s totally OK.

When your movie is largely financed by a streaming service and is going to appear on that streaming service instantly, I don’t really see the point of pretending that it’s a theatrical film. It just seems like we are needlessly indulging some kind of personal fantasy.

I don’t think that making a feature film length production that is going to go straight to a video platform is some sort of “step down.“ I really don’t. Theatrical exhibition as we know it is dying off anyway, for a variety of reasons.

I should clarify myself because this thread is already being misconstrued — I’m talking about how the movie is screened in advance. If it’s going straight to Netflix, why the ritual of demanding people see it in the theater?

There used to be a category that everyone recognized called “TV movie” or “made for television movie” and even though a lot of filmmakers considered that déclassé, it seems to me that probably 90% of feature films fit that description now.

Atlantis has mostly sunk into the ocean, only a few tower spires remain above the waterline, and I’m increasingly at peace with that, because it seems to be what the industry and much of the audience wants. We live in an age of convenience and information control.

Only a very elite group of filmmakers is still allowed to make movies “for theaters“ and actually have them seen and judged that way on a wide scale. Even platform releasing seems to be somewhat endangered. It can’t be fought. It has to be accepted.

9. Addendum: I’ve been informed that it wasn’t Scorsese who requested that the Bob Dylan documentary only be screened for critics in theaters, but a Netflix representative indicated the opposite to me, so I just don’t know what to believe.

It’s actually OK if your film is not eligible for an Oscar — we have a thing called the Emmys. A lot of this anxiety is just a holdover from the days when television was considered culturally inferior to theatrical feature films. Everybody needs to just get over it.

In another 10 to 20 years they’re probably going to merge the Emmys in the Oscars into one program anyway, maybe they’ll call it the Contentys.

“One of the fun things about seeing the new Quentin Tarantino film three months early in Cannes (did I mention this?) is that I know exactly why it’s going to make some people furious, and thus I have time to steel myself for the takes.

Back in July 2017, when it was revealed that Tarantino’s next project was connected to the Manson Family murders, it was condemned in some quarters as an insulting and exploitative stunt. We usually require at least a fig-leaf of compassion for the victims in true-crime adaptations, and even Tarantino partisans like myself – I don’t think he’s made a bad film yet – found ourselves wondering how he might square his more outré stylistic impulses with the depiction of a real mass murder in which five people and one unborn child lost their lives.

After all, it’s one thing to slice off with gusto a fictional policeman’s ear; it’s quite another to linger over the gory details of a massacre that took place within living memory, and which still carries a dread historical significance.

In her essay The White Album, Joan Didion wrote: “Many people I know in Los Angeles believe that the Sixties ended abruptly on August 9, 1969, ended at the exact moment when word of the murders on Cielo Drive traveled like brushfire through the community, and in a sense this is true.”

Early in Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, as Leonardo DiCaprio and Brad Pitt’s characters drive up the hill towards Leo’s bachelor pad, the camera cranes up gently to reveal a street sign: Cielo Drive. Tarantino understands how charged that name is; he can hear the Molotov cocktails clinking as he shoulders the crate.

As you may have read in the reviews from Cannes, much of the film is taken up with following DiCaprio and Pitt’s characters – a fading TV actor and his long-serving stunt double – as they amusingly go about their lives in Los Angeles, while Margot Robbie’s Sharon Tate is a relatively minor presence. But the spectre of the murders is just over the horizon, and when the night of the 9th finally arrives, you feel the mood in the cinema shift.

No spoilers whatsoever about what transpires on screen. But in the audience, as it became clear how Tarantino was going to handle this extraordinarily loaded moment, the room soured and split, like a pan of cream left too long on the hob. I craned in, amazed, but felt the person beside me recoil in either dismay or disgust.

Two weeks on, I’m convinced that the scene is the boldest and most graphically violent of Tarantino’s career – I had to shield my eyes at one point, found myself involuntarily groaning “oh no” at another – and a dead cert for the most controversial. People will be outraged by it, and with good reason. But in a strange and brilliant way, it takes Didion’s death-of-the-Sixties observation and pushes it through a hellfire-hot catharsis.

Hollywood summoned up this horror, the film seems to be saying, and now it’s Hollywood’s turn to exorcise it. I can’t wait until the release in August, when we can finally talk about why.

~ Robbie Collin