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Sundance 2014 Last Call

Happiness

As a documentarian, Balmès shows more than tells; his work tends to curate moments that strike him as meaningful into a largely abstract tapestry and let you make of them what you will. Consequently, Happiness is not a neatly delineated picture of narrative storytelling, nor is it quite traditionally structured documentary. True to form, the director’s work here tends toward the languid and fluid; we float gently along the placid life rhythm of this small village on a faraway mountaintop as the camera captures the subtle – and sometimes not so subtle – shifts in the cultural and social landscape wrought by the march of technological progress.

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Sundance 2014 Review: The Better Angels

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A film created to be seen on a big screen, where the gorgeous cinematography can fill your soul. Dialogue is sparse, used only to augment the narration and visuals, with the result that in many ways feels almost like watching a silent film with narration over it. Or perhaps, to be more accurate, it’s like immersing yourself into a black-and-white landscape of stunning beauty, where there happens to be this story happening around you. Edwards’ time spent as a cameraman on Malick’s films is evident here in the framing of shots, the extensive use of nature in storytelling, and his willingness to let his tale breathe in quiet spaces.

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Sundance 2014 Review: Listen Up Philip

Image courtesy of The Sundance Institute.

Here’s a truism about men like Philip: smart women who tell themselves they would never put up with his particular brand of bullshit no matter what nonetheless can and do fall prey to the allure of the reclusive, temperamental, misunderstood genius, and will keep coming back for more. Men like Philip present a challenge to overcome, a puzzle to solve – until the women in their lives finally have enough and say “no more.” And then those men end up alone, feeling misused and mistreated, looking everywhere save within themselves for the answer to the riddle of their loneliness and isolation.

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Sundance 2014 Review: What We Do In The Shadows

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This is one of the festival’s most pleasant surprises because it’s gotten to the point where certain horror tropes are dead or dying: recent zombie movies have been more shambling than exciting; vampires in general have become anemic and fangless (shout-out to the Twilight series, driving nails into the rhetorical coffin).

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Sundance 2014 Review: War Story

War Story

The death of Lee’s friend has perhaps made her see the wages of war as a price higher than she ever thought she’d pay to be in the thick of it. She’s captured so many losses, so many tragedies, through the lens of her camera, but she has no idea how to capture and cope with her own. The film’s final moments elegantly underscore the truth about the death of those we love and how we grieve the impact of losing them: It hurts, it will always hurt, when you lose someone you love, and even more so when you feel yourself responsible. But life moves on, wars continue to happen, the world spins around its axis just like it did before you lost this person you cared about.

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Picturing Sundance 2014: 21 Images

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Sundance 2014 Review: Imperial Dreams

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Picturing Sundance 2014 x 13 (Plus 140-Character Grasps For Instantaneous Truth)

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Sundance 2014 Review: Obvious Child

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Sundance 2014 Review: Boyhood

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Sundance 2014 Review: I Origins

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Sundance 2014 Review: Hellion

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Sundance 2014 Reviews: Overnighters, Whiplash

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14 Must-See Films at Sundance ‘14

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Sundance Review: Ain’t Them Bodies Saints

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MCN Videos

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@TIFF: The Imitation Game, Cumberbatch & Knightley

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TIFF ’14 Sneak: Steve Carell, Foxcatcher

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TIFF ’14 Sneak: Salma Hayek, The Prophet

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TIFF Sneaks: Stewart, Hayek, Nighy, Pacino, Gerwig

MCN Festivals

“F— it. Give me a Stella and a vodka and I will double-fist for the rest of the night.”
Waldo Salt Screenwriting Award-Winner Lake Bell On Needing To Breathe Through Her Butt More

“Embarrassing because it’s almost too tender to watch, so tender that it feels private, so private that continuing to look should get you slapped with a restraining order.”
Wesley Morris‘ Sundance Survey

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Quote Unquotesee all »

“We’re on our way out. Anybody that doesn’t realize that is looking like it’s Christmas or something. We’re on our way out, as a culture. America doesn’t make anything anymore! The Chinese make it! Detroit’s a great example. All of those cities that used to be something. If you go to a truck stop in Sallisaw, Oklahoma, you’ll probably see the face of America. How desperate we are. Really desperate. Just raw.”
~ Sam Shepard Sings America

“Every film has to stand next the best that has been done. Otherwise we are all dupes. My criticism is never a personal disparagement but I do take art seriously and take film criticism seriously. Replace ‘harsh’ with ‘honest’ because that’s how every critic should be. Being a film critic can be fun—as well as hard work. Being Rotten Tomatoes is just juvenile idiocy, a way of nullifying real film criticism.When websites and cliques expel me, it’s a sign of the culture’s weak and cowardly inability to engage in discourse. If there is such a thing as contrarianism, then please define the conformity and group-think that it’s contrary to… A critic needs a strong voice. A gentleman has manners.”
~ German “Hard Sensations” Takes Armond White For A 3,400-Word Spin