Sunday, January 26, 2014

Movie reviews from guest blogger Mason

I Origins
This movie tells the story of a young scientist, fascinated with the human eye.  His goal being to prove that the human eye can be evolved into.  Religions use the human eye as proof that God made man.  During the course of his research he comes across a woman at a party with the most beautiful eyes he has ever seen.  He then conducts research to find her, which ultimately results in him falling in love.  This movie takes a major plot twist about halfway through.  The acting and cinematography in this film is phenomenal, they really capture India in a certain scene.  The emotion that is portrayed by the actors left me heart wrenched, especially during the ending.

The Trip to Italy
This movie covers two friends traveling across Italy, eating delicious food, staying at the best hotels, and doing hilarious impressions.  You could just watch it for the beautiful scenery and cinematography.  The two men, Steve Coogan and Rob Bryden, are absolutely hilarious; their impressions are over the top and made the whole theater laugh out loud.  Now even though it was a fun film, it was lacking in plot.  For most this isn’t they type of movie they go to looking for an in depth plot though.  All I can say is this movie made me want to go to Italy.

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Walk from the condo to Park Ave.

Marjane Sartapi

Sundance trailer

Sundance: Day Six

Our final day in Park City was again graced by bright sunlight and somewhat moderate temperatures, 15-35 degrees.  Sorry Vermont!

We started the day with a film directed by Marjane Sartapi, The Voices. Starring Ryan Reynolds and Anna Kendrick, it might best be described as a post modern Psycho, with talking animals representing  Freud's various theories of human development.  By turns funny and deeply disturbing, it received a range of reviews from the group.  

On the heels of one slasher film, students headed off to see Life After Beth, a comedic zombie film starring Aubrey Plaza.  Apparently the horror of the zombies was outweighed by zombie humor.  A few students saw Ping Pong Summer, a coming-of-age film set in the eighties and steeped in that culture.  After visiting Sundance Headquarters, one of the many gathering spots the festival hosts, we headed off to see a sweet Scottish musical called God Help the Girl, directed by musician Stuart Murdoch of Belle and Sebastian.  A bit slow but filled with lovely indie ballads and a sweet story, it was a great film to end the week with.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Sundance: Day Five

It was the best of days, it was the worst of days.  Not really, but we liked the sound of it!

We began the day with the comedy The Hits by David Cross, which was popular with our entire group.  The Q&A was particularly entertaining, given that David Cross is a comedian.  The title of his film refers to the hits a YouTube video of a disgruntled citizen gets when he seeks recourse at a city council meeting for his street not getting plowed.  The film culminates in a bizarre internet media frenzy that reflects our obsession with reality TV, fame, and the exchange of information over content.

Other films included Listen Up Phillip by Alex Ross Perry and Documentary Shorts, which covered topics such as Huntington's disease, farming in Africa, and a mystery man in Ireland who is untraceable.  Students also saw Skeleton Twins by Craig Johnson, a dark film about adult twins who are both struggling with depression.  Spencer and Elliot also caught Twenty Thousand Days featuring Nick Cave and another Shorts Program, but Hits was the highlight of their day.

Everyone has been enjoying Park City and the sun, but a few of us are beginning to succumb to a cold circulating among us.  A good night's sleep is on the docket next!

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Sundance: Day Four

Day Four at the Sundance Film Festival:

Day Four began with the entire group watching The Trip to Italy directed by Michael Winterbottom starring Steve Coogan and Rob Brydon.  The premise of the film is a culinary trip through the Italy, from north to south, as the two semi-fictional versions of two comedians make their way from Piedmont to the Amalfi Coast.  Sunny, gorgeous landscapes, artistic Italian food, and hilarious repartee.  Despite some reflections at midlife, it was a lovely, funny trip that I would gladly take again.

Pathos may well have been the theme of the day--  we went from idyllic Italy to some much darker landscapes.  This was perhaps best exemplified by an eccentric assemblage of shorts in Shorts  Program V.  Although truly bizarre films, the actors and directors made a case for extending humanity and empathy rather over personal ethics.  While that comment elicited applause, a few shorts did not!

Students also saw the tense drama, Cold in July by Jim Mickle, the sci-fi thriller The Signal by William Eubank, and Imperial Dreams set in Watts, Los Angeles.  Sigh.  Tomorrow we begin with the comedy Hits at 9 am.