SUNDANCE ‘09: Monday, January 19th

Wow, this place appears to have cleared out in a major way already. But that is just fine with me. First off, congratulations to Lynn Shelton and her team for their sale of Humpday to Magnolia. I’m still a little bit bothered by the way Great World of Sound was handled (or should I say not handled), and I also know that based on production value alone this thing won’t translate all the way to the multiplex, but I also feel very strongly that Humpday will play to a non-Park City audience. I’m contemplating seeing it again here on Friday with the public. Not just to see their reaction, but I feel like I need another viewing to confirm just how smart it is. I have less time than usual to post this morning, so let’s get to it. Here’s the best of yesterday, in my humble opinion:

Burma VJ — Since its world premiere and subsequent appearance at festivals, I haven’t read or heard one negative thing about this film. I can now confirm that everybody was right. Burma VJ pretty much renders the talking head journalistic documentary obsolete. My arm pits started sweating at the very beginning of the film and things only got worse from there. More to come on this one for sure, but suffice to say, Burma VJ isn’t just one of the best films of this year’s Park City, it’s one of the year, period.

Don’t Let Me Drown — It’s hard not to compare Cruz Angeles’ coming-of-age to Raising Victor Vargas, but that’s never a bad thing (except for when it is). In this case, that’s a compliment. Don’t Let Me Drown doesn’t bring anything dramatically new to the table, but it’s a story very well told, and features some exceptional youth performances. Out of the competition films that I’ve seen, this is in the upper tier for sure.

I wish I had the time to write more, but Children of Invention is calling my name…


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