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Quint and Rav preview the 2008 Sundance Film Festival!

Ahoy, squirts! Quint here. This week I head out to Sundance for my second year running. I had a blast last year and this year looks to be even busier, if that’s possible. I’ll be headed to Park City with Rav and Kraken in tow. Rav’ll be helping me cover the films like he did last year and Kraken will be taking some pics and even dipping his tentacles into his own self-generated inkwell when he sees a flick that gets his scales all shivery. Below you’ll find a preview written by Rav and myself. Rav will be in red and I’ll be in black. Keep in mind these are the films that jump out to us from the schedule. It’s not meant to be a complete rundown of the fest. If you want that, click here to view the complete film guide. If you have a film playing and really, really want me, Kraken or Rav to check it out drop me an email at quint@aintitcool.com, especially if it’s a short film as I don’t think I’m going to get much of a chance to check out shorts this year. This goes for Slamdance flicks as well. Contact me and we’ll see what we can do. I'll also have an Ain't It Cool mailbox in the press room, so feel free to drop off any screeners there. Lots of good lookin’ stuff this year. Let us get to it, no?

Documentary Competition

GONZO: THE LIFE AND WORK OF DR. HUNTER S. THOMPSON – Director Alex Gibney

Quint: I’m itching to see this one… I’m a fan of Hunter Thompson’s writing and him as a character, so there can’t be enough docs on this guy as far as I’m concerned. Also ENRON: THE SMARTEST GUYS IN THE ROOM director Alex Gibney helmed this doc. Gotta be great, right?

ROMAN POLANSKI: WANTED AND DESIRED – Director Marina Zenovich, produced by Steven Soderbergh

Quint: The whole topic of Roman Polanski is still tainted by this case. I’ve seen docs on the topic of Polanski’s rape before, but they were more like E! True Hollywood Stories type things. Even those you find yourself conflicted because despite the horrific thing Polanski did you also see the dubious agendas of the law enforcement on the other side of the case. This case could easily be a black and white discussion, but this documentary promises to explore all the grey area and look at both sides with a cold and critical eye. I’m very curious about this one.

Dramatic Competition

AMERICAN SON – Director Neil Abramson. Starring Nick Cannon, Melanie Diaz, Matt O’Leary, Tom Sizemore, Jay Hernandez, Chi McBride.

Rav: I have a really good feeling about this film, its in the official dramatic competition. Last year Nick Cannon had the honor of acting in the absolute worst piece of shit I’ve sat through at sundance, that film was called “Weapons” (After Dark Films will distribute later this year). The only Neil Abramson directed film that I’ve seen was that Jerry Springer movie “Ringmaster” this is a drama about a soldier coming home before departing for Iraq. Nick Cannon plays that soldier. I don’t know how I feel about Nick Cannon playing a marine, it’s either inspired casting or going to be the most unintentionally hilarious thing at the festival.

Quint: Yeah, Weapons was horrible. Bad bad bad… But I’m a big fan of a lot of the people in this movie, including Chi McBride and Matt O’Leary, who I believe is one of the better young actors out there. You’ll remember him as Brain from BRICK or as the older son in Bill Paxton’s FRAILTY. He’ll hit big at some point.

ANYWHERE, USA – Director Chusy Haney-Jardine

Rav: This seems to be one of those projects that this festival was originally intended for, a real deal no bull-shit independent labor of love that someone has been working on of half a decade that stars a bunch of random people they’ve cobbled together from their hometown. I can’t really get a gauge on the plot, but it seems to be just a giant hodge-podge of craziness. I did some digging around and I found an old teaser trailer for the project done around four years ago (Click Here To Watch!) As you can see the original title was “Asheville: The Movie.” I’m very intrigued and looking forward to it.

CHOKE – Director Clark Gregg. Starring Sam Rockwell.

Rav: In high school I was a big fan of Chuck Palahniuk, Choke was a damn good novel, but I never really saw it being turned into a film, but I guess a lot of people would probably have said the same about Fight Club. I’ve always loved Clark Gregg as an actor, he’s one of those guys that you may not recognize his name, but you sure as shit know who he is when you see him. This adaptation has a great cast, I can’t wait to see how Colonial Dunsboro is brought to life. I wonder if Survivor is ever going to make it to film.

Quint: I can’t wait to see this. Sam Rockwell’s 2007 Sundance flicks were incredibly strong (including the as yet unreleased SNOW ANGELS) and he’s one of the best character actors working today… He’s so good because he can be just as strong as a lead character. Really can’t wait to see this one.

DOWNLOADING NANCY – Director Johan Renck, DP: Christopher Doyle, starring Maria Bello, Jason Patric, Rufus Sewell.

Quint: This looks fucked up, but I love the cast. It’s difficult to explain this without seeing the movie, but there is a trailer (NSFW, meaning you get some Maria Bello nudity and some f-bombs) online which you can watch here! I’m trying to fit this one into my schedule as we speak. I’d love to see it. PS It’s shot by great cinematographer Christopher Doyle (HERO, MADE, CHUNKING EXPRESS).

GOOD DICK – Director Marianna Palka, starring Jason Ritter, Marianna Palka, Martin Starr and Tom Arnold

Quint: A small flick about a video store clerk vying for the attentions of a young girl. Sounds Film Festival-y, don’t it? Interesting cast. I’ll be seeing it.

THE LAST WORD – Director Geoff Haley, starring Winona Ryder, Wes Bentley, Ray Romano

Quint: I can’t wait for this one. I’m having trouble programming it into my schedule right now, but this movie sounds great. It’s a dark comedy about a man who makes a living writing suicide notes and ends up falling in love with the sister of one of his clients. Wes Bentley and Winona Ryder are suited for dark comedy.

THE MYSTERIES OF PITTSBURGH – Director Rawson Marshall Thurber, based on the novel by Michael Chabon, starring Sienna Miller, Peter Sarsgaard, Jon Foster, Mena Suvari and Nick Nolte

Rav: I like Michael Chabon. I liked Dodge Ball, the Ben Stiller comedy directed by Rawson Thurber. I don’t think I ever considered the possibility of mixing the two sensibilities, but I’m intrigued. Back in 2006 they did several production diaries during the shooting of the picture, and like most production diaries they kind of stopped doing them at a very early point. Here’s the first one. If you’d like to see the others check out the official website.Though I’d stay away from number 3 as I think it may have ruined the ending for me.

NORTH STARR – Director Matthew Stanton.

Rav: North Starr is the story of a man who flees his hometown after witnessing the brutal murder of his best friend. From a first-time director and a cast full of more-or-less unknown actors this looks to be one of the “wild cards” of this years dramatic competition films with a lot of potential. I’m very much looking forward to it and the director has as much cool street cred as one can get ever since he had a small part in the best blood-fueled car movie ever made (last year’s “Blood Car”).

PHOEBE IN WONDERLAND – Director Daniel Barnz, Starring Elle Fanning, Felicity Huffman, Patricia Clarkson and Bill Pullman

Quint: It wouldn’t be Sundance without a Fanning sibling in an uncomfortably creepy movie. Last year it was Dakota in HOUNDDOG (aka DAKOTA FANNING’S UNDERWEAR: THE MOVIE) and this year it’s her sister in a take on Alice In Wonderland. This one seems less creepy, so thank God for that… And it’s got quite a cast behind it. This one stands as a maybe right now.

PRETTY BIRD – Director Paul Schneider. Starring Billy Crudup, Paul Giamatti, Kristen Wiig

Rav: A film about Paul Giamatti and Billy Crudup inventing a rocket belt in their garage I’m so there. It’s written and directed by Paul Schneider who most will recognize from his roles in David Gordon Green’s early works, most recently he’s had a few scene stealing roles in Assassination of Jesse James and Lars and the Real Girl. This is one of the films that I am looking forward to the most at the fest.

Quint: This looks great. It’s another one I’m trying to fit into my schedule at some point. I know I’m missing the press screening, so hopefully I can swing one of the public screenings.

SLEEP DEALER – Director Alex Rivera. Starring Luis Fernando Pena

Rav: This is a Mexican sci-fi movie set on the US/Mexico border. This movie looks really trippy, there’s a small trailer for it available at the official website. It’s in the dramatic competition, I’m going to be catching this the first chance I get.

SUGAR – Directors Anna Boden and Ryan Fleck

Rav: The new film from the team that brought us Half Nelson. I enjoyed Half-Nelson a lot, but part of me kind of felt that it was a second-rate movie that was elevated by an extra-ordinary performance from Ryan Gosling. This film is a sports movie about Dominican baseball player being recruited to play in the US minor leagues. I’m a real sucker for sports movies, no matter how cliché they tend to be. I kind of expect this to be the art-film bastard child of Tom Selleck’s masterpiece “Mr. Baseball.”

SUNSHINE CLEANING – Director Christine Jeffs. Starring Amy Adams, Emily Blunt, Steve Zahn, Mary Lynn Rajskub and Alan Arkin

Quint: Check out that cast! I’m so excited for this one. Amy Adams and Emily Blunt start a crime scene unit cleaning service. Think about it… someone goes and slaughters a family… after CSI have it photographed and investigated they have to hire someone to clean up the mess… I guess that someone is Amy Adams and Emily Blunt. Yes to that premise and a hell yes to this movie.

THE WACKNESS – Director Jonathan Levine. Starring Josh Peck, Ben Kingsley, Famke Janssen, Olivia Thirlby, Mary Kate Olsen and Method Man

Rav: A troubled teenage trades pot for therapy sessions and then falls for the doctor’s daughter. I think this is going to be a whole lot of fun, this is by the same director/producer team that brought us the wonderful but bizarrely still unreleased “All The Boys Love Mandy Lane.” This is probably the one film at the festival that can truly give Untraceable a real run for its money. I’ve also heard at some point Mary Kate Olsen makes out with Ben Kingsley and somewhere in this movie Olivia Thirlby is in a bikini, that’s more than enough to warrant a thumbs up from me!

World Documentary Competition

ALONE IN FOUR WALLS – Director Alexandra Westmeier

Quint: This is a Russian documentary about a Juvenile Detention center… it’s supposed to show these kids who have committed rape and murder just being regular normal kids. It’s also supposed to show that prison life in rural Russia might be better than freedom, giving these kids the chance to be children only when behind bars. It could be fascinating to explore the psyche of the young mind and what makes these young children do these horrific crimes. Or it could just be boring as hell. We’ll see…

MAN ON A WIRE – Director James Marsh.

Rav: A documentary about a prominent artist that planning to break into the world trade center and dance back and forth the twin towers on a small wire by the man who brought us The King and Wisconsin Death Trip. I’m so there.

NERAKHOON (THE BETRAYAL) – Director Ellen Kuras, Thavisouk Phrasavath.

Rav: Ellen Kuras is perhaps the most talented living cinematographer, I’m down for anything she makes no matter how boring it looks. My knee-jerk reaction reaction is that this looks indeed quite boring, but hell theres no way I’m missing a Kuras film.

THE ORDER OF MYTHS – Director Margaret Brown.

Rav: Austin director Margaret Brown really hit it out of the park with here debut film (2004’s Be Here to Love Me). Although part of me is not sure that this is the same Margaret Brown, could there be another talented documentary filmmaker named Margaret Brown? I haven’t heard much around Austin about this film. With Be Here it seemed like they did a thousand and one local test-screenings. Here’s where it gets confusing IMDB has them down as being two separate people they have MBII the original Margaret Brown that directed Be Here to Love Me, and they have MBX the new MB that brings us this new order of myths movie. However SXSW’s Matt Dentler has it in his blog that it’s the original Austin Margaret Brown with a movie at Sundance, so at least if im wrong I’m not the only one confused. If it is indeed an MBII joint then I expect a very well made fascinating film most likely containing beautiful photography by noted cinematographer Lee Daniel (Dazed and Confused, Before Sunset). However if it is this new MBX, I don’t really know what the heck to expect, but I’m hoping that one day she competes in a rap battle with DMX or something of that sort. Either way, be it MBX or MBII, This documentary is about celebrating Mardi Gras in Mobile Alabama, it could be very entertaining in a “Gee-wiz dad look at all those racist rednecks!” sort of way. (Apparently, much like mr. imdb updater, my dumb ass didn’t check the sundance film guide bio which confirms that MBII and MBX are indeed of the same person…I still think she should have that rap battle with DMX)

STRANDED: I’ve Come From A Plane That Crashed On The Mountains – Director Gonzalo Arijon

Quint: This is a look at the survivors of the famous plane crash involving a Uruguay Rugby team where they had to survive by resorting to cannibalism. They stayed alive for 72 days on a glacier… Yay cannibalism!

World Cinema Dramatic Competition

JUST ANOTHER LOVE STORY (Kaerlighed Pa Film) – Director Ole Bornedal

Quint: This flick out of Denmark sounds bizarre as hell. It’s about a regular suburban guy who is involved in a car accident that leave a woman unconscious in the hospital. He goes to visit her and is mistaken for the girl’s boyfriend by her visiting parents. For whatever reason he plays along, but things get complicated when the girl wakes up with amnesia. Her memories slowly begin to come back and things spiral out of control. This is supposed to be very noir-ish. If it’s not a huge, complicated mess it could be an incredible movie.

MERMAID (Rusalka) – Director Anna Melikyan

Quint: This film has won awards at Russian fests it has played. Me including this on the list is purely based on the pic of the lead actress… she’s really cute. Sorry, I have to be a guy sometimes… It’s supposed to be a fantastical love story/drama with inventive camerawork. I get an AMELIE-ish vibe from the description and photo. We’ll see…

Premieres

ASSASSINATION OF A HIGH SCHOOL PRESIDENT – Director Brett Simon. Starring Mischa Barton, Reece Daniel Thompson, Bruce Willis, Michael Rapaport.

Quint: This quirky flick is set in a Catholic school and stars Mischa Barton. That’s enough, right? Reece Thompson starred in ROCKET SCIENCE, one of my favorites from last year’s Sundance, and the rest of the cast is strong. I get a good feeling about this… I hope it pans out because I’m already locked in to interview the cast.

BE KIND REWIND – Director Michel Gondry. Starring Jack Black, Mos Def, Mia Farrow and Danny Glover

Quint: This is the big movie at Sundance this year. It’s a big studio premiere, but it’s also from a popular indie director (Gondry), so I think it’ll fit in with the fest. I personally can’t wait to watch it. I read the script a year or two ago and loved it. I’m working on nailing down an interview with Gondry, Jack Black and Mos Def right now… great threefer if that pans out.

THE DEAL – Director Steven Schachter. Starring William H. Macy, Meg Ryan and LL Cool J

Quint: So William H. Macy is a producer who talks a studio into producing a $100 million movie… and he hasn’t even read the script. It’s an artsy period drama based on Benjamin Disraeli’s life (written the the producer’s wannabe screenwriter nephew) that attracts an action star who recently converted to Judaism (LL Cool J). Described as a screwball comedy… with a good cast. Let’s do it.

DIMINISHED CAPACITY – Director Terry Kinney. Starring Matthew Broderick, Alan Alda, Virginia Madsen and Dylan Baker

Quint: Alan Alda suffers from Alzheimer’s and his grand-nephew is Matthew Broderick, who recently suffered from a concussion that leaves him short on his short-term memory. This is an epic quest as the two of them try to sell a rare baseball card at a memorabilia auction. Virginia Madsen joins up with the madness. Could a be a really good comedy. I hope so. It’s been so long since I’ve liked Broderick in anything… How long as it been? ELECTION? Damn… Please be good!

THE ESCAPIST – Director Rupert Wyatt. Starring Brian Cox, Joseph Fiennes

Quint: This is one of my most anticipated movies of the fest. I’m a huge Brian Cox fan and this sounds like a lot of fun. Cox plays a man about a decade into his life sentence. He’s fine with it, content with his lot, until he receives word that his daughter is critically ill after a drug overdose. Suddenly it’s the most important thing in the world for him to break out of jail and see his daughter, so assembles a crew to orchestrate an escape.

UNTRACEABLE – Director Gegory Hoblit. Starring Diane Lane, Colin Hanks.

Rav: Watch out. You’re the killer now! Mark my words: Grand Jury Prize

THE GREAT BUCK HOWARD – Director Sean McGinly, starring Colin Hanks, John Malkovich, Emily Blunt, Tom Hanks and Steve Zahn.

Quint: Okay, Rav’s anticaption of UNTRACEABLE muddled his brain a little bit. It’s not playing Sundance, but Colin Hanks will be represented with this flick… his first team-up with his dad. And it looks good, too! Hanks Jr. plays a young man out of college who becomes an assistant to magician Buck Howard (Malkovich) whose career is fading. Hanks Sr. plays Hanks Jr.’s dad who is none too happy with this life choice. Great cast, interesting premise… and Griffin Dunne is in it! And George Takei playing himself, apparently. How could this not be great? I’m in begging mode on this one. I need tickets to the 3:15pm Saturday screening at the Eccles. So, beg beg beg…

HAMLET 2 – Director Andrew Fleming. Starring Steve Coogan, Melonie Diaz, Catherine Keener, Elisabeth Shue and David Arquette.

Rav: This is a film about a high school theatre teacher (Steve Coogan) staging a sequel to Hamlet. I was quite surprised when I heard that this was being added to the festival as it was still shooting a few months ago. It’s probably one of the quicker festival turn-arounds in recent memory. Director Andrew Fleming is pretty darn cool in my book having previously made the 1999 Kirsten Dunst/Michelle Williams Watergate comedy “Dick.” Most recently Fleming was responsible for Nancy Drew, a film I quite liked actually although I think I’m in the minority on that since I only know one other person that also enjoyed it (Jeff Mahler, Director of Inside and the upcoming Hellraiser remake). It’s also written by Pam Brady (South Park, Hot Rod!) who is quite possible one of the funniest people on earth. Looking forward to it!

HENRY POOLE IS HERE – Director Mark Pellington. Starring Luke Wilson, Radha Mitchell, George Lopez and Cheryl Hines

Quint: Henry Poole gets bad news at a doctor’s office and flees, abandoning his good and happy life and family, determined to spend his remaining days in solitude. And it’s a comedy. From the director of ARLINGTON ROAD. Luke Wilson, Radha Mitchell and Cheryl Hines are what make this one appealing to me. We’ll see.

IN BRUGES – Director Martin McDonagh. Starring Colin Farrell, Brendan Gleeson, Ralph Fiennes, Clemence Posey
INCENDIARY – Director Sharon Maguire. Starring Michelle Williams, Ewan McGregor and Matthew MacFadyen.

This sounds like the feel good movie of the fest. IMDB’s plot description is this: “An adulterous woman's life is torn apart when her husband and infant son are killed in a suicide bombing at a soccer match.” I know that gets me all warm and fuzzy on the inside. This is another one I’m trying desperately to reschedule after an interview came up during the only press screening. If I can’t catch it, hopefully either Kraken or Rav can.

THE MERRY GENTLEMAN – Director Michael Keaton. Starring Kelly Macdonald and Michael Keaton

Quint: Beetlejuice directs!

SAVAGE GRACE – Director Tom Kalin. Starring Julianne Moore, Stephen Dillane.

Quint: There’s hated gay sons, heirs to billion dollar plastic empires, bitchy rich wives, and all out upper crust tragedy in this flick starring Julianne Moore. Moore is the reason this is on the radar.

SLEEPWALKING – Director Bill Maher. Starring Nick Stahl, AnnaSophia Robb, Charlize Theron, Dennis Hopper and Woody Harrelson.

Quint: No, not that Bill Maher… but I wonder what’s up with that Bill Maher’s documentary on religion? I can’t wait to see that. Anyway, this flick seems to be about a young girl with irresponsible parents and the power of love between two siblings. Check out the cast above… and Charlize Theron produces, so it’s a story close to her heart one would assume.

SMART PEOPLE – Director Noam Murro. Starring Dennis Quaid, Sarah Jessica Parker, Thomas Haden Church, Ellen Page, Ashton Holmes.

Quint: Ellen Page is the shit right now and who doesn’t love Thomas Haden Church? It’s a dark comedy about a crazy family… not wholly original in premise, I guess, but these kinds of movies always float on the charisma of the cast and the detail of the characters.

TOWELHEAD – Director Alan Ball. Starring Aaron Eckhart, Maria Bello, Toni Collette, Summer Bishil.

Rav: I feel so bad that I’m more excited about seeing this now that it’s not called Nothing Is Private. Oh well it’s from Alan Ball and starring Aaron Eckhart, can’t really go wrong there.

TRANSSIBERIAN – Director Brad Anderson. Starring Woody Harrelson, Emily Mortimer, Thomas Kretschman, Ben Kingsley

Quint: I’m currently stalking Emily Mortimer, so of course this one is on my list. Plus Brad Anderson and AICN go way back to his early days with flicks like SESSION 9 and HAPPY ACCIDENTS. Great cast to boot.

THE VISITOR – Director Tom McCarthy.

Quint: This is Tom McCarthy’s follow-up to STATION AGENT. Right now this is sketchy for me, but I’m curious about it.

WHAT JUST HAPPENED? – Director Barry Levinson. Starring Robert DeNiro, Bruce Willis, Sean Penn, Catherine Keener, Stanley Tucci and John Turturro

Rav: I love Art Linson, The Wild Life and When the Buffalo Room are two of the most underrated movies ever made. This is based on a book he wrote a few years back that had him rambling off stories mostly about the production of The Edge, but as well as other things like Fight Club, Pushing Tin, and Great Expectations. I know they have changed people and projects names and other stuff for this feature adaptation, but god I hope for some crazy bear fighting and mametness in this film. Its also been a while since a great barry levinson movie, so hopefully this isn’t like his more recent output. I don’t know if I could take another Man of the Year.

Spectrum

WHERE IN THE WORLD IS OSAMA BIN LADEN? – Director Morgan Spurlock

Rav: (SPOILER ALERT!) He totally didn’t find Osama Bin Laden. But heck, it still might be fun.

Quint: This is probably the most buzzed about flick at the fest. I hope it lives up to the already huge hype.

AUGUST – Director Austin Chick. Starring Josh Hartnett, Naomie Harris, Robin Tunney, Rip Torn and David Bowie.

Quint: I know everybody hates Josh Hartnett… I don’t, but whatever… This movie’s all about Rip Torn and David Bowie. What kind of backwards-ass upsidedown topsy turvy awesome world do we live in with those two are in a movie together? From the director of XX/XY.

BAGHEAD – Directors Mark and Jay Duplass. Starring Steve Zissis, Ross Partridge.

Rav: I was a real big fan of the Duplass’ brothers debut feature The Puffy Chair. I know a lot of people aren’t fans of it, but I felt it was an all around solid movie. It had a funny premise, charming leads, and was generally a well made little movie. However I don’t know what to expect from this movie. When it was first announced it was said it was a horror film. Then a few months ago they said it wasn’t a horror film. Either way it’s about a guy with a bag on his head stalking a couple in a cabin working on a screenplay and that cute short haired girl from Hannah takes the Stairs is in it somewhere.

BIRDS OF AMERICA – Director Craig Lucas. Starring Matthew Perry, Ben Foster, Hilary Swank and Lauren Graham.

Quint: From the director of THE DYING GAUL comes a dramedy. We’re getting near the end of the list and if I take any longer this damn thing will post after Sundance… I don’t really know much more about this movie other than it has a strong cast and an interesting director.

BLIND DATE – Director Stanley Tucci. Starring Tucci, Patricia Clarkson.

Quint: I recently had the opportunity to see Tucci work (ssshhhhh) and needless to say… I’m a big fan. BIG NIGHT is so good. This is his latest directorial effort, another feel good movie about a couple who lose a daughter and try to reconnect with themselves and the world by pretending to meet each other for the first time, on a blind date. Seeing Patricia Clarkson and Tucci work together is enough to guarantee a level of quality.

BOTTLE SHOCK – Director Randall Miller. Starring Alan Rickman, Bill Pullman, Chris Pine, Rachael Taylor, Freddy Rodriguez, Eliza Dushku and Dennis Farina.

Quint: The idea of seeing Hans Gruber, Lone Star, (New) Captain Kirk and Bones Barboni in a wine tasting drama blows my mind. I’m totally down for this one.

CHRONIC TOWN – Director Tom Hines. Starring Garry Marshall.

Rav: A trailer for the film is available at the official site. It looks like it could be charming and fun.

GOLIATH – Director – Zellner Bros.

Rav: Hey, it’s got a guy running with a weed wacker, Wiley Wiggins using a lot of toilet paper, and Chale Nafus looking mean…can’t go wrong there.

QUID PRO QUO – Director Carlos Brooks. Starring Nick Stahl, Vera Farmiga.

Quint: Described as a psychological thriller, this one has me curious… Nick Stahl is a paraplegic radio DJ who falls in love with Vera Farmiga while investigating a story about a man who showed up to a local hospital demanding to have his let cut off. Sounds weird, but in a good way.

RED – Directors Trygve Allister Diesen and Lucky McKee. Starring Brian Cox, Tom Sizemore, Amanda Plummer and Robert England. From a Novel by Jack Ketchum

Theres some serious baggage around this project and its not exactly clear what happened. I’m going to try to piece it together with as many of their own quotes as possible. Fresh from Lucky’s first studio shoot (UA’s “The Woods”) Variety announces the project in an article dated May 2004. In the article one of the producers (Jason Lust) described the upcoming film “The film will be in the tough, old-school vein of director-writer Sam Peckinpah's 1971 film "Straw Dogs," which starred Dustin Hoffman as a mild-mannered math professor forced into violent confrontation.” “Red” is on my “slate” of dream projects and I think it has very good chance of getting made in the near future…but don’t let me jinx it!” - Lucky Mckee – January 2006 “I just said to Lucky recently, because he’s gong to be shooting my novel Red- I said “why don’t you just option everything I own!?” (laughter) Because these guys are so damn good! They’re real, they’re nice people, they’re folks you’d like to sit down and have dinner with.” – Jack Ketchum - May 2006 (E! online NY Horror Fest Coverage for “The Lost”) ”For my next film a lot of my crew that I made May with finally have the resumes and experience so no one to give me shit about using them. So we’re all going to team back up on this next one I’m making.” – Lucky Mckee – July 2006 “Here’s hoping McKee has none of these problems on RED, the Ketchum adaptation that he’s about to start shooting, and that it doesn’t take two full years until we see it.” – Drew “Moriarty” McWeeny – November 2006 “It’s kind of not really a horror movie. It’s funny because it’s based on a book by one of the most notorious horror authors. It’s like a drama, but it’s got some violence and some bite to it. It’s really fucking harsh in some places. For the most part it’s really character driven drama, so it’s going to be kind of a shift for me after finishing my female horror trilogy.” Lucky Mckee - November 2006 Production finally commences in Baltimore after being developed for over two years on Lucky Mckee’s Adaptation of Jack Ketchum’s Novel “Red” is finally in front of cameras - Late November 2006 Three weeks into a five week schedule, the producers inform the crew that the production is over. - December 2006 “Red is Dead.” Lucky Mckee – March 7th 2007 Producers bring cast and new production crew together to film well over two weeks with Norwegian director Trygve Allister Diesen, he has never made an English language film before, most of his experience is from various Norwegian television mini-series. "Just to let you know that RED has finally finished filming, The movie, begun by Lucky McKee and completed by Trygve Diesen, stars Brian Cox and Kim Dickens, among others -- and I had the great fun and good fortune of watching these two fine actors and genuinely nice folks work together in two scenes, in which I did walk-ons as (yes, another) bartender. I'll keep ya posted as things progress." - Jack Ketchum – July 2007 (Personal Myspace Blog) ….(Ketchum deleted this posting in late 2007) "I wonder what he means by it being begun by Lucky and compleated by Trygve" Indeed. I can tell you exactly what it means. I was on the crew for Luckys part of filming. That was Nov/Dec of last year. But alas, there were some not so good people associated with the project and we all got screwed. ROYALLY. Three weeks into the five week schedule we were told it was over. And rumors flew as to why but the bottom line is that none of us, Lucky most of all, didn't get to finish the film properly. And it makes me sad that someone else got to finish it. Sadder still is that actors didn't stand up for him nor did Mr. Ketchum. – IMDB posting July 2006 username moovieluva So as I said before, I really don’t know what the hell happened to this production. All I know is I was much more excited to see this when it was the new Lucky Mckee film. I’m still kind of excited to see this at Sundance, but part of me is very afraid that its going to be similar to other films with messy production baggage like last years Dakota Fanning opus “Hounddog.” But for every couple messy clusterfuck productions that happen, occasionally a real gem comes out.

Midnight

ADVENTURES OF POWER – Director Ari Gold. Starring Ari Gold, Adrian Grenier, Jane Lynch.

Rav: A factory worker, air drumming, and a whole lot of silly nonsense. I expect this to be the most genuinely fun movie at the 2008 Sundance Film Fest. I can’t wait If you aren’t familiar with Ari Gold, here’s a quick primer. First this is my favorite short film that he directed, Culture, it’s a very easy watch and is about a minute long. This played Sundance and won an Award at South By Southwest back in 1999 right around the time indie filmmakers were dogme-wild.
For a while he’s been a part of the band The Honey Brothers of which Entourage’s Adrian Grenier is also a member. This is a video for my favorite song of theirs, you may already be familiar with it though as it was featured in the trailer for “Kabluey” earlier this year. Grenier is also in adventures of power, and fans of Grenier’s most recent HBO show probably have already noticed a similarity between Ari and a certain character’s name on the show.
Finally a clip of the character Power in action pumping up the jam. This may very well be a clip from the film, who knows? I’ve been scratching my head about it ever since Ari posted it on youtube back in September of 2006. If it is indeed a clip from the film I can’t wait to see how this fits into the narrative, its going to be one insane movie.
If you desire any other information about Power he has a myspace profile set up at http://myspace.com/adventuresofpower… there he has a few photos of him at work at the Copper mine.

Quint: I’m really looking forward to this one. I have an interview lined up with Ari and Vince… shit… I mean, Ari and Adrian… god, I hope I don’t do that in person…

THE BROKEN – Director Sean Ellis. Starring Lena Headey, Richard Jenkins

Rav: I’m a big fan of Sean Ellis’s first film Cashback, though admittedly I only just watched it a week ago. I found it a very inventive well shot fun little movie. This film involves a woman that suddenly see’s herself driving by in her own car one day, she begins to follow herself, horror hijinks ensue from there!

DONKEY PUNCH – Director Olly Blackburn. Starring Robert Boulter, Sian Breckin

Quint: This is one definitely out of left field… the odd-ball question mark in the Midnight line-up. Last year’s was THE SIGNAL, which ended up being one of my favorite movies of 2007, so I hope Donkey Punch falls under that category. Set on a yacht with promises of lots of sex and suspense, this is one of the only out and out horror films of the fest. I really want to know how the title comes into play…

FUNNY GAMES – Director Michael Haneke. Starring Naomi Watts, Tim Roth, Michael Pitt

Quint: This is Haneke’s remake of his own damn movie, but with such a fascinating cast I can’t wait to give this a view. Probably the most indie-cred horror cast assembled in the history of weird horror movies.

HELL RIDE – Director Larry Bishop. Starring Larry Bishop, Michael Madsen, Vinnie Jones, Dennis Hopper, David Carradine.

Quint: If this isn’t a real deal hardcore balls to the wall return to the biker genre then I’m going to be incredibly sad. Produced by Tarantino, directed by and starring Larry Bishop, a real life star of those fucked up ‘60s and ‘70s biker movies (and the owner of the strip club in KILL BILL v. 2 if you’re not familiar with his older work) as well as a cast of hard-asses, from Dennis Hopper to Michael Madsen and Vinnie Jones… and David Fuckin’ Carradine. I don’t know how I’ll react if this is just okay… this has to be fucking awesome.

OTTO; OR UP WITH DEAD PEOPLE – Director Bruce LaBruce. Starring Jey Crisfar, Katharina Klewinghaus.

Quint: A horror comedy out of Germany (and Canada, apparently… a new Axis? I think maybe so…) about a goth kid who thinks he’s a zombie and very well might be one… He ends up seeing an audition for a zombie flick and shows up… Apparently the film within the film is about a gay zombie revolt against consumerist society. Yeah, this could be good.

TIME CRIMES – Director Nacho Vigalondo. Starring Karra Elejalde, Barbara Goenaga Candela Fernandez.

Quint: Two of the films playing in the Midnight section of Sundance played Fantastic Fest last October: DIARY OF THE DEAD and TIME CRIMES. While I am a fan of George Romero, I am not a fan of DIARY (hence the lack of inclusion in the preview), but TIME CRIMES is the tits. It’s a comedy that is somehow serious, but still a comedy about the perils of time travel. This is such a great time that I have no problem shouting its wonders every time I get the chance. I was on a jury at Fantastic Fest this year and we voted TIME CRIMES the best of the fest and I stand by that to this day. No regrets, no second-guessing. It’s a great film and definitely a calling card for director Nacho Vigalondo. I expect great things from him in the future.




Jesus, that’s almost 20 pages and we only really covered about a quarter of the films playing. Hopefully the next couple of weeks give us a look at the great films of 2008. I’m expecting to see between 45 and 55 films in 10 days time, so I’ll have a lot to talk to you folks about soon. I’ve also got some really nice interviews lining up. Keep an eye out for those, too. I leave tomorrow... so the craziness begins! -Quint quint@aintitcool.com



Readers Talkback
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  • Jan. 15, 2008, 11:42 p.m. CST

    AN OCTOPUS DOESNT CALL HIS DICK A NINTH ARM

    by BonerDonor

    first bitches

  • Jan. 15, 2008, 11:53 p.m. CST

    Director of ROMAN POLANSKI on MGU

    by pacino33

    Marina Zenovich, the director of Roman Polanski: Wanted and Desired, will be featured in an exclusive live interview on Wednesday, January 16 at 10pm EST. go to: www.blogtalkradio.com/moviegeeksunited to listen in!

  • Jan. 15, 2008, 11:53 p.m. CST

    Roman Polansky: Wanted and Desired..

    by otm shank

    Downloading Nancy, Choke, Good Dick. Is this the sundance lineup or the AVN awards?

  • Jan. 16, 2008, midnight CST

    Remember when Sundance was actually for indie films?

    by MaxTheSilent

    Seems so long ago...

  • Jan. 16, 2008, 12:01 a.m. CST

    Wow...Loooooooong post.

    by vettebro

    Lots to read...yikes....

  • Jan. 16, 2008, 12:21 a.m. CST

    In Bruges

    by Vincenzo1975

    whats the story with In bruges, the only one with no comment. mark mcDonagh won an oscar for his fantastic short last year, this could be a great little gangster flick.

  • Jan. 16, 2008, 12:32 a.m. CST

    Cashback...

    by Tourist

    ...Is the most unintentionally funny film ever made. Imagine if the main character in Art School Confidential actually made a movie. It hits every pretentious troubled young spoiled artist emo cliche so hard that it veers from being awful into parody. Man, I laughed and laughed. God, I hope his next film sucks just as funny as his first. Plus has lots of pointless nudity too. And wow, a Bruce La Bruce horror flick? I gotta see that nasty shit.

  • Jan. 16, 2008, 1:16 a.m. CST

    Brad Renfro is dead...

    by Dr Uwe Boll

    Roger Avary is up on manslaughter - WTF is going on out there in the world. Sorry. Back to the topic at hand!

  • Jan. 16, 2008, 1:17 a.m. CST

    Now we know

    by Varakor

    Spurlock didn't find him, we can end that buzz right now and move on to kewler films. Donkey Punch and Good Dick are my films of interest.

  • Jan. 16, 2008, 2:03 a.m. CST

    I hope you were kidding about Untraceable

    by jimmy_009

    It's so obvious the twist is Colin Hanks is actually the killer. He even sounds like Colin Hanks when 'the killer' is talking to Diane Lane on her cell phone. This better be a twist on top of a twist (i.e. they are making it seem that obvious in the commercial to throw you off when (or if) you actually see the movie).

  • Jan. 16, 2008, 2:05 a.m. CST

    deliciouscowbell...

    by jimmy_009

    Did you really expect better? Look at the shitty source material they're working from. How could it possibly be good?

  • Jan. 16, 2008, 2:19 a.m. CST

    screening

    by Beard.Man

    Just saw Adventures of Power and I Always Wanted to Be A Gangster at the Volunteer screenings. Can't wait to hear reactions

  • Jan. 16, 2008, 2:30 a.m. CST

    beard

    by Ravvy

    how were they? any volunteer screenings tomorrow? :)

  • Jan. 16, 2008, 2:34 a.m. CST

    Mysteries of Pittsburg

    by theflyingsaucers

    I'm pissed! This guy who did DODGEBALL is doing one of the best novels i've ever read into a film, and he's right part 3 on the website gives away the ending, but the director talking about green screen and exposure says, "something i know nothing about!" green screen, okay, you're a camera guy, EXPOSURE!?!?!?!?!?! HOW THE FUCK YOU GONNA DIRECT SHIT? Then i go on IMDB and read that one of the main characters in the novel is just not there instead they combine two characters into one, i'm upset, i'm angry, and i plead...READ THE BOOK...it's FUCKING BRILLIANT, please don't make Kavalier and Clay into a film unless it's a trilogy or an HBO Mini-Series!

  • Jan. 16, 2008, 2:38 a.m. CST

    choke

    by krycek08

    is the only one even mildly interesting looking

  • Jan. 16, 2008, 3:09 a.m. CST

    RAV.... Grand Jury for a film about the internet?

    by Kirbymanly

    While I don't dount your opinion on how well the film plays... I just do not believe in films that solely rely on modern day technology. Its a mistake a lot of films in the 80's made. Trust me, in 5 to 10 years this film is going to be funny as hell... no matter how suspencful it is-- its content will not overthrow its concept.

  • Jan. 16, 2008, 3:53 a.m. CST

    Donkey Punch

    by Boba Fat

    Also stars Jamie Winstone, Ray's daughter as well as being named after a vile sexual act!

  • Jan. 16, 2008, 4:14 a.m. CST

    aahhhh don't worry

    by Varakor

    AICN will get around the DBZ stuff... sometime next week? maybe? Then again less coverage of this the better. Saw the set pics and I'm not impressed. There better be some heavy CGI in that mofo to make it even worthy of direct to DVD.

  • Jan. 16, 2008, 4:17 a.m. CST

    two things

    by The Real MiraJeff

    Can I just say, gentlemen, that although I've never been to Sundance, I'm not embarrassed to admit that this feature is one of my absolute favorites every year. I always highly anticipate this column. There's something about it being a tag-team article, it's like you guys are the Mike and Mike of Sundance previews, plus we don't hear from Rav nearly often enough. Secondly, RIP Brad Renfro. He's about a year older than me and I remember seeing him in The Client when I was around the age of his character and I remember being amazed at how brave he was. Then he did Sleepers, which is my favorite book of all-time. He was great in Bully and even 10th and Wolf and he also had a memorable guest role on Law and Order: CI that I still remember. I know he'd been battling heroin addiction for the last few years and because he wasn't a huge star, he kind of slipped through the cracks. There wasn't a media presence to straighten him out like Robert Downey Jr. or Lindsay Lohan. His arrest on Skid Row made the papers but his star wasn't big enough for the public to really care, and so his talent fell by the wayside and he succumbed to his demons. It's truly a shame and when I first heard about his death this afternoon I was really shocked and sad. My thoughts and prayers go out to his friends and family. He never got the recognition he deserved and now he's gone much, much too early. A real tragedy in every sense of the word.

  • Jan. 16, 2008, 4:20 a.m. CST

    lohan

    by The Real MiraJeff

    to amend my post above, there's no way la lohan is straightened out yet. maybe one day, but definitely not yet. hopefully this will be a wake-up call to her and others like her to get their shit together and not blow the incredible gift they've been given

  • Jan. 16, 2008, 4:35 a.m. CST

    QUINT...

    by Napolean Solo

    Make sure you check out the Ellen Kuras movie!!! <br> "I don't want to talk about this again" © Kevin Costner - The Bodyguard

  • Jan. 16, 2008, 4:42 a.m. CST

    where is BAFTA Nominations talkback?

    by krycek08

    atonement will win every category im sure

  • Jan. 16, 2008, 5:17 a.m. CST

    MIRAJEFF

    by brassai2003

    UNTRACEABLE= was an episode of Millenium. Correct me if I'm wrong.

  • Jan. 16, 2008, 5:26 a.m. CST

    damn lucky americans getting to go there, and yes, BAFTA

    by couP

    atonement with 14 noms, nicE

  • Jan. 16, 2008, 6:01 a.m. CST

    just a little on Brad

    by Holgi65

    well I just checked on IMDB for Brad Renfro. They haven't changed his bio yet. Uhm, so tmz is not that reliable, but I wonder how and when those guys at the Database will update. Who are THEY anyway??

  • Jan. 16, 2008, 6:18 a.m. CST

    Mysteries of Pittsburgh

    by AllieJamison

    can't wait for the Sundance reactions and a release date....

  • Jan. 16, 2008, 6:20 a.m. CST

    This movie’s all about Rip Torn and David Bowie. What kind of ba

    by EliRothJustFuckingDieAlready001

    It's called "The Man Who Fell To Earth" but you're probably too young to remember...

  • Jan. 16, 2008, 7:24 a.m. CST

    Pass

    by m_prevette

    Most of these sound like crap.

  • Jan. 16, 2008, 7:52 a.m. CST

    Incendiary

    by Lone_Wolf_McQuaalude

    One of the best books I've read in the last ten years, no question

  • Jan. 16, 2008, 9:50 a.m. CST

    ...also:

    by AllieJamison

    ...thank you for putting together that precious commented list of films. Now, after the butt-kissing may I add something off topic? Where is the TB for that cobweb Indy-pic that will allow us to collectively agree on the fact that Indy's pants look too clean??

  • Jan. 16, 2008, 10:31 a.m. CST

    Adventures of Power/I Always wanted to be a Gangster

    by Beard.Man

    I wrote about them, and will write about the other films I see. http://alexorr.blogspot.com/

  • Jan. 16, 2008, 1:54 p.m. CST

    brassai

    by The Real MiraJeff

    I've never seen a single episode of Millenium. That's the one with Lance Henrickson, right? That guy's cool... Loved him in Jennifer 8 and Color of Night.

  • Jan. 16, 2008, 2:03 p.m. CST

    People still care about this bogus festival?

    by AnimalStructure

    Amazing that people still give a shit about Sundance. When is the last time this festival was relevant? It's all about connections now. Every single film above, no matter how obscure, got in cause they had a connection. Not one of those films was just sent in according to the rules. All connections. That's not to say that the connection will automatically get you in, but you definitely AIN'T getting in if you don't have a connection. Fuck Sundance!

  • Jan. 16, 2008, 4:29 p.m. CST

    Indie films suck

    by m_prevette

    Most of the time they do. Look at all the crap creamed over on this site. Hatchet? Come the hell on. Why not jack off over the David Arquette horror movie, what was it, The Tripper? Why isnt that getting AICN love? Geez people here love ELI ROTH for fuck's sake.

  • Jan. 16, 2008, 5:41 p.m. CST

    MICHEL GONDRY HAS NEVER MADE A BAD FILM!

    by Err

    BKR WILL BE AWESOME!

  • Jan. 16, 2008, 5:47 p.m. CST

    MIRAJEFF

    by brassai2003

    you have not lived a fulfilling lfe until you have seen the first season of Millenium! there was an episode where a killer kidnapped someone and thier fate relied on the number of hits on teh website....in 1995!

  • Jan. 16, 2008, 7:31 p.m. CST

    The Last Word SUCKS

    by MrCere

    I saw a few Sundance films a week early and there were some fine films but "The Last Word" was not one of them. I will mock any reviewer who says this is worth seeing.

  • Jan. 16, 2008, 7:35 p.m. CST

    <<incredible gift they've been given>>

    by MrCere

    The only gift Lohan has been given is that of a free ride. She is a marginal actress who turned "cute" into big money. I don't hope for her death but I wouldn't care if her career died. Kids starve and she whores the headlines.

  • Jan. 16, 2008, 8:01 p.m. CST

    Sundance aka Oscar hype

    by skywalkerfamily

    Sundance ruins the Oscar's every year.

  • Jan. 16, 2008, 8:41 p.m. CST

    Dubious Agenda?

    by Funketeer

    How can wanting to prosecute and sentence a man for raping an underage girl be considered a dubious agenda? I think you need to take a look at the facts Quint. There are no grey areas here. The man committed a crime. He plead guilty and then left the country because he thought he might be given a stiffer sentence than he was led to believe. His talent is completely irrelevant to this issue.

  • Jan. 17, 2008, 12:18 a.m. CST

    Stop defending the pedophile rapist

    by BrowncoatJedi

    Polanski is scum and should be in jail. Shame on Soderberg.

  • Jan. 17, 2008, 3:29 a.m. CST

    NACHO RULES!!!!!!!

    by psychedelic

    Not only did he make a terrific movie, but he's a genuinely cool guy. I sat next to him at Fantastic Fest as he ate XXX Hot Wings going, "Ooooooh, oooooooooh, wheeeew, wheeeew," as tears rolled down his cheek. His mouth must have been blazing like Mount Saint Helen's in 1980. I highly recommend Time Crimes and hope it gets lots of attention and buzz at Sundance. Best of luck Nacho!

  • Jan. 17, 2008, 6:54 a.m. CST

    If I take drugs, write weird crap, and say

    by Grammaton Cleric Binks

    it's okay to make up false stories and sell it as truth can I be loved like Hunter S. Thompson too?

  • Jan. 17, 2008, 6:58 a.m. CST

    By Hollywood standards it is okay to rape

    by Grammaton Cleric Binks

    a teenager if you are considered a creative moviemaking genius. So if the Bloods and Crips make a good movie they can then go out and commit their various crimes with the support of Hollywood.

  • Jan. 17, 2008, 7:12 a.m. CST

    Grammaton...

    by Tourist

    ...If I owned any company, I could care less what my employees get up to on their own time. I just want results. The Pianist was good and it made money, so I couldn't care less if he raped some teenager. Tell you what though, I could care less about some raped teenager, but I'd be PISSED if I paid for Oliver Twist. Man, I'd kick his ass for that.

  • Jan. 17, 2008, 7:14 a.m. CST

    And Grammatron...

    by Tourist

    ...Its got to be wierd FUNNY crap. Well written wierd FUNNY crap. Then yes, I'll call you a genius and probally buy your book too. But not your later ones when the drug addled rants get longer, and the prose and insightful and just plain well transcribed humourous antics take a back seat.

  • Jan. 17, 2008, 7:21 a.m. CST

    Funketeer...

    by Tourist

    ...as I said, I could care less about Polanski, but I think the dubious agenda refered to was the decision of the prosecutors and judges to ignore the wishes of the victim and publically humiliate her to further their own careers. The poor handling of the case and the fame chase is partly what led to Polanski fleeing justice too. Again, if they can't extradite him for the ultimate taboo of working with Brett "I am a fat fucking waste of life and deserve to be inflated with my own ego juice until I burst like a pinata filled with talentlessness" Ratner, what hope do they have for something as trivial (in comparisson) as rape?

  • Jan. 17, 2008, 11:24 a.m. CST

    matthew stanton

    by Beard.Man

    The director of North Starr is not in Blood Car. Different guy.

  • Jan. 17, 2008, 11:28 a.m. CST

    Your statement about the "racist rednecks" in Alabama is inflamm

    by Ray Garraty #47

    There are racists in Alabama, and there are rednecks in Alabama, and there are racist rednecks in Alabama. But why would you summarily insult the entire state when discussing a documentary about Mardi Gras? It wasn't even clever, for Christ's sake. As a practicing film critic, isn't one of your goals to be accepted as an educated professional? What educated professional would just stereotype a whole state in what basically amounts to a stale non sequitur? Poor form, even for this site.

  • But let's not let something trivial like that spoil lazy journalism. Carry on.

  • Jan. 17, 2008, 1:48 p.m. CST

    Sleep Dealer

    by cdkf92

    Sleep Dealer sounds interesting... It's Mexican, it's SciFi, and it stars smokin' hot Leonor Varela. Sounds like it was made for AICN.

  • Jan. 17, 2008, 2:50 p.m. CST

    Quint how can you not know...

    by Sledge Hammer

    ...The Man Who Fell To Earth, which featured the first legendary team up of David Bowie and Rip Torn? For shame, Quint. For shame. Get thee a copy of the Criterion dvd release stat!

  • Isn't that supposed to be playing? Will you see it and review it?

  • Jan. 17, 2008, 4:57 p.m. CST

    That took way too long

    by TerryMalloy

    to read and filled me with much covetousness. Why can't I go to Sundance Momma?