OPINION:

Sundance Reviews: 'Hobo with a Shotgun'

on January 25, 2011 by BOXOFFICE Staff
Print

sundancereviews.png

Steve Ramos on Hobo with a Shotgun: "The winning entry of the Grindhouse Trailer Contest and a YouTube sensation grows into a full-length feature and a worthy contribution to pulp cinema. Hobo With A Shotgun made its world premiere in the Park City at Midnight section of the 2011 Sundance Film Festival and is a fan-friendly movie that delivers on its genre promises. Hobo also welcomes director Jason Eisener and writer John Davies as a clever creative pair ready to add new bloody classics to the trash cinema canon. Better yet, Eisener and Davies introduce Rutger Hauer, star of '80s pulp classic The Hitcher and many other films, to a new generation of fans as the raggedy wandering hero who takes it upon himself to battle a crime boss with little more than a shotgun."

Read the full review here.

Ray Greene on Homework: "Homework is an epitome of the quirky, coming of age trend at Sundance, a hollow but likable enough comedy headed for modest box office after its recent acquisition by Fox Searchlight. George (Freddie Highmore) is a brilliant and artistic young Manhattanite with one of those bogus movie problems: somehow, he's convinced himself life isn't worth living without becoming blatantly depressed or suicidal. He's just decided there isn't any reason to do his homework."

Read the full review here.

Ray Greene on Like Crazy: "We live in an accelerated media age but it's still amazing how rapidly the implacable elliptical syntax of 2010's Blue Valentine has been married to meaningless piffle. Young romantic agony has been a market force going back at least as far as suicide pop ballads like "Endless Sleep" from the 1950s and '60s, so there is definitely a constituency for Like Crazy, and Paramount was probably wise to pick this one up at Sundance for a relatively sane $4 million."

Read the full review here.

Pam Grady on My Idiot Brother: "On day four of the 2011 Sundance Film Festival, the Paul Rudd vehicle My Idiot Brother scored the biggest deal to date when the Weinsteins, partnering with billionaire Ron Burkle, paid $6 million for the rights and promised to pony up another $15 million for prints and advertising. It seems like a shrewd investment, as Jesse Peretz's comedy about a well-meaning slacker accidentally creating chaos for his three sisters is a wonderful vehicle for Rudd's humor and considerable charm. The Weinsteins are evidently optimistic, planning to open the movie during the busy summer season."

Read the full review here.

Ray Greene on The Ledge: "Fundamentalist Christianity has become such an integral part of American life that indie filmmakers are beginning to examine it in new and intriguing ways. Few seemed to notice last fall when Stone, the Robert De Niro/Edward Norton prison drama, utilized genre trappings to mount a sincere and intricate commentary on religious emotion. Matthew Chapman's The Ledge takes a similar approach via an even more identifiable commercial format. A neo noir with a terrific, high concept set-up and a flabby execution, The Ledge is noteworthy in that the doomed love triangle at its center also attempts to be a tug of war over faith and devotion of both the secular and spiritual kinds. The market for genre pictures with religious subtext being what it is, there isn't much hope for this one in movie houses (Stone died a death too, and had bigger stars). But The Ledge is at least an attempt at something more intriguing than meets the eye."

Read the full review here.

Ray Greene on Here: "Braden King's lyrical cinepoem Here is one of those movies so fully achieved it restores your faith in the cinema. An extended tone poem about a brief encounter between an American cartographer (Ben Foster) and an Armenian photographic artiste (Lubna Azabal), Here utilizes the surreal landscape of contemporary Armenia as a kind of undiscovered planet. The raw natural beauty of the rolling landscape and post Soviet urban blight is the perfect external metaphor for a fable about loneliness, the restless affliction of the congenital wanderer and the momentary consolations even the most solitary among us can find when we open ourselves to another heart. Visually sumptuous and with areal literary beauty in both its narrative structure and dialogue, this precious and philosophical character piece has hopefully found a loving distributor in K5 International who will nurture it and bring it to the thoughtful, adventurous audience it so richly deserves."

Read the full review here.

Bobby Fischer Against The World

The anti-intellectual cliché equating genius with madness gets a full, at times riveting but ultimately unsatisfying airing in Liz Garbus' handsome if somewhat workmanlike documentary-cum-oral history, Bobby Fischer Against The World. Garbus, whose film was funded by American cable giant HBO, has unearthed a cornucopia of rare audio and visual material about Fischer, a self-taught chess phenomenon who captured the American Champion title while still in his teens and went on to decimate an entire generation of state-sponsored Russian masters during the latter stages of the Cold War. But despite Fischer's physical presence in a wealth of relatively unrevealing archival interview footage, Garbus' over-reliance on interviews that state rather than dramatize Fischer's excellence makes this a portrait that too often seems more overheard than inhabited. Box office prospects are limited, but TV audiences should be satisfied enough to stay tuned."

Read the full review here.

Pam Grady on Win Win: "Actor-turned-auteur Tom McCarthy returns to the Sundance Film Festival for the third time with his third feature. Like The Station Agent and The Visitor, Win Win is a film with a big heart; it's an eccentric dramedy and a crowd pleaser. Paul Giamatti stars as an otherwise honest lawyer who gives into temptation as a way out of his financial troubles, only to see the situation spin out of his control when his client's 16 year old grandson arrives on the scene. Hilarious and moving, the movie ought to give distributor Fox Searchlight a healthy boost on the bottom line when it hits the indie circuit in March."

Read the full review here.

Ray Greene on The Music Never Stopped: "The Music Never Stopped isn't exactly good, but it's definitely better than you fear it is when you reach the halfway mark. Basing their film on a nonfiction book by Dr. Oliver Sacks (who also penned Awakenings, another sentimental weepie paring grey matter with black and white characters), director Jim Kohlberg and writers Gwyn Lurie and Gary Marks have created a film that has the look, moral centre and structure of a Lifetime Movie, or maybe a particularly benign episode of House. Timing is everything though, and thanks to recent and very tragic events in Arizona, and a bullet fired into the forehead of a US Congresswoman, the brain is on our minds these days. Expect distributor Roadside Attractions to find a small but passionate following for The Music Never Stopped before the film reawakens and finds its second life in the home market, where it belongs."

Read the full review here.

Tags: The Music Never Stopped, Win Win, Sundance 2011, My Idiot Brother, The Ledge, Bobby Fischer Against The World, Here, Homework, Like Crazy
Print

read all Articles »


2 Comments

What do you think?