In my fourth year of enjoying the Sundance film festival, this has been by far my most favorite year and I never set foot in Park City. On top of that I've had the least amount of difficulty getting tix this year and have seen more celebrities then ever before.
First off I gotta say props to our film guru Scott Renshaw for being on the front lines up in Park City every day of this crazy festival. His advice has helped steer me clear of some potential "suckfest" movies and onto some good ones. Best of all is that I and the rest of you movie buff slackers can take advantage of these reviews to plan out which movies you want to see and just figure out when they're playing in Salt Lake. Chances are when a movie plays in the SLC you gotta much better chance of not only buying advance tix (15$) at the Trolley Square box office, but you also gotta good chance at getting in just at the waiting line. Grab yer number two hours before and then you only have to wait in line a half hour before the movie starts.
In this unprepared fashion I've gotten a chance to see three great documentaries this festival, The Linguists (check Scott's review here), Kicking It and Slingshot Hip-Hop.
In these screenings I still got the chance to see the directors in person and hear them talk about their work. Which was amazing for Slingshot Hip-Hop a documentary about the growth of Palestinian rappers using hip-hop to artistically channel their rage at the Jewish occupation. Man you thought Compton was a rough 'hood, imagine what kind of music gets produced on the streets of Gaza. Not only was the director present afterwards but she also brought 5 of the Palestinian rappers from the feature who answered questions and ended the night with some freestyle Arabic rap.
Last night I managed to get into a midnight showing of Hell Ride, a Tarantino production directed by Larry Bishop. Bishop a former actor in old Motorcycle gang movies of the late 60s revives the genre in an epic movie packed with bloody revenge, bikes, peyote and hot oil wrestling biker chicks. You know, your typical snobby intellectual Sundance feature.
But after the movie ended the director got up and talked and answered questions along with some of the cast including Michael Madsen, Eric Balfour and Dennis Hopper. Dennis Freaking Hopper!
I'm embarrassed to admit it but I was totally star struck. I mean this is Mr. Easy Rider himself! But then again I figure I was also star struck just because, hey, the last place I thought I would see Michael Madsen and Dennis Hopper would be sitting in the back of the Broadway theater.
But anyways it's not too late slackers! This Friday evening the vaunted adaptation of Chuck Pahlaniuk's Choke is playing at the Tower and tomorrow the animated horror shorts selection Fear(s) of the Dark is playing tomorrow at the Broadway at 3:00, for more info on that one check out the CW review.
And if you've seen nothing, go to the box office and you might be able to pick up some tix for the prize winning movies. They'll be up in Park City, but don't worry, by Sunday when the award winners are shown, the crowds will already be flying back to their respective coasts. (Eric S. Peterson)