Director Rick Famuyiwa (The Wood) has been rather
quiet since Brown Sugar back in 2002, with only one other feature as a
writer-director (2010’s Our Family Wedding) and a screenplay credit for
Talk to Me in 2007.
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Brian Penick, musician turned music-biz entrepreneur with his two-year-old promo company, the Counter Rhythm Group, announces the 2013 release of an expansive and ambitious interactive e-book to help musicians navigate the modern music industry. Plus, singer/songwriter Kim Taylor preps a new album, but first visits the Sundance Film Festival in Utah for the world premiere of the feature film, I Used to Be Darker, in which she co-stars.
I haven't done an exhaustive study, but it seems for the first time since I've been writing the words that appear in this space, there are no new movies opening in theaters this week. Zero. But that's not to say there aren't plenty of worthwhile options currently residing in local theaters. As I pointed out last week, there have been an uncommon number of strong movies released of late, including four last week: The Descendants, Hugo, The Muppets and My Week with Marilyn. That quartet follows the recently released Martha Marcy May Marlene and Like Crazy, which means a half-dozen movies in the last three weeks have garnered an A- or better from CityBeat's typically stingy crew of critics.
There was something in the air in Park City, Utah, as the 2011 Sundance Film Festival picked up steam — and, thankfully, it wasn’t several feet worth of falling snow. In 2010, roads and sidewalks were snarled with one storm after another. This year, the sun shone brightly for all but a few brief, furious flurries. The relative meteorological peace seemed to mirror what evolved as a generally positive sensibility.
Based on Daniel Woodrell's novel, 'Winter's Bone' tells of 17-year-old backwoods Ozarks girl named Ree (Jennifer Lawrence) who needs to get her missing meth-cooking father to a court date or her family will lose their log-cabin-style home because he jumped bail. The film incorporates an insightfully sociological sense of place yet doesn't get bogged down by it. Grade: B-plus.
As the films in the Sundance Film Festival's U.S. Dramatic Competition category — the centerpiece for potential discoveries — started to roll, it was easy to wonder if it was all worth it. Thank heavens for the documentaries, which again provided the brilliance so often missing from the fiction features.
From the bad economy to a Proposition 8 backlash, many reasons were offered as why this year's Sundance Film Festival would be less crowded, less frantic, less everything. Indeed, the vibe was just a bit different in Park City in 2009 compared to past years. Press screenings were noticeably less crowded throughout the festival, and even public screenings during the second half of the festival were more likely to feature empty seats. Maybe even the global warming thing was in play, as 2008's nonstop week of blizzards was replaced by glorious sunshine for nearly the duration.