Sundance is over, and it’ll probably be a good while before I go back due to school. I saw about eight shows this year. I think that’s the lowest amount of shows I’ve seen during the festival. I can’t say that any of them were bad, but I do want to highlight the best shows that I saw this year:
Ryan Reynolds plays a truck contractor in Iraq. He awakens in a coffin buried underground. His captors have left him a Zippo lighter, a cell phone, and a glow stick. His mission is to come up with $5 million dollars by the end of the day or his captors will simply forget about him. The cinematography is excellent! The whole entire movie takes place within the coffin itself. I, myself, am not a claustrophobic person, but I sure felt it during the movie. Of course, when the character calls people, you can hear the voices, but the camera never pans over to the other person. Thus, the whole movie just consists of one scene and one actor. Reynolds does an excellent job. I’m really impressed with his acting skills in this. The story is also impressive as to how he can be saved and what everyone is trying to do in order to save him. The ending, I have to say, really surprised me. I heard that this will eventually hit mainstream soon so check it out as soon as you can.
Imagine going up a ski-lift with some friends for a little night skiing. What if while on the ski-lift, the ski resort closed down, and completely forgot that you were on the lift? You and your friends are dangling high above the ground, the night is getting colder, and the ground is basically ice. To make things worse, it’s a Sunday night and the resort doesn’t open again until Friday. Thus, if you stay on the lift, you’ll be stuck there for five nights. This is basically the plot of the movie. There are two points that I want to say about this movie. One, this movie is hard to pin-point on where you should classify this. This isn’t really a drama, it’s not really horror either. This is something like terror/suspense/drama. Two, the director does an excellent job of putting you in this same spot and forces you to ask: what would I do in this situation? So while I was watching this movie, I thought of some options on what to do: I would probably jump down, I would probably scale the cable so that I could reach a pole. The characters don’t bring up a cell phone (which seems unlikely), but if that was the case, I would change the story so that they had cell phones but they couldn’t get service. Eventually, you see how these characters deal with their situation. There’s frost-bites, wolves, and falling chairs.
Another amazing thing about this movie: while I was watching this, I couldn’t help but see that the ski-lift and the slopes were extremely familiar. The director stated that he filmed it at Snowbasin. Ahh, now I see it! The director also told us that these actors were truly dedicated because there was no CGI, no green screen, no sound stage, or any camera tricks. It was filmed on location, which meant that the actors literally stayed up on that chair lift in the middle of the night. There was a point where you couldn’t see the actor’s breath anymore, and that was because their body temperature dropped so low. That’s true acting dedication! For those folks that live around the Salt Lake area, this movie is playing this weekend in select theaters so I highly recommend checking this movie out. I may even see it again.
The movie is based on the book by Naomi Klein which you can see my review of it here. The movie puts the book in a good perspective. It explains that a completely unregulated capitalism actually makes things worse. I, however, think it’s a straw-man. The fallacy is that Friedman’s economic system is unbridled capitalism is a bad idea. However, I think it’s the people using that economic theory that are to blame. Interestingly, Friedman states that he would never privatize roads, the courts, and the army. But the next scene shows how the Iraq war was profiteering from Blackwater and contracted armies. However, it’s really well-done and I plan to buy the DVD when it comes out.
Finally, a comedy. Imagine being in prison and for work-release, you work as a locksmith. One day, you’re opening a lock for a young woman and you find out that this isn’t her home, but her boyfriend’s house. Since you’re on probation, you’ll be in deep trouble. Thus, you quickly leave, but the young woman tags along and tries to convince you to spy on her boyfriend, in a sense. This movie takes place in one day but the things that the locksmith has to go through just to get through the end of the day is hilarious. The young woman is a very talented actress because she gives off the weirdness and neurotic vibe. All in all, it’s a good movie for a good laugh.
Well, Sundance this year was actually pretty good. I wish I could’ve seen more movies, but with my busy schedule, I have to cut out some time. Check out some of these movies in the future if you can.