Thursday, January 15, 2009

Sundance starts…NOW!

I just finished watching the opening film of the 2009 Sundance Film Festival, "Mary and Max," and the festival is now officially underway. The charming film marks the feature debut of Adam Elliot, who won an Oscar for his 2003 short "Harvie Krumpet." It tells the story of two unlikely friends, she a grade-schooler in suburban Melbourne, Australia and he an anxious middle-aged man in New York City, who forge a deep bond as pen pals. Elliot infuses his story with whimsy, playful design and dry, morbid humor. It's a film for adults who still like to look at the world through the eyes of children.

It's also worth noting that Sundance has opened two consecutive festivals with very good films, last year's being "In Bruges." I am concerned that the programmers have permanently tarnished their reputation of opening with movies that are either agonizingly bad or completely forgettable.

I'll have lots of Sundance coverage here and elsewhere in the following 10 days. For starters, be sure to check out City Weekly's "5x5=25" retrospective, written by Scott Renshaw and myself. (WARNING: DISTURBING STILLS FROM "NAPOLEON DYNAMITE" APPEAR. Seriously. The picture is even bigger in print. And on the cover. You just can't hide from it.) I'll try to keep the links coming here, but you will find me blogging at City Weekly too. I also hope to help my friends at Film Threat out with some reviews.