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Made in the Shade
3 February 2013 10:35 AM, PST
by Steve Dollar
[Editor's note: due to budget cuts and internal restructuring, Steve's review will likely be my final post for GreenCine Daily. Thank you all for reading during my four-year tenure, and be sure to follow me, Steve, Vadim and Nick on Twitter for more cine-obsessed discourse.]
Notions of "the real," and the million micro-shadings of subjectivity (the perspective of the filmmakers, the characters) that are attenuated in any contemporary film with aspirations towards naturalism, consumed my thoughts this year at the Sundance Film Festival. That, and often a certain puzzlement over directorial intent: Third acts often felt like a let-down, in films that had otherwise been exemplary displays of jaw-dropping talent. Too much plot. Not enough. Phantom motivations. Underbaked cookies. Did I miss something? Why was I, on a gut level, so disappointed?
I probably should have stuck around for the Q&A. But strangely enough, my reaction when I was troubled by a film was to let the mystery be, in hopes of circling back to it later on a second viewing, away from the festival crazy. With that experience in mind, I feel even stronger about the accomplishment of Matt Porterfield's I Used To Be Darker. »
DVD Of The Week: Seven Psychopaths
30 January 2013 8:52 AM, PST
by Vadim Rizov
It begins with a Shih Tzu. Actor Billy Bickle (Sam Rockwell) isn't landing work, so instead he's taken to snatching canines while their owners' heads are turned, then mock-innocently returning them after a suitably panic-inducing period and collecting a healthy reward. Billy doesn't know his latest acquisition belongs to Charlie Costello (Woody Harrelson), the kind of gloweringly charismatic, fearsome mobster who'll expend Scarface-level mayhem to retrieve his beloved pet. There's something equally off about Billy, as his last name implies and both he and Charlie seem like expertly played only-in-the-movies types.
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Sundance 2013: Outro
28 January 2013 5:42 PM, PST
by Steve Dollar
Another Sundance Film Festival concluded this weekend, and if this year there was no phenomenon as compelling or, well, phenomenal, as Beasts of the Southern Wild, I'd wager that it was a stronger line-up overall: More consistent, with a good number of indie filmmakers turning their focus to tougher themes executed with greater ambition and risk. I'm still processing, quite honestly, and catching up with screeners to supplement the 20 or so titles I caught in Park City last week. Here's a capsule perspective of several that impressed.
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