Sundance Reviews: Short and Sweet, A Review Roundup

by | January 30, 2007 | Comments

We know some of you hate reading those cumbersome long reviews, so here’s a gaggle of Sundance screening write-ups in three sentences or less. See if you can look forward to "Resurrecting the Champ," "Angel-A," "King of California," "Smiley Face," and more!

"Smiley Face"

Comic actress Anna Faris nails the mannerisms of being high in the first half of this stoner comedy (super-slow thinking, paranoia, the munchies), but her character’s subsequent meandering adventure will totally harsh your mellow. THC enthusiasts will be mesmerized by the film’s opening credits, which recall that animated Junior Senior music video (you know which one I’m talking about). Otherwise, look for performances by John Cho, Adam Brody and John Krasinski, and an all-too-brief, but unforgettable bit by Danny Masterson (as Faris’ borderline-psycho sci-fi geek roommate).

"King of California"

Michael Douglas is a wacky dad! Evan Rachel Wood is an overly-mature teen! Unfortunately, the best part of watching this film is hearing Wilco’s "California Stars" play over the end credits, marking the end to a familiar story with one-too-many cute-clever tricks up its sleeve. I’ve got one nagging question: do they really sell scuba gear at Costco?

(Extra points to Douglas for growing/sporting the world’s most obvious Don Quixote beard for the year’s most obvious Don Quixote-esque character.)

"Resurrecting the Champ"

A surprisingly good based-in-truth journalism story about a hungry sportswriter who happens upon a long-forgotten boxer, "Champ" benefits from an unusually vulnerable performance by Sam Jackson (with a high raspy voice and jittery, downcast eyes). Josh Hartnett puts in a pretty good desperation-tinged turn himself, and the script pulls both together nicely on a theme of love and baggage between fathers and sons.

"In the Shadow of the Moon"

As awe-inspiring as it is to watch man-made rockets launch into space, seeing said Discovery Channel-esque footage played over and over again (at least, footage that looks the same — who can tell their Apollo 7s from their Apollo 17s?) becomes terribly repetitive over the course of 100 minutes, despite the occasionally witty remarks of former astronauts (especially Apollo 11 orbiter Michael Collins) who have been there, done that, walked on the moon.


Justin Theroux‘s rom-com directorial debut is pretty conventional stuff — boy (Billy Crudup) meets girl (Mandy "Candy" Moore), boy begrudgingly falls in love with girl, boy’s personal dysfunctions alienate girl, boy must win back girl in the quirkiest way possible — but adds just enough intrigue to the mix (including Tom Wilkinson as Crudup’s beyond-the-grave mentor and a handful of colorfully painted characterizations) to make this love story not-so-routine. Moore’s dyed-dark hair and kohl-rimmed eyes (and at times, Crudup’s overly flamboyant mental illness schtick) are often "we’re putting on a show"-level distracting, but who can resist a love story set in Montauk, Long Island?


Luc Besson fans and lovers of old black and white romances may be able to forgive "Angel-A" its shortcomings; the tale of a diminutive down-on-his-luck hustler who saves (or is it the other way around?) an astronomically leggy blonde from jumping off a bridge is fun, touching, and beautifully shot on the streets of Paris, but cuts too quick to a convenient denouement to be fully believable. That aside, the 5’10" former Victoria’s Secret model (and aspiring filmmaker) Rie Rassmussen is phenomenal as the titular beauty in only her second feature-length gig, and her chemistry with French actor Jamel Debbouzze ("Amelie") is delightful to watch.

"The Go-Getter"

Talk about a road movie. This winding soul search of a film stars Lou Taylor Pucci as a nineteen-year-old who, alone after the death of his mother, steals a car and sets off across the Midwest in search of a long-lost half-brother; along the way, we can predict he’ll meet a bevy of oddball characters, each whom will help him along his quest in their own quirky way. Uneven pacing and too many brief cameos make some stretches of this film as long as a dusty highway and just as empty, though rolling, atmospheric music by indie folkster M. Ward carries you along, at least for a bit.

For our full coverage of the 2007 Sundance Film Festival (news, reviews, interviews, and photos) click here!

Tag Cloud

TBS AMC Music breaking bad Peacock cops Apple TV+ biography A&E south america best documentary robots Endgame ESPN Set visit die hard Universal technology witnail MSNBC Netflix Christmas movies The Purge adventure Turner Tumblr 24 frames book dogs anime Hulu 007 TCA Thanksgiving Nat Geo Interview halloween DGA Black History Month Character Guide DirecTV space festivals Film TV psychological thriller X-Men child's play Pet Sematary worst Pride Month Apple hist Syfy Comedy cancelled TV series Box Office talk show Heroines Animation 2018 kids chucky American Society of Cinematographers docudrama dramedy Writers Guild of America spanish language politics TCA Awards crime drama romantic comedy Emmys documentaries strong female leads Disney Marathons independent obituary Star Wars quibi Crackle ABC Family Podcast Rom-Com classics Nickelodeon justice league Red Carpet social media video Lucasfilm CBS DC streaming service The CW joker NBC batman See It Skip It true crime Showtime TCM PlayStation Reality Cosplay TCA Winter 2020 Television Academy stop motion History Pirates Super Bowl Oscars 2016 Lionsgate FX on Hulu USA Spring TV WGN Television Critics Association cars twilight Horror Polls and Games Hallmark Western 2019 USA Network crime thriller Shondaland Apple TV Plus OneApp sequels Valentine's Day finale A24 Countdown Musical Drama elevated horror Best and Worst DC Universe Star Trek Ellie Kemper 72 Emmy Awards Chilling Adventures of Sabrina what to watch SundanceTV cancelled television comic Black Mirror Fox News Teen parents Dark Horse Comics Extras Mary Poppins Returns miniseries singing competition Starz serial killer Netflix game of thrones Comedy Central blockbuster Shudder New York Comic Con stand-up comedy casting psycho El Rey Tomatazos ratings 2017 boxoffice BET slashers christmas movies VOD satire stoner Crunchyroll thriller GoT Stephen King National Geographic Trailer harry potter crime Martial Arts diversity game show series Amazon Prime Video natural history Biopics comiccon PaleyFest Turner Classic Movies a nightmare on elm street richard e. Grant Epix 21st Century Fox Opinion FX Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt BBC One YouTube Red Fall TV Marvel Studios criterion Hear Us Out 4/20 Funimation 45 President canceled TV shows dc IFC Disney Channel renewed TV shows Disney Plus Avengers Certified Fresh Trophy Talk Mary poppins comedies Paramount DC Comics fast and furious adaptation universal monsters E3 spain Sci-Fi Fantasy Song of Ice and Fire Pop TV teaser E! Columbia Pictures asian-american BBC America spider-man Superheroe Food Network Binge Guide OWN CW Seed nature LGBT indie MTV Discovery Channel BET Awards Walt Disney Pictures YouTube Infographic critics VH1 CNN HBO Go discovery science fiction Classic Film HBO Max reviews Election crossover Trivia screen actors guild The Walking Dead Hallmark Christmas movies toy story Amazon Studios FOX blaxploitation Sundance indiana jones Paramount Network VICE Holiday Vudu Amazon dceu scary movies Bravo Rock dark RT History name the review dragons rotten movies we love period drama Photos screenings sitcom APB television CBS All Access Marvel Freeform canceled Women's History Month Video Games CMT movie Comic Book SDCC Elton John laika Cannes rotten TNT franchise war NYCC nbcuniversal hollywood MCU spinoff Family Disney+ Disney Plus cults TCA 2017 Watching Series facebook Pixar video on demand Acorn TV hispanic TLC cancelled TV shows YA Captain marvel cooking animated 71st Emmy Awards Spectrum Originals Country Comics on TV YouTube Premium Academy Awards zero dark thirty Disney streaming service Calendar emmy awards disaster Cartoon Network Ovation First Look Emmy Nominations TV renewals versus Baby Yoda TIFF Winter TV Esquire First Reviews Spike The Arrangement sports Anna Paquin 20th Century Fox binge ghosts doctor who Chernobyl Masterpiece Tubi mission: impossible zombie sequel Lifetime Christmas movies historical drama sag awards zombies Christmas Tarantino transformers romance tv talk movies vampires children's TV concert Britbox BBC superhero cinemax HBO Holidays Adult Swim Awards Sneak Peek political drama BAFTA Brie Larson all-time Reality Competition GIFs Marvel Television composers Musicals Sundance Now 2020 Year in Review Mudbound Amazon Prime The Witch comics Mindy Kaling cartoon theme song foreign IFC Films anthology directors Toys news films streaming spy thriller Rocketman ITV Sundance TV free movies cats revenge golden globes Kids & Family Sony Pictures PBS mockumentary police drama Creative Arts Emmys Ghostbusters Logo Summer Premiere Dates Superheroes SXSW Schedule green book Action Travel Channel Mystery Film Festival aliens 2015 Rocky Grammys latino medical drama Quiz RT21 mutant WarnerMedia travel Warner Bros. Lifetime Arrowverse Nominations supernatural LGBTQ reboot unscripted award winner jamie lee curtis TruTV Awards Tour GLAAD cancelled Pop werewolf Mary Tyler Moore based on movie ABC TV Land FXX Winners San Diego Comic-Con