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Sundance 2015 Reviews
South Park Blue Suit
Made it out ot 15 films during my trip to Sundance this year. See below for my thoughts (and ratings out of 4) by movie. Note that I'm not a film critic, nor do I play one on TV.

Dramatic films:

Me & Earl & the Dying Girl - 4 - Emotionally gripping film with a compelling story, witty dialogue, lots of film homages for movie buffs, and lots and lots of Pittsburgh eye candy showing off the tone of the city.

Partisan - 3.5 - Beautiful cinematography, slowly unraveling the twisted plot, distopian environment, and awesome use of karaoke. Still not sure where the title "Partisan" came from.

Experimenter - 3 - Great Stanley Milgram dramatic bio-pic highlighting his experiments, and filled with lots of star-power. Director effectively had Milgram break the 4th wall and address the audience to help tell the story and advance the plot.

Umrika - 3 - Thorough exploration of familial expectations and the lengths we go through to maintain them when they don't match reality.

The Stanford Prison Experiment - 3 - This film made me angrier at the experimenter than at the lost humanity of the participants. Still, it was stirring from start to finish and evoked a much stronger sense of rage.

Seoul Searching - 2.5 - Cute John Hughes style coming of age film featuring some very memorable characters and an awesome soundtrack. Still, the characters and sub-plots all resolved themselves too cleanly and conveniently by the end of the story for my taste (although clearly in line with a typical Hughes flick).

Pioneers Palace - 2 - This 7 day Romanian improvisational film school project succeeded in assembling an interesting and cinematographicaly clean slice of life period piece, but lacked both an engrossing story, and much depth to the characters.


Finders Keepers - 3.5 - Directors took a stranger than fiction story about posession of an amputated leg, and brought to life the colorful characters behind it, their shortcomings, and their personal resolutions.

Pervert Park - 2.5 - Humanized the story of the resident/parolees living in a post-sexual offender treatment program/community (in nearby St. Pete)

3.5 Minutes (documentary on Jacksonville Stand Your Ground shooting) - 2.5 - Very relevant subject, but it didn't create much discomfort as justice eventually prevailed. Still, maybe the key points were already digested by me when the trial first surfaced so I might not have been a great evaluator.

Larry Kramer in Love and Anger - 2 - The documentary clearly conveyed how Larry's abrasive style was effective at accelerating the development of a treatment for AIDS while alienating him from others working on the cause. Still, it was almost too straightforward of a story and didn't emotionally connect with the audience.

Being Evel (Knieval) - 1.5 - Chaotic retrospective on Evel's fascinating life felt like a mish-mash of 60 interviews, including too many quotes from unrelated (and uncredentialed on-screen) interviewees based on the issues being discussed.


Documentary Shorts Program 1 (of 2) - 3 - Lots of awesome documentary style shorts. For my diving friends, Object (from Poland, but silent) was a gripping short-documentary I'd highly recommend, Other memorable shorts from the program included the Route 22 Hotel/homeless shelter flick, and one year lease.

Shorts Award Winners (Kate, SMILF, Back Alley, Object, Oksana Baiul, World of Tomorrow) - 2.5 - The Jury at Sundance seems to be obsessed with pornographic/sex content in shorts (SMILF, Back-Alley). Kate was cute, and World of Tomorrow was outstanding. Storm hits jacket was interesting and absurd with a nice south-park green-eyed cow homage.

Shorts Program 2 (Dramatic) - 1.5 - Only one really outstanding short (Rabbit), one was cute (Little Deputy), while the others were too awkward/odd (Hugh the Hunter), were too slow (Spring/Back Alley), or did something wrong mid-stream that disengaged the audience/broke the emotional tone of the film (Followers).