Tuesday, January 29, 2008


2008 Sundance Film Festival
★ ★ ★
Ten reasons why I like this movie:
1. IMDB lists 14 movies named “Red” in the past 30 years and this is the only one I’ve seen.
2. Production was bifurcated—shot by two different directors. But you could never tell, a credit more to the final director, Trygve Allister Diesen, than initial director Lucky McKee.
3. The Carmen Sandiego Factor: The movie is set in rural Oregon, and filmed in Maryland by a Norwegian director. Who would have guessed this could possibly turn out well?
4. Young TV actor Noel Fisher plays Danny--the spoiled, insecure and mean-spirited rich bully--realistically enough to make you hate him.
5. Tom Sizemore plays Danny’s dad, an even bigger jerk, which he does with natural ease and believability. This must have been shot before his 2007 prison sentence for another drug conviction.
6. Brian Cox (Bourne Supremacy) is really terrific as Avery Ludlow, the aged protagonist. He’s old, fat, bald and has a flawed past. And he’s the main man. How cool is that?
7. Thankfully, Ludlow does not engage in gratuitous sex with anyone in the movie. While this could have cost them the entry at Sundance, it was an act of good taste and gracious compassion to the audience.
8. Dogs and puppies make every movie better.
9. The story has all the earmarks of a Greek tragedy, but with a modern American twist. It definitely had a classical feel, including hubris as a fatal flaw.
10. Maybe unbelievable, trite and contrived, but nevertheless, the ending satisfied the audience, which sure beats the alternative.

Sundance Moment
I saw this on the last night of Sundance in Salt Lake City and both Diesen and screenwriter Stephen Susco came down to meet with the crowd and answer the worst questions I have ever heard in a Sundance Q&A. However, this was the first Sundance movie I’ve seen in Salt Lake, vs. the standard Park City locale, so maybe it’s par for the course. I felt badly for the two of them. The lowlight was when one guy started rambling on about how Diesen as a Norwegian director doing an American movie was the kind of cultural exchange that will save the world.

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