Dear Wide World,
Now that the weekendâ€™s screenings and events are behind us, Park Cityâ€™s a much quieter town. Personally, thatâ€™s just fine with me. As terrific as all excitementâ€™s been, itâ€™s nice to know Iâ€™ll be able to make it up Main Street to a screening without having to fight my way past a ton of people. Itâ€™s been warmer over the past few days, but, as I write this, itâ€™s 18 degrees (F). Thatâ€™s eighteen degrees, people. This is the kind of temperature at which your memories of the fourthÂ grade start feeling the cold.
Now for todayâ€™s screening report:
2 Days In New York: Over the course of her career, Julie Delpyâ€™s had the chance to work with some of the finest filmmakers in the world (including my all-time favorite,Â KrzysztofÂ KieÅ›lowski), but in the past few years, sheâ€™s begun writing and directing her own films. Her latest,Â 2 Days In New York, is a sequel to her debut film,Â 2 Days In Paris, and Iâ€™m happy to report that itâ€™s a delight. Delpy reprises her role as the neurotic Marion, only sheâ€™s broken up with Jack (Adam Goldman) to find hopeful domestic bliss with Mingus (Chris Rock). Itâ€™s an eclectic living arrangement, with her young son and his daughter living there part-time too, and itâ€™s pushed to the limit when Marionâ€™s father, sister, and sisterâ€™s boyfriend arrive for a visit from Paris. This is an archetypal fish-out-of-water story, but the material really excels because of the wonderfully funny script in combination with some inspired casting. WhereÂ 2 Days in ParisÂ went off the rails a bit in focusing too closely on Marionâ€™s neuroses, this one succeeds by centering more on the comedic possibilities in the scenario. This was my â€œitâ€ movie of Sundance this year, and it quickly became one of my favorites of the Fest.
Ben Franklin Blowing Bubbles at a Sword: If I told you that one of the more interesting films of Slamdance would be a documentary about â€œmental athletes,â€ your skepticism would be understandable. Director Jonathan Napolitanoâ€™s look at the world of the 2011 USA Memory Championship is fascinating, and heâ€™s very smart to narrow his focus to three very different men competing for the prize. See, these guys believe that having a bad memory isnâ€™t something that needs to be permanent; it can be improved through training and using proper techniques. Watching them train and eventually compete in the competition is fascinating stuff.
Getting Up: Tony â€œTemptâ€ Quan is a legend in the world of street graffiti. Lou Gehrigâ€™s disease robbed him of his mobility, forcing him to spend the past several years hooked up to a respirator, receiving 24-hour care. After hearing about his case, Mick Ebeling, a complete stranger, decided to try and help. He begins by making a simple donation but quickly becomes actively involved in acquiring a computer that Tempt can use to communicate. Soon, Ebeling is working with a team of programmers and engineers to develop a system that Tempt can use to â€œpaintâ€ with his eyes. While the compassionate aim ofÂ Getting UpÂ is admirable, the film loses a lot of its early momentum and seems a little longâ€”even at only 53 minutes. Itâ€™s not bad, but it misses out on a chance to do more.
With Great Power: The Stan Lee Story: I couldnâ€™t make it to the Coffee with Stan Lee event this morning, but Iâ€™d be hog-tied before I let myself miss this one.Â With Great Power: The Stan Lee StoryÂ is a peppy, endearing look at one of the most successful writers of our time. One of the filmâ€™s biggest upsides is the delightfully sweet look at Stan and Joan Leeâ€™s 60-year marriage. What I didnâ€™t realize was that he was about to quit the comic book business before Joan suggested he take a comic series in the direction heâ€™d always wanted to. What resulted wasÂ The Fantastic Four. Thanks, Joan! We owe you one. I loved the humility that Stan has. Heâ€™s an icon but is remarkably modest and respectful of the contributions of others.
At the Kodak party tonight, I was able to secure a 9 a.m. Sundance screening, so Iâ€™d better hit the hay. Only two more days left, and then Iâ€™m California-bound.