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<p>Dave Grohl from &quot;Sound City&quot;</p>

Dave Grohl from "Sound City"

Credit: Roswell Films

Sundance Review: Dave Grohl's 'Sound City' is a fun, shaky rock doc

Jaw-dropping performances and a mangled argument for reel-to-reel

Dave Grohl set out to tell the story of his recording console, sold to him from the now-defunct Sound City recording studio in California. What he filmed was a lot more than that, and he ended up with too much to say.

"Sound City" marks the Foo Fighters frontman and Nirvana member's directorial debut, and Grohl seemingly fell into the claptrap that most documentary filmmakers face when they tackle a topic they love.

The doc begins with a road story, of Nirvana touring their way to this unofficial, unseemly rock hall of fame. It went on to tell of the studio's origins and its founders; then the technology of the Neve console and Sound City's drum room. From there, the script was strangled by a series of anecdotes and side tangents, polished moments and lingering interviews. It's as though the story were laid out in bullet points with only the thinnest segues. Like, Fleetwood Mac formed here, something something then Jimmy Iovine and Tom Petty, something something then the girls that worked at the studio, a brief on punk rock in the early 80s, Neil Young's car, the development of Rick Springfield by the studio manager, the advent of the CD age, something something now here's the new songs section...

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<p>Rosemarie DeWitt discusses why she feels spoiled by the process of working with Lynn Shelton in our interview about 'Touchy&nbsp;Feely'</p>

Rosemarie DeWitt discusses why she feels spoiled by the process of working with Lynn Shelton in our interview about 'Touchy Feely'

Credit: HitFix

Rosemarie DeWitt and Allison Janney discuss going from Sorkin to Shelton at Sundance

A chat with the cast of Lynn Shelton's new film is engaging and sharp

PARK CITY - It's hard enough being expected to walk out of a movie, sit down, immediately process and write and publish, and then repeat that process several times a day, but when you throw in the added element of interviews, many of which are done right after you see a film, things get interesting.

In the case of "Touchy Feely," I was still digesting the movie when I walked over to the Stella Artois Studio (everything at Sundance is sponsored and branded out the wazoo) to chat with the people behind the movie.  There were seven of them total, and so we broke things up into two groups.  First up, I've got my conversation with the cast.

Rosemarie DeWitt was here last year for "Your Sister's Sister," and we spoke about that film at that point.  I think she's really taken to the style of filmmaking that Shelton practices, and in this film, she's as appealing as she's ever been.  Josh Pais is one of those guys you've seen in a number of things, and it's about time we all learn his name because he is consistently good in everything he does.  The same could easily be said of Allison Janney, and when you throw Ron Livingston into that mix, that's a group of actors who are very easy to talk to because they all obviously brought their A-game to this film.

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<p>Nicole Kidman and Mia Wasikowska play a mother and daughter who aren't terribly good at getting along together in Chan-wook&nbsp;Park's 'Stoker'</p>

Nicole Kidman and Mia Wasikowska play a mother and daughter who aren't terribly good at getting along together in Chan-wook Park's 'Stoker'

Credit: Fox Searchlight

Review: Chan-wook Park makes a perverse American debut with 'Stoker'

Mia Wasikowska is positively mesmerizing in the lead role

PARK CITY - Chan-wook Park has built a reputation for himself as a very smart and very perverse filmmaker, and it is safe to say his reputation will be intact once audiences get a look at "Stoker," a character-driven thriller that made its world premiere tonight at the Sundance Film Festival.

Written by Wentworth Miller, "Stoker" tells the story of India (Mia Waskikowska), an unusual young woman who has a very close relationship to her father (Dermot Mulroney) until the day he dies, which also happens to be her 18th birthday.  Shattered, she goes numb, especially since this means she's going to have to deal now with her mother Evelyn (Nicole Kidman), who she seems to despise.  India is a withdrawn, sullen girl, and she feels alone in the world, which is one of the reasons she is so confused when her Uncle Charlie shows up to pay his respects.  Played by Matthew Goode, Uncle Charlie has a surface-level charm that's hard to deny, but it's obvious from the moment he arrives that something is wrong with Uncle Charlie and his story.

The last thing India expects, though, is that there is also something wrong with her.

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Look: Photos of Justin Timberlake recording 'The 20/20 Experience"

Look: Photos of Justin Timberlake recording 'The 20/20 Experience"

He and Timbaland are clearly hard at work

Check out photos of Justin Timberlake in the studio, recording his new album, “The 20/20 Experience.”

Timberlake tweeted a link to the photos Sunday night.  The three black and white stills (he’s clearly working a theme: his Jan. 10 video announcing his comeback was also shot in black and white) show him and producer Timbaland studiously (or quizzically) listening to someone/something we don’t see. You can tell Timberlake is serious because he has on his glasses and he’s chewing on a toothpick.

The next shot shows him playing an acoustic guitar sitting by the console (the recording booth is on the other side of the glass, Justin!). The third show shows him recording vocals. He’s holding his iPhone in his hand, so maybe he hasn’t quite learned the lyrics yet.

A few minutes after posting the photos, Timberlake tweeted how excited he was that the San Francisco 49ers will play the Baltimore Ravens in Feb. 3 Super Bowl. He added “Can’t wait! I’m booking my flight to New Orleans right now!” Then followed with “Oh wait... I don’t have tickets. Dammit! Anybody know anybody?? LOL!”

We’d say that the NFL is already on it, but we’re not sure how welcome back Timberlake is after playing a big role in Janet Jackson’s “wardrobe malfunction” during the 2004 Super Bowl halftime show. Maybe as long as he stays on the sidelines....

Timberlake released "Suit & Tie," he first single from "The 20/20 Experience" at midnight Jan. 14. The song quickly soared to the top of the iTunes songs chart and is expected to leap into the Top 5 of the Billboard Hot 100 this week based on digital download sales of between 350,000 and 400,000.


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"Downton Abbey"

 "Downton Abbey"

Credit: PBS

'Downton Abbey' recap: Season 3, Episode 3

Sybil and Branson return, but not under the best circumstances

We return to "Downton Abbey" this week and find that, despite Edith's horrifying rejection at the altar, life continues on for our beloved Brits. Though Matthew has (finally) agrees to save Downton from a fire sale, that hardly means everything is smooth sailing. This week's episode takes a while to warm up, but once it does it suggests some difficult times are ahead for some pivotal characters (no spoilers, no spoilers) and that we're going to see even more cracks in the problematic class structure and political landscape of 1920s England. As much as I've enjoyed the more insular storylines (and there's still plenty of house intrigue), I can appreciate that in season three we're moving into a broader view of what was happening in the world beyond Downton -- even if it's abundantly clear that not all of it was good. 

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<p>Stevie Nicks at Sundance</p>

Stevie Nicks at Sundance

Credit: HitFix

Stevie Nicks on 'Sound City' and Fleetwood Mac: 'It's like the Volturi is coming for me'

Watch the video interview for the 'rock star' at Dave Grohl's movie premiere

PARK CITY - Stevie Nicks' storied career started, in part, out of the Sound City recording studio in California, which makes it a fine reason for her to co-star in Dave Grohl's Sundance documentary "Sound City." But the Fleetwood Mac singer and solo artist isn't entirely comfortable in front of the camera -- at least, that's not where she feels at home.

"I don't love being filmed and I don't love all the stuff that you have to think about instead of thinking about your music, I don't love the whole vanity thing. It bugs me," she told me, donning enormous sunglasses and fabulous fur on the red carpet at the "Sound City" premiere this weekend. "I never want to be a movie star… but [being] the Rock Star's O.K. because you don't have to do that that much. You really just have to work on your music and that's really where my heart is. But this is very much fun."

She's been showing up on film for "Sound City" and in the making-of film for her latest album "In Your Dreams," which is still baking. Then there's the re-reunion tour with Fleetwood Mac this year.

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<p>Cameron Monaghan, Jeremy Allen White and William H. Macy in &quot;Shameless.&quot;</p>

Cameron Monaghan, Jeremy Allen White and William H. Macy in "Shameless."

Credit: Showtime

Review: 'Shameless' - 'The American Dream'

Frank tries to move back in and Fiona runs into club night complications

A quick review of tonight's "Shameless" coming up just as soon as I have a pillowcase full of bars of soap...

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<p>Donald Glover as Sandy in &quot;Girls.&quot;</p>

Donald Glover as Sandy in "Girls."

Credit: HBO

Review: 'Girls' - 'I Get Ideas'

Hannah clashes with her old boyfriend and her new one, while Marnie finds work

A review of tonight's "Girls" coming up just as soon as I enlighten you about how things are tougher for minorities...

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Credit: Sundance

Sundance Review: 'Linsanity' spreads to Park City with some candidness

Documentary takes Jeremy Lin fans back to last spring
Merely living under a rock last February wouldn't have sheltered you from the pervasive ubiquity of Linsanity.
Knicks point guard Jeremy Lin was all anybody wanted to discuss on sports talk radio. ESPN practically rebranded in his image. Sports Illustrated put him on the cover in consecutive weeks. He was on the cover of Time. He became the most beloved figure in one of the biggest media markets in the world.
New York City is known for creating stars in short order, but with Jeremy Lin, the duration between cult stardom (and mainstream anonymity) and global omnipresence was literally less than a week.
The Grand Narrative of Jeremy Lin was oft-repeated gospel before he had started five games in the NBA. We knew about his Harvard and going undrafted. We knew about his multiple stints in the NBA Development League and about his being waived first by the Warriors and then by the Rockets. We knew he was moments from his third cutting of the season when he blew up in the second half of a game against the Nets. We knew that even as the Knicks went on a long winning streak, he was sleeping on a couch. We knew about his religious devotion, we knew exactly how many puns you could do on his last name and we knew that if you give the media enough time to talk about an Asian-American athlete stupid people who slip into intended and unintended racism before the passing of a single moon.
I sat down for Sunday's (January 20) world premiere of Evan Jackson Leong's predictably titled documentary "Linsanity" with some measure of trepidation, since the last thing I (or Sundance) needed was a hastily turned around Lin documentary regurgitating the same underdog narrative.
It's a relief to report that while Leong's "Linsanity" is a relatively familiar hagiography, the director had begun his focus on Lin before the madness and he was working with Lin's candid cooperation. That means that while none of the facts or linear details in "Linsanity" count as a revelation, Lin's personality is able to shine through. There are some very strange choices and problematic missteps in the storytelling here, but it turns out that I like Jeremy Lin and in a brisk documentary that goes a long way.
More on "Linsanity" after the break...
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<p>Philip Seymour Hoffman and Joaquin Phoenix both won awards from the London Film Critics' Circle for &quot;The Master.&quot;</p>

Philip Seymour Hoffman and Joaquin Phoenix both won awards from the London Film Critics' Circle for "The Master."

Credit: The Weinstein Company

'Amour,' 'Life of Pi,' 'The Master' win big as London critics spread the love

Daniel Day-Lewis misses a rare stop on the precursor trail

One of the few downsides of being at Sundance this year is that I missed the awards ceremony of my own critics' group, the London Film Critics' Circle. They've just been handed out at a classy gathering at London's Mayfair Hotel, and I'm pleased to see that a good half-dozen of the nominees I voted for took home awards -- not that I'm inclined to complain about any of the winners on this well-balanced list.

"Amour" was the night's top winner, taking Best Film, Screenplay and Actress for Emmanuelle Riva, but no one film was allowed to dominate too heavily. In something of a surprise, Ang Lee took the Best Director award for "Life of Pi," which took an additional technical achievement award for its visual effects.

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Brie Larson and James Ponsoldt discuss getting teens right on 'The Spectacular Now'

Brie Larson and James Ponsoldt discuss getting teens right on 'The Spectacular Now'

High school romance premiered at Sundance this weekend
PARK CITY - The Sundance Film Festival offers the opportunity for interview backdrops that you can't get anywhere else. It also offers the chance to conduct an interview under the coldest conditions imaginable.
Case in point: On Saturday (January 19) afternoon, after the sun had dipped and temperatures had plummeted into the single digits, I chatted with "The Spectacular Now" director James Ponsoldt and co-star Brie Larson about premiering their new teen drama at Sundance. It was frigid, but since "The Spectacular Now" is a film I quite like -- Check out my review -- I was grateful that Ponsoldt and Larson were willing to shiver at the base of the Main Street ski lift to talk about the project and how they want to define it, or maybe not-define it.
"They are teenagers, but I think it transcends the usual tropes of a quote-unquote teen film," Ponsoldt says.
And when I asked Larson what normal "teen movie" script get wrong, she quickly responded, "The whole thing. Generally, just the whole thing."
In the video, Larson and Ponsoldt talk about what they hope their film gets right and the challenges of balancing comedy, earnestness and romance under the same cinematic roof.
Enjoy the interview some place warm.
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<p>&quot;Inequality For All&quot;</p>

"Inequality For All"

Credit: Sundance

Sundance Review: Robert Reich thrives in the 'Inequality For All' spotlight

It's like 'An Inconvenient Truth' only more entertaining in every way
There will be a knee-jerk desire to compare Jacob Kornbluth's "Inequality For All" to Davis Guggenheim's "An Inconvenient Truth."
Both Sundance-launched documentaries feature members of the Clinton Administration giving illustrated lectures that attempt to expand issues of vital importance beyond dry liberal talking points.
So far be it for me to break from the expected pack: What "An Inconvenient Truth" was for environmental science, "Inequality For All" absolutely is for economic inequality. 
For whoever ends up acquiring and distributing "Inequality For All," there are empirical advantages to that comparison. "An Inconvenient Truth" took in nearly $50 million worldwide, making it the most lucrative PowerPoint presentation in history. It also won a Documentary Oscar in a year that featured Amy Berg's "Deliver Us From Evil," as well as "Jesus Camp" and "Iraq in Fragments."
That's high achievement for a documentary which, if we're being honest, was admirably persuasive, but fell short of any high level of filmmaking. 
"An Inconvenient Truth" was a filmed position paper and it will probably be a valuable classroom aid for years to come, but it's not a good movie. 
So while "Inequality For All" may deserve its easy linkages to "An Inconvenient Truth," that may also be selling the new documentary short. I'm not going to get into the relative political values of their arguments, but when it comes to artistic values, this isn't a close one.
Kornbluth's documentary is provocative and smart. It's also energetic and fun. It's "An Inconvenient Truth" for economics, but it's also much better. I may with that "Inequality For All" did a bit more, but what it does, it does well.
More after the break...
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