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<p>As you can see, Tom Lennon is a very, very serious man.</p>

As you can see, Tom Lennon is a very, very serious man.

Credit: HitFix

Tom Lennon discusses the genius of Keegan Michael Key and Riki Lindhome's nudity in 'Hell Baby'

An uncensored video interview also spends a disturbing amount of time on Michael Ian Black in bike shorts

Thomas Lennon and I have several things in common.  We were both born in 1970.  We are both huge fans of Terry Gilliam's "Brazil."  We both look spectacular in tiny shorts.  And I'm pretty sure we both think "Hell Baby" is very funny.

"Hell Baby" is, of course, the film that Lennon co-directed with his long-time co-writer Robert Ben Garant, and I reviewed the movie after its first midnight screening at the 2013 Sundance Film Festival.  A few days later, I sat down with Lennon at the Yarrow Hotel for a conversation that covered a number of topics.

For example, you'll hear a lot about Michael Ian Black and his penis and a pair of disturbingly tight bike shorts.

You'll also hear about Riki Lindhome's startling nude scene in the film.  Like, it's the most naked I've ever seen someone appear in a film.  It's the sort of nudity that makes screen caps redundant, because by the time it's over, there is no way you will ever forget it.

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<p>&quot;Narco Cultura&quot;</p>

"Narco Cultura"

Credit: Sundance

Sundance Review: 'Narco Cultura' tackles the drug war with a keen eye

Shaul Schwarz's cinematography is a Festival standout
Subject Repetition Fatigue is always a Sundance Film Festival struggle. 
 
For several years now, it's been tough on any documentary about post-9/11 terrorism or the wars in Iraq/Afghanistan because the subject had been covered so frequently and, often, so well. How are you gonna keep them on the farm after they've seen "Restrepo" or "Hell and Back"? 
 
Just this week, I watched Jacob Kornbluth's "Inequality For All" and then, two days later, I found it difficult to stomach the economic flimsiness and sloppy anger of "99% - The Occupy Wall Street Collaborative Film." Would I have liked the "Occupy" doc more if I hadn't enjoyed those 90 minutes being lectured by Robert Reich? Perhaps.
 
Heck, Subject Repetition Fatigue is such a serious issue that I've already discussed it previously when reviewing "Manhunt" in the context of the year's various Osama Bin Laden projects.
 
We've already moved into Subject Repetition Fatigue Repetition Fatigue, wherein I've grown tired of mentioning the repeated topics that I've grown tired of mentioning. [Yes, it's been a long time since I last had a full night's sleep.]
 
Or maybe I just need a different name for it? Docu-Deja Vu? That sensation that you're hearing a fact or figure that you've heard in previous films? Or that moment you realize you've seen the same talking head discuss the same subject matter in multiple documentaries?
 
Just as I praised "Manhunt" for finding a different point-of-entry into the OBL field, I was pleased that Shaul Schwarz's "Narco Cultura"   is able to stake its own position within the recent spate of terror-in-Mexico documentaries. While some of the claims and statistics in the documentary are definitely familiar, Schwarz builds his documentary around several fresh and interesting characters and anchors the film with superlative cinematography. "Narco Cultura," ends up being one of the better features in Sundance's US Documentary Competition and its originality ends up being one of my greatest reliefs. 
 
More after the break...
 
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<p>Ang Lee and Claudio Miranda on the set of &quot;Life of Pi&quot;</p>

Ang Lee and Claudio Miranda on the set of "Life of Pi"

Credit: 20th Century Fox

Tech Support: Claudio Miranda on effects and 3D photography in 'Life of Pi'

Ang Lee's DP is the frontrunner for the Best Cinematography Oscar

The odds-on favorite to win the Best Cinematography Oscar this year seems to be Claudio Miranda for Ang Lee's "Life of Pi." Why? The Academy tends toward aesthetically pleasing films in the category. "Beautiful pictures," you might say, and sometimes at the expense of perhaps more technically proficient work that may not be as postcard pretty.

But while that may be true, it's been leveled at "Life of Pi" as a criticism in some quarters. This is, after all, a film with a visual scope that is as much a result of visual effects as it is practical photography. But Miranda has a few things to say about that, if you think his work was somehow not as important in the greater scheme than that of the effects artists at the Rhythm & Hues and MPC effects houses.

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<p>Kathryn Bigelow</p>

Kathryn Bigelow

Credit: Time Magazine

Kathryn Bigelow gets Time Magazine cover story

She hits the press trail for 'Zero Dark Thirty' without a Best Director nod in tow

Kathryn Bigelow is out there hitting the PR circuit for "Zero Dark Thirty" at a bit of an awkward time: she was passed over for a Best Director nomination two weeks ago after being considered one of the best bets in the category for a film that is very much driven by her artistic vision. She was on CBS This Morning recently offering a point of view on that, in fact. "To be honest, it was just a couple of years ago that I was standing on that stage with 'The Hurt Locker,'" she told host Gayle King, "and so that might have something to do with it as well."

Meanwhile, she gets a big cover story in Time Magazine this week that serves as part profile, part timeline of the criticism that has been leveled toward "Zero Dark Thirty" for its conflation of circumstances and, some would say, "dangerous" depiction of torture and enhanced interrogation's role in finding Osama bin Laden.

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<p>Sylvester Stallone and Jason Momoa of &quot;Bullet to the Head&quot;</p>

Sylvester Stallone and Jason Momoa of "Bullet to the Head"

Credit: Warner Brothers

Set Visit: Walter Hill is back with 'Bullet to the Head'

'Warriors' director discusses his return to filmmaking
NEW ORLEANS. It's late August, 2011. The Big Easy. Outside, it's hot. Inside, things are heating up.
 
A gangster played by Jason Momoa walks into a grungy brown office, highlighted by peeling wallpaper and mold stains. He steps back out. He steps in again. He raises a gun and points it at the camera, raising and lowering the firearm, trying to get the proper eye-line. The gun is fitted with a silencer, but it's all for show. hitmen require silence to escape detection, but movie sets require noise for proper audio synching. As a result, a PA is walking around passing out earplugs and assuring a small group of reporters that things are about to get loud.
 
Unflappable, Momoa's character reenters the room and demands that a safe be opened. It's Day 40 of 43 on the set of a film the clap-boards call "Headshot," but which will be released as "Bullet to the Head." The titles, temp and future, mean the same thing and Momoa, wearing a suit and a ponytail, much more dapper than in his role on "Game of Thrones" or the recently released "Conan," lives up to the title by opening fire on the reticent hoodlums. He's vicious, efficient and deadly. And the PA was not wrong about the noise.
 
Moments later, extras exit the stage clutching blood-drenched paper towels.
 
Walter Hill is back.
 
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Watch: Justin Timberlake channels Sinatra and MJ and reveals '20/20' release date

Watch: Justin Timberlake channels Sinatra and MJ and reveals '20/20' release date

'Suit & Tie' lyric video dresses up the hit song featuring Jay-Z

Even Justin Timberlake’s lyric videos are fancier than other artists’.  The music clip for "Suit & Tie" featuring Jay-Z, which premiered this morning, could serve as a full-on video for the song instead of as the usual place-holder that most lyrics videos are.

[More after the jump...]

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<p>Ana Gasteyer rocking out with the &quot;Suburgatory&quot;&nbsp;dad band.</p>

Ana Gasteyer rocking out with the "Suburgatory" dad band.

Credit: ABC

Review: 'Suburgatory' - 'Chinese Chicken'

Tessa becomes a football girlfriend, while Sheila rocks out with George's dad band

A review of last night's "Suburgatory" coming up just as soon as I all the parks in the miniature city in my basement are clothing-optional...

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<p>Alan Parker and Madonna on the set of &quot;Evita.&quot;</p>

Alan Parker and Madonna on the set of "Evita."

Credit: Buena Vista Pictures

Roundup: BAFTA honors Alan Parker with Fellowship award

Also: A doctor speaks up for 'Silver Linings,' and why Ang Lee could win

Once an A-list director who scored Oscar nominations for "Midnight Express" and "Mississippi Burning," Alan Parker's critical reputation has since slipped, along with his work rate: he hasn't directed a film since 2003's widely lambasted "The Life of David Gale." But he remains a highly regarded figure in the British industry, where he's served as chairman of both the British Film Institute and the now-defunct UK Film Council. He's a long-anticipated choice, then, for the BAFTA Fellowship: the British Academy's highest career honor, and the final presentation at the group's awards ceremony. Parker has a happy relationship with BAFTA, having previously won competitive awards for "Bugsy Malone," "Midnight Express" and "The Commitments" -- this will be his seventh honor overall from the group. (Side note: His best film, for my money, remains "Shoot the Moon" -- for which he naturally received nothing at all.) [BAFTA]    

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<p>There is a lot of teabagging in 'Virtually Heroes.' Like really, a lot. Like however much you think, multiply that by two. And in that sense, 'Virtually Heroes' may be a completely accurate picture of online life in 2012.</p>

There is a lot of teabagging in 'Virtually Heroes.' Like really, a lot. Like however much you think, multiply that by two. And in that sense, 'Virtually Heroes' may be a completely accurate picture of online life in 2012.

Credit: Sundance Film Festival

Review: 'Virtually Heroes' is a meta-mess of a video game comedy at Sundance Midnights

Some good ideas can't survive a tone-deaf execution

PARK CITY - Look, if I ran a film festival, I'd take every opportunity that arose to invite Roger Corman to attend, too.  He's Roger Corman.  That's awesome.

But when I think of the midnight movie selections at Sundance, I think of genuinely edgy or interesting or ambitious movies.  Every festival that does midnight movies does it differently.  Sundance's midnights are not the same as Toronto's midnights.  At all.  I expect a certain something from the midnights here, and I'm not sure I get what the programmers saw in "Virtually Heroes," a video game/action movie mash-up that features Mark Hamill in a supporting role and that has Corman's name on it to boot.

There's a big difference between making a movie that is about gaming and making a movie that is an adaptation of a game.  Matt Yamashita's screenplay does seem to have a real understanding of the mechanics of video games, the places where the artificial nature of the world of the game simply gives out.  It's not a bad script, but it does lay out its biggest jokes early and then it sort of hammers those points over and over.  If this had been a short, I think it might have been sort of great.  There are just enough good ideas here for about 20 minutes of run time, but in a 90 minute film.  Even then, I have some issues with the filmmaking itself.  While I think Yamashita's script demonstrates some first-hand experience with gaming, the direction by G.J. Echternkamp is tin-eared almost from start to finish.

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January Jones promises 'a bit more' Betty Draper in 'Mad Men' Season 6

January Jones promises 'a bit more' Betty Draper in 'Mad Men' Season 6

'Sweetwater' star also discusses last season's prosthetics
PARK CITY, UTAH - On one hand, the Sundance Film Festival is among the most connected, finger-on-the-pulse events anywhere. On the other hand, for all its surplus of information and buzz in some areas, Sundance can feel like you've entered a black hole in others.
 
I suspect it's the latter hand that explains why January Jones didn't know yet that AMC had announced a Sunday, April 7 premiere for the sixth season of "Mad Men." In Park City to promote her revenge-themed kinda-Western "Sweetwater," Jones was pleased to hear the premiere date, she wasn't able to give much information about the secretive AMC drama.
 
"Betty will be in it a bit more," Jones teased. 
 
That won't be difficult, since Season 5 found Betty struggling with her weight and other insecurities, but also found the character MIA for long stretches, in part due to Jones' new baby. 
 
While Jones wasn't eager to spoil any details at all about the new season, she was quite comfortable talking about her reaction to Betty's arc and transition last season.
 
Check out this conversation and stay tuned for the first half of my "Sweetwater" interview with January Jones.
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<p>Adam Scott of &quot;A.C.O.D.&quot;</p>

Adam Scott of "A.C.O.D."

Credit: Sundance

Sundance Review: 'A.C.O.D.' has a silly title, but Adam Scott yields some laughs

Richard Jenkins and Catherine O'Hara shine in divorce comedy
As a critic, I've been known to call certain films "sitcom-y" and probably nine times out of 10, I mean it as a pejorative. 
 
I'm not sure why that is. There are good sitcoms out there. Lots of good sitcoms. In fact, for my money, there are more good TV sitcoms than there are good motion picture comedies and that's by a wide margin. 
 
"Sitcom-y" usually refers to a certain broadness that many TV comedies have, but it could just as easily refer to the rhythm and structure that TV comedies have to develop in order to work in a 22-minute window.
 
I'm not saying that I'd ever call a comedy that I out-and-out loved "sitcom-y." Judd Apatow has definitely made movies that owe everything to a style he developed working on TV, though I'm not sure I'd always call his movies "sitcom-y," but sometimes they are. "In the Loop" is basically "The Thick of It" in feature form, but I probably wouldn't call Armando Ianucci's film "sitcom-y."
 
So it's a matter of situation.
 
Stu Zicherman's dreadfully titled "A.C.O.D." premiered on Wednesday (January 23) night at the Sundance Film Festival and... it's sitcom-y. But it isn't sitcom-y in a way that I consider necessarily negative. Zicherman is making his feature directing debut, but most of his recent writing credits have been on the small screen, including FX's very fine "Lights Out." He wrote the script with "The Daily Show" veteran Ben Karlin. His "A.C.O.D." cast includes the stars of "Parks and Recreation," plus actors currently appearing on "30 Rock" and "The Office."
 
So, in this instance, when I say that "A.C.O.D." is sitcom-y, it means that it's a neatly arced comedy with a steady stream of jokes, delivered by a professional troupe of performers who know how to efficiently hit every punchline. "A.C.O.D." is very rarely surprising and Zicherman's directing M.O. is mostly to get out of the way of his cast, but that's just smart business.
 
And speaking of business, while I don't consider it my business to speculate on future commercial fortunes, even at film market like Sundance, "A.C.O.D." is an ultra-accessible, easy-to-laugh-at comedy with some brains, so it may end up looking even better outside of Park City.
 
[Full review after the break...]
 
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<p>&quot;It Felt Like Love&quot;</p>

"It Felt Like Love"

Credit: Sundance Film Festival

My Sundance 2013 wrap: 'Big Sur,' 'We Steal Secrets,' 'Prince Avalanche' and more

Closing the curtain on my 35th annual

PARK CITY - The Sundance Film Festival will push on through the weekend but for me it concluded today. It was a longer stretch than last year for me but I still don't put in half the time some of the other folks do. I mean, 40 films in 10 days just isn't my cup of tea. The 13 I managed in seven days is more my speed, thanks. And it was a good cross-section of early looks. My first post of capsule thoughts on this and that is here, in addition to the single write-ups I did on personal favorites "Mud," "Before Midnight," "Fruitvale" and "Running from Crazy." And here are some closing considerations on more...

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