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<p>&quot;Emanuel and the Truth about Fishes&quot;</p>

"Emanuel and the Truth about Fishes"

Credit: Sundance Film Festival

My Sundance 2013 so far, from 'Crystal Fairy' to 'The East' and more

Catching up with some capsule thoughts

PARK CITY - Four days into this year's Sundance fest and I should probably catch up with some thoughts on this and that. I've already written at length about the two films that are the big stand-outs to me thus far, Jeff Nichols' "Mud" and Richard Linklater's "Before Midnight," but I've filled in my schedule with a few things in between.

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<p>Ethan&nbsp;Hawke and Julie Delpy in &quot;Before Midnight&quot;</p>

Ethan Hawke and Julie Delpy in "Before Midnight"

Credit: Sundance Film Festival

Linklater, Delpy and Hawke take Jesse and Celine to a new level in 'Before Midnight'

The ongoing cinema romance is a natural, profound next step

PARK CITY - Prior to tonight's world premiere of Richard Linklater's "Before Midnight," I went back and revisited the first two installments of what has now become a trilogy. "Before Sunrise" and "Before Sunset" are incredibly easy watches at 90 and 80 minutes apiece. They have an easy flow, owing plenty to the writerly collaboration between the director and his stars, Ethan Hawke and Julie Delpy, which yielded a Best Adapted Screenplay nomination for "Sunset" in 2004.

The story of Jesse and Celine is one of the great romances in all of cinema, and one of Linklater's most significant accomplishments in a unique, rebellious career. The whole journey began on a train in 1995 with a couple arguing in German. That rocky relationship, which somehow seems perfectly stable despite the aggression and the fact that we have no clue what they're arguing about, fires an intriguing starting gun for three films that follow the progression of Jesse and Celine's love and lust and star-crossed passion over 18 years.

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<p>Shailene Woodley and Miles Teller in &quot;The Spectacular Now&quot;</p>

Shailene Woodley and Miles Teller in "The Spectacular Now"

Credit: A24

Upstart distributor A24 adds to its 2013 slate with 'Spectacular Now' Sundance acquisition

Company already has 'The Bling Ring' and 'Spring Breakers' in tow

PARK CITY - James Pondsolt burst onto the scene a year ago with break-out Sundance hit "Smashed." The film was acquired a few months later by Sony Pictures Classics and was released during awards season, where Mary Elizabeth Winstead's performance turned a few heads but never managed to get any real traction.

He's back this year with one of the most buzzed films of the festival, "The Spectacular Now," starring Shailene Woodley and Miles Teller, with Winstead, Kyle Chandler, Brie Larson and Jennifer Jason Leigh filling out the cast. But he won't be waiting quite as long to find a home this time around, as upstart distributor A24 has announced its acquisition of the title.

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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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