Sunday, January 29, 2006

Sundance ends

Well, the end is here. The awards have been handed out and all of our visitors have left. For the first time in a good while, the jury (a bunch of official movie judge snobs) and the audience picked the same movies for both documentary and drama categories. God Grew Tired of Us won both documentary awards(see day 3 below) and Quinceanera won both the drama awards. The coolest story I heard was from the end of God Grew Tired of Us. In the Q&A with the director and subjects of the documentary, someone in the audience asked what they could do to help with Sudanese Lost Boys. They mentioned that they had raised $95,000 of the $110,000 needed for a new school. After the Q&A, a woman from Texas discreetly walked up to the director and handed him a check for $25,000. So when asked, did the movie make an impact, you would have to say "yes".

The one that just killed me was the winner of the World (non-US) Jury Drama award. It was 13 Tzameti, which all of us found disturbing. It did NOT win an audience award. I have to wonder what the jury is thinking.

For more on the awards, here is a nice little summary.

Another important thing we learned over the last few days is that Jasper, our new dog, seems to be the perfect watch dog. Two nights in a row, Jim came in from movies after midnight. Jasper barked and growled in a wonderfully defensive way. However, both mornings he let the snow removal guys do their thing without so much as a whimper. The snow guys show up before 6:00 and run a truck back and forth and then loudly shovel the front steps. As much as it snows, I am glad Jasper has decided they should be doing whatever they do.

Saturday, January 28, 2006

Sundance Day whatever

It is Saturday and we are nearing the end of Sundance. It officially ends tomorrow but there is a special showing Monday night of the best documentary and best drama, just for locals.

On Friday night we went and saw Alpha Dog, a film by Nick Cassavetes. If was a story about some young gang members, a kidnapping of a younger brother, and follows it through. Pretty intense movie, and pretty good. Perhaps the biggest surprise is that Justin Timberlake can act! He won't be up for an Oscar, but he did a good job with a major part. Bruce Willis and Sharron Stone were also in the movie, but had fairly minor parts. I would put this somewhere in the middle of my film ranking, but I am sure it will be at major theaters.

Jim McQuaid is out watching another five movies today. Actually, probably a lot more since most of today's sessions are shorts, which means that in your two hours of sitting, you probably see 7-8 short films. To make his film going more interesting, it is snowing very hard right now (4 pm) and they are calling for a foot by morning. Might be fun getting back to the townhouse, since Jim's last film session will end after midnight.

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Sundance Day 5

OK, we skipped Tuesday, Day 4. We had tickets to a movie called The Hawk is Dying, but both Julie and I just weren't in the mood and it had received some mediocre reviews. On to day 5....

Jim McQuaid came into town last night. Jim used to work with me at Ganymede Software and then NetIQ. While still in the computer business, Jim is a part time movie director, writer, editor, .... I got to help be a crew grunt on a recent short he did called The Longest Three Minutes. Jim has signed up for about 18 films over the next few days, starting with five today. Wow!

I went and saw a film with him this afternoon called Forgiven. It was filmed in Wilmington, NC. This morning's Salt Lake Tribune said it wasn't very good, so I went in a bit doubtful. It was actually very good and while not getting the full standing O, around 100 people stood and cheered at the end. Everyone around me thought it was very good.

Film two was called The Darwin Awards. As you might expect, it tells the tale of some of the people who are so stupid they perform acts that end up weeding them out of the gene pool. It had a very successful director and a pretty big cast. Just the same, I can only put 13 Tzameti (see day 2) below it on my list. Perhaps it gets 1 and a half stars.

One oddity was that Chris Penn, the brother of Sean Penn, was found dead today in his apartment in L.A.. He was one of the stars of The Darwin Awards. They made tonight's opening a tribute to him.

The rock band Metallica had a part in The Darwin Awards. As a result, after tonights premiere, they are playing at a little bar in Park City. Unfortunately, it is a private party for people involved with the movie. I am sure that if I were more important, I would have been invited. Jim was on the plane last night with a Metallica fan who had won an invite to the party. Pretty cool, except I don't care much for the band.

Perhaps our most "seen" Hollywood figure is Roger Ebert, although we never seem to have the camera when he is around. He was on the plane out with Bill and Kathleen and then I have seen him at four other movies. You would think I would get a picture.

No movies scheduled for Thursday. Just taking Jasper to get all his shots up to date.

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Sundance gone weird

Perhaps one of my favorite oddities of this year's Sundance is a little sheet of paper a group was handing out. It said:

Do you know the truth about Brokeback Mountain?

  • Fact: John McEnroe has never denied allegations that he is a homosexual.

  • Fact: John McEnroe refuses to comment on the allegations that Brokeback Mountain is loosely based on his experiences as a professional tennis player.

  • Fact: John McEnroe has never denied that he has been to Montana.

The facts don't lie about John McEnroe

What this group was trying to accomplish, I have no idea. Too funny!

Monday, January 23, 2006

Sundance Day 3

After last night's dreadful movie, we needed something better, and we got it.

We started with Steel City, one of Kathleen's picks. It was a good story with great acting. You really felt like you got an insight into what it is like for a family with all sorts of problems (money, jail, marriage, ...) Very moving.

The last movie for Day 3 was God Grew Tired of Us. It is about three of the Sudaneese Lost Boys and their trip to the US. Kathleen and Julie were the only ones who saw this, and they both said it was excellent.

Sundance Day 2 cont...

OK, we finally saw a bad movie, and it was my choice. We went and saw 13 Tzameti. If you read the description, it looks like a dark movie, but with real promise. In the end, it was filmed and acted well, but the story was so gruesome that no one enjoyed it. I would not recommend this to anyone.

Saturday, January 21, 2006

Sundance Day 2

No new pictures yet, but a great movie. We saw Kinky Boots, a British comedy with no big actors. It is now my favorite of this year's Sundance. It was also the first movie where the director got a standing ovation at the end of the filming.

Sundance Day 1

Julie's cousin Kathleen came to town with her husband Bill to do the Sundance Film Festival. Our first day was great! Two excellent movies and some nice star sightings.

The first movie was Friends with Money. An excellent movie, somewhat like The Big Chill. Lots on friendships, odd relationships and personalities.

The second movie was Off the Black. The two main characters were Nick Nolte and a young actor named Trevor Morgan. The movie was emotional, a little slow at times, but very good overall.

Friday, January 20, 2006

Not a good picture, but this is John Waters, the director of Hairspray, Pink Flamingos and other odd movies. He was sitting just down from us at Friends with Money. Posted by Picasa
Bill in a portrait quality photo with Ruby Dee. Boy do they seem happy! Posted by Picasa
Sally Kirkland who starred as Nick Nolte's old flame. Posted by Picasa
Nick Nolte, looking even odder than usual. He was great in the movie though. Posted by Picasa
The four of us with a 13 year old actress. We had seen her in her first movie, Off the Black, earlier in the afternoon. She was great. It was even more fun because we were her first big Sundance fans. Posted by Picasa
Bill with a famous actress. OK, it is Julie's cousin Kathleen. Posted by Picasa
Our best picture so far, Bill with Steve Carell, who just won a Golden Globe last week. Posted by Picasa

Monday, January 16, 2006

Ski Jumping at Deer Valley

A collection of the best aerial ski jumpers from around the world gathered at Deer Valley this weekend. As always, it is amazing to watch these athletes launch themselves into the air, twisting, flipping and then hopefully landing smoothly. Posted by Picasa
Nice twist. Posted by Picasa
Way, way up in the air. Posted by Picasa
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This is Joe Pak. He is a local Park City guy. He finished second in this event, qualifying him for the US Olympic team. He won a silver in the last Olympics. Posted by Picasa
The mogul competition was being run later in the evening, but I didn't hang around for it. Posted by Picasa

Saturday, January 14, 2006

Cosette the kitty

One of Cosette's hobbies is stalking birds. She sits at the door to the porch and hunkers down, carefully watching all the birds at the bird feeder. You can see the birds through the blinds. Posted by Picasa
When she isn't playing, she's napping. There doesn't seem to be much in between. Posted by Picasa

Thursday, January 05, 2006

The new pets

The big news for Julie and I is our new pets. We have had dogs and cats almost all of our lives, so the past year or two without them has been very sad. After returning from Christmas in Portland, we went to Furburbia, the local no-kill shelter.

The first pet we brought home was a 2-year old lab/collie mix. His name was Baxter, but we found that his original name had been Jasper, changed by a second owner. We liked Jasper better and he seemed to remember that name. So, Jasper it is.

The second pet came a few days later. She is a tortie-point Siamese, about 4 months old. She came without a name, so we picked Cosette, from Les Miserables. She is as cute as kittens get and did very good with the dog.

We now have to get them both conditioned to living with in the family. Shelter pets often bring some "issues" stemming from early separation from mom, no clear family, etc.
Jasper seems to favor the weather we have at 7500 feet in Utah.  Posted by Picasa
You just can't beat a good romp in the snow. Posted by Picasa
Why go through the snow when you can bound over it. Jasper goes through the snow like Tigger. Posted by Picasa
Snow diving! Posted by Picasa
Like all kittens, Cosette finds the little red dot of a laser pen irresistable. Posted by Picasa
Very attentive and very cute. Posted by Picasa
And this is the priceless one. After only a few days together, Cosette and Jasper have bonded. Posted by Picasa