Eric D. Snider

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Archive for January, 2008

Various reviews; also, I’m dying

Wednesday, January 30th, 2008

My reviews of last weekend’s “Rambo,” “Meet the Spartans,” and “Untraceable” are now posted. Here’s hoping the reviews are more enjoyable to read than the movies were to watch.

In other news, I’m afraid I’m coming down with the Sundance Flu, a bug that started claiming victims near the end of the festival and has continued to wreak havoc on members of the press since then. Cooped up together in the same screening rooms all day, and then sharing each other’s needles and crack pipes at night — that’s a recipe for disaster.

I’ll try to produce at least the minimum amount of work the next couple days, but if I go away for a while you’ll know why. And if the masseuse shows up tomorrow and finds me naked and dead, I hope she calls 911 before she calls anyone else. (People with the Sundance Flu are allowed to make jokes about anything they want.)

‘I’m not a whore,’ says famous whore Pete Hammond

Wednesday, January 30th, 2008

My friend Erik Childress runs an ongoing feature at eFilmCritic called CriticWatch, in which he keeps track of the critics’ quotes used in movie ads. When you see all the quotes listed, it becomes apparent which critics are reasonable and which ones are shamelessly praising everything they see just so they can get quoted. We call those people quote whores.

One of 2007′s busiest whores was Pete Hammond, recently fired from Maxim magazine, which decided it didn’t need a film critic since the only reason anyone buys the magazine is to look at pictures of ladies’ boobs. Hammond’s praise was quoted in ads for 88 films in 2007.

He has zero credibility within the film critic community, and probably not much more among movie-goers in general. Yet for some reason Rotten Tomatoes chose to profile him in the latest installment of its “Meet a Critic” feature. Imagine there were a “Meet an Actor” feature somewhere, and they chose Tara Reid. That’s what we’re talking about here.

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A dumb girl thinks I’m Eric Mabius

Tuesday, January 29th, 2008

A girl named Janet sent me this e-mail through my website’s e-mail page:

hi how are you doing? no im no writing to ask for any other celeberties my name is janet when i saw you on resident evil i thought it was scary at first but then i watched it over and over because u were in it and i like your blue eyes. and when i found out u came out on ugly betty i started watching it i have never watched it before not even when it first came out. but now im starting to wait for thursdays just to see u in it.if i ever get to make a movie ill get you as one of the characters. i really hope i can meet you one day. itll be cool if itll be on my graduation from high school this year, i would probably fall of the stage if u get a chance u can go onto my space [link provided] and see the pictures i have of u on there. well first ill have to add u as a friend i have it on private. well i really hope u do write soon i would love to hear from u keep in touch keep up the good work from janet

The funny part was that while Janet had read the warning indicating that she should not write to me for celebrities’ contact info, she failed to notice that the name “Eric D. Snider” was plastered all over the site. Whoever she thought she was writing to, it obviously was not Eric D. Snider. I have never appeared in a “Resident Evil” movie. I didn’t even want to appear in the audience of “Resident Evil.”

So I responded:

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Sundance Diary: Day 10

Monday, January 28th, 2008

Day 10 (Saturday, January 26):

As usual, this 10th day of the fest was a cheat, as I didn’t do anything Sundance-related. There are no press screenings on the final Saturday, and there weren’t any public screenings that I felt compelled to wedge myself into. They did announce the awards, though, so here they are:

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Sundance Diary: Day 9

Monday, January 28th, 2008

Day 9 (Friday, January 25):

The guys from Film Threat were kind enough to let me stay at their condo last night, as most of their crew had gone home. I felt safe despite their publication’s ominous title. Film Threat? What about Film Promise? That would be so much more pleasant.

After getting up at 8:30, showering, stumbling around half-asleep, going outside, going back inside, putting clothes on, and going outside again, I gave the Film Threat guys a lift down to the Yarrow. One of my favorite secrets about Sundance used to be that the Yarrow Hotel didn’t care if you parked there. This was in stark contrast to every other business in Park City, which will tow your sorry butt within seconds if you’re not actually a customer. Everyone assumed the Yarrow had the same policy, so no one parked there, so there was always plenty of space for me.

Anyway, last year the Yarrow jumped on the bandwagon and started blocking off their parking lot — unless you paid $20 to park there. I thought it was the end of an era. But this year it’s open again, and I’ve been parking there the last few days, even overnight. Please do not tell anyone, though, as I want this to remain my little secret.

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Sundance Diary: Day 8

Friday, January 25th, 2008

Day 8 (Thursday, January 24):

I’m not even going to brag anymore. I was up at 8:45 a.m. I’ve successfully gotten up at a reasonable hour every day of the festival. I have not overslept and missed anything I was supposed to see. It is a major victory for me in the ongoing battle between me and myself. I will win this war yet! I will not allow myself to triumph!

The weather continued to be lousy today. In years past we’ve generally lucked out and had maybe one day of snow during Sundance, while the remaining days were clear (though still cold). But this year it’s snowed at least a little bit almost every day. IT IS ANNOYING. I intend to register a complaint with Robert Redford, if I can find the hollow tree he lives in.

It was a light day, movie-wise. Several of the press screenings were for films I simply had no interest in seeing — documentaries about lint, or angsty German dramas about bored housewives, that sort of thing. I also needed a good, long chunk of time to write. It’s hard to get anything done when you’re doing it in half-hour spurts. By the time you find a place to sit down, get out your laptop, connect to the wifi, check your e-mail, get up to go to the bathroom, grab a snack from the concessions stand, chat with whichever pal you run into, and complain about the weather, it’s almost time to pack it up and go to the next screening. So I needed some real time to do some real work.

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Friday movie roundup – Jan. 25

Friday, January 25th, 2008

It’s galling to even consider such rudeness, but Hollywood insists upon releasing new films even when I’m busy with the Sundance Film Festival. At least they had the courtesy to hide two of them from us.

“Rambo” and “Meet the Spartans” are probably destined for the greatest box office success of today’s new releases, and they are both HOLLYWOOD’S SHAMEFUL SECRETS©®™ (movies not screened for critics, almost always because they’re bad). Lionsgate was evidently shamed into holding last-minute screenings of “Rambo” in some markets, but not all, and not in a timely fashion.

Also opening is “How She Move,” a rather good urban dance movie that actually premiered at Sundance last year. That’s not a guarantee of quality, of course, but it is usually a sign that there’s something out-of-the-norm about it. It’s worth seeing, particularly for the dance sequences.

Another film that debuted at Sundance last year that’s now in theaters is “Teeth,” a comedy/horror about a teenage girl who has fangs in her lady parts. (You know … THOSE parts.) It’s definitely one of the best vagina dentata movies I’ve ever seen.

I see that I’m in the minority regarding Woody Allen’s new dramatic thriller “Cassandra’s Dream,” but I like it. It will remind you of yesteryear, when you liked Colin Farrell.

Finally, “Untraceable” opens today and was duly screened. But the screening was Tuesday, when I was knee-deep in Sundance coverage. I’ll try to hit it (and “Rambo” and possibly even “Meet the Spartans,” but don’t hold your breath) when I get back to Portland.

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Sundance Diary: Day 7

Thursday, January 24th, 2008

Day 7 (Wednesday, January 23):

You’ll be glad to know that the chest pains I was having a couple days ago have subsided. Now if I exert myself slightly I just get a little light-headed, like maybe I’m going to pass out, except I don’t pass out. This is definitely an improvement, as chest pains are painful (duh) while light-headedness is kind of fun. It’s how Paris Hilton feels all the time, only without the lesions.

I got up at 8:45 this morning (DAY SEVEN OF EARLY ARISING!) and headed straight for the Yarrow lobby, where I made with the clickety-clack on the laptop for a while. This was necessary because apparently my various employers actually want me to write things for them.

My first screening was at 11:30 a.m., the premiere of the new version of “Funny Games.” The 1997 original is a love-it-or-hate-it German terror flick about a home invasion. The new one is almost a shot-for-shot remake, made by the same writer/director, Michael Haneke. The only conceivable reason for it is simply to have it in English, which is more marketable than German.

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Sundance Diary: Day 6

Wednesday, January 23rd, 2008

Day 6 (Tuesday, January 22):

I know a lot of readers are dying to know whether I got up early again today, bringing my streak of professionalism and efficiency to six days. The answer is that I got up at 9 a.m. I grant you that some people don’t consider 9 a.m. to be “early,” but in my defense, those people can eat me.

First on my agenda, naturally, was to hop on the ol’ Interwebs to see the Oscar nominations. The Academy changed its schedule a few years ago, moving the nominations up so that now they’re always announced during Sundance. It’s a way of making entertainment journalists’ heads explode from trying to cover two major stories at once. Before the day was over, many of those heads would explode a second time.

My first screening of the day was “Towelhead,” the directorial debut of Alan Ball, who wrote “American Beauty” and created HBO’s “Six Feet Under.” I was surprised to learn that “Towelhead” was based on someone else’s novel, as the subject matter seems very Alan Ball-ish, dealing once again with suburban hypocrisy and treachery.

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Sundance Diary: Day 5

Tuesday, January 22nd, 2008

Day 5 (Monday, January 21):

My Ripken-like streak of arising at 8 a.m. continued today, and get this: I didn’t have to be at a movie until 11:30. I used the time to write and to visit headquarters to request a ticket to a public screening tomorrow night.

We got our first really bad weather today. It snowed all night and continued to snow off and on throughout the day, making everything slushy and wet. This almost led to an unpleasant incident on my walk to the Yarrow when a couple was on the sidewalk in front of me was walking really slowly and arm-in-arm, preventing me from getting around them. It is unwise to raise my ire first thing in the morning.

While waiting for the shuttle bus to take me to headquarters, whom should I run into but Patrick Hubley, the world’s friendliest Canadian. Patrick used to be the head press officer for Sundance, so I used to see him frequently before and during the festival, always unfailing nice, helpful, and energetic, no matter how stupid my questions were. This year he’s here just as an audience member, which means he’s able to actually watch and enjoy the films instead of dealing with minor crises 24 hours a day. It was very good to see him. I know you don’t care, but hey, whose diary is this?

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