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Movie B.S. with Bayer and Snider #195: The 2014 Sundance Film Festival

Friday, January 24th, 2014

[We’re both in Park City for this edition of Movie B.S., and we saw a lot of movies!]

Episode 195: The 2014 Sundance Film Festival

0:00-6:10 – Introduction, we’re at Sundance, the weather was great, etc.
6:10-1:19:00 – Sundance mini-reviews (plus signs are the ones we suggest you remember for later):

* “Cold in July”
* “Dear White People”
* “Infinitely Polar Bear”
* “Jamie Marks Is Dead”
* “Life After Beth”
* “The Skeleton Twins” +
* “The Sleepwalker”
* “Whiplash” +
* “No No: A Dockumentary”
* “God Help the Girl”
* “Calvary” +
* “Hits” +
* “Laggies”
* “The Raid 2″ +
* “The Trip to Italy” +
* “The Voices” +
* “Wish I Was Here”
* “Boyhood” +
* “The Double”
* “Locke” +
* “Land Ho!”
* “Listen Up Philip” +
* “Obvious Child” +
* “Ping Pong Summer”
* “The Babadook” +
* “Cooties”
* “The Guest”
* “What We Do in the Shadows” +

1:19:00-1:20:30 – Wrap-up and goodbyes

QOTW: What day-to-day activity could be the plot of an action movie?

Download audio / Listen at / Listen at iTunes

Link roundup – Jan. 13-Feb. 2

Saturday, February 2nd, 2013

January is always a busy month because of Sundance squatting in the second half of it, but this year that busyness was not manifested in my written output. Lots of traveling, administrating, strategizing, and recuperating, but less writing than usual. Such are the vagaries of festival coverage! Such are the caprices of fate. [Fart noise]

Here’s what has come out of my word hole over the last few weeks.

“Warm Bodies” B
“Stand Up Guys” C
“Parker” C+

Sundance things!

“Austenland” review [Twitch]
“Upstream Color” review [Twitch]
“Prince Avalanche” review [Twitch]
“Mud,” “Mister & Pete,” and This Year’s Breakout Kid Actors at Sundance []
“Escape from Tomorrow”: The Thrill of Sneaking Around Under Mickey Mouse’s Nose []
“Fruitvale” and “Valentine Road”: The Biggest Tearjerkers at Sundance []

Eric’s Bad Movies: “The Wraith” (1986), with Charlie Sheen as a supernatural manifestation/drag racer. []

Snide Remarks: “Low-Capacity Magazines” — Another lesson in gossip interpretation.

Steven Soderbergh’s Top 5 and Bottom 5 Movies. []

Movie B.S. with Bayer and Snider:
Episode 145 has talk of “Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters,” “Amour,” a Sundance wrap-up, and more. Episode 146 has “Warm Bodies,” “Stand Up Guys,” and more. [MovieBS]

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Link roundup for the last couple weeks

Saturday, February 4th, 2012

Excuse me, waiter, you brought out the February too early. I wasn’t finished with my January yet! No, it’s OK, not a big deal. I’m just saying. Anyway, here’s everything that’s happened in the last couple weeks, linkwise.


At Film School Rejects, my pint-sized platonic lady friend Allison Loring did a Q-and-A with me about my Sundance experiences. Click for the article; stay for the picture of me, which is probably the best picture of me ever taken. [Film School Rejects]

I also showed up for part of the Operation Kino podcast to talk about Sundance with fellow festival-goers Katey Rich and Matt “Patches” Patches. [Cinema Blend]

A dispatch about my first day at Sundance 2012, with movies about sad artists. []

How to be a thoughtless jerk at a film festival screening. []

And here are the Sundance reviews I excreted for, listed in order from best to least-best:

“Beasts of the Southern Wild” (A-)
“The Raid” (B+)
“Oslo, August 31st” (B+)
“Wrong” (B)
“V/H/S” (B)
“I Am Not a Hipster” (B)
“Red Hook Summer” (B-)
“This Must Be the Place” (D)

* * * * *


“Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close” (C+)
“Red Tails” (C)
“Haywire” (A-)
“Man on a Ledge” (C+)
“The Grey” (B+)
“The Artist” (B+)
“Chronicle” (B-)
“The Woman in Black” (C+)
“The Innkeepers” (B)

* * * * *


Eric’s Bad Movies: “Hard Target” (1993), starring Jean-Claude Van Damme, who stars in most of the movies we talk about at Eric’s Bad Movies. []

Re-Views: “Anatomy of Hell” (2004), an excruciating movie that is still kind of excruciating. []

* * * * *


Snide Remarks: “The Hood Life” (discovering the benefits of hoodies) and “A Game of Quarters” (those sad, weird vending machines).

Movie B.S. with Bayer and Snider: Episode 95, postponed by technical difficulties, was extremely loopy and incredibly dumb. Episode 96 was more normal, although that’s relative. [MovieBS] or [iTunes]

In the Dark: Subscribe to this weekly e-mail and get all the latest movie reviews, DVD releases, and other pertinent info delivered to your electronic mailbox. [Eric D. Snider’s In the Dark]

Twitter: @EricDSnider

2011 Sundance Film Festival linkage

Thursday, February 3rd, 2011

Maybe it was just the luck of the draw, or maybe I’m getting better at selecting which movies I see, or maybe the high altitude is finally making me loopy, but the 2011 Sundance Film Festival seemed like one of the best in several years. Of the 24 movies I saw, only five were what I’d call “bad.” Everything else was at least OK, several were very good, and I didn’t even get to see “Win Win,” “How to Die in Oregon,” or “Being Elmo: A Puppeteer’s Journey,” to name just three that everybody said were fantastic. (Then again, I also didn’t see “The Ledge,” “Son of No One,” or “Margin Call,” which everybody said were terrible.)

Here’s what I did see, arranged approximately from best to worst. Links are to the reviews. If there’s no link, it’s on account of I didn’t write a review.

“Bellflower” A-
“Like Crazy” A-
“Hobo with a Shotgun” A-
“Silent House” B+
“Project Nim” (documentary) B+
“Submarine” B+
“Take Shelter” B+
“The Lie” B+
“The Future” B+
“The Music Never Stopped” B
“The Catechism Cataclysm” B
“Pariah” B
“Martha Marcy May Marlene” B
“The Guard” B
“The Greatest Movie Ever Sold” (documentary) B
“Cedar Rapids” B- (and my interview with Ed Helms)
“The Troll Hunter” (Norwegian) B-
“The Woman” B-
“Terri” C+
“Homework” C-
“The Devil’s Double” D+
“Uncle Kent” D+
“I Melt with You” D
“Septien” D

I didn’t write a daily diary as in years past. You’ll just have to take my word for it that I had a lot of fun, and that I saw Rutger Hauer at a party.

A handy Sundance link dump

Monday, February 8th, 2010

The Sundance Film Festival ran from Jan. 21-31; here, merely eight days later, is a summary of all the Sundance-related content I produced, gathered into one handy location.

My daily diary entries are gathered into one feature article here: Eric D. Snider’s 2010 Sundance Film Festival Diary

Here are my reviews, all currently hosted either at or Cinematical:

Blue Valentine B
Buried B
Cyrus A-
Enter the Void B+
Four Lions A-
The Freebie B+
Frozen B-
Please Give B
The Runaways C
Splice B+

Here’s a wrap-up piece I wrote for Cinematical: 10 Sundance Films to Watch For

For some reason, a reporter from Salt Lake City’s Deseret News wrote a profile piece about me that ran during the festival: Former BYU humorist returns as a Sundance film critic

David Chen of Slashfilm is a prolific and highly skilled podcaster, to the extent that he can sometimes record a couple episodes while you thought he was just having lunch. I appeared in three of his on-the-fly reports at Sundance:

We meet for the first time (note the scholarly photo).
We talk about the Sundance films I didn’t like.
We talk about public screenings vs. press screenings.

Finally, if you click the “Sundance Film Festival” link under the “Movie Reviews” tab at the top of, you’ll see where additional reviews will appear as they are produced.

2010 Sundance Diary: Days 7-8

Monday, February 1st, 2010

Day 7 (Wednesday, Jan. 27)

Travis and Rudie, the two fellows from Criterion Cast, left Monday, having loved their first Sundance experience. They were replaced at the condo by three guys from Paste Magazine. You will notice that three is more than two (thanks again, math!), and that we were already at capacity. As a consequence, two of the We Are Movie Geeks guys have had to share a bed. This is none of my concern. I have my own bed. I just wanted to mention it. The Paste guys seem cool. At least I’m not the oldest person in the house anymore.

Tomorrow is the last day of press screenings, and there are only two slots, 9 a.m. and 11:30 a.m., so today is the last full day. The festival doesn’t conclude until Sunday, though, and members of the press are allowed to request tickets to public screenings, one a day during the first few days of the fest, then two a day after that, and apparently four a day during the final weekend. I have requested zero. My policy this year was that if a movie didn’t have a press screening that I could attend, then your mom. Too much hassle: request the ticket, hope they can fill the request, return to HQ to pick up the ticket, go to the venue at the appropriate time, stand in line, find a seat, leave bag at seat while you go to the bathroom, wait in line at bathroom, use bathroom, look at snack bar options, marvel at extreme prices, wish you’d remembered to bring snacks to smuggle into theater, wait for movie to start (public screenings: always late), watch movie, shuffle out with massive audience afterward, wait for shuttle bus, go to next venue. BLEH. Press screenings are so much easier. No press screening? Your mom.

Continue reading…

2010 Sundance Diary: Day 6

Monday, February 1st, 2010

Day 6 (Tuesday, Jan. 26)

My experience sharing a one-bathroom condo with five other guys has so far been surprisingly hassle-free. What’s more, my snoring, which was once legendary, has reportedly failed to bother anyone. And believe me, I’ve asked. I’m very self-conscious about it. I even brought spare earplugs for anyone who needs them, and have authorized all interested parties to do whatever it takes to silence me if I disrupt their sleep. One time I shared a room with someone who made me stop snoring by plugging my nose. It also made me stop breathing, but that was none of his concern.

Anyway, the condo has been fine, except for one thing, which is probably an obvious thing, which is that when six men share a small living space for six days it becomes — in terms of debris, leftovers, and general untidiness — a scene of unspeakable horror. I am not a clean freak, but I am generally neat and uncluttered. My cinematic brethren do not share this tendency, or at least they don’t when they are renting a condo. Perhaps their own homes are immaculate. (I am pretending to give them the benefit of the doubt.) We have a lady girl female woman person staying with us, too, but so far the fabled “woman’s touch” has had no impact on the situation. Indeed, since she has her own bedroom, we’ve barely seen her. When we have, it has been so that she could share stories with us that all involve referring to celebrities by their first names and pretending to be very good friends with them. This is amusing, but it doesn’t make things cleaner. (That’s a real photo that someone took of the tabletop, by the way. And that photo was taken three days ago.)

I began the day by heading to festival headquarters at the Marriott, where I needed to pick up a few press kits. HQ used to have a sizable lounge area for journalists, with plenty of tables and chairs and complimentary soft drinks, but not any more. Last year the complimentary soft drinks were reduced from Coke and Pepsi to Shasta; now the recession has taken its toll by removing the lounge altogether. I assume money is also the reason there were no press screenings on opening night, and why the press screenings end Thursday this year instead of Friday. And I know money is the reason they moved all the press screenings to Holiday Village instead of the Yarrow: Now the public screenings that used to be at Holiday Village can be held at the Yarrow, which is twice the size and thus represents twice the possible income in ticket sales. Since Sundance is a not-for-profit organization, things like that matter.

Continue reading…

2010 Sundance Diary: Day 5

Thursday, January 28th, 2010

Day 5 (Monday, Jan. 25)

The snow stopped falling yesterday, and my nose stopped bleeding, so I guess Mother Nature and I have reached dtente, at least until I offend her again, which is probably imminent, what with her being an odious slattern.

I was looking forward to today’s first film, “Cyrus,” written and directed by the Duplass brothers, Mark and Jay. Their other films, “The Puffy Chair” and “Baghead,” were smart, funny little gems, and this was what you might call their Hollywood debut: a real budget, with recognizable actors! John C. Reilly, Marisa Tomei, Jonah Hill, Catherine Keener!

I was not disappointed. What do you know, it’s another very smart and very funny comedy, and it has heart, too. The opening scenes establishing Reilly’s character as a pathetic but lovable loser reach wonderful heights of awkwardness.

Continue reading…

2010 Sundance Diary: Day 4

Wednesday, January 27th, 2010

Day 4 (Sunday, Jan. 24)

I got another nosebleed today. Whenever I get a nosebleed I think I have cancer or a brain tumor, because in movies it’s always a surprise nosebleed that first alerts a character to such a condition. I’ve made a note to worry more about this when I get home.

You’ve probably been concerned about what I’m eating. Burger King is still the only fast food place within walking distance of the Yarrow and Holiday Village, unless you count the Quiznos, which I don’t, because Quiznos, eh. I had a dream a couple weeks ago that a Subway had opened next to Burger King. I literally dreamed of having more nearby food options.

A couple years ago, a place that used to be a burrito place turned into a place with pizza and sandwiches, and there was much rejoicing. We loved Used To Be A Burrito Place, as it was known. But then last year it was gone, its storefront empty, and there was sadness. This year it has reemerged as a Mexican place, and it’s fairly bueno. My editor, Laremy, and I had dinner there last night, and then he and I had lunch there today with Neil from Film School Rejects. So thumbs up for Used To Be A Pizza Place That Used To Be A Burrito Place.

Continue reading…

2010 Sundance Diary: Day 3

Wednesday, January 27th, 2010

Day 3 (Saturday, Jan. 23)

The weather continued to be terrible today, but at least I got to see a movie about a monster baby. That balances the scales considerably.

But first we have to talk about “Douchebag.” This derogatory term has come into more common usage in the last few years, so it was probably inevitable that someday it would be a movie title. I can think of about a dozen Sundance movies I’ve seen that could have been called “Douchebag”; I guess it’s only surprising that no one used it sooner.

Unfortunately, the movie peaks at its title. It’s about a guy who’s about to get married who is forced to reconcile with his estranged brother. The man referenced in the title is a jerk, but he’s not really a douchebag, per se. Not frat-ish enough. Anyway, whatever he is, the movie is lazy and half-baked. In fact, at 70 minutes long, it’s barely a movie. It’s more like the outline for a movie, waiting for someone to fill in the blanks. Such a waste of a good title. (In Italy, the film will be called “Baggaduccio.”)

Continue reading…

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