Sundance Film Festival: David Cross delivers a flurry of “Hits” to fame-obsessed culture

The Frozen

“Hits,” “Mr. Show” co-creator David Cross’ first film as a writer-director, plays like a feature-length episode of “Mr. Show.” And that’s a good thing. “Mr. Show” mixed inspired silliness and vicious satire in equal measure, and “Hits” sustains that formula for 90 gloriously nasty minutes.

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Sundance Film Festival: “Appropriate Behavior” is a sparkling debut comedy


Before the screening of her film “Appropriate Behavior” Tuesday at the Prospector Theatre, writer-director-star Desiree Akhavan was near tears. “I just wanted to be honest about things you’re not supposed to talk about in my world, or in Utah.”

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Sundance Film Festival: “Life Itself” says farewell to Roger Ebert


“For me, the movies are like a machine that generates empathy.” — Roger Ebert

Roger Ebert was a great film writer for many reasons, but one of them was that he wasn’t just writing about movies when he was writing about movies. Read through his reviews, and you’ll find political arguments, philosophical musings, remembrances of his boyhood in Champaign-Urbana. He believed that the beauty and the power of a great movie didn’t stop at the concession stand, but extended out the front doors into — life itself.

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Sundance Film Festival: “Song One” hits a lot of familiar notes


Even for a film that’s literally about the healing power of music, “Song One” is awfully hokey. The drama from first-time writer-director Kate Barker-Froyland boasts a great soundtrack, featuring original songs by Jenny Lewis and Johnathan Rice and cameos by Sharon Van Etten, Dan Deacon and the Felice Brothers. Music in some form or another informs almost every scene in the film.

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Sundance Film Festival: Quirky “Kumiko the Treasure Hunter” goes on an epic quest, you betcha


“I’m like a Spanish conquistador,” Kumiko (Rinko Kikuchi) says at one point in “Kumiko the Treasure Hunter.” “Looking for treasure deep in the Americas.”

Only Kumiko’s quest doesn’t take her to South America, but to wintry Minneapolis in the quirky and lovely new comedy from Austin’s David and Nathan Zellner. And no, the treasure isn’t at the Mall of America.

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Sundance Film Festival: “Boyhood” took 12 years to make, and is worth every second

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You could rate Richard Linklater’s new film “Boyhood” strictly on degree of difficulty, like it was an Olympic diver. Linklater has been making “Boyhood” since 1991, visiting the same group of actors each summer, adding more scenes as they grew older.

Ellar Coltrane was six when he was hired, Lorelei Linklater (Richard’s daughter) was eight. The film is built around Ellar, and Linklater had no way of knowing what kind of actor he’d grow up to be. Embarking on such a project was a tremendous leap of faith for all parties.

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