The film breathes exhilarating life into its tired premise, thanks to some dazzling action choreography, stylish visuals and–most importantly–a vintage anti-hero performance from Keanu Reeves.
We've been covering the Sundance Film Festival from opening night through the premiere of "Life Itself" and to some surprise gems discovered by our reporters on the scene, Simon Abrams and Sam Fragoso. Here's a guide to all our coverage.Sam Fragoso reported on opening night film "Whiplash", which has been picked up for distribution by Sony Pictures. Read his coverage of the first day of the festival here. He wrote about Lynn Shetlon's new film about an unlikely friendship across generations, "Laggies", and about "Blind", a drama about a blind woman learning to navigate her world. He reported on a busy four-film day that included a dreamy film set in a car, a doc about the power of music, a disappointing drama about a musician, and a giddily weird piece of surrealism. After battling the craziness of Park City's traffic congestion, he caught up with the much-hyped period-piece drama "Infinitely Polar Bear" and sort of wished he hadn't. He got a chance to circle back and chat with Lynn Shelton about "Laggies". He talked to Chaz about watching "Life Itself" for the first time and what the film means to her. He sang the praises of "Imperial Dreams", a drama about life in Watts that, he argues, deserves more attention than it has so far gotten. He mused on how the performances hold up "The One I Love" and "The Skeleton Twins". He weighted in on the Malick-like "The Better Angels" and the acerbic wit of "Listen Up Philip". And he wrote about (whew, we were running out of verbs!) comedies "They Came Together" and "Cooties". He summed up and ranked all of the films he saw in one post.
Simon Abrams told us about Israeli documentary "The Green Prince" and the bizarre Japanese comedy "R100". On Saturday, he caught up with two revenge dramas and a comedy ("Cold in July" "Blue Ruin" and "Frank") and found the most formulaic of the three also the most satisfying. In a packed day, he went from the much-anticipated Richard Linklater film "Boyhood", which has been filmed over twelve years using an actor whom we watch grow to manhood in little vignettes from his teen years, to one of his favorite films of the festival, Calvary", a 'melancholic neo-noir about spiritual collapse, AND caught up with two other films. Quite a day. He was dazzled by "20,000 Days on Earth", a doc about Australian rocker Nick Cave. He had mixed feelings about the "The Trip to Italy" (the follow-up to the hilarious Steve Coogan Rob Brydon "The Trip") but was wowed by action-pic "The Raid 2". He summed up and ranked all his movie-watching for us in one post.
And of course, we covered the premiere of "Life Itself", the documentary by Steve James based on Roger Ebert's memoir. It was an emotional event and it is a remarkable film.
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An appreciation of "1941" and interview with Bob Gale.
An appreciation of filmmaker, writer and actor L.M. "Kit" Carson, a singular talent.
A review of Paul Thomas Anderson's "Inherent Vice" from the 2014 New York Film Festival.