Posts Tagged ‘Sundance Film Festival’

Oscar Countdown Part 4

Thursday, February 24th, 2011

With the expansion of the Best Picture category to 10 films (I’d like to see them go back to 5, but that’s for another post), it’s easy to overlook the movie “Winter’s Bone.” No mega-budget. No “A”-list stars. And definitely not a warm-and-fuzzy story.

Based on Dan Woodrell’s dark and twisty novel, “Winter’s Bone” is about a young girl who must go in search of her meth-dealing father in order to hold on to her family home. Jennifer Lawrence is utterly compelling as the film’s centerpiece, but it’s the setting – the oh-so-grim Ozarks – that steals the show. Talk about stepping into a place you’d rather not visit. Still, there are real places like the one depicted in the movie; they exist and they’re right here in the good old U.S. – places where people like Jennifer Lawrence’s character struggle to put food on the table every day.

I first heard about “Winter’s Bone” from my literary agent, who represents Woodrell too. She told me his book had been optioned and that the film was actually getting produced – AND that it was being screened at Sundance. Not only did it make it to Sundance but it won the festival’s top prize, so I couldn’t wait to see it. Michael and I went the day it opened. Despite his affection for “The King’s Speech” and “The Social Network,” “Winter’s Bone” was his favorite movie of the year, hands down.

Here’s a piece from today’s Huffington Post reminding us just how good “Winter’s Bone” is. If you haven’t seen it, see it!

Just Saw A Gem Of An Indie Film

Saturday, January 22nd, 2011

It’s only fitting that with this year’s Sundance Film Festival going on in Park City, Utah, I watched one of last year’s Sundance favorites on TV tonight via On Demand. The film was “Mother and Child” starring Annette Bening, Naomi Watts, Kerry Washington, Samuel L. Jackson and Jimmy Smits. I’d been hearing about it since it was released in theaters last spring, but it came and went so fast I never got the chance to see it the first time around. Here’s the trailer.

Set in Los Angeles, the film features three stories, each depicting a mother-and-child relationship that’s fraught with drama. The three women are: a 50-year-old woman (Bening); the daughter she gave up for adoption 35 years ago (Watts); and an African-American woman looking to adopt a child of her own (Washington). Writer/director Rodrigo Garcia demonstrates an uncanny understanding of women and their conflicted feelings about motherhood. He also has a beautiful, gentle touch with his actors. Annette Bening may very well win the Oscar for “The Kids Are All Right,” but she was equally skilled in this film, which is poignant and touching without being sentimental. Highly recommended.