Time seems to bend at Film Festivals. One minute, 10 days are stretching ahead of you and seemingly a millisecond and movie later, you're half way through the week. Days four and five of Sundance brought with them comedy, creepiness and conundrums, courtesy of The Machine Which Makes Everything Disappear, Upstream Color, The Way, Way Back and Blackfish.
Somehow, I also managed to sneak in some interviews with This Is Martin Bonner actor Paul Eenhoorn and the men and woman behind The Moo Man - more on which on another day.
The Machine Which Makes Everything Disappear
The interviews are intercut with much more interesting footage showing some of those caught and camera out and about in their daily lives, along with villages that seem to have been deserted by the younger generation. I expect it will go on to play other festivals but there is little to mark it out over others of its ilk.
Upstream Color, on the other and, is very much it's own animal. Offering observations on companionship, redemption and man's relationship with nature, Shane Carruth's second film is a conundrum for the viewer. You can read my full review here.
While The Way, Way Back is not breaking any new ground in terms of direction or basic story - after all, there are only so many ways to depict coming of age - its a warm and engaging comedy bolstered by great one-liners and good performances.
Liam James stars as Duncan, a teenager who would rather be anywhere else than going on summer vacation with his mum (Toni Collette) and obnoxious wannabe stepfather Trent (Steve Carrell). Seeking escape from the household, he finds himself at the local down-at-heel water park, where motormouth manager (Sam Rockwell) takes him under his wing. The strong cast also includes Maya Rudolph, Allison Janney and co-writers/directors Nat Faxton and Jim Rash. The vibe may be Little Miss Sunshine with a soupcon of Adventureland but this is a sunny crowd-pleaser that keeps you rooting for the kid.
Most of the cast attended the film's premiere in Park City - where it got a standing ovation from a happy Eccles audience. Rudolph was moved to tears as she considered her long association with Faxton and Rash, meanwhile, Carrell - after some barracking about his character for the audience, added that he would only be playing "hunky creeps from now on".
This is a thorough and thoroughly compelling documentary that offers visitors to Seaworld plenty of food for thought.