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The SUNDANCE FILM FESTIVAL is getting underway right now up in the cradle of the Winter Olympics… It starts a week early and frankly… I can’t imagine putting up with the insanity that would be SUNDANCE while the Olympic Hysteria was building up with all the security that fell in place, but for all the hassles plaguing Park City, Utah at this year’s fest… The ice and the snow, the plethora of black leather wearing Hollywoodites. There will be parties and drunken debauchery and by the time it is all said and done the same people that piss and moan every year will declare this year the worst year ever, no matter how good the films may be.

Personally I hate that I’m hobbling about right now and that I can’t take part in the craziness of the next 10-12 days. We’ll be depending on what you good folks are hearing up there in Park City. What did you see? How was it? Terrible? Great? What? Each and every year we cover this festival with the help of a good group of people that attend these screenings looking for the duds and the stars that will emerge from the festival.

Moriarty has already warned you off of THE DANGEROUS LIVES OF ALTAR BOYS, John Robie warned you of the terrible PUMPKIN. We’ve been telling you about the hilarious freaking joy that is RUN RONNIE RUN. I’m about to tell you about a little film you’ve never heard of called BETTER LUCK TOMORROW.

The point of this, all of this is that Sundance is the start of the good Indie films that will be popping up throughout the rest of the year. As we do every year we’ll be seeking reports from you good folks at festivals around the globe. So we know what to hunt for, what not to miss. So we know about little films shot in the UK or THAILAND or HONG KONG or FRANCE or anywhere else on this globe. Also there’s all the homegrown flicks, the ones shot in the hopes of becoming one of those magical Indie darlings. Will there be great finds this year? Where’s the gold in Sundance? Well, if you are attending Sundance we’d love to hear from you!

Send your Sundance Reviews to Harry@AintItCool.Com and we’ll let the rest of the world know. We’re counting on you folks.

Now one of the great things about film festivals in general is just stumbling into a theater and finding a movie you’ve never heard of before. As Sundance approaches people with their films going begin sending me their tapes to take a look at, so right now at Geek Headquarters, we are in the process of beginning AICN-Dance, where the first film unfurled across my eyes tonight.


Directed by Justin Lin, his second film.. the first was something called SHOPPING FOR FANGS, which has been being described as the strangest Asian film ever having something to do with a werewolf.

This time out, Justin has created a thriller, a crime thriller, an Asian teenage high school crime thriller romance thing.

I didn’t recognize a single actor in the film, but that didn’t stop me from feeling that everyone in the film was absolutely superb. It stars Parry Shen as a driven obsessive student determined to get a perfect score on his SAT and to get into a great school to become a Doctor ultimately. He has a very fixed pattern in his life. He goes to school, takes part in all manners of extra-curricular activities, adopts a beach, takes part in the mental decathlon and has been employee of the month at a HotDog stand in the mall for months. On the side he buys computer parts in a store, goes outside, puts all the parts in his friend’s car, goes back in later… fills the basket with the exact same equipment, then goes up to the counter as if he was returning the materials and get a refund. He does it, because sometimes a guy has to do something that isn’t for his college transcript. He’s a good kid at heart. He’s in love, infatuated and all around obsessed with Stephanie, a cute as a button cheerleader.

This Stephanie character is played by Karin Anna Chueng in her film debut. Folks, watch out for her. She isn’t just cute, she is also quite talented. The friendship she forms with Ben is a genuine joy to watch and the scene between the two of them at the ‘Formal dance’ was so nicely played.

Meanwhile, Ben falls in the ‘academic elite’ at school, specifically his fellow Asian over-achievers. The group is headed by Daric (played by Roger Fan (RUSH HOUR and CORKY ROMANO) who is Student Council President and head of the mental decathlon team. He seems like a big sweet lug of a guy, but he is running a cheat sheet service which supplies copies of test answers to students for a price. That isn’t a big part of the story… technically that is just the jumping off point. From there it expands into more out right criminal and dangerous ends.

The film begins with Ben and his best friend talking in the backyard of a house… Seemingly sunning themselves when a cel phone rings. You see one check their phone, then the other his… It is neither of theirs. Suddenly they look at each other, dive out of the lawn furniture and start scurrying through the backyard on their hands and knees…. The ringing getting closer and closer. Suddenly they begin digging, they have a phone, and we see a shot of a hand in dirt… bloody with a worm crawling across it. Then we flashback to 6 months prior.

This sets things up perfectly. You know that everything Ben is up to will lead to this body in the backyard. Whose body is it? Why is it there? How did it get there? When did it get there?

Like Hitchcock’s ticking picnic table bomb, that body haunts every scene in the movie leading up to… Well, you’ll just have to see it yourself

This is a damn fine little film. It isn’t BLOW YOU AWAY fantastic, but I’ll be damned it if ain’t a fine film. It is nice to see a teenage flick that isn’t about ‘the white kids’ in America. That isn’t just another empty shallow romance flick. This is a damn fine film.

If you are at SUNDANCE, know that this is one to check out! It is definitely worth seeing! And this Justin Lin, well he’s definitely a director that has talent and ability, he warrants a pair of eyes on his moves.

And folks, SUNDANCE starts today… Let’s see them reports coming in!!!

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