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Quint at Sundance, Day 2!! Irish musical ONCE and Philip Seymour Hoffman and Laura Linney in THE SAVAGES!!!

Ahoy, squirts! Quint here. My wi-fi dropped out last night. I had written my opening night review and thought I had posted it, but apparently I didn't click the right button. I went back to double check and my internet was gone. So, I'm here at the Holiday Village and I double checked... nothing. I went in and clicked the right button and got it up. Thank the movie gods there is wifi in the Holiday Village theater. My first movie of the day was called ONCE, an Irish romantic musical. Well, it's really a movie with music in it, not the image you usually have when you think "musical." It's about a musician and he sings a lot, but it's no more of a musical than HUSTLE & FLOW was. The movie's about a talented musician (Glen Hansard) who just hasn't had the nerve to make the jump from street musician to the recording studio. A past romance gone wrong both inspires him and hangs like a weight around his neck, keeping him from realizing his dream. Enter a beautiful Czech girl (Marketa Irglova), a talented pianist herself. There's an obvious chemistry, a romance that is not realized. He's still hung up on his ex and she's got secrets of her own, but with all that the movie always stays light. As a moviegoer who is a romantic at heart, the movie pulled all the right strings. I loved it and the music was perfect. I'm told Hansard is becoming a very famous singer in Ireland and I really believe this film will get him recognized around the world. His style is very soulful, a man and his guitar. Physically he looks like an Irish Paul McCartney when he sings, scrunching up his face. Irglova is also supposed to be a well known musician and I don't doubt it. Her voice is melodic and full of unstressed emotion. I think the film will be picked up, probably for an arthouse release, but I really expect Hansard to become very well known in the States. Maybe not because of this movie, but I'm willing to bet that this film is a stepping stone to that goal. Some producer or director will see it and see his talent. Mark my words, we'll see him or one of his songs featured in a big movie in the next few years. The short that preceded the film was a French short called PENPUSHERS. It fits perfectly with the movie. It's a love story set on a subway train, the first spark between two people. You have a young man, not handsome, but not ugly either, reading through a book as a beautiful girl sits next to him. No words are spoken during the whole 10 plus minutes, just the ambient noise of the subway train. Everything is said between glances and body language. The beautiful woman peeks at the young man's book and the young man notices, so he starts talking to her by underlining words, forming complete sentences. Sometimes these sentences make perfect sense, but he's working on the same few pages, so sometimes he uses alliteration. She responds. The short was really well done, moved fast and was really funny. As I finished this, I'm about 10 minutes away from THE SAVAGES, directed by Tamara Jenkins (THE SLUMS OF BEVERLY HILLS) and starring Philip Seymour Hoffman and Laura Linney. I'm going to close up the 'puter and get ready. Okay, I'm back. For those talkbackers who loooooovvveee to hear the minutia of my day, I'm now typing from the Chinese Buffet next to the Holiday Village theater. Yay for abundant wi-fi. THE SAVAGES is about a brother and sister who are called away from their East Coast jobs (she's a temp and unproduced playwright and he's a college professor obsessing over a book) to take care of their ailing father. He's an old man and is beginning to show signs of dementia. Suddenly, these siblings are forced to care for a father that never took any care of them in their childhood. Again, I know that sounds serious and they do take the subject matter seriously, but there's some sharp and very dark comedy at work here. The movie opens with a slow motion geriatric chorus line/showgirl dance against the backdrop of a small Arizona suburb. Laura Linney and Philip Seymour Hoffman are the siblings and they are absolutely fantastic. Linney's character is terribly flawed, a pill-popping thief, and Hoffman's character is afraid of commitment, willing to stand by and watch the love of his life, a Polish woman on a Visa, return to her home country instead of marrying her and living the life you know he wants. The emotion runs high, but every time the movie starts to wade too deep into the drama pool they'll throw in some incredibly funny sequences, including one in which Hoffman's character hurts his neck. Fox Searchlight has this one and while I don't think it has the immediate mass appeal of something like LITTLE MISS SUNSHINE, it's certainly an entertaining, quirky flick. I could imagine Alexander Payne making a movie like this. Jenkins does a fine job and gives two of today's best actors some fantastic, meaty material. I have no idea when Searchlight will release, but I can't imagine they'd release before the Fall and push both Hoffman and Linney for awards. I have three more movies left to see today, so I'll try to get some more up tonight before I crash. -Quint

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