Tuesday, January 25, 2011


My first (and probably only) Sundance screening of 2011 was a dark comedy/drama called THE DETAILS. Tobey Maguire was the star and if I'm being honest, it's going to take a few more movies before I stop expecting him to rip off his shirt and reveal a SPIDER-MAN costume underneath. He'll get there eventually, but not quite yet.

I've got mixed feelings on this one. It had a few great moments, but it also had a lot of moments that the writer/director Jacob Aaron Estes just seemed to throw in. He described it afterwards as an 'impulsive writing exercise' and it definitely showed. The tone shifted back and forth almost on a whim and the movie never quite found a rhythm.

In lesser hands, a script that lacks balance could have been a complete disaster, but luckily for THE DETAILS, the cast stepped up and kept it from ever going off the rails. Ray Liotta (always Henry Hill, Dennis Haysbert (forever Pedro Cerrano, eat your heart out President Palmer), Elizabeth Banks, Laura Linney and Kerry Washington took what could have easily been mistaken for a script in someone's college screenwriting class and took it to another level.

Again, not without its flaws, but a solidly entertaining movie that fit the bill of a typical 'Sundance movie.'

The Q&A afterwards was lackluster though, with Estes seeming bored and disinterested, which is surprising considering that was the first showing of the film. It just felt like there was a million places he'd rather be than up there talking about his movie.

I've never made a film, but I think I'd be excited and show a little more enthusiasm after it played well (but didn't go over like gangbusters) at a festival like Sundance. That's just me though. I was kind of disappointed with his answers and demeanor as a whole.

My guess is that there are too many stars in THE DETAILS for it not to get picked up for limited distribution, but it didn't knock my socks off, which sadly, has become the norm for Sundance premieres.

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