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January 20, 2009 |

By Dustin Rowles | Industry | January 20, 2009 |

Although we’re not at Sundance this year, and we’re drowning our jealousy in excuses (those assholes in Utah supported Prop 8, nobody cares about Sundance during this economy, we didn’t want to miss watching the Obama inauguration … on TV …), that doesn’t mean we can’t track the developments so far.

The biggest deal, so far, has been for the post-racial blaxploitation flick, Black Dynamite, which looks offensively awesome. It sold over the weekend for $2 million, and appears to be headed for a release later this year. And if you haven’t seen the trailer yet, you’re doing yourself a disservice. Here it is:

Elsewhere, did you guys know that Nick Hornby has a flick debuting at Sundance? The High Fidelity author wrote the script for An Education, which premiered with much success in the small Egyptian Theater over the weekend. Peter Saarsgard stars as an older suitor courting a woman (Carey Mulligan) in 1960s London. Afters its big debut, the producers got a $1 million offer, but negotiations broke down after they sought upwards of $10 million for the flick. Of the movie, Jeffrey Wells over at Hollywood Elsewhere writes that it “is the absolute shit — the best film of the Sundance Film Festival, a finely tuned and deeply engaging film by regular popcorn-watching standards, an award-calibre drama that will definitely be in contention at the end of the year, and a movie that has launched a genuine movie star in an old-fashioned and yet very new-fashioned sense — 23 year-old Carey Mulligan.” Good on Hornby.

In other news, one of the most hyped films of the festival, the docudrama Paper Heart also debuted over the weekend with mixed reviews. The film is about Charlyne Yi (who you may recognize as the Asian girl in Knocked Up) as she travels the country trying to learn about love, having never experienced it herself. However, during filming, she’s also courted by her real-life boyfriend, Michael Cera. Karina Longworth over at Spout writes of the film, “Though fascinating in the ways in which it shades the lines separating the ‘real’ from the obviously scripted (especially in the beautiful, inventive puppet animations dramatizing the documentary stories), Yi’s allegedly actual crises of romantic faith come off as contrived from the get go, suffer further thanks to the performer’s total lack of dramatic range, and resolve themselves in a programmatic ending that’s completely unearned.” However, Peter over at Slashfilm gave it 7.5 out of 10 stars, although Peter — God Bless him — also liked Marley and Me. I should also note that Peter gave a fairly decent review to Big Fan, a movie starring Patton Oswalt as a huge New York Giants fan who is ultimately beated up and hospitalized by his favorite player.

Finally, Magnolia also bought Humpday, which sounds a bit like a gay version of Zack and Miri Make a Porno. It’s about two men who decide, one day, to make a gay porn on a lark. It will first be released on video demand, before heading to theaters a month later. Of that film, Karinna at Spout wrote that it is a “whip-smart, uproariously funny comedy which uses a dumb, drunken, “bros will be bros” dare as the in point to talk about, amongst other things, the inevitable loss of self in long term relationships and the ongoing conquest to reconcile who we really are with who we’d like to think we could be.”

Finally, a huge congratulations to our friend, Rawson Thurber, whose Mysteries of Pittsburgh, which debuted last year at Sundance, got a distributor this year. Terms were not announced, but the film will hit theaters this spring. It was one of our favorites last year, and we’re happy as hell that the rest of the world is going to be able to see it.

A Sundance Round-Up / Dustin Rowles

Industry | January 20, 2009 |

Dustin is the founder and co-owner of Pajiba. You may email him here or follow him on Twitter.

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