Tonight, "the Sundance Film Festival dispatches eight filmmakers with their films from Park City to eight cities across the country to screen and discuss direct-from-Festival films with audiences." We've got roundups on three of those films, Rob Epstein and Jeffrey Friedman's Howl (playing at the Sundance Kabuki Cinemas in San Francisco), John Wells's The Company Men (Coolidge Corner Theatre in Brookline, Massachusetts) and Adrian Grenier's Teenage Paparazzo (Downtown Independent in Los Angeles). Let's see what we've got so far on the other five: Jay and Mark Duplass' Cyrus (Michigan Theater in Ann Arbor), Benny and Josh Safdie's Daddy Longlegs (BAM in Brooklyn), Philip Seymour Hoffman's Jack Goes Boating (Music Box Theatre in Chicago), Shari Springer Berman and Robert Pulcini's The Extra Man (Belcourt Theatre in Nashville) and Floria Sigismondi's The Runaways (Sundance Cinemas in Madison, Wisconsin).
"Mark Duplass is the Big Man on Campus of Sundance 2010," writes Karina Longworth in Voice Film. "The actor (Hannah Takes the Stairs, The League on FX) and director (he collaborated with brother Jay on features The Puffy Chair and Baghead, as well as countless shorts) produced three narrative features premiering here, including NEXT titles Bass Ackwards and The Freebie (directed by Duplass's League co-star and wife, Katie Aselton) and Lovers of Hate, a triumph of uncomfortable comedy competing for the US Dramatic jury prize. All of which pales in significance to Cyrus, the Mark and Jay's third full length-directorial effort, and a powerful symbol of Sundance as a festival at a crossroads.... In pushing the usual Duplass style into the realm of the male bonding/battle comedy most often associated with Judd Apatow, Cyrus feels like a scientific experiment: what happens when a cinema developed within economic limitations is given the new limitation of guaranteed dissemination into the mainstream?"
Salon's Andrew O'Hehir poses another question: "Do shlubby John C Reilly and ultra-hot Marisa Tomei make a plausible couple? They kinda do, in this enjoyably off-kilter romantic comedy."
"The only problem is that Tomei lives with her son, Jonah Hill, who has no job, doesn't go to school, and who talks to people with earnest tones and an almost imperceptible sarcastic smirk." Noel Murray at the AV Club: "Reilly and Hill battle for Tomei's heart, through a series of passive-aggressive moves and counter-moves that plays a lot like Step Brothers, but without the jokes.... But once again with the Duplasses, there's just not enough of anything: not enough funny lines, not enough variation of mood, not enough plot. They're like those talented college students who keep turning in first drafts, settling for a passing grade instead of working until they get it right."
More from Duane Byrge (Hollywood Reporter), Matt Dentler, Tim Grierson (Screen), Brandon Harris (Filmmaker) and Eric D Snider (Cinematical). Interviews with the Duplasses: Peter Knegt (indieWIRE) and Drew McWeeney (Hitfix); and video interviews with the brothers: Alex Billington and Anne Thompson. Vanity Fair has a video interview with Jonah Hill. Meantime, the Playlist is reporting that the Duplasses' next film will be a stoner comedy produced by Jason Reitman, Jeff Who Lives at Home.
"Featuring some of the most unhinged parenting decisions ever made, brothers Josh and Benny Safdie's semiautobiographical Daddy Longlegs is a moving, often hilarious, oddly buoyant tribute to a father who knows - and does - worst," writes Melissa Anderson for Artforum. "Ronald Bronstein (director of 2007's Frownland, a mordant look at social dysfunction) stars as Lenny, a wiry, wired, divorced NYC dad who has custody of his two sons... Much like Josh Safdie's first feature, The Pleasure of Being Robbed (2008), Daddy Longlegs (originally titled Go Get Some Rosemary) succeeds by assembling a superb cast of weirdos orbiting around a main character, who, though profoundly flawed, is still affectionately drawn."
More from Richard Brody (New Yorker) and Karina Longworth, who also profiles the Safdies for LA Weekly. Earlier: Reviews from Cannes.
"Philip Seymour Hoffman's directorial debut, based on an Off-Broadway play of the same name which follows four damaged individuals as they make their unhappy way through New York City, is a sensitively rendered piece which unfortunately lacks sufficient heft to work as either a romantic drama or a musing on life's daily miseries," writes Tim Grierson in Screen.
"Jack Goes Boating is packed with all of the issues of the typical play-to-film transfer," writes Alison Willmore at IFC.com. "Characters drift into monologues, long single location scenes have to be awkwardly broken up, we drop into the middle of conversations in a self-conscious way that would look a lot better if preceded by the lights coming up at the start of Act 2. Things that work well on the stage tend, on film, to look awfully, you know, stagey."
"The Extra Man collects eccentric characters like an antique dealer collects aging objects," writes the Hollywood Reporter's Kirk Honeycutt. "This makes for any number of amusing situations, strange lines, nutty ideas and humiliating embarrassments. But this odd collection of oddballs doesn't quite play out as a satisfying movie. Beneath its exaggerated surface is actually a fairly mundane tale of a young man finding himself in the big city."
For Tim Grierson, though, writing in Screen, the film "boasts one of Kevin Kline's funniest ever performances."
"A bleary, booze-sodden melodrama and one of the hottest tickets at Sundance (I waited in line for 90 minutes to avoid getting turned away), The Runaways chronicles the meteoric rise and fall™ of an all-girl group assembled by Michael Shannon's rapacious Kim Fowley, a gutter-mouthed Svengali equal parts PT Barnum and Andy Warhol." Nathan Rabin at the AV Club: "The dead-eyed talent vacuum that is Kristen Stewart co-stars as Joan Jett, a snarling badass whose attitude and songwriting perfectly complemented Currie's [Dakota Fanning] purring sex kitten onstage, on record and in bed. Yes, The Runaways is as filled with softcore underage lesbian sex as it is hoary rock movie clichés, from the montage of rapid-fire ecstatic magazine and newspapers covers that take the group from obscurity to superstardom (in Japan at least, where they have a distinct weakness for young girls in tight pants) to the use of blurry, distorted visuals to convey the ever-deteriorating state of Currie's mental state as she enters the proverbial nightmare descent into booze and pills. I've seen it all before; you probably have as well and the novelty of seeing Fanning snorting blow in an airplane bathroom, wearing outfits that would make Jenna Jameson blush and making out with Stewart can only take the film so far."
More from Sam Adams (IFC), Alex Billington (FirstShowing), David Fear (Time Out New York), Owen Glieberman (Entertainment Weekly), Kirk Honeycutt (Hollywood Reporter), Kevin Kelly (Cinematical), Karina Longworth (Voice Film), Noel Murray (AV Club), Melinda Newman (Hitfix), Andrew O'Hehir (Salon) and Ella Taylor (NPR).
Nicole LaPorte interviews Stewart for the Daily Beast; Chris Lee profiles her for the Los Angeles Times. Video interviews with Stewart and Fanning: Anne Thompson and Vanity Fair.
Coverage of the coverage: Sundance 2010. For news and tips throughout the day every day, follow @theauteursdaily (RSS).