Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Sundance: First Weekend

This is my second year volunteering at Sundance, at the Grand Theater on the SLCC-South City campus. It's a huge (huge!) venue, 1100 seats!, so I see a lot of people during the two movies that play during my volunteer shifts.
This year I am part of the "inside theater" team, which means I do a variety of things. On the first day, Saturday, I worked re-entry on the balcony. On Sunday, I handed out and collected ballots for the first movie, and ushered for the second.
Saturday was pretty easy. It had snowed over night, so the first movie was pretty slow. Overall, all of that day was pretty calm.
I'll run down the movies in order and give you my reviews!
"Novitiate": This movie was set in the '60s. It was about a young woman, Kathleen, who grows up and decides to become a nun. Most of the movie was set in the convent and followed the young women as they take their first vows, confess to their flaws (yikes!), and then go through the changes as a result of Vatican 2. This movie was interesting. It dragged in parts, but I certainly learned a lot about convents and nuns. I anticipated the obligatory lesbian love scene, but was disappointed when it actually happened. I'm sure it's accurate, but it feels cliched. In any case, I'm glad I saw it as it wasn't a movie I would ever have chosen. And I learned a lot. I'd give it TWO stars (out of five).

"Their Finest": This movie follows a young woman during WWII as she becomes a writer for a propaganda feature film that is supposed to increase morale. This movie was occasionally heavy, but overall it was a comedy, based on a true story, or true stories. I thought this one was very good. All the actors were great, especially Bill Nighy. He's always great. Parts seemed heavy handed, but all in all, I would recommend it. THREE stars.

On Sunday, I worked as a balloteer. This meant handing out ballots as people went in, then collecting them in a ballot box as they left. Crazy town!! People going in were very serious about rushing in and getting the absolute best seats. It was so hard to hand out ballots quickly. My co-balloteer said, "That was the worst ten minutes of my life."
I got to see the movie "Chasing Coral" which was probably the MOST beautiful movie I have ever seen. When I heard it was about coral, I thought it would be boring. First, they have the most amazing footage of underwater scenery I have ever seen. Sea Dragons!
Also, they have amazing scientists, etc. But the main character, besides coral, turns out to be Zack, this adorable young man (he's probably in his 20s) who LOVES coral. So some of the movie follows him as he documents coral bleaching.
The whole thing is incredibly heartbreaking. Basically, global warming causes the water temperature to rise which kills coral, which kills all the other life forms that live on coral.
Also, you probably knew already, but coral IS AN ANIMAL.  I still can't get my mind around that. It seems like a plant. It is not a plant.
This movie is excellent. Everyone should see it. Warning: you will cry. About coral. Yep, you definitely will. FIVE stars!!

Luckily, the second movie was not balloted. But it had Robert Redford in it. Sadly, he was not there. But people were crazy for this movie and the theater was pretty packed! I worked as an usher. Basically this means hovering around seats that have magazines draped over them and trying to enforce the "no seat saving" rule.
"The Discovery": Basically, RR is a scientist who discovers proof of the afterlife. People start killing themselves in droves. The movie centers on Jason Segal and Rooney Mara and what happens to them. I liked much about this movie. It kind of seemed like an extended thought problem. A lot of it worked. I liked the visual representations of the afterlife. As in any movie like this, at the end, there were many questions! I had to explain parts of it to a woman sitting next to me. But it made a certain amount of sense to me. I agreed with a co-worker who said the main couple didn't really have chemistry. Agreed! I like both of them, so it was hard to see that when they kissed...no spark. But, that said, I still liked the movie and would recommend it, especially if you like the premise. FOUR stars.

I'm excited to see some movies this week, but also exhausted!! It's fun to volunteer and see movies. I also get some tickets, but last year I didn't use them all. So, I probably won't this year either. Oh well.

1 comment:

radagast said...

I went to see the documentary "about" Wendell Berry, which I thought and hoped would be about him and his writing life but which was actually about how farming has changed over the last fifty years. Berry was tangential to the story, really. Maybe partly because he didn't want to be (and wasn't) filmed. So . . . disappointing.