CL at Sundance: Detropia, Robot & Frank, Wrong and Excision

From there, we get on the wrong bus and arrive late to wait-list for Wrong. Nevertheless, Chris manages to score one ticket by holding up a sign that gets photographed and tweeted by Wrong’s director, Quentin Dupieux. Too bad he couldn’t have given us an extra ticket! Jenn is shut out of this one, which isn’t too bad since the screening is at our hotel’s theater. The movie has a very Twin Peaks feel, constantly blurring the lines of dreams and reality, life and death, all while maintaining credibility with a simple premise — reuniting with your lost dog. A very excellent William Fichtner plays Master Chang, the mastermind behind the story.

blowing up Quentin Dupieuxs twitter
  • Quentin Dupieux
  • blowing up Quentin Dupieux's twitter

Up next was our first midnight screening, and we were both a little apprehensive of the suspected gorefest of Excision. We were pleasantly surprised to find this dark comedy / coming-of-age film had just the right amount of spectacle and shock without being overdone for the sake of violence. Instead, what really shone was the ensemble cast of veterans (John Waters as a priest, Traci Lords as the mother, Malcolm McDowell & Matthew Gray Gubler as faculty) and fresh faces (AnnaLynne McCord & Ariel Winter as sisters), painting a beautifully dark and twisted family drama doused in a healthy dose of period blood. As a special treat, after the Q&A we were all handed what may be some of the strangest movie swag ever — an embroidered beanie and a bloody tampon.

Excision cast 1

click to enlarge Detropia filmmakers - Jennifer Dietz
Jennifer Dietz
Detropia filmmakers

Our day begins with a visit to Temple, our least favorite venue. It is closer to Kimball Junction than Main Street and there is only one bus that goes there. We are excited to see our only documentary of this fest, Detropia, a film about the decline of Detroit. It falls somewhat short of our expectations, focusing on the downfall of the auto industry and the outsourcing of jobs. Current and relevant problems no doubt, but we had hoped to see something more along the lines of the Ruins of Detroit about decaying structures. Still, it is a good film, as the filmmakers try to tackle an enormous theme by focusing on a tapestry of local individuals in 90 minutes.

click to enlarge Detropia filmmakers - Jennifer Dietz
Jennifer Dietz
Detropia filmmakers

From Detropia, we go straight to our next screening in the midst of a healthy snowstorm. Robot and Frank (played perfectly by Frank Langella) is a futuristic tale about a retired cat burglar with a failing memory, who is given a caretaker robot by his grown children (played by Liv Tyler & James Marsden). Frank rejects the robot initially, until he realizes it can assist him with criminal mischief. Robot and Frank is part drama, part dark comedy. It is set in the near-future, perhaps 20 years from now, and its scenarios are disturbingly believable. It is a future where robots do human jobs; the local library is a bookless “social center,” run by a sketchy consulting company; and paper materials have become relics. It’s a complex, thoroughly enjoyable film and our favorite up to this point.

click to enlarge Robot and Frank cast - Jennifer Dietz
Jennifer Dietz
Robot and Frank cast

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