Reporter's Notebook: The Sundance Kids Score and Other Big Deals
In what looks like a bargain, it turns out Roadside Attractions purchased rights to Winter's Bone before the festival—and before Debra Granik's Ozarks-set family drama wound up winning the dramatic prize—for a bargain basement price of under $1 million.
Focus Features shelled out the biggest bucks of this year, paying $4.8 million to acquire Lisa Cholodenko's The Kids Are Alright. The film is about two kids who seek to bring their sperm-donor father into the family and stars Mark Ruffalo, Julianne Moore and Annette Bening
Despite some harsh reviews, IFC Films plunked down just north of $1 million for The Killer Inside Me, a violent drama about a sociopathic 1950s small-town Texas sheriff starring Casey Affleck, Kate Hudson and Jessica Alba.
Harvey Weinstein paid a little more than $1 million to get his hands on the demise-of-love story Blue Valentine with Ryan Gosling and Michelle Williams, and was putting the finishing touches on a deal to acquire the documentary The Tillman Story, about the death and coverup of NFL footballer-turned-soldier Pat Tillman.
Animal Kingdom: Aussie family crime drama about an orphaned teen caught in the crossfire of his uncles' armed robbery escapades. Scorsese, it ain't. Guy Pearce can't save the film from falling apart in the third act. C+
The Shock Doctrine: Based on the best-selling book about "disaster capitalism," directors Michael Winterbottom and Mat Whitecross examine the history and danger of America's "free market" policies. Painful but powerful. B+
Skateland: Dazed and Confused meets John Hughes in this nostalgic look at the life of a 19-year-old skating-rink manager growing up in a small Texas town in the '80s. Funny in parts, but lacking the sharp wit of its predecessors, but Twilight's Ashley Greene stands out as the object of affection. B
Smash His Camera: Once We Were Kings helmer Leon Gast returns with this hilarious documentary chronicling the tumultuous life and career of legendary paparazzo Ron Galella, who was sued by Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis and slugged by Marlon Brando. A
Twelve: Joel Schumacher's high-society soap tries hard to be Less Than Zero, but over-the-top direction and mostly mediocre performances, with the notable exception of Chace Crawford and Emma Roberts. Still, the CW set will probably love it. C+
SightingsRobert Redford participating in a panel discussion with Winterbottom and author Naomi Klein following the North American premiere of The Shock Doctrine; in a surreal bit of life imitating art, Entourage star Adrian Grenier, in town to promote his Sundance doc Teenage Paparazzi, hugging it out Vinnie Chase-style with Schumacher at the Twelve afterparty.
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