Monday, December 31, 2012

My Top Ten Films of 2012

Blog Post #15

My Top Ten list of my favorite films of 2012 are just that. These are films that affected me and gave me a pure cinematic experience! Some of these films I wasn't even checking for like that, but good word of mouth got me to see them and WOW was the word of mouth correct.  Even though there are a couple of films released in 2012 that I have yet to see, these are the best of what I did see as of this publishing.

The below list consists of films released in 2012 and in some cases my review or additional comments on the films are linked.

I’ve listed the films from ten to one as my favorites and at least seven of these films are EXCELLENT! The other three are very good, so good that out of ALL the dozens of new films I’ve seen in 2012 they made the Top Ten.


Liam Neeson was great again in this fantastic unconventional thriller. The “villains” are not who you think, but Liam is definitely a hero. A great tale of survival.

9. Looper
 I didn't even want to see this film despite liking the main stars. I’ve been a science fiction fan long enough to have seen every paradox about time travel that you can think of, but this film managed to take a unique slant on it. The performances were really great too!

8. End of Watch
This was another film that flew under my radar. Again, I thought I’d seen enough “cop movies” and this one didn’t look like it offered anything new, but it did. The film was gritty and excellent!

7. Think Like a Man 
Hilariously funny and romantic. All of the several couples in the film are likable and the movie is definitely one of the best of the year.
—>Read my full review here

6. The Avengers 
Who would have thought that after much build up that the “sequel” to all those solo superhero movies would be not good, but excellent. Writer/Director Joss Whedon crafted the perfect superhero movie!

5. Compliance 
A disturbingly excellent film that did not use gore, special effects or jump cuts to make you sick. All it did was have great acting and dialogue. An excellent film from 2012 that you might not have heard of.
—>Read my full review here

4. Middle of Nowhere 
This film came out of Sundance in January 2012 with all kinds of accolades that I thought couldn’t possibly measure up to my high scrutiny, but it did. An excellent motion picture that had a limited theatrical release that you should see when it becomes available.
—>Read my full review here

3. Prometheus 
An excellent film that NO ONE got. Well mostly no one. The biggest mistake on the audience’s part was expecting this to be a prequel to Alien despite the director and everyone involved saying it was NOT. That coupled with several ambiguous plot elements left the audience hollow. I got everything the picture was trying to say and accepted the things it did not. The film was still one of the spectacular films you will see from 2012
—>Read my full and EXPANSIVE review here

2. Argo 
This is the perfect Hollywood movie. An excellent movie. The fact that it involved Hollywood didn’t hurt none. I wrote more in my day after enthusiasm post Why ‘Argo’ Might Walk Away with it ALL at The Oscars here

1. Beasts of the Southern Wild
My favorite film of 2012 had to have been the one that moved me the most. Watching this film was a reminder of the power of cinema to me. A phenomenal film.
—>Read my full review here

Monday, December 17, 2012

The Central Park Five - The Cool Black Review


Synopsis: The Central Park Five is a 2012 documentary film about the Central Park Jogger case, where five juvenile males—four black and one Hispanic—were tried and convicted for the assault and rape of a female jogger in New York City's Central Park. The film was directed by Ken Burns, Sarah Burns, and David McMahon. It was released in the US on November 23, 2012

REVIEW by Cool Black
If you like Ken Burns’ work you’ll definitely like this. The film wasn’t as “cinematic” as I would have liked instead playing like a short version of Burns usually PBS fare (which can usually run four hours or more). As expected Burns’ use of archival footage and new “transition footage” was impeccable and in the end Central Park Five is a really great documentary that makes for compelling viewing at times.

Cool Black’s Mad Commentary: Because of new voting procedures (described in more detail at Deadline where you can also see the shortlist of eligible films here) The Central Park Five WILL NOT be in consideration for the Academy Award for Best Documentary.
“I’m truly baffled by this; Not that none of the 15 films listed below aren’t worthy (I haven’t seen them all); but I can say that of those I have seen (more about half) on this list, I think The Central Park Five most certainly belongs, and I’d say is even stronger than some of them,” write Shadow and Act’s Tambay A. Obensen.
Unlike Mr. Obenson, of the films on the shortlist I’ve only seen one, Bully, and The Central Park Five was indeed better than that. Again, I didn’t think it was that “cinematic”, but I admit I haven’t kept much of a tab on the Best Documentary category throughout the years and I assume the Academy voters know better than I. 

Read more about the Central Park Jogger case at Wikipedia here 

The Central Park Five web page is here

My Review of the 2019 Limited Series based on this case, 'When They See Us' below

#WhenTheySeeUs Review: I don’t know what to say. It was excellent, but to say I “enjoyed it” is a total misnomer. This film, presented as a Four (4) Part Limited Series, was IMPACTFUL. From the moment the arrests happen you are WITH these five boys. And that’s WTF they were—BOYS! Young males of other races are “snips and snails and puppy dog tails”, but young males of color are considered more mature than they are even when even accused of a crime without proof—considered monsters. WTSU makes you FEEL what these boys are feeling. This film takes a HARD, UNFLINCHING look at what these boys and eventual men went through in the legal system and didn’t sugarcoat shit! I’ve done MY OWN research on the so-called “Central Park Five” before I even saw this and AVA DUVERNAY et al, her cast and crew NAILED their traumatic journey. And that shit WAS traumatic. For real I was like “Shit! Is anything GOOD gonna happen in this film? Damn sis! Can I breathe?” Not really and I think that was the intent. Oh you’re gonna feel this shit. As usual I gotta talk about the filmmaking. Starting with Director and Co-Writer AVA DUVERNAY, she and the other credited writers JULIAN BREECE, ROBIN SWICORD, ATTICA LOCKE and MICHAEL STARRBURY as stated, took you THERE! Cinematographer extraoidinarre BRADFORD YOUNG shot the hell out of it with lots of flair and oft times gourgeous shots. The acting, wow the acting. WOW the acting. The five young men and four older men (one played both versions) did tremendous jobs as did the actors that played their family members. I’m running out of space here, but I’ll will list them on Twitter. Suffice it to say, bravo.👏🏽👏🏽👏🏽 I binged watched all four parts in one sitting (a rarity for me) and •LIVE•TWEETED• the whole thing so a lot of the cast and crew are already mentioned. (I’ll post the thread🧵 at the Link in my BIO) Lastly, I highly recommend WHEN THEY SEE US, but ⚠️Caution⚠️ and I can’t state enough, YOU WILL FEEL. You will. Every.moment. 100%
A post shared by Dankwa Brooks (@dankwa) on

My LIVE TWEETS of the Limited Series in a Twitter thread linked below

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

I Must Talk Some More About ‘Compliance’

Blog Post #14

Dreama Walker
In particular, I must talk about one of the stars of Compliance Dreama Walker, who played the pivotal role of “Becky” in the film.

Dreama Walker as "Becky" in Compliance
See I saw Compliance at the 2012 Maryland Film Festival (My full review linked at the end) and it was excellent. While excellent I wasn't sure if such a small film would get any awards recognition and it has gotten some…some. Most prominently I’ve been reading about another star of the film Ann Dowd who played another pivotal role that of “Sandra”.
Ann Dowd as "Sandra" in Compliance
Ever since Compliance continued to traverse the festival circuit Dowd’s name has been mentioned as an awards recipient. At ever mention I think “What about Dreama?” Well actually at first I thought “What about that blond girl?”…then I looked up her name and thought…well you know.

Dreama in scenes from Compliance 
As both roles were crucial I think both deserve recognition. In my opinion Dreama did all the “heavy lifting” in the film. She wasn’t just a plot device. Without her performance you would never feel any bit of rage, and yes that’s what you feel, over the ensuing plot in the film.

Dowd recently received the National Board of Review (of Motion Pictures, founded in 1909) award for Best Supporting Actress for Compliance. The award was well deserved as you know I enjoyed Ann Dowd’s performance, but so did I Dreama Walker’s and she shouldn’t be disregarded.  

My review of Compliance

New Related

For 'Compliance' Star Ann Dowd, One Expensive Oscar Campaign

Magnolia Pictures wouldn't pay for screeners, so the character actress spent $13,000 for her own; Oscar winner Melissa Leo tells THR she should be reimbursed.

Being the subject of Oscar buzz should be an unadulterated thrill, but for one first-time contender it has come at considerable expense.
Ann Dowd, (pictured above left), a veteran character actress, earned the best reviews of her career for her performance as a restaurant manager targeted by a sadistic prankster in Craig Zobel’s controversial indie Compliance. The low-budget film was one of the standouts at January’s Sundance Film Festival, where it was acquired by Magnolia Pictures, which released it this fall. It never played in more than 21 theaters and grossed just $319,285. But Dowd’s performance, for which she was paid just $100 per day for 16 days, resonated enough to land her -- with virtually no campaigning -- the National Board of Review’s best supporting actress award and Indie Spirit and Critics’ Choice award nominations.
So why, then, did Magnolia not send screeners of Compliance to SAG’s nominating committee and/or the Academy’s acting branch?
Matt Cowal, Magnolia’s senior VP of marketing and publicity, tells THR they would have -- if Compliance had made money. “This is a film that, unfortunately, we’re going to take a loss on,” he says. “If it had worked, like some of our films have, we would have supported Ann with a terrific end-of-the-year awards campaign, like we did for Melancholia and I Am Love.” Instead, he says, “When a film is already out on DVD, supporting actress awards buzz does help, but it’s not a game-changer on the film’s bottom line, so we just are trying to be as responsible as we can.”
Dowd, a soft-spoken, working-class wife and mother of three kids, tells THR that the lack of screeners from Magnolia -- while her fellow contenders, few of whom have garnered the number of accolades that she has and almost all of whom were better compensated, had theirs paid for -- prompted her and her husband to make a difficult decision: to foot the bill themselves, putting $6,000 on their credit card and borrowing $7,000 from friends. They feel that this might be a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for her and that a nomination could change the course of her career, so they want to give her a fighting chance.

Two years ago, another veteran character actress, Melissa Leo, paid for several “for your consideration” ads promoting her performance in The Fighter. At the time, Leo said she did so because she had not been offered the same opportunities for media exposure as her younger and bigger-name competitors. The ads were criticized by some for being tacky, but the resulting controversy prompted many to rally behind her cause, and she ultimately won the best supporting actress Oscar. Leo tells THR that Dowd's situation “sounds a little familiar.” She adds, “I applaud her bravery in forging ahead, because there’s only regret to be had if she doesn’t give it her all in this moment. And I really hope they reimburse her and her husband.”
Dowd, meanwhile, says the whole experience has been an eye-opener. She emphasizes that she feels entitled to nothing and grateful for everything that has come her way this season, and says, “I had no idea what goes into bringing a name into the spotlight. It never occurred to me. I just had never been in that arena before.” Now, unless Magnolia elects to reimburse the actress -- which Dowd hopes they will, “not because they owe me anything” -- she and her husband will have 13,000 more reasons than most Oscar contenders to be crossing their fingers on nominations morning.

When the Oscar nominations were announced in January Dowd's name was NOT on the list.

Friday, November 30, 2012

Ledisi — It's Christmas - Cool Black Review

Yo check it, I’m a recent Ledisi fan (like the last two years) so I never heard of this album, released in 2008…frankly before she “Instagrammed” it (below).

Now being a recent fan I said, I like Ledisi, if anything she may give a new twist to some Christmas songs and maybe I could get 1 or 2 to include on a Christmas playlist, but WOW is this album fantastic!

From beginning to end the songs are masterfully arraigned and Ledisi’s voice sounds perfect. Not good, perfect!  I must also give props to the musicians on this album for they did a wonderful job as well.

The album starts off with Ledisi taking us to church and ends that way as well. In the middle could be called “A Soulful Christmas” because it is soulful and bluesy. She even manages to give great cover versions of classic songs (Give Love on Christmas Day and What a Wonderful World). 

My favorite off the album though has to be the beautiful song This Christmas (Could Be the One). A beautiful ballad for the Christmas season.

Every music artist and their mother’s mother has a Christmas album, but believe me when I tell you, for black music fans (R&B, Jazz, Blues, Soul…you know the architects of American music) this is a great album.  Even though this is my first time listening to the album, I guess it was predestined for me to love it. It was released on my birthday September 23, 2008 J

Thursday, November 29, 2012

John Grisham - The Racketeer - Cool Black Review

The RacketeerThe Racketeer by John Grisham
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This, my ELEVENTH John Grisham book, travels the usual course of other Grisham books and I’m fine with that. Why else would I keep coming back? But this one has enough deviations to elevate it.

First and for foremost, the protagonist for the first time I can think of in a Grisham book is black. Does Grisham integrate black culture into the character? Not really, but I’m fine with that. I’d rather he stay away from it than do a piss poor representation of black culture. Even though I recall him doing a good job on black culture in his first book, A Time to Kill even though I surmise he just really knew a lot about southern culture rather than just black culture.

In any case about this character, this book, he’s not a lawyer…but he used to be and he unlatches a convoluted plan, as they all do, to better himself. This is the usual blueprint of a Grisham book, but a lot of what happens is a real mystery as you wonder why he has taken a prolonged deviation from what seems like the main story, but of course is not.

Another usual good Grisham book, but he gets major points for making the protagonist and a lot of supporting characters black and mixing it with a good, suspenseful story.

View all my BOOK reviews at Goodreads


LOL. Drew at Goodreads nailed it!

Here's Grisham's story checklist:

1. Small-town lawyer who was wronged by the Feds.
2. Lots of cash and shady off-shore banking.
3. Righting wrong against Feds (or evil corporations)
4. Bumbling Feds
5. Attractive woman who helps small-town lawyer

That happened in pretty much all the Grisham books I've read and yet I still keep coming back. LOL.

First Thoughts on the Films of the 2013 Sundance Film Festival

Blog Post #13
For reasons known and unknown I am drawn into the “festival circuit”. I read about films a year or so out from when the majority of people see them in theaters.

Last year I read about films that premiered at Sundance 2012 and saw about 10 of them throughout the year. While not all masterpieces I can say I liked every one of them and for people that know my discerning nature that unto itself is a miracle.

When the list of 2013 films were announced yesterday I decided to get the jump on them.

Below is the list of the films I found intriguing and on some my "Cool Black’s Mad Commentary:" and as always I'm always looking for the Black  Faces :-)

Also you will see that I'm attracted by not only the synopsis of the film, but in many cases the cast. As Trevor Groth, director of programming for the Sundance Film Festival said to The Hollywood Reporter"With some of the more interesting television that's happening now, you've got stars coming up in those ranks that aren't like studio-system blockbuster actors, but they're well-known actors who do really interesting work." 


Ain't Them Bodies Saints / U.S.A. (Director and screenwriter: David Lowery) — The tale of an outlaw who escapes from prison and sets out across the Texas hills to reunite with his wife and the daughter he has never met. Cast: Rooney Mara, Casey Affleck, Ben Foster, Nate Parker, Keith Carradine.

Cool Black’s Mad Commentary: I like the actors attached.

Fruitvale / U.S.A. (Director and screenwriter: Ryan Coogler) — The true story of Oscar, a 22-year-old Bay Area resident who crosses paths with friends, enemies, family and strangers on the last day of 2008. Cast: Michael B. Jordan, Octavia Spencer, Melonie Diaz, Ahna O'Reilly, Kevin Durand, Chad Michael Murray.

Cool Black’s Mad Commentary: I like the actors attached. Black  Faces :-)

In a World... / U.S.A. (Director and screenwriter: Lake Bell) — An underachieving vocal coach is motivated by her father, the king of movie-trailer voice-overs, to pursue her aspirations of becoming a voiceover star. Amidst pride, sexism and family dysfunction, she sets out to change the voice of a generation. Cast: Lake Bell, Demetri Martin, Rob Corddry, Michaela Watkins, Ken Marino, Fred Melamed.

Cool Black’s Mad Commentary: This seems funny.

Kill Your Darlings / U.S.A. (Director: John Krokidas, Screenwriters: Austin Bunn, John Krokidas) — An untold story of murder that brought together a young Allen Ginsberg, Jack Kerouac and William Burroughs at Columbia University in 1944, providing the spark that led to the birth of an entire generation – their Beat revolution. Cast: Daniel Radcliffe, Dane DeHann, Ben Foster, Michael C. Hall, Jack Huston, Elizabeth Olsen.

The Lifeguard / U.S.A. (Director and screenwriter: Liz W. Garcia) — A former valedictorian quits her reporter job in New York and returns to the place she last felt happy: her childhood home in Connecticut. She gets work as a lifeguard and starts a dangerous relationship with a troubled teenager. Cast: Kristen Bell, Mamie Gummer, Martin Starr, Alex Shaffer, Amy Madigan, David Lambert.

Mother of George / U.S.A. (Director: Andrew Dosunmu, Screenwriter: Darci Picoult) — A story about a woman willing to do anything and risk everything for her marriage. Cast: Isaach De Bankolé, Danai Gurira, Anthony Okungbowa, Yaya Alafia, Bukky Ajayi.

Cool Black’s Mad Commentary: I saw Dosunmu's last directorial effort Restless City and interested to see what's next for him.Black  Faces :-)

The Spectacular Now / U.S.A. (Director: James Ponsoldt, Screenwriters: Scott Neustadter, Michael H. Weber) — Sutter is a high school senior who lives for the moment; Aimee is the introvert he attempts to "save." As their relationship deepens, the lines between right and wrong, friendship and love, and "saving" and corrupting become inextricably blurred. Cast: Miles Teller, Shailene Woodley, Brie Larson, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Kyle Chandler.

Cool Black’s Mad Commentary: I like the cast ESPECIALLY Shailene Woodley! Loved her performance in The Descendants.

American Promise / U.S.A. (Directors: Joe Brewster, Michèle Stephenson) — This intimate documentary follows the 12-year journey of two African-American families pursuing the promise of opportunity through the education of their sons.

Cool Black’s Mad Commentary: Sounds really great. Black  Faces :-)
Blackfish / U.S.A. (Director: Gabriela Cowperthwaite) — Notorious killer whale Tilikum is responsible for the deaths of three individuals, including a top Sea World trainer. Blackfish shows the devastating consequences of keeping such intelligent and sentient creatures in captivity.
Dirty Wars / U.S.A. (Director: Richard Rowley) — Investigative journalist Jeremy Scahill chases down the truth behind America’s covert wars.

Gideon's Army / U.S.A. (Director: Dawn Porter) — Gideon’s Army follows three young, committed Public Defenders who are dedicated to working for the people society would rather forget. Long hours, low pay and staggering caseloads are so common that even the most committed often give up.

God Loves Uganda / U.S.A. (Director: Roger Ross Williams) — A powerful exploration of the evangelical campaign to infuse African culture with values imported from America’s Christian Right. The film follows American and Ugandan religious leaders fighting “sexual immorality” and missionaries trying to convince Ugandans to follow biblical law. Black  Faces :-)

Manhunt / U.S.A., United Kingdom (Director: Greg Barker) — This espionage tale goes inside the CIA’s long conflict against Al Qaeda, as revealed by the remarkable women and men whose secret war against Osama bin Laden started nearly a decade before most of us even knew his name.

Narco Cultura / U.S.A. (Director: Shaul Schwarz) — An examination of Mexican drug cartels’ influence in pop culture on both sides of the border as experienced by an LA narcocorrido singer dreaming of stardom and a Juarez crime scene investigator on the front line of Mexico’s Drug War.

Twenty Feet From Stardom / U.S.A. (Director: Morgan Neville) — Backup singers live in a world that lies just beyond the spotlight.  Their voices bring harmony to the biggest bands in popular music, but we've had no idea who these singers are or what lives they lead – until now.

Valentine Road / U.S.A. (Director: Marta Cunningham) — In 2008, eighth-grader Brandon McInerney shot classmate Larry King at point blank range. Unraveling this tragedy from point of impact, the film reveals the heartbreaking circumstances that led to the shocking crime as well as its startling aftermath.

Google and the World Brain / Spain, United Kingdom (Director: Ben Lewis) — In the most ambitious project ever conceived on the Internet, Google has been scanning the world's books for 10 years. They said the intention was to build a giant digital library, but that involved scanning millions of copyrighted works. World Premiere

Cool Black’s Mad Commentary: Sounds really intriguing. Like watching Skynet (from the Terminator films) in progress.

Pussy Riot – A Punk Prayer / Russian Federation, United Kingdom (Directors: Mike Lerner, Maxim Pozdorovkin) — Three young women face seven years in a Russian prison for a satirical performance in a Moscow cathedral. But who is really on trial: the three young artists or the society they live in? World Premiere
Cool Black’s Mad CommentarySounds intriguing mostly to see more about what this controversy about this group is about.

Blue Caprice / U.S.A. (Director: Alexandre Moors, Screenwriters: R.F.I Porto, Alexandre Moors) — An abandoned boy is lured to America and drawn into the shadow of a dangerous father figure in this film inspired by the real life events that led to the 2002 Beltway sniper attacks. Cast: Isaiah Washington, Tequan Richmond, Joey Lauren Adams, Tim Blake Nelson, Cassandra Freeman, Leo Fitzpatrick.
Cool Black’s Mad CommentaryAs someone who was living in Maryland when this real event happened I have been intrigued about seeing a film adaptation. It was part of our everyday lives as you didn't know when or where the sniper could strike in your own backyard. Black  Faces :-)
Milkshake / U.S.A. (Director: David Andalman, Screenwriters: David Andalman, Mariko Munro) — In mid-1990's America, we follow the tragic sex life of Jolie Jolson, a wannabe thug (and great-great-grandson of legendary vaudevillian Al Jolson) in suburban DC as he strives to become something he can never be – black. Cast: Tyler Ross, Shareeka Epps, Georgia Ford, Eshan Bay, Leo Fitzpatrick, Danny Burstein.
Cool Black’s Mad Commentary: This sounds wild. Black  Faces :-)
Newlyweeds / U.S.A. (Director and screenwriter: Shaka King) — A Brooklyn repo man and his globetrotting girlfriend forge an unlikely romance. But what should be a match made in stoner heaven turns into a love triangle gone awry in this dark coming-of-age comedy about dependency.Cast: Amari Cheatom, Trae Harris, Tone Tank, Colman Domingo, Isiah Whitlock Jr., Adrian Martinez.
Cool Black’s Mad Commentary: I like the actors attached. Black  Faces :-)
A Teacher / U.S.A. (Director and screenwriter: Hannah Fidell) — A popular young teacher in a wealthy suburban Texas high school has an affair with one of her students. Her life begins to unravel as the relationship comes to an end. Cast: Lindsay Burdge, Will Brittain, Jennifer Prediger, Jonny Mars, Julie Phillips, Chris Dubeck.

This is Martin Bonner / U.S.A.(Director and screenwriter: Chad Hartigan) — Martin Bonner has just moved to Reno for a new job in prison rehabilitation. Starting over at age 58, he struggles to adapt until an unlikely friendship with an ex-con blossoms, helping him confront the problems he left behind. Cast: Paul Eenhoorn, Richmond Arquette, Sam Buchanan, Robert Longstreet, Demetrius Grosse.

More films are due to be announced and when they are I might add to this list, but for now those sound intriguing.

From The Hollywood Reporter, "The Sundance Film Festival unveiled on Thursday (November 29, 2012) the selections for three noncompetition categories that often produce films that become crowd favorites." These films are just showing to the audiences and distributors at Sundance and not vying for any prizes. 

Below are some more of what I find intriguing. No discernible Black  Faces :-) in this next crop, but I'm not going to hold it against them.  LOL

Stories We Tell (documentary) / Canada (Director: Sarah Polley) — Sarah Polley is both filmmaker and detective as she investigates the secrets kept by a family of storytellers. She unravels the paradoxes to reveal the essence of family: always complicated, warmly messy and fiercely loving.
Cool Black’s Mad CommentaryI like Sarah Polley as an actor and this sounds like an intruguing doc.

All the titles in this category are world premieres.
Ass Backwards / U.S.A. (Director: Chris Nelson, Screenwriters: June Diane Raphael, Casey Wilson) — Loveable losers Kate and Chloe take a road trip back to their hometown to claim the beauty pageant crown that eluded them as children, only to discover what really counts: friendship.Cast: June Diane Raphael, Casey Wilson, Vincent D'Onofrio, Alicia Silverstone, Jon Cryer, Brian Geraghty.
Cool Black’s Mad CommentaryLOVE the title and the cast is good.
In Fear / United Kingdom (Directed and story by: Jeremy Lovering) — Trapped in a maze of country roads with only their vehicle for protection, Tom and Lucy are terrorized by an unseen tormentor exploiting their worst fears. Eventually they realize they've let the evil in – it’s sitting in their car. Cast: Alice Englert, Iain De Caestecker, Allen Leech.
Cool Black’s Mad CommentaryThis sounds wild. Sounds like it could be good!
kink (documentary) / U.S.A. (Director: Christina Voros) — A story of sex, submission and big business is told through the eyes of the unlikely pornographers whose 9:00-to-5:00 work days are spent within the confines of the San Francisco Armory building, home to the sprawling porn production facilities of
Cool Black’s Mad CommentaryThis also sounds wild. Also sounds like it could be good!
S-VHS / U.S.A., Canada (Directors: Simon Barrett, Adam Wingard, Edúardo Sanchez, Gregg Hale, Timo Tjahjanto, Gareth Huw Evans, Jason Eisener, Screenwriters: Simon Barrett, Jamie Nash, Timo Tjahjanto & Gareth Huw Evans, John Davies) — Searching for a missing student, two private investigators break into his abandoned house and find another collection of mysterious VHS tapes. In viewing the horrific contents of each cassette, they realize there may be terrifying motives behind the student’s disappearance. Cast: Adam Wingard, Lawrence Levine, L.C Holt, Kelsy Abbott, Hannah Hughes.
Cool Black’s Mad CommentaryAs The Hollywood Reporter states, "The creative team behind V/H/S is back for this year's festival with S-VHS, which, while not a traditional sequel, uses the original film's found-footage format. "

Now I saw V/H/S , and many of the Sundance 2012 films linked below at the 2012 Maryland Film Festival (You can read more about that here) and it was WILD to say the least. (The full review is linked below). I would be interested in seeing a sequel.


More noncompetition categories. This one noncompetition PREMIERES—World Premieres.

Don Jon's Addiction / U.S.A. (Director and screenwriter: Joseph Gordon-Levitt) — In Joseph Gordon-Levitt’s charming directorial debut, a selfish modern-day Don Juan attempts to change his ways. Cast: Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Scarlett Johansson, Julianne Moore, Tony Danza, Glenne Headly, Rob Brown.
Cool Black’s Mad CommentaryAlways leery of Actors turned directors, but this one also has a great cast.
The East / U.S.A. (Director: Zal Batmanglij, Screenwriters: Zal Batmanglij, Brit Marling) — An operative for an elite private intelligence firm goes into deep cover to infiltrate a mysterious anarchist collective attacking major corporations.  Bent on apprehending these fugitives, she finds her loyalty tested as her feelings grow for the group's charismatic leader. Cast: Brit Marling, Alexander Skarsgård, Ellen Page, Toby Kebbell, Shiloh Fernandez, Patricia Clarkson.

Cool Black’s Mad CommentarySounds good and good cast.
The Inevitable Defeat of Mister and Pete / U.S.A. (Director: George Tillman Jr., Screenwriter: Michael Starrbury) — Separated from their mothers and facing a summer in the Brooklyn projects alone, two boys hide from police and forage for food, with only each other to trust.  A story of salvation through friendship and two boys against the world. Cast: Skylan Brooks, Ethan Dizon, Jennifer Hudson, Jordin Sparks, Anthony Mackie, Jeffrey Wright.

Cool Black’s Mad CommentaryThey had me at "Brooklyn", but the good cast and Black  Faces :-) don't hurt none ;-)
jOBS / U.S.A. (Director: Joshua Michael Stern, Screenwriter: Matt Whiteley) — The true story of one of the greatest entrepreneurs in American history, jOBS chronicles the defining 30 years of Steve Jobs’ life. jOBS is a candid, inspiring and personal portrait of the one who saw things differently.Cast: Ashton Kutcher, Dermot Mulroney, Josh Gad, Lukas Haas, J.K. Simmons, Matthew Modine.

Cool Black’s Mad CommentaryHaving just read the Steve Jobs biography by Walter Isaacson earlier this year (even though a competing film is being made from the Isaacson book) I'd be interested in seeing this.
Lovelace / U.S.A. (Directors: Rob Epstein, Jeffrey Friedman, Screenwriter: Andy Bellin) — Deep Throat, the first pornographic feature film to be a mainstream success, was an international sensation in 1972 and made its star, Linda Lovelace, a media darling. Years later the “poster girl for the sexual revolution” revealed a darker side to her story. Cast: Amanda Seyfried, Peter Sarsgaard, Hank Azaria, Adam Brody, James Franco, Sharon Stone.

Cool Black’s Mad CommentaryIntriguing story and good cast

Stoker / U.S.A. (Director: Park Chan-Wook, Screenwriter: Wentworth Miller) — After India's father dies in an auto accident, her Uncle Charlie comes to live with her and her mother, Evelyn. Soon after his arrival, India suspects that this mysterious, charming man has ulterior motives but becomes increasingly infatuated with him. Cast: Mia Wasikowska, Matthew Goode, Dermot Mulroney, Jacki Weaver, Nicole Kidman.

Cool Black’s Mad Commentary: The director is Park Chan-Wook, director of the EXCELLENT 'Oldboy' and the screenwriter is Wentworth Miller, the tattooed genius from 'Prison Break'. I'm in.
Very Good Girls / U.S.A. (Director and screenwriter: Naomi Foner) — In the long, half-naked days of a New York summer, two girls on the brink of becoming women fall for the same guy and find that life isn't as simple or safe as they had thought. Cast: Dakota Fanning, Elizabeth Olsen, Boyd Holbrook, Demi Moore, Richard Dreyfuss, Ellen Barkin.

Cool Black’s Mad Commentary: I like the cast.
The Way, Way Back / U.S.A. (Directors and screenwriters: Nat Faxon, Jim Rash) — Duncan, an introverted 14-year-old, comes into his own over the course of a comedic summer when he forms unlikely friendships with the gregarious manager of a rundown water park and the misfits who work there. Cast: Steve Carell, Toni Collette, Allison Janney, Sam Rockwell, Maya Rudolph, Liam James.

Cool Black’s Mad Commentary: I like the cast.

ANITA / U.S.A. (Director: Freida Mock) — Anita Hill, an African-American woman, charges Supreme Court nominee Clarence Thomas with sexual harassment in explosive Senate hearings in 1991 – bringing sexual politics into the national consciousness and fueling 20 years of international debate on the issues.

Cool Black’s Mad Commentary: I assume there are going to be some 
Black  Faces :-) in this LOL

Linsanity / U.S.A. (Director: Evan Leong) — Jeremy Lin came from a humble background to make an unbelievable run in the NBA. State high school champion, all-Ivy League at Harvard, undrafted by the NBA and unwanted there: his story started long before he landed on Broadway.

Cool Black’s Mad CommentaryEven though I only saw him play once, I got caught up in the linsanity pop culture hype and I'd be interested in seeing this doc.

We Steal Secrets: The Story of WikiLeaks / U.S.A. (Director: Alex Gibney) — In 2010, WikiLeaks and its sources used the power of the Internet to usher in what was for some a new era of transparency and for others the beginnings of an information war.

Cool Black’s Mad CommentaryI've always been fascinated by WikiLeaks and would be interested in seeing a doc about them.

The World According to Dick Cheney / U.S.A. (Directors: R.J. Cutler, Greg Finton) — How did Dick Cheney become the single-most-powerful nonpresidential figure in American history? This multi-layered examination of Cheney's life, career, key relationships and controversial worldview features exclusive interviews with the former vice president and his closest allies.

Cool Black’s Mad Commentary: Even though I don't agree with a damn thing he says I am fascinated about as the doc description says "How did Dick Cheney become the single-most-powerful nonpresidential figure in American history?"

See ALL the 2013 coverage at the Sundance Official Website by clicking their 2013 logo below


Sundance 2012 films I have reviewed in alphabetical order. Click the poster to read the review.

Beasts of the
Southern Wild


Middle of Nowhere