To The Bone – Heavy, but in a Good Way

When I went in to see To The Bone, I was thrilled we were able to score tickets, but was not sure what to expect from a film about a 20 year old anorexic girl who tries to get help from a doctor who runs a group home that is difficult to be accepted into.

Director/Writer Marti Noxon pulls it off in a surprisingly dramatic way with comedic tones throughout – and it works. Treating a serious matter with humor throughout gives the film a very real, no bullshit, realistic touch.

To The Bone, Keanu Reeves, Lily Collins, Marty Noxon, Sundance Film Festival

Ellen (Lily Collins) consults with Dr. William Beckham (Keanu Reeves) in To The Bone

Lily Collins plays the 20 year old anorexic patient in search of her purpose, her future, and essentially herself and Keanu Reeves plays the doctor who runs the group home and meets daily with his patients trying to help them save themselves.

Other members of the cast in key roles included Alex Sharp (the optimist and love interest), Lily Taylor (Ellen’s mother), and Carrie Preston (Ellen’s annoying step-mother).

Sundance Film Festival, To The Bone, Keanu Reeves, Marti Noxon, Lily Collins,

To The Bone cast goofs around (left to right Lily Collins, Carrie Preston, Director/Writer Marti Noxon, and Keanu Reeves)

One of the most surprising things about To The Bone is that Keanu Reeves turns out one of his best roles showing a wide range of emotion. Sure, I loved John Wick just like anyone else because of the straight and ruthless way in which Keanu plays him, but that’s what we’ve come to expect from him all these years. This is a new Keanu. And I like him. His no-nonsense doctor has a somewhat sick sense of humor and he laughs at himself, perhaps to let his patients know he cares, but must keep that safe distance.

Sundance Film Festival, To The Bone, Keanu Reeves

Keanu Reeves – To The Bone

The emotional intensity is there throughout the entire movie and not once did I find myself leaving the film to analyze or question whether or not a moment was real or whether the limits had been pushed too far or not.

Director Marti Noxon was forthcoming in telling the audience after the film that the movie was somewhat auto-biographical and that writing about her experiences and then turning them into a film with others who had similar eating disorders was therapeutic. They were very careful during filming to not put those actors at risk by having them relive their experiences or fall into old patterns.

This film is definitely worth the watch. It’s a unique story told by those who have lived through it, but not without cost. It’s an imaginative and truthful, original story told in a way I have not seen before.

The film was picked up by Netflix for about $8M. One third of the films at the Sundance Film Festival this year were directed by women. This may not reflect what is happening in the rest of the filmmaking world yet, if Marti Noxon’s work is an indication of the kind of storytelling we can expect in the future, it will soon be the norm.

#experiencesundance @sundancefest #tothebone #keanureeves @sundanceorg @sundancefestnow @firstlooktvfilm @filmindependent @scriptmag @variety

 

Down for the Count, Up for the Dance

Well, here it is 1:20am and I’m ready to crash. Hard. To the airport at 6:30am and then it’s off to Park City for a week of visual and audible stimulation. For those of you wondering why, it’s many things.

The #Sundance Film Festival is many things. The setting is a beautiful, peaceful setting in an old town surrounded by soft pillowy mountains covered in snow. The visual and audible stimulation is escape.

With activity buzzing around you on the streets, it’s hard to think of anything else than what is in front of you. And from the inside, you’ll see films from all over the world which provide us with a different perspective than what we are typically exposed to when watching the Regal and Century Cinema film varieties.

@SundanceFest is great food and drinks and the community you share it with. Grabbing Chipotle chicken tacos at the little local taqueria can result in a sit down with an entire cast and crew members of a film from Nigeria, where a young man left his job as a fisherman for a while to become a gun toting star on a 50 foot screen; a hero among his people at home. The food isn’t bad either!

People wear the craziest things and say the craziest shit. Standing in line with other film watchers is a hoot. Everyone’s a critic. And that’s not a bad thing. That, is the conversation starter! We’re all there for the same thing. To watch films, discuss them, learn about them, be introduced to the filmmakers and discover why they told the story they told. It’s a really good time!

Up in a few hours. See you tomorrow Bobby!

#experiencesundance

 

 

Snowman Staked at Sundance

Strange $#&@ Happens at Sundance…

Day 1 at Sundance Film Festival and some crazy $#&@ happened!  A photo-bomber showed up in the form of a camoflauged man with night vision. Everyone was keeping their distance from him.

Sundance Film Festival 2015 Street Performer

Then the snow on the hill caught fire…

Sundance Film Festival 2015 Torch

And as we were heading across the snowy terrain, we saw a snow-terrorist staked in the head with an icycle!  There are obviously ninjas in Park City!

Snowman Staked at Sundance

However, there was a saving grace.  Park City is absolutely gorgeous at night.  The Slamdance HQ’s was abuzz with the World Premiere of a film called Bloodsucking Bastards.  And the food and drinks at Banghkok Thai was a party in my mouth!Park City at Night Outside Slamdance HQ's

Sundance Music Festival - ASCAP Music Venue

Got It Covered

I’ve been asked a lot if I get bored at the festival after being there for 8 days. The truth is, even though I don’t sleep very much (average about 5 hours/day), after 8 days, I’m still revved up. There is literally so much to see, to do, to experience.

This year will be a bit more challenging for me since I’ll be adding you to my agenda! Here’s a sampling of what I’ll cover while I’m there:

  • World Premieres – First time showings of films, never before shown. Often sold out and packed with cast and crew members, you can often feel electricity.
  • Celebrity Sightings – I’ll get close and if possible, I will talk to them and get the close-up. I’m not shy.
  • Sights – Park City and the surrounding areas are so gorgeous at this time of the year. Often breathtaking and always cold, the beauty is sometimes lost in the details.
  • Sounds – The music scene is loaded with bands from all over the world and with sponsors like ASCAP and HP there is always a surprise or two, like last years impromptu 50 minute set by Matisyahu.
  • Food – It’s what keeps you awake at Sundance. Sometimes it’s a quick pot pie on the run or sometimes it’s a freshly authentic Peruvian dish you share with cast and crew of an independent film out of West Africa. A party in your mouth!
  • Fashion – It wouldn’t be Sundance if you didn’t see the latest winter fashion, extravagant jewelry, and some of the most obscenely loud clothing that captures your attention!

Of course, there are the numerous films. Some appropriately hyped, long awaited, disappointments. Last year, I saw 27 in a week. My reviews may not be extensive, but they will be honest. Even if the truth is brutal, it can be funny.

Film is an expression of emotion, of someone’s truth, of secrets and lies. It can be depressing, uplifting, moving. Days later, it can still be invading your conscious, making you re-think the way you thought or felt about something.  It may not satisfy you all of the time, but it is always someone’s vision, someone’s journey – and sometimes it can change you permanently.

Experience Sundance

Experience Sundance With Me

Attending the Sundance Film Festival is somewhat magical. As a filmmaker, screenwriter, director, or simply a fan of film, this film festival delivers the same excitement, appreciation, and education you would expect. The setting is perfect and everyone, and I mean everyone, is so accessible.

I decided this year to chronicle the journey that is Sundance. I’ll bring you with me and let you experience it. Your experience will be on a slightly different level as mine, but I’ll bring you along to the premieres, to the discussions, to the music, and to the people as best I can.

Sundance is also beautiful. Park City and the surrounding areas have a lot to offer when it comes to scenery and it’s all in the details. An extremely photogenic city, it’s hard to take a bad picture.

In addition to the blogging, I’ll do my best to provide you with the most candid film reviews you’re ever going to read. I’ll be honest to a fault, because I owe everyone only the truth. What good is a filmmaker who cannot handle the truth? I’d expect nothing more and nothing less.

Follow me and enjoy the festival!