Rose Byrne

The Sundance Film Festival ran from January 18th to 28th this year; over 120 films were shown in ten days. For the fourth year in a row, I was on the (often snowy) ground, knocking out almost 20 films in five days in order to bring you the Best of the Fest. I present here the ten best films I saw – five features, four documentaries, and one special screening. Keep your eyes out for these during the coming year, as they are well worth your time and money. And if you’d like to know all the films that took home awards this year, you can see the winners here.

TOP FIVE FEATURE FILMS

1.) Search
(USA 2017, 101 min. Directed by Aneesh Chaganty. Category: Next)

Worried father David Kim (John Cho) uses the Internet to search for his missing daughter.

The word innovative doesn’t even come close to doing filmmaker Aneesh Chaganty’s first feature film justice. Using a narrative that unfolds completely on a computer screen (via video chats, texts, emails, Internet searches, and news videos), Chaganty immerses us in the story of recently widowed dad David (John Cho, excellent as always) and his desperate search for his missing teenage daughter Margot (Michelle La). Debra Messing, cast against type, is terrific as the San Jose police detective heading the investigation. Filled with red herrings and twists and turns you’ll never see coming, Chaganty and co-writer Sev Ohanian’s South Bay-set mystery is as imaginative as their method of telling it. Both a celebration and a critique of our increasing reliance on technology, the brilliantly executed Search is my hands-down favorite film of the Festival. Sony Pictures acquired the picture for five million dollars in one of the Festival’s biggest buys, so a wide release will be forthcoming. The film also deservedly won both an audience award and the Alfred P. Sloan Feature Film Prize. Don’t miss this one. [read the whole post]

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Stupidness getting stupider somehow makes it better.

Sample of the silly antics prevalent in Neighbors 2: Sorority Rising

Sample of the silly antics prevalent in Neighbors 2: Sorority Rising

 

Not only was I expecting to hate Neighbors 2: Sorority Rising, but I kinda wanted to. I wanted a chance to get all my pent up anger and frustration out in a gorgeous scathing review. But dammit, it was a fun movie. [read the whole post]

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No more and no less than a solid middling comedy.

Bobby Cannavale, Rose Byrne, and Nick Kroll are 'Adult Beginners'

Bobby Cannavale, Rose Byrne, and Nick Kroll are ‘Adult Beginners’

In the age of the coming-of-age comedy, nothing is more prevalent than indie music montages and sad sap protagonists with remarkably expensive looking hipster clothing. Thankfully, Adult Beginners really has neither of these characteristics. The characters in Adult Beginners are past the point of coming-of-age, and therein lies the point. It may be formulaic and glossy in its ultra quick stereotypical depictions of IPOs, swim classes, successful entrepreneurs, awkward home town reunions, etc., but judging the film on these miscues is to miss the (aforementioned) point. What Adult Beginners does well is allow its very talented cast to execute a cute story featuring very familiar circumstances and themes.

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This family puts the fun in ‘dysfunction’

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Sister and brother Wendy and Judd (Tina Fey and Jason Bateman) take a time-out together.

Director Shawn Levy, whose previous efforts include the funny but lightweight Night at the Museum and the mediocre Google commercial (er, film) The Internship might not seem like an obvious choice to bring Jonathan Tropper’s more literary serio-comic novel This is Where I Leave You to the big screen. But Levy has the good fortune to be working with a screenplay written by Tropper himself, as well as an extraordinary cast of both up and coming and tried and true talent. This collaboration has yielded one of the year’s most highly enjoyable pictures. [read the whole post]

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It’s a very funny movie. What more do you need to know?

Zac Efron and Seth Rogen in Neighbors, in a scene chosen by me to get traffic if someone searches for "shirtless Zac Efron"

Zac Efron and Seth Rogen in Neighbors, in a scene chosen by me to get traffic if someone searches for “shirtless Zac Efron”

Comedy is subjective. What’s funny to you isn’t necessarily funny to me. There’s absolutely no way I can tell you that a movie is hilarious, and a must-see, and have it necessarily be the case for you. All that said, if you don’t think Neighbors is a very funny movie, I probably won’t take comedy recommendations from you in the future. It’s OK if you give me the same treatment. I’m guessing you won’t, though; this is as good as it gets in modern movie comedy. [read the whole post]

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Film Review: I Give It a Year

by Carrie Kahn on September 6, 2013

The anti-rom com: When “I do” becomes “Actually, I might not”

Josh (Rafe Spall) and Nat (Rose Byrne) optimistically share a dance at their wedding.

Josh (Rafe Spall) and Nat (Rose Byrne) optimistically share a dance at their wedding.

Two weeks ago, I reviewed the insipid Austenland, a banal, predictable, utterly forgettable romantic comedy. This week, however, I am happy to report that I have found its antithesis with I Give It a Year, an edgy, brilliantly funny British romantic comedy that is as fresh and inspired as Austenland is stale and uninspired. If a film like Austenland makes you think you hate romantic comedies, then you owe it to yourself to go see I Give It a Year, which, I promise you, not only will make you laugh, but will also give you a newfound appreciation for the genre’s possibilities. [read the whole post]

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Film Review: The Internship

June 7, 2013
http://youtu.be/cdnoqCViqUo

(NOTE:  I worked at Google for a number of years.  Let us just say that I may be slightly biased…but I can also shed some light on accuracies and inaccuracies depicted in The Internship about life at Google.) In a performance review, The Internship would meet expectations.  It is a silly film with a few laugh-out-loud moments […]

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Film Review: “X-Men: First Class”

June 2, 2011

starring: James McAvoy, Michael Fassbender, Rose Byrne, Jennifer Lawrence, Nicholas Hoult, January Jones, Kevin Bacon, Lucas Till, Caleb Landry Jones, Zoe Kravitz, Oliver Platt, Jason Flemyng, Alex Gonzalez written by: Ashley Miller, Zack Stentz, Jane Goldman, and Matthew Vaughn directed by: Matthew Vaughn MPAA: Rated PG-13 for intense sequences of action and violence, some sexual […]

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Film Review: “Bridesmaids”

May 13, 2011

starring: Kristen Wiig, Rose Byrne, Maya Rudolph, Ellie Kemper, Melissa McCarthy, Wendi McLendon-Covey, Jon Hamm, Jill Clayburgh, Matt Lucas, Rebel Wilson, Chris O’Dowd written by: Kristen Wiig and Annie Mumulo directed by: Paul Feig MPAA: Rated R for some strong sexuality, and language throughout.

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