It’s become something of a film festival truism that certain movies play better at high altitudes. Exhibit A would probably be “The Blair Witch Project,” which took Sundance by storm in 1999 and generated tremendous word-of-mouth buzz, but was widely considered a disappointment by those who flocked to see it in theaters. As the conventional wisdom goes, the movie’s lost-in-the-woods premise played like gangbusters in chilly, secluded Park City, Utah, in a way that it simply couldn’t replicate closer to sea level.
Which is not to suggest that films featuring frigid forest settings have some sort of Sundance advantage. The reverse, in fact, can also be true. For viewers experiencing the frost fatigue that always sets in mid-festival, a movie set over the course of, say, a long, hot summer in Italy — where young people lie about in the sun, imbibing fresh-squeezed fruit juice and the sight of each other’s beautiful bodies — might be just the thing to take the edge off that Park City chill.
And so it was excellent meteorological counterprogramming that the festival chose one of its coldest, snowiest days so far to unveil Luca Guadagnino’s intoxicatingly al fresco new movie, “Call Me by Your Name.” Adapted from André Aciman’s novel about a teenager’s summer of love in the 1980s, the film has all the wild beauty and simmering erotic languor we’ve come to expect from the director of “I Am Love” and “A Bigger Splash,” both of which followed characters looking for love in all the wrong (but fabulously beautiful and luxurious) places.
To this day, Carl King can’t quite explain why he did it. Why he sacrificed 20 years of his life. His marriage. His financial security. All in a long shot bid to get his friend Colin Warner out of prison.
“Maybe it was that I grew up in a family, in Trinidad, where my older siblings were always involved in student activities,” King said. “Or maybe it just felt like a purpose. It’s your brother, and you’re not going to give up until you can help him.”
In 1980, Warner was 18, living in the Caribbean section of the Brooklyn, N.Y., neighborhood of Crown Heights. One day, the cops showed up and arrested him. He was charged with killing Mario Hamilton, a young Jamaican man in nearby Flatbush. Warner had never met Hamilton. He had never even heard of him.
From Amy Adams' leading actress snub to Mel Gibson's resurgence, L.A. Times film critics Kenneth Turan and Justin Chang discuss the Oscar nominations.
L.A. Times film critics Justin Chang and Kenneth Turan discuss the 2017 Oscar nominations, including Amy Adams' leading actress snub and Mel Gibson's resurgence. (Video by Myung Chun / Los Angeles Times
Actors Laura Dern and Woody Harrelson reflect on working together in the film "Wilson."
Actors Laura Dern and Woody Harrelson reflect on working together in the film "Wilson," with Harrelson saying he's "gotta get out of the quicksand" of drama. Video by Myung Chun /Interview by Steven Zeitchik
Monday afternoon actress-activist Shailene Woodley joined #NoDAPL protesters marching into the heart of the Sundance Film Festival to challenge Robert Redford's Sundance Institute to put its money where its mouth is: Cut ties to festival sponsor Chase Bank over its funding of the Dakota Access Pipeline.
"There is a hypocrisy in talking about indigenous cultures but not doing anything, as a non-native ally, to stand with them," Woodley said in a live video posted to her Facebook page from the protest, which made its way down Main Street in Park City, Utah, in even harsher conditions than those that greeted Chelsea Handler and other Hollywood stars on Saturday.
Transgender vlogger Gigi Gorgeous says, "I've always felt that sharing my story was the best way to educate people." Now she has a documentary, "This Is Everything: Gigi Gorgeous."
YouTube superstar Gigi Gorgeous on her Sundance documentary "This Is Everything" (in theaters February 3 and on YouTube Red February 8), which chronicles her journey from beauty vlogger to millennial transgender icon, directed by Oscar-winning filmmaker Barbara Kopple ("Miss Sharon Jones!"). Video by Myung Chun / Los Angeles Times
Husband and wife Kumail Nanjiani and Emily V. Gordon relay a fictionalized version of their lives in "The Big Sick." The movie was recently acquired by Amazon Studios for $12 million.
Husband and wife Kumail Nanjiani and Emily V. Gordon relay a fictionalized version of their lives in "The Big Sick." The movie was recently acquired by Amazon Studios for $12 million. Video by Myung Chun / Los Angeles Times