The Calm After the Storm (by Anthony Kaufman, February 3, 2005)

Days before the Sundance Film Festival began, a nearby avalanche rattled Park City residents — a possible portent of something dark and resounding on the horizon. But, on the contrary, most of the festival, filled with unseasonably warm
days and unremarkable movies, might best be described as “pleasant” (notwithstanding this year’s new and circuitous shuttle routes and overcrowded parties).

Finding a powerful, risky picture in one of the festival’s main dramatic sections was as difficult as obtaining a bottle of water not artificially flavored by PepsiCo Inc. But a single strong film a day is all that’s required to survive the
Sundance week — and this year’s program supplied enough to pass muster, if you chose carefully. Those who confined themselves to the 16 films in the Dramatic Competition, however, would barely make their quota. And if they stuck to the Premieres section, my sympathies go out to them; with atrocious duds like Sundance opener “Happy Endings,” “Game 6,” “The Chumscrubber,” and “Marilyn Hotchkiss Ballroom Dancing & Charm School,” the odds were heavily against such stargazers.

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