Four rebellious Mexican teens, fed up with the economic situation of their families, decide to rob the holiest of holy institutions: the multiplex. With The Cinema Hold Up, co-writer and director Iria Gomez Concheiro has come up with a conceit so rich with possibilities, it almost sells itself. What the title and description don’t tell you, though, is that in the two hour movie, about 15 minutes are the actual “Cinema Hold Up.” The rest of the film is a stream of consciousness, slice of life look at the modern youth culture in ways that have been well-covered in modern cinema: skateboarding, marijuana, graffiti, freestyle rap, sex, etc. The Cinema Hold-Up adds nothing new to the teen rebellion discussion and though Concheiro has an extremely confident command of the camera and her actors, the journey to the goal is sorely lacking. Read More »

The announcement of the movies playing the 2011 Sundance Film Festival is like looking into our film futures. It’s December and most movie fans are looking back at the last 12 months, picking out award winners, writing top ten lists, and chances are we haven’t even heard of the Sundance films. They’re just titles, people, words on a computer screen. Then in January they unspool on screens across Park City, Utah and become something more. Finally, months later, these are the movies we discuss with our friends and choose on ballots at awards parties. Yet we get to read about them now, a year in advance.

Last year at this time, who had heard of Four Lions, Catfish, Exit Through The Gift Shop, Blue Valentine, The Kids Are All Right, Winter’s Bone, Restrepo or Animal Kingdom? Sundance, that’s who. All those films screened at the 2010 festival and now many have become not only personal favorites, but critical darlings and award contenders too.

Wednesday, Sundance announced the 58 films eligible for awards in four categories that will play the 2011 festival, taking place January 20-30. The 57 out-of-competition films in six additional categories will be announced Thursday. After the jump, we’ll give you the full list as well as highlight five in each category that sound particular promising. Read More »