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Sundance Report: Justin Theroux's Hat Trick Yields Big Weinstein Sale

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Justin Theroux is running a filmic trifecta at Sundance this year. He steals Zoe Cassavetes's Broken English out from under Parkey Posey with a dazzling performance as a self-loving L.A. actor (is there another kind?); in David Wain's Biblical takeoff The Ten, he plays what he calls "Jesus Christ, or something"; and then there's Dedication, his first directorial effort, a New York–set dark-toned romantic comedy starring Billy Crudup and Mandy Moore, which the Weinstein Co. snapped up for a cool $4 million. We spoke to Theroux the day after Dedication's premiere and found him sporting a hand-drawn "Brad Pitt 2006" T-shirt and a necklace made of human teeth.

Sundance Report: ‘Angel-A’ Actress Goes to Park City, Turns on New York

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Rie Rasmussen, the 31-year-old Danish model, artist, filmmaker, and actress, calls New York home these days, but she's in Park City this week with Angel-A, the Luc Besson film in which she stars. The story of a Parisian lowlife whose attempted suicide is thwarted by mysterious blonde, played by Rasmussen, Angel-A drew a young and enthusiastic crowd — mostly twentysomething guys — to the Library Center Theatre Tuesday night. After the screening, Besson, creator of fan favorites Nikita and The Professional, entered to cheers; the cheers turned to hoots and whistles when Rasmussen sprinted down the aisle to join him onstage. But the next day, just before last night's screening, Rasmussen wasn't exactly returning the love.

Sundance Report: Columbia Profs Can Be Good-Luck Charms, Too

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Writer-director Christopher Zalla prepared for a Sundance screening of his New York immigrant drama Padre Nuestro Tuesday afternoon with a lobby pep talk from his Columbia professor. Park City's Eccles Center, where his Spanish-language film screened, holds more than a thousand people, and the young filmmaker was well aware of the many empty seats and dearth of press photographers. And he had even more reason to be worried: A projection error at a prior screening turned the film’s rich blacks into blurry darkness. Key scenes were hard to see.

His Video Clip Will Touch You, Even Though He Can't

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Edward Scissorhands is coming to BAM in March, but it's not the familiar old Tim Burton movie. Nope, this version is a dance play, directed and choreographed by Matthew Bourne and with original music by Terry Davies. The preview video clip alone is worth the price of admission (which for the video, come to think of it, is free). It's weird and oddly entrancing, and for some reason — the music, the slo-mo — it reminds us of a credit-card ad, or maybe a De Beers commercial. Even weirder. Video Preview: Edward Scissorhands [BAM.org]

Sundance Report: Bronx ‘Internets Celebrities’ Go to Park City, Discover Swag

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Think it's only the rich and beautiful at the Sundance Film Festival? Not entirely. The Bronx-based video artists Dallas Penn and Rafi Kam are there, too, and they're exploring Park City in a daily series of funny shorts called "Internets Celebrities." In today's installment, they discover swag, and the copious amount of it waiting for celebs at the film festival. "Sienna Miller is everywhere," Penn notes. "She's a swag hag." So, too, it seems, are our hosts. Internets Celebrities: Swag [The Daily Reel] Related: Video Reveals Bodega Food Pyramid [Grub Street]

Trapped in Galapagos

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We thought R. Kelly's "hip-hopera," Trapped in the Closet, with its midget strippers and "spatula/nuts" rhymes, was absurd enough already. But Monday night at Williamsburg's Galapagos Art Space, we witnessed something even crazier: The "R. Kelly Trapped in the Closet Sing-along," in which a room full of (hopefully) drunken strangers belted out the words to all twelve chapters, karaoke style.

Sundance Report: An Artist or a Fraud? Either Way, the Movie Sold

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Binghamton, New York, toddler Marla Olmstead was hailed as an abstract-painting prodigy, then attacked as a fraud, all within six heady months in 2004–2005 — she'd gone from art-world darling to media scandal before her sixth birthday. Within days of Marla's appearance in the Times, filmmaker Ami Bar-Lev dove into the scrum of TV cameras and gained the family's trust. But after 60 Minutes' hidden cameras captured Marla's father instructing her how to paint, he too began to have doubts about their authenticity and about his own role in the publicity process. His skeptical documentary about Marla and how her story unfolded — My Kid Could Paint That — generated almost as much hype in Park City as its subject did two years ago. It sold in the wee hours of Sunday morning for a reported $1.85 million. We spoke to Bar-Lev in Park City.

Sundance Report: Superflack Dan Klores Is the Talk of Park City, on the Cheap

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Dan Klores's new documentary, Crazy Love, was picked up for distribution little more than an hour after its world premiere at the Sundance Film Festival Friday night. It was the festival's first sale — and the talk of its opening weekend. The fourth docu by the Brooklyn-born PR maven turned filmmaker, Crazy Love revives the 1962 scandal of Burton Pugach, a wealthy Queens attorney who served fourteen years for hiring a man to throw lye in the face of his estranged mistress, Linda Riss, and their marriage after his release from prison. The unlikely love story's shocks drew audible gasps from the audience, but Klores treats his subjects with empathy and even humor, scoring the movie with stalkerish pop songs like Screamin' Jay Hawkins's "I Put a Spell on You." On the day the sale to Magnolia Pictures was announced, we talked to Klores in the lobby of Park City's Yarrow Hotel.

Sundance Report: ‘Waitress’ Has Successful Debut, Sadly

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Anticipated screenings at the Sundance Film Festival are always special, but Sunday afternoon's premiere of Waitress was more special than usual. It was the directorial debut of Adrienne Shelly, the veteran indie-film actress who was murdered in November in her Greenwich Village apartment. "This is not a wake," festival director Geoffrey Gilmore told the capacity crowd at the Eccles Center, more than 1,000 people. "We picked the film before her death, although she did not know it. Needless to say, Adrienne Shelly is not here in person, but she is here in spirit."

Dinner at Deitch: It's All Legs and Breasts

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Most dinner parties don't kick off with the hostess stripping to fishnets. But at Soho's tony Deitch Projects art gallery Saturday night, barely dressed was the dress code — for at least some guests. About 100 people turned out for a medieval-style banquet hosted by performance artist Julie Atlas Muz in honor of the "stars of the New York burlesque world," according Jeffrey Deitch. The food was Flintstone-size turkey legs, giant bowls of Brussels sprouts, ham hocks, and fruit, all served amid overactive fog machines. Seated at the groaning tables: a coterie of directors (Michel Gondry, Darren Aronofsky), art worlders (artists Jack Pierson, Brooklyn Museum head Arnold Lehman), plus stars Tatum O'Neal and Bambi the Mermaid. It was not your typical gallery party.

Sundance Report: The Worst Horror Is When a Thriller Brings Laughs

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George Ratliff's Joshua, a thriller about a disintegrating family set amid New York icons from the Dakota to the Brooklyn Museum, came into the Sundance Film Festival as a highly anticipated entry: It's competing for the Dramatic Competition Jury Prize, and it boasts an impressive pair of leads, Sam Rockwell and Vera Farmiga, as affluent Central Park West parents dealing with a newborn baby and their son Joshua — newcomer Jacob Kogan — a young prodigy with a sinister streak. But instead things started seeming sinister for the film leading up to its 11:30 p.m. screening at the Park City Library Theater last night.

How to Check Out Sundance Without Leaving Your Chair

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Well before the Sundance Film Festival started this year, august critics began bemoaning the lame state of indie film and griping about how Sundance markets movies alongside cell phones, in high-minded essays published on pages (like New York's) alongside ads for cell phones. But New Yorkers have never been averse to making a buck — which is perhaps why the first three high-profile sales in Park City, where the festival started Thursday, have all been New York films: Grace Is Gone to the Weinsteins, Crazy in Love to Magnolia, and Joshua, reportedly, to Fox Searchlight. (And other local productions like Teeth, Waitress, and Snow Angels are rumored to be close to their own deals.) Of course, you won't see those films in theaters for months or even years, but you can check out about half of the shorts screening at this year's festival without having to crinkle your nose at all those evil corporate sponsors on Main Street. They're being posted online, and today the first batch goes on sale at iTunes for $1.99 each. You'll be able to download more films every day at the Sundance Website. But are the shorts worth watching?

Indie Rockers Too Cool for Manhattan, Head to Jersey

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In other Stephen Colbert–related news, we'll mention that the Decemberists — the "hyperliterate prog-rock" band he recently battled for green-screen dominance — yesterday released their U.S. touring schedule for spring. As New York has already deemed the group about as brilliant as possible, we were a bit miffed to discover that no New York City venue made the list. But then we saw where the tour kicks off: Jersey City. Of course it does.Lori Fradkin Exclusive: Decemberists Announce Spring U.S. Tour [Pitchfork] If You Lived Here, You'd Be Cool By Now [NYM]

‘Times’ Couplets: Poetic Truths in the Paper of Record

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Wherein we arrange Times headlines in rhyme for your poetical amusement. Today's message: Things just aren't working out. The Rules Are Different, but a Rivalry Remains To Execute, or Not to Execute? That Is the Uneasy Question. Approach Boss With Caution: New Low on 'Idol'?" All Together: Let's Go, Jack. Let's Go, Jill. A Talking Head Meets His Comic Doppelgänger, and Sparks Fail to Fly. Innovator and Master, Side by Side, Royal Ruffled by Aide and Partner; Nowhere to Turn for ShelterVery Strange and Very NakedApology Not Accepted.

The Cold War Comes to Brooklyn

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With a catchy new single, "Hang Me Up to Dry," sold-out concerts across the country, and an upcoming European tour with Brooklyn phenoms Clap Your Hands Say Yeah, the California foursome Cold War Kids might just be the hottest new band you've never heard of — if you don't read the music blogs, that is. Bassist Matt Maust spoke with us before the band played Park Slope's Union Hall last night. After the jump, Maust on the differences between New York and California, Fellini, and his phobias.

‘30 Rock’ Likely to Return, Keeping NYC in the Sitcom Business

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Good news for fans of New York City–set TV programming that's actually produced in New York City: 30 Rock now looks likely to return for a second season. This year, NBC didn't place a full-season order for Tina Fey's critically admired but audience-deprived sitcom until December, and its recent ratings in Thursday night's post-Scrubs slot haven't been too impressive; in the important 18–49 demo, the show lost more than 25 percent of its lead-in audience last week. But hey, funny is funny, as NBC Entertainment president Kevin Reilly acknowledged yesterday, when he told the TV Critics Association press tour in California that he expects to order another season.

Now, New York Rappers Beef Via Photoshop

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It's a bit off topic for us, but the ongoing beef between New York rappers Tru-Life and Dipset seems worth mentioning. This weekend, in retaliation for the cover of Tru Life's latest mix tape (above left), which depicts Dipset's Jim Jones wearing Borat's overly revealing yellow bikini, Dipset affiliates hacked Tru-Life's MySpace page and put up photos of Tru Life in the bikini (above right). And with that, ladies and gentleman, we have reached the obvious end point of the evolution of rap beef; Jim Jones, who once threatened to slap the kufi off Nas's head, is resorting to Photoshop geekery. At least no one's getting shot. —Amos Barshad Tru Life & J-Love — Tru York Mixtape Cover [Nahright.com] Capo Strikes Back, Hacks Tru Life'd MySpace [Nahright.com]

W Hotel Has a Weekend Package for Every Occasion

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There is no set way to celebrate Martin Luther King Day quite yet; though the theme is clear — diversity — the protocol is open to interpretation. The W Union Square has provided its own remarkable reading of the holiday on its site, which offers "a weekend of celebration, exploration and action in diversity, culture and peace" package starting at $369. Alas, while the similarly priced "Who Will Bliss and Tell" weekend bundle includes such "spa-tacular" gifts as rosemary and eucalyptus hot salt scrub, the MLK weekend offer doesn't come with anything save two feeble itinerary suggestions: Visit the Apollo and have a drink at the Cotton Club. Come on, W, throw in some Naked Body Butter. Where to Celebrate Diversity This Long Weekend? [W New York]