Sunday, January 27, 2002

Tristate shines at film festival

Sundance winners have ties to area

        Love Liza, the Sundance Film Festival entry directed by Cincinnati native Todd Louiso, came away from the fest a winner in more than one way.

        Not only did the film gain a distribution deal with Sony Pictures Classics, but screenwriter Gordy Hoffman — brother of star Philip Seymour Hoffman — won the Waldo Salt Screenwriting Award.

        The film about a man who begins huffing gasoline to dull the pain of his wife's unexplained suicide, co-stars Oscar-winner Kathy Bates.

        No release date has been set.

        Blue Car, a coming-of-age drama filmed in Dayton, Ohio, also came away from the festival in Park City, Utah, with a distribution deal — this one with Miramax Films — for writer-director Karen Moncrieff and company. The movie stars newcomer Agnes Bruckner who won wide acclaim as a sensitive teen poet who forges an unusual relationship with her English teacher, played by David Strathairn. Its release date also remains to be set.

        Stunt fans foiled: A Web site ( operated by stunt-work firm Leavittation Inc. became a must-see for action fans when it posted short behind-the-scenes videos on its work in two upcoming action sequels. The videos feature Blade II, with Wesley Snipes in vampire mode, and The Scorpion King, wherein wrestling star The Rock gets a whole movie devoted to the scary monster he played in The Mummy Returns.

        Alas, the site's links to those videos have been replaced with this short notice: “The studios have asked us to wait until the release of the movie to show this featurette. This feature will return when the film is released.”

        Check out the site's “coming attractions” section anyway; it leads to stunt clips from Swordfish and The Fast and The Furious, among others.

        Mark your calendar: George Clooney's debut effort as a director, Confessions of a Dangerous Mind, has been set for release on Nov. 22, the weekend before Thanksgiving.

        The good news is that opening the movie close to a holiday suggests the studio expects it to be a hit. The bad news is the studio is Miramax, which has a long record of changing release dates, sometimes at the last minute.

        Meanwhile, Warner Bros. has picked Sept. 13 as the release date for Welcome to Collinwood, produced by Section Eight, the production company that Mr. Clooney created with Steven Soderbergh, his Out of Sight and Ocean's Eleven director.

        Collinwood was written and directed by Cleveland natives Anthony and Joe Russo, and was shot in their hometown. William H. Macy and Patricia Clarkson star; Mr. Clooney appears in a small role.



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