Our 2024 Sundance Film Festival coverage continues today by sharing everything we watched on day two. Make sure you follow along throughout the festival as we share our thoughts on the movies you need to keep an eye on in 2024.
On the menu today are three vastly different movies. First, Chiwetel Ejiofor's Rob Peace, follows the true story of an inner-city kid who attends Yale and succumbs to the demons of his past. Next, Little Death, which follows a middle-aged filmmaker on the verge of a breakthrough that stars David Schwimmer. Last, the first two episodes of Lolla: The Story of Lollapalooza which tells the story of the infamous music festival.
2024 Sundance Film Festival review roundup
We meet a young Rob Peace, who was picked up by his father to run some errands. When his father's car breaks down, they hop out of the car and head to hang out with his friends. In this moment, we hear a young Rob say, "This was the last time I remember being a kid." Moments later, we see Rob's father being convicted of murdering two girls. Before his conviction, his father pleaded with his son that he was innocent.
Fast forward, we see Rob and his mother, Jackie, trying to adjust to life without their father/husband. Rob didn't give up on his father, though, so he saved up working three jobs to get an appeal. It worked, as he was released from prison pending an appeal. The district attorney appealed quickly, and Skeet's stay home was short-lived. Even as his life shifts for the better, his father continues to plead with Rob to help him get out of prison.
There is a scene between Rob and his mother where he confronts the idea of his father's innocence. He speaks about the idea that his father didn't have a history of being violent, and his mother sat up to inform him otherwise. It was such a beautiful yet delicate moment that was shot to perfection. Chiwetel Ejiofor upped the ante in his second go behind the camera.
Some may know Jay Will from his time on the Paramount+ series Tulsa King, but those new to the Will will walk away impressed with his ability to carry a film on his back. He is a force to be reckoned with in this movie, and I can't wait to see what's next.
Although there are some minor issues with specific plot points and a slightly overlong run time, Rob Peace is a strong biographic drama that will resonate with many. Because of this, I recommend checking it out when the film releases.
Jack Bergert's Little Death follows the story of Martin Solomon, a struggling writer trying to write his next script. As we follow Solomon on his journey, the movie flips your world upside down after a robbery. Berget's attempt to make two movies in one sometimes works, but the choppy editing leaves much to desire. You have a tail of two halves that don't come together in a rewarding manner.
My favorite part of this movie is when Martin is sitting in his Uber heading to his next place, and as the driver is about to talk, he says in his head, please don't talk. Listen, if you are driving Uber, you can tell by how a person reacts when you get in the car or if they have two headphones in their ear. Leave us alone, please.
David Schwimmer, who plays the cranky Martin Solomon, does so in a way that makes you hate Martin. We don't see much of Schwimmer as he picks and chooses his roles, but he was strong. Speaking of strength, Gaby Hoffman, Talia Ryder, and Dominic Fike round out this much stronger ensemble than the film itself.
Overall, Little Death is another film from the festival that takes a risk but doesn't connect the dots. Jack Bergert does show some promise when the film goes full-blown indy-heist movie, which is encouraging to see what's next from the director. It's not groundbreaking, not bad, and worthy of a watch when it hits a streamer.
Lolla: The Story of Lollapalooza Episodes 1 + 2
For Sundance they released two of the three episodes set to come out on Paramount+ later this year. After deciding they were about to break up, Jane's Addiction created Lollapalooza to go out with one last bang. The festival got so big that it became an annual event.
At times, you are settled into the story, and at others, you are weaving in and out of the performances. This unevenness causes things to be slightly messy. While music documentaries should highlight the music, in the instance of telling the story of this festival, less music and more story almost felt necessary.
Overall, if you were a fan of any of the bands featured in the early days of Lollapalooza, then Lolla: The Story of Lollapalooza is right up your alley. Although, at times, it is misguided, you still can't help but be caught up in the nostalgia.