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High-profile festival flicks are here by popular demand

SHARE High-profile festival flicks are here by popular demand

All right, I admit it — my taste in film tends to be a bit more eclectic than that of the more casual moviegoer. In fact, that's one of the major reasons I hesitate to recommend films at the Sundance Film Festival.

I've been covering the festival for five years now, and I tend to seek out the World Cinema selections and Documentary Competition films, as those often have the best stories and usually don't get the attention garnered by higher-profile movies.

But when I tell that to people, they usually roll their eyes. That's why, in this column, I'm highlighting some higher-profile films at this year's festival . . . though there's at least one ringer:

BARK (Jan. 16, 17 in Park City; Jan. 13 in Salt Lake City). An odd comedy starring Lisa Kudrow as a married dog sitter who begins believing she is a canine.

THE BUSINESS OF FANCYDANCING (Jan. 14, Salt Lake City; Jan. 15, 16, 17, Park City). This drama comes from author Sherman Alexie, whose stories were adapted for "Smoke Signals," a 1999 Sundance event.

THE DANCER UPSTAIRS (Jan. 13, Park City). All you really need to know about this one is that it marks actor John Malkovich's debut as a director.

GERRY (Jan. 13, Park City). Director Gus Van Sant's allegorical Western stars Casey Affleck and Matt Damon. (Damon and Affleck's older brother, Ben, won Oscars for the "Good Will Hunting" screenplay, which was also directed by Van Sant.)

DECASIA (Jan. 13, 14, 18, Park City). Filmmaker Bill Morrison's unique homage to Disney's "Fantasia," using photography instead of animation.

THE LARAMIE PROJECT (Jan. 17, Ogden). The movie version of the highly regarded stage play has great local interest because of our proximity to the film's location, Laramie, Wyo.

THE MALLORY EFFECT (Jan. 16, Park City). Local filmmaker Dustin Guy's "un-romantic" comedy is playing at competing Slamdance Film Festival, located at the Park City Silver Mine, approximately 1 1/2 miles north of Park City on U-224.

ONE HOUR PHOTO (Jan. 13, 14, Park City; Jan. 15, Salt Lake City). A thriller starring Robin Williams as a photo employee who becomes obsessed with a family after developing their pictures.

PUMPKIN (Jan. 13, 14, 16, 18, Park City; Jan. 17, Salt Lake City). This dark comedy is already much "buzzed-about" for its off-kilter sensibilities and storyline — about a sorority girl (Christina Ricci) who romances the title character (Hank Harris), a disabled athlete.

RUN RONNIE RUN (Jan. 13, Park City; Jan. 14, Salt Lake City). Sure, the plot's awfully similar to last year's "Joe Dirt," but this comedy is subversively funny. And not to give too much away, but it features a cameo that makes the entire movie.

SKINS (Jan. 14, 15, 18, Park City; Jan. 16, Salt Lake City). A drama from the other half of the "Smoke Signals" creative team, director Chris Eyre.

STOLEN SUMMER (Jan. 13, 14, Park City; Jan. 15, Salt Lake City; Jan. 16, Sundance resort in Provo Canyon). Those who have been watching pay-cable television program "Project Greenlight" will want to see this film, made by that contest's winner, Pete Jones.

Screening locations and showtimes are available in the Online Film Guide (look under "Sundance Film Festival" at www.sundance.org. For general festival information, call 328-3456. For information on ticket availability or prices, call either 521-2525 or 1-435-649-4333.

E-mail: jeff@desnews.com