SUNDANCE FILMS

01.25.11

The Details on 'The Details'

With the Oscar nominations out, 'The Details' takes center stage at Sundance. Nicole LaPorte on the latest deals.

We expect to be seeing a particularly jolly Harvey Weinstein (spotted Monday night at the premiere for The Details) around town, given that he woke up Tuesday morning to a dozen Oscar nominations for The King’s Speech, making it the official Oscar front-runner.

But enough about high-falutin’ films about proper English people. We’re still enjoying the almost-dying embers of a festival that’s treated us to dope-smoking monkeys, a Kevin Smith implosion, and, last night, a very dark comedy—The Details, directed by Jacob Aaron Estes—in which Tobey Maguire, as a porn-loving baby doctor, is even more crazy-scary than he was in Brothers. Well, not quite, but we’re starting to wonder about him. The film also starred Elizabeth Banks, as his wife, and a fabulous if misplaced Laura Linney as their “wackadoodle” neighbor who wears sprigs of basil on her sweaters and (of course) is obsessed with cats. Basic story line: Baby Doctor’s marriage is falling apart, despite perfect home in a Utopian Seattle neighborhood, complete with shiny Priuses and immaculate yards. Insanity ensues, involving Wackadoodle Neighbor, an unwanted pregnancy and, yes, raccoons. We will leave it at that.

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Elizabeth Banks and Tobey Maquire in 'The Details' (Courtesy of Sundance)

Meanwhile, the deals continue at a dizzying rate. Every time we leave a screening there are more Blackberry alerts that such-and-such has sold to so-and-so. Such as:

—Fox Searchlight has stepped up to the plate, snagging the creepy-suspenseful Lizzie Olsen film Martha Marcy May Marlene, a crowd favorite; as well as the Emma Roberts coming-of-age movie Homework. The studio also acquired the remake rights to the documentary The Bengali Detective.

—National Geographic acquired the rights to Kevin Macdonald’s YouTube project, Life in a Day, executive produced by Sir Ridley Scott.

—IFC Films picked up The Ledge, which stars Charlie Hunnam (Sons of Anarchy) as a man trying to decide whether or not to jump off a tall building.

—HBO bought the remake rights to the Irish fist-fight documentary Knuckle, with talk of turning it into a TV series.

—Liddell Entertainment picked up Silent House, the other Lizzie Olsen movie, that’s a horror pic.

—Participant Media and Magnolia Pictures bought Andrew Rossi’s documentary Page One: A Year Inside The New York Times. Participant also picked up Circumstance, about forbidden love in Iran.