Da 5 Bloods
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I May Destroy You
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An engaging, often hilarious family portrait that seamlessly blends reality and fiction.
Filmed like a documentary, but some decently-scripted performances are on display... if you can get past a lot of whining.
India from friend Andrew
These characters explode off the screen. There's a very blurry line between what's real and what's not and I enjoyed that. RIYL: Arrested Development, Curb Your Enthusiasm.
From my perspective, to become interested in the movie, you have to be interested in the characters... There was really nothing about the characters I wanted to become interested in...
Indie feature continually walks the line between poignant character study and obnoxious dysfunctional family comedy - with very mixed results. The performances by the non-actor cast bring a raw honesty of fully-realized characters that you see in very few other films. On the other hand, these characters - as real as they me be - are so annoying, their 90 minute road trip feels like hours of screeching and inane banter. Some of the twists in the loose plot and the broad characterization of the one of the sisters feels very contrived, and it's never really all that funny - but it's still almost worth watching for the naturalistic performances. The generic upbeat score seems out of place and ruins several scenes.
For his first film, Andrew Wagner takes the audacious step of casting his family in a movie about a cross-country trip from New York to Los Angeles. Though some of the twists and turns feel contrived (particularly in the scenes involving the director's sisters), Andrew's parents, particularly his father Allen, are disarmingly natural. The film centers on his parent's ailing relationship, and, fictional or not, they seem to be drawing from a genuine emotional reserve. What's fascinating here is that the participants know that the camera is rolling but have no real expectation that the footage will be seen by anyone; it's like a comedic "Capturing the Friedmans".
The first day was interesting. We started off with the earliest showing they do, an 8:30 am, of an extremely experimental film called SUGAR. The entire film takes place in a one room apartment. We never leave it throughout the entire hour and a half of this unscripted film. The woman in the film becomes delirious and drives herself crazy, never leaving her small room. Its a black and white film, extremely bizarre and beautiful. Not much happens, and its just really weird, but its good. B
INSIDE DEEP THROAT was up next after a really long break. We tried to wait list into THE MATADOR, a comedy with Pierce Brosnan among others. We got to the theatre two hours early, but there was already over a hundred people in front of us and we didnt get in. So we just waited around for INSIDE DEEP THROAT, which was the best doc at the festival. There was just so much going on with the original DEEP THROAT. I knew about much of the controversy, but I didnt know just how fucking huge it was. Its such an amazing documentary- so funny and intriguing and utterly fascinating. It was put together and edited so well. A
Fenton Bailey, Randy Barbato, and Brian Grazer (speaking)
Harry Reams - star of Deep Throat
We rushed over to 9 SONGS after which turned out to be the worst film of the entire festival. Its just two people have explicit sex and go to concerts. And by explicit I mean hand jobs and cumshots, full on penetration and fingering. I dont have any problem with it, but it was completely unnecessary and not really beautiful like it should be. Im sure director Michael Winterbottom went for artistic and beautiful, but it was really neither. It really had a horrible reception and he was supposed to be speaking at a Sex and Taboos panel I attended but dropped out last minute. And I believe the horrible reception is why. D-
Michael Winterbottom speaking, and the stars of the film on either side. I'm not sure who that other guy is.
The third day was short at first, with only three films on the roster. But we decided to try and waitlist a film, and were able to get into one more.
BRICK started the day off pretty well. Joseph Gordon Levitt is a high school student solving a murder in a modern day noir, full with traditional noir dialogue and beautiful lighting. The film was really good, but didnt have a good balance between noir styled dialogue and regular modern talk. It just didnt really work so well for me. I think he should have left the stylized dialogue out, especially as this is a teen oriented film and most of the viewers to be will never have seen a noir film. But anyway, the story is good, and I did enjoy the film a lot. Joseph Gordon Levitt turned out to be quite the leading man. A-
Looking back at the film, over a year later, I've really liked it a lot more than I originally thought I did. Since I saw it, I've looked back on, loving the dialogue a lot. Seeing it in the trailers, and the posters, reminded me of the great film I saw at Sundance a year and two months ago.
Joseph Gordon Levitt speaking, director Rian Johnson on the right, and the rest of the cast around them.
KUNG FU HUSTLE followed, and while I kept falling asleep in the middle of the film, I saw most of it, and enjoyed the hell out of it. Its a pure action comedy of the highest caliber. I was just so sleep deprived by that point because of midnight movies following by 9am movies. But I will definitely be seeing the film again when its released in theatres in a couple months, and SHAOLIN SOCCER will be added to my queue when I get home. A
Steven Chow and his interpreter.
So THE TALENT GIVEN US was the movie we successfully wait-listed in to. THE TALENT GIVEN US was one of the more interesting films Ive seen here. The director used his family as actors in a film based on his personal life. So it was his parents and siblings playing themselves in a scripted version of their life. Cool huh? It doesnt seem like it should work, as theyre not actors (with the exception of one his sisters who is a working actor) but it works perfectly. And we follow his family on a cross country trip to find the director of the film. Its really funny and touching, and all the actors/family whatever you want to call them, do an awesome job. A
The director on the right, and his cast and sounds guy on the rest of the stage.
The second worst film at the festival followed next, SHAKESPEARE BEHIND BARS, a documentary about a theatre troop in a Kentucky jail who perform a Shakespeare play ever year. This year theyre doing THE TEMPEST, and its hard for me to believe the film got in the festival on its own merits. The film was made in a Sundance documentary workshop, so because of that, I think thats why the film was admitted into the festival. SHAKESPEARE BEHIND BARS is a poorly shot film, with an interesting subject but uninteresting and dull subjects. I never got around to caring about the play or the actors. I do have to say the score was awesome. D