Sunday, March 29, 2015

Legend of the Knight (2014)

Legend of the Knight disappoints.

When I saw the trailer for the film, which charts the way that the Batman character has influenced and help people achieve great things, I was moved to tears. I had to track the film down. Since the film hadn’t yet been released on DVD and was in the process of screening across the country I was going to have to wait a couple of weeks to see it. Then I lucked out and ran across the film at New York Comic Con and picked up a copy.

Waiting for the perfect time to see the film I held on to the DVD until New Year’s when I sat down to watch the film.

Sadly it wasn’t worth the wait.

The film is takes a look at various people who have found strength in the Batman character. We have people who dress as Batman to entertain kids, handicapped people who find strength in Batman’s regular joe who made himself a hero, kids who find strength to face the world, the mythic context of the character and we also see the man who produced all the Batman films and Batman writer Denny O’Neil.

Its good stuff – or would be if we hadn’t seen all of it before elsewhere. The feel good stories have largely been on the various TV news shows, the talk of comics as myth are the sort of discussions that the vast majority of comic readers have had before. The film is also a bit too filled with too many kids standing in batman masks and capes. By the 35th time it’s like get one with it.

The one saving grace is the fleeting appearance of Denny O’Neil talking about the character and what it means to be the keeper of the myth. Its pointed. Moving and good enough you’ll want a whole film of the man talking about comics.

Ultimately the problem with the film is that the film doesn’t live up to the trailer. Yea I know most films don’t but the film additionally offers nothing that is new for a comic fan-or even one that watchs the news. Its good but unremarkable.

Saturday, March 28, 2015

peacock fan (1929)

Familiar and off beat mix in the Peacock Fan a murder mystery about a rich man who dies not long after getting the title item. As the police seem stumped a friend of the dead man who was to explain the fan’s cursed history takes control of the investigation.

Your typical murder mystery among the rich story is enlivened by one hell of a detective. A refined European aire hangs about Lucien Prival as Dr Dorfman who swings into action to find a killer. The choice of detective adds 57 bonus points to what is a largely run of the mill story. I mean when was the last time you saw a detective with a monocle and such a refined attitude? Never.

When trying to find out about the film I was reading a comment on IMDB that suggested that the film may have been filmed as sound film that was released as a silent, either just as a silent (how I saw it)or in both versions. Considering the amount of talking in the film and the long titles I’m willing to believe that’s a possibility. When you see the film you’ll understand what I’m saying.

If the film has any real flaw, it’s the brief opening prolog that explains an earlier tragic event in the history of the fan. The sequence is wonderful, except that it’s a bit too much foreshadowing concerning later events. Its not fatal, but it would have kept thins more mysterious had it not been there.

Definitely worth tracking down, especially if you’re a fan of mysteries.

Friday, March 27, 2015

The Theory of Obscurity:A Film About The Residents (2015) SXSW 2015


The Residents.

You may not know their music, but you know their imagery-particularly four tuxedoed guys wearing eyeball masks and top hats. They are a group of guys who have “never” revealed their identities instead preferring to work in obscurity since the world, since an artist’s best work is always done that way. The group fused their music with wild imagery to create what can only be called art rock (Their videos are in the permanent collection of the Museum of Modern art). Their music films predated MTV’s music videos and influenced all that followed in their wake

I’m a casual fan of The Residents at best. I loved their videos on MTV back in the 80’s and I loved their imagery but I have no albums and I couldn’t name a song if my life depended on it. When THEORY OF OBSCURITY: A FILM ABOUT THE RESIDENTS was announced for SXSW I was intrigued, especially since I really liked the poster art (see above). I contacted the PR people to see if I could review the film and after some miscues things came together and boy am I glad- THEORY OF OBSCURITY is one of my favorite films I’ve seen in 2015 so far.

A history of the band from their inception until the present day this is absolutely fascinating trip into the world of the Residents and outsider art rock and roll. Here were a bunch of guys from the American South who went to San Francisco and ended up making music because it was easier to do then make movies… maybe. The trouble with that statement is that the history of The Residents is malleable. Since we don’t know who they group is we can’t be certain what happened since they aren’t talking even if everyone around them is.

To be honest I think that what is in the film is pretty much the way things were. I can’t see it all being a grand game, even if the Residents want to remain largely obscure.

I love THEORY OF OBSCURITY.

Sitting down to watch the film I fell into it. I loved the groups desire to make their music their way. I loved all of the crazy things they did-“Hey we’ve got nothing to do today-let’s make a film- what are we going to do? We’ll cover everything in newspaper and just wing it. (The footage ended up in a promotional film for Third Reich and Roll) I loved how they simply created their own musical world.

One thing that stuck with me was their ethic that you don’t have to be a trained musician. Music didn’t have to follow rules, but had to follow, essentially, your heart. Make your music your own way. I adore that they have the attitude that you should just do what you want so long as you can “own” what you’re doing- meaning just go for it and sell it, don’t make it ironic, make it your own. There is something about that attitude that makes me smile- if there was any group of guys who prove you can go your own way and be successful it’s The Residents.

While the film is full of good music and wild imagery, the film is also full of talking heads (and a Talking Head-Jerry Harrison) who explain why the Residents are cool and what they have achieved. Les Claypool from Primus explains how he used to hate the Residents, but that the group and their music grew on him like a fungus- to the point where Claypool performs their music.

You have to forgive me I can’t talk about this film rationally, I can only gush about it because I love it so much.

I don’t know if this is one of the best films of the year, it may be, but it certainly is one of my most favorite-which is probably better since it will stay with me more than many “best” films.

(A great thought this film should be screened with another one of my favorite films of 2015 THE KING OF NERAC for a fantastic look at creativity and the creation of art.)

The Devil (1921)

George Arliss makes his film debut playing the title character in a film that is a kind of riff on Dangerous Liaisons.

Arliss plays Dr Muller a rich aristocrat who gets his jollies wrecking relationships and reputations. Getting his hooks into an artist and his lady love he runs roughshod over them breaking their faith in each other and god.

That last comment and the title make for one of wilder endings I’ve seen in a film, and making the film much less an allegory than you might think. Actually it removes any notion of it being an allegory- which really isn’t that surprising considering the mischief that Arliss gets up to.

The film is a solid little melodrama, supernatural ending aside. The cast sells the soap with great aplomb and in my case they sucked me into the story with such fervor that I actually sat and watched it all the way to the end without zipping through on scan (a fate suffered by less compelling silent films)

Definitely worth a look see, especially if you only know Arliss from some of his physically stiff performances from the sound era.

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Leopard Woman (1920)

This is a much better than i had thought it would be spy/adventure romance set in Africa.

The plot has a woman called Madame aka the Leopard Woman, working for a foreign power. She is tasked with stopping a British expedition into the wild who are hoping to reach a far off "uncivilized" kingdom some distance away. The British hope to form an alliance with the distant people. As the parties head off into the wild various events along the way have dire consequences for all involved and put the Leopard woman and her opposite number on a collision course toward romance.

Purely romantic adventure, the plot really is a grand MacGuffin and the excuse to bring the eventual lovers together. Its good enought that you get carried along with the tale even though you can pretty much know where its all going even if you don't know the details.

The real selling point of the film is it's look. This film looks incredible, It really does look like it was filmed in the wilds of Africa and not the Ince Studios in Hollywood and the desert near Palm Springs. It puts many similar modern films to shame.

The film is a small gem and something you should track down.

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

The Iron Mask (1929)

Huge suptuous retelling of the Dumas classic has  Douglas Fairbanks return to the role of D'Artagnan.  This time out the complex plot has the queen giving birth to twins.One of the prices is spirited away lest their be strife in the kingdom. D'Artagnan, after some adventureis ultimately assigned to protect the prince, but troubles arise after the prince is kidnapped and his brother is placed on the throne instead.

This huge scale spectacle may very well be my favorite Douglas Fairbanks film. To be fair that isn't hard since out side of this film, The Thief of Bagdad and The Black Pirate I'm not really a fan of any of his films. There is a lightness to most of them that takes away from the excitment. The other films feel like a goof.

Iron Mask is not a goof. Its a very serious film where there is a human toll for everything that happens. A good number of the main characters die. By the time the film ends there is very few left to take a bow.

The film looks great. Talk about crazy Hollywood spectacle this film is it Everything looks and feels real. There is an opulence to the proceedings that simply makes you go Oh Wow whether you want to or not.

The film's action is wonderfully real. These are not fights where Fairbanks takes on 57 men single handedly but fights to the death. We don't know who will live and die, and once things are in motion die they do.

This is a great film and great filmmaking.

This is a must see.

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

The Man From Reno opens Friday

The Man From Reno opens this Friday in theaters and its one hell of a film. A twisty turny film it holds your attention tighter than most mainstream movies you’re going to run across. The plot has a Japanese author going to San Francisco on a book tour and to meet friends when she meets a handsome young man. Where it goes is the film.

I saw the film back in July when it played at Japan Cuts. I loved the film a great deal but had some problems with the plot which as some intentionally added bumps. Now almost a year later I can’t remember my reservations but I remember the film. Below you’ll find my review from Japan Cuts.

Dave Boyle's riff on neo noir concerns a mystery writer from Japan who unexpectedly leaves her book tour to fly to San Francisco nominally to see friends, but it soon becomes clear she's considering checking out permanently. Her life gets thrown a curve ball when she meets a Japanese man with whom she spends a passionate night. He's gone in the morning leaving her in a tizzy and in a bit of trouble. At the same time we follow the story of a small town sheriff who runs over a man in the fog and ends up on a course that will connect with our heroine.

A mostly solid little mystery and a very good film, has me scratching my head with all of the laurels it's collecting. Its a good little thriller that has some nice twists on what you expect from a mystery such as this but it's not that great. I had that feeling even before one thing that happens that makes no logical sense except in the director and writers mind. This is also one of those movies that goes on three steps too long since the story is effectively over at a certain point.

I would love to explain what I meant but I don't want to ruin the film when you see it- and you will want to see it.

The Q&A was interesting with director Boyle talking about how he put the film together and how he used Kickstarter. I do have to applaud the woman who asked about the point that bothered me and he said that he did it that way because he wanted to. He knew it didn't make sense in the real world but he did it anyway. I suspect from the way he answered the question the point bothered a lot of other people since the answer seemed well rehearsed. (And no it doesn't make sense I explained why to some people between the films and they agreed it really doesn't make sense at all in an otherwise realistic film)

Yes the point really annoys the hell out of me. And no it doesn't ruin the film for me since it's effectively over before it.

The Midnight Girl (1925)

Silent pot boiler had Bela Lugosi as a patron of the arts who ends up getting into a battle with his son over the same woman.

While okay as pot boilers to go the film is primarily of interest for fans of Bela Lugosi.  If you've only seen Lugosi in his horror films  and later sound films THE MIDNIGHT GIRL will come as a revelation. Lugosi really could act. Not only could he act, he could smile and emote and move without the stiffness that he some time had.  He's so good you kind of wonder why he never really clicked before Dracula.

Helping matters is the films fantastic set design. The film set in high society and in and around the New York Opera House looks good. This is the make believe world of the rich and famous and it all feels real, or as real as movies of this sort can be.

Is this a great film?

No. Actually it's just marginally a good one. Its pure potboiler of the sort they don't do any more for good reason, its painfully contrived. Sure films like this morphed into soap operas but here things are just too sudsy.

Is the film worth seeing. If you're a fan of Lugosi it is. There is something about seeing him before Dracula and several years younger that makes his story even more interesting, if not more tragic.

Monday, March 23, 2015

The final two days at The New York International Children's Film Festival : SHAUN THE SHEEP, ENCHANTED KINGDOM and KAHLIL GIBRAN'S THE PROPHET

This was the final weekend of the New York International Children's Film Festival, and once more I was in the trenches.

Saturday I went to see SHAUN THE SHEEP a second time, taking Randi and John along for the ride.

I won't go into the film — Hubert is hard at work on a review, However, I will say that the film is just as funny the second time. I know I need another go through to catch everything I missed this time through — which is different than what I missed the first time through.

John and Randi loved the film. I know John did for certain because he was pretty much laughing from start to finish — which is the second of two post end credit sequences. (YES, there are TWO post credit bits one several seconds after the screen blacks out, so hang around)

Discussion to the restaurant after the film and even in the film was talking about its place in the animation/children's film pantheon of the last few years with the recent PADDINGTON figuring heavily into the discussion.

Sunday was a double-header at the Directors Guild Theater, as the official last two films of the festival screened.

ENCHANTED KINGDOM is from the makers of the BBC series PLANET EARTH and WALKING WITH DINOSAURS, and it's one of the best uses of 3D I've ever seen. It's a jaw-dropping, make-you- tear-up-with-the- mix-of-music-and-image sort of film , a must-see-on-a-big-screen film. This film kicks ass and then then some. It's one of the best film going experiences of the year.

The film is a trip across Africa to the mountains, ocean, plains, jungles and deserts. It's an in-your-face look at the animals that live in the various environments. While the narration is really cursory, the images are not and it's one of the few times I've ever felt things were floating over the audience (the lionfish for example)

By the time the Coldplay song comes on at the end I was tearing up big time.

You must see this in the theater because this will not work flat or on TV.

The final feature was Roger Aller's KAHLIL GIBRAN'S THE PROPHET....

...give the festival points for screening this for the families but take some away for boring the kids around me and putting a large number of the audience dead asleep. Who did they make this film for? (I'm puzzled by GKIDS picking it for release, since it's not going to make a great deal of money because the appeal is going to be very limited)

Refashioning Gibran's book into the story of an exiled poet released from prison and nominally making his way to a ship home, mixed with the tale of his housekeeper and her daughter, the film tries to cover a great deal of ground. Periodically the poet speaks Gibran's words, and the sequences are all animated by various artists (Tomm Moore, Nina Paley, Joann Sfar, Bill Plympton and others).

Roger Allers introduced the film and I was hopeful that it would be something special. I mean the man made THE LION KING — it should be special. Truth be told, it is...but largely the film is all over the place, and all of the blame has to fall on Allers alone since he wrote it, directed the linking material, and put it all together.

How did they botch this? Let me count the ways...(Warning: I discuss the ending)

The first problem is that the animation of the main story is all over the place. Hey, it's great he seems to have sent all of the money to the sequence directors, but he should have kept some for himself. The Poet sequences are a weird mix of computer and 2D animation. Some of it is very good, but some of it is low-rent TV animation. That would be fine except that the poetry sequences look so much better that they put it to shame. Within shots and sequences you'll have nicely animated characters mixed with one that was obviously done by computer. It looks wrong.

The second and more important problem is in the script Allers cobbled together. What is the film about, really? You have the poet, the police, the housekeeper and her daughter who refuses to talk. Why do we have so many characters? I'm not quite sure. I really don't know the point of the little girl other than to make this family-friendly and give the film a touching ending.

I'll get to the ending in a moment, but the plot seems to be a scaled-down version of the book, with the poet stopping in his travels to give advice or a blessing. It was never much of a plot in the book, but it worked since it was enough to link things together. Here it kind of works for a while since the animated sequences by the other directors carry the film up to this point anyway.

And then in the final third, things go off the rails. What was supposed to be a trip home for the poet instead becomes a life or death struggle as he is brought not to the ship home but to the prison. He is to sign a paper renouncing his work or be killed. While I admire weighty animated films this surprise was simply too much. I wanted to scream "Really? Really?" but thought better of it because Allers was sitting right behind me.

Where the hell does this come from? I have no idea. While the inclusion of a riot and a bittersweet(i.e. downbeat) ending allows for a teary final sequence as we hear and see some thing mystical (Liam Neeson is fantastic as the poet by the way), its really out of left field. The film didn't need it and the fact that the film adds the "uber-serious politics can mean death" angle lessens the weight of everything that went before, because it's so heavy that it pulls the fabric in the film the wrong way.

On the other hand ,the various sequences by the guest directors are visual delights and I can forgive the film its flaws because it allows these bits to exist. I loved all of the sequences with the exception of Joann Sfar's "On Marriage" which is a dull tango. (Though to be fair "On Marriage" is one of my favorite passages in the book, and I was reciting it with the film until I realized that it just wasn't working for me — it had to be perfect or it was doomed). Probably the best are Nina Paley's and Tomm Moore's music videos. I wanted to stop the film and play them over and over again. The sequences are magical and all completely different and all work in their own way. (In fairness I have to say that Aller's sequence — the execution and its mystical aftermath is as good as the others however while it tugs the heartstrings it gets an emotional reaction the it never earned because the rest of Aller's work is nowhere near this level.)

While I truly don't hate the film, I think it's a gawd-awful mess, There's some great stuff here but there is also some real poor stuff as well. I don't know what happened or why — I suspect the fact very few of us can match Gibran's level of writing so the script doesn't work and I'm guessing too much money was spent on the poetry and not enough on the binding.

Should you see it? If you're a fan of the animators, yes. If you're forgiving as well. However, I wouldn't bring your kids, since I don't know what they'll make of it. That's not a slap, since many adults had no clue either (I listened while several parents fumbled when asked by their kids "what did you think?")

I think it's fitting that NYICFF ended on a challenging film probably no one else would have run for an audience of kids. At the same time I really wish it was better. (And keep your fingers crossed GKIDS is releasing this and I think they are going to need luck to turn a profit)

And with that NYICFF is done — and it's time to go into hibernation until next year.

Tom Sawyer (1917)

Jack Pickford is probably the best Tom Sawyer I've seen in this silent adaption of of the Mark Twain classic.

Largely focusing on Tom and his interest in  Becky, the film nicely shades Tom as more than just a bad boy. We actually get a sense of him as more than a crazy kid. The crazier one here is Huck Finn. When  tom does something like tricking the kids into painting the fence for him it's less for his being lazy and more for wanting to just get it done. WHile the first two thirds is episodic, the final third has Tom and his friends running away and being thought dead.

The film is a bit creaky with age, but at the same time Pickford's Huck, while a bit too old to be the young man of the novel, is a fine late teenage version of Twain's hero. There is a complexity to him that I've never seen in any other version. You see he thinks and has feelings. While it maybe sacrilege to some I could see this Tom Sawyer growing up and joining the League of Extraordinary Gentleman. Pickford's performance is the reason to see the film and its so good it will make you see the character in a completely new light.

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Nightcap 3/22/15 UCW on VImeo, festival season amps up, mea culpas and Randi's links


If you still haven't seen ULTIMATE CHRISTIAN WRESTLING, an awesome film about guys who wrestle for Jesus you should go over to Vimeo where it can be streamed for 2.99 for 48 hours or you can buy it for 6.99. Trust me its worth it. I've seen it a couple of time now and its a great film. Its so good that we've run multiple pieces on it as Mondo, talked of the film and to Mr C and myself  talked about the film and to the director Jae-Ho Chang. (If you want to see our coverage go here.)
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This year’s NYICFF is done. As always it was a great deal of fun. This year was a tad more low key then in past years. While I got to roughly the same number of films as in past years, I had a great time going to the festival with a lot of friends. This year I got to films with Hubert, Joe Bendel, Randi, John, Bully and Shelly. For me that’s just as good as the films.

The films this year were all good in one way or another. Even the only one I really disliked, Mune, had a killer visual sense that almost made up for a really disastrous plot line. Some of the shorts blew me away with MY BIG BROTHER making me want to go hug my brothers.

This was a great year and I can’t wait for next year
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As NYICFF ends we’re getting ready for this year’s Tribeca Film festival. As in past years this looks like it’s going to make a run at killing us (and this year running between locations may actually do it)

I’ll talk more about the goodies at Tribeca closer to time but I will say that we’re looking forward to the appearances of Monty Python and the guys from Riff Trax.

While Tribeca will be devouring most of our time between now and April 26 there are some other festivals fighting for our attention and I have to apologize to them because I don’t know how much time I can give them.

Lincoln Center’s Art of the Real will overlap the start of Tribeca. This is their annual look at documentary and docu-fiction films that are a bit more arty than the norm. I’ve seen a couple of films and I’m hoping to get in a few more before the festival starts.

The annual KINO festival which we covered heavily the last two years is running at the beginning of April just in time to collide with the Easter/Passover Holidays as well as the early Tribeca screenings. There are a few films I’m looking at, as is Mondo so I hope to have some coverage going your way.
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If I’m going to be 100% honest I will have to say that part of the problem this year is I’m growing tired of sitting at a computer/TV screen and watching movies. The problem isn’t that I don’t like it, it’s more that life has gotten in the way. The ebb and flow of my day has changed so my ability to just plop down is not as it was.

Part of this is because I have access to the Festival Scope service which means I’m seeing way more festival films this way. It’s great because I don’t need to run into the city but it’s bad because I’m alone in a room watching a movie. I’m tired of being alone and not being social. Movie going is social for me and I’ve stopped being social and I’ve become a hermit much to the detriment of my psyche.

I’m hoping that Tribeca reverses the process.

(I’m also hoping that I run across some truly great films via screeners because most of the films I’ve been seeing this way have not been exciting enough to make me want to keep watching films this way-but that’s another story)
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And while I’m offering mea culpas I need to get more coverage going of what’s going on at Brooklyn Academy of Music. They are consistently running some of the best series in New York- and I’ve been remiss in proving coverage.
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And now Randi's links:
Asterix art aids victims of  the Chalie Hebdo attack
Polite society's hidden tattoos
The end of The Jinx
Ching Lin Soo posters
world's first photobomb?
Robert Altman reinvented the language of cinema
Restoring early black films without the negatives
From NCIS-Gibbs's Rules
Creepy abandoned film sets
Theater Programs:All Part  of the Performance?
Illinois swears allegiance to COBRA
The Critic who changed our view of cinema
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This week we're going back to have some silent films you may not know about but are worth your time.

Since things are going to be a bit crazy for the next few weeks I'm not sure if I'll be gettig to do any nightcaps. If I don't look to have  a mix of old and new for the next few weeks until Tribeca kicks in.. There is going to be our usual selection of  older titles mixed with festival films, some reposts and some new titles.

Horsefeathers (193-)

Horsefeathers is one of the Marx Brothers films that doesn’t get discussed much. One of the classic early films its over shadowed by some of their other films from the period like Duck Soup and Monkey Business. I wondered why that was until New Year’s night when TCM ran the film and I sat down and watched it for the first time in years. Having seen it I know why- it’s not up to the other films the Marxes made.

The plot of the film revolves around Groucho becoming the dean of Huxley college. His son is running around with the college widow and he has to get some ringers to help the football program.

Full of funny bits (The opening song, the football game, Chico and Harpo trying to kidnap the ringers they took the place of) the film wobbles all over the place because the plotline isn’t really there. Its more a partial pencil drawing as opposed to a sold line. While the Marxes can work without a plot (Monkey Business) the brothers are best when they are tied to tether that allows them to hang all the jokes on (Night at the Opera, Duck Soup, Animal Crakers). Here there are sketches that kind of go together, but mostly there are bits that are funny unto themselves but in the course of the film go no where- the whole college widow nonsense.

I like the film but I completely undertstand why its not really one of the films that’s discussed as being good bad or indifferent. Its none of those things its just sort of there, Yea its funny but its really just a bunch of bits. Its worth seeing as all Marx Brothers films are, but its not quite as great as others are.

Saturday, March 21, 2015

New Directors New Films Capsule Reviews 2 MERCURIALES, TIRED MOONLIGHT, PARABELLUM and FORT BUCHANAN

As with the collection of films the other day here are some more films showing at NEW DIRECTORS NEW FILMS that didn't create a lot to say with in me- or even much enjoyment

FORT BUCHANAN
I have no idea if this is serious or parody but this story of a husband left behind when his soldier husband is sent off to a far away post is either the wrong sort of pretentious or the the wrong sort of satire. Either way I lost interest early on when Roger sits around eating cookies with the various other wives left behind.  It's one of those moments where I knew I was the wrong audience for this film.

PARABELLUM
Director Lukas Valenta Rinner's examination of a bunch of people from the city on the eve of the apocalypse is going to delight the overly intellectual amongst its audience while boring to tears any of the people who delight in this genre. Largely silent and filmed in longish takes with everyone and everything carefully arranged this is an artistic take on the messy subject of the fall of civilization and the people who prep for it.  Decidedly not my cup of tea, I fell asleep for a bit ten or fifteen minutes in and then struggled to stay awake. I Freudian slipped and typed that as  struggled to stay alive which I think gives you my thoughts on the film. I suspect that if like the presentation you'll like it as a whole but if you don't this is going to be seventy five minutes of your life wasted.

MERCURIALES
The title refers to the twin towers that the action takes place in, this is a very arty very dense film without a much of what would be classified as a narrative. We begin following a new security guard around the premises as he is given the grand tour. He then fades as we pick up two girls who work in the building. They then drift in and out.  While I would classify the film as an interesting attempt I kind of lost interest well before the halfway point. It's not that any of it's bad it's just too rambling that I never much connected nor does much of this seem connected to anything. Even some fleeting sex and nudity seems kind of dull.

TIRED MOONLIGHT
Opening with roadkill in close up this is a look  at people living in a a backwater of the US where no one  would ever stop.  A seemingly weird mix of drama comedy and documentary this is a film that has a great visual style  but is overly quirky and has a desperation to be film that is off beat enough to get noticed. I liked the film in many ways but some of the flourishes wore me down. Running several minutes shorter than the advertised 80 I'm left to ponder if this should have been a tighter long short but got inflated for release. I apologize for that not being clear but I'm much too all over the place about the film. Definitely worth a look for the adventurous film goer

For tickets or more information on these or any New Directors New Films titles go here.

Spartan (2004)

The President's daughter goes missing and a very quiet manhunt is set in motion. Dragged into it is Val Kilmer a very good agent, who is like pit bull that won't let go of a task and is willing to do anything to complete an order.

This thriller is going to either thrill you or make you crazy. The whole film is from Kilmer's point of view, we never see anything he doesn't see, we never go anywhere he doesn't go which makes for a very stripped down thriller. I think it works in spades and then some, never knowing more than our hero assures that we will never be ahead of him in any real sense. Of course we can suppose whats going on off the screen simply because this is a movie and we know things must be going on elsewhere, but what we suppose may not be right or important to what is happening before us.

This is a hard movie to write about briefly simply because its focus doesn't leave much room to do so with out spoiling the mystery.

Despite the fact that I think it was  one of the best films of 2004, I have to be honest and say that its not without its flaws. I can't talk about them either with out ruining something. To me the flaws are meaningless since the film is such a great ride it doesn't matter.

See this movie. It deserves to be seen and find the audience that its theatrical run failed to generate. Its one of the best and most unique thrillers in years. An unheralded masterpiece from writer director David Mamet. Certainly its better than most of Val Kilmer's films over the last few years.

Friday, March 20, 2015

Chocko has been recording Q&As again : KUMIKO THE TREASURE HUNTER, SEYMOUR AN INTRODUCTION and Champs

Within the last week Chocko has been hitting various film screening where the filmmakers have been in attendance.. He was at th CHAMPS screening at the Village East Cinema, and SEYMOUR  AN INTRODUCTION and KUMIKO THE TREASURE HUNTER at the IFC Center. As he usually does he recorded the Q&As that followed the screenings. I've raided his You Tube channel and present them here for you.

One word of warning the KUMIKO and SEYMOUR sound is not the best. There is something about the IFC Center sound system which makes it difficult to record the sound. Its not just Chocko's problem but most people  I know who've tried it have had problems. I would hesitate to share the clips except this maybe the only chance you get to see these people talk about their films (for example Rinko Kikuchi only did one screening while the Zellners did them all weekend)

With out further adieu I give you post movie Q&As: