Thursday, April 29, 2010

IFFBoston 2010: nutshells...

And now, some brief and probably way too vague to be helpful assessments of my IFFB 2010 screenings. If I write "SEE IT!" I mean that it's a rewarding big screen in-the-theater experience. Understandable if you don't have that option, sad to say. In that case see a "SEE IT!" any way you can. =)

IFFB | Meet The Filmmaker
Dig it. See it for lots of quirky humor and situations. More about a series of vignettes featuring eccentric characters than classic three-act plot development, but with such an excellent cast (including Kevin Kline, Paul Dano, John C. Reilly, and Patti D’Arbanville) it's not such a bad thing.

IFFB | trailer
Awesome. SEE IT! If LITTLE MISS SUNSHINE was an Irish gangster road movie greatness... Y'know, without the kids. Yeah. That's about right. =)

A disingenuous doc. Maybe catch it on cable or online if you're curious about or in any way connected to the subjects (the "untouched" Yanomami tribes in South America and the tribes of anthropologists). Yes, engaging and entertaining, but cut to mislead and manipulate. Question everything in this film, look for more online, treat it as fiction. A great lesson on how to create a scandalous almost-propaganda doc.

IFFB | trailer
Totally love it! SEE IT! Heartbreaking and beautiful. A kickass cast with a just plain frickin amazing precocious lead in Jennifer Lawrence.

IFFB | trailer
Love it. DVD-able. Clever dark middle class gangster fun, almost Shakespearean, with a great cast, including two SPACED alums. =)

IFFB | trailer
Nope. Disappointing. Watch the trailer and you'll see what it's trying to be. Alas, the film delivers more artiness than skate battle and grit.

IFFB | my reviews
All of the animated shorts (heh heh) are visual treats, but some are stronger on content and entertainment than others.
"Invisible Loneliness"
Eh. Cool execution, but weak on story/non-story.

"Junko's Shamisen"
Good. Very cool execution, digitally kitbashing live action, layers of Kabuki theater, and comic book/manga sensibilities to tell a too-simple-for-my-satisfaction folk or ghost story.

"One Square Mile Of Earth"
Love it! In the tradition of "Creature Comforts," stylish anthropomorphic animation (in this case, digitally manipulated cutout/collage) transforms some mundane bits of conversation.

"Sebastian's Voodoo"
Good. A great synergy of story and (limitations) of technique. This may sound harsh, but given what today's animation tech can do, I feel like this is an AWESOME final school/class project, but only an okay professional short.

Good. Frickin gorgeous design and execution, but—and I know it's a bass-ackwards crit—almost too imperfection-free for its story.

"Wisdom Teeth"
Love it! Hertzfeldt continues to get huge bang for his scribbly-figured buck. =)
IFFB | trailer | my review
Good. DVD-able. Great subject and decent intro to it. Wish it went deeper, tho.

IFFB | trailer
Very good. DVD-able. Love it for unflinchingly capturing 20-something social and family dysfunction. A 21st century post-grad rite of passage film with some shining bits of dialogue.

IFFB | trailer
Dig it! See it on the big screen with a crowd if you can, otherwise, DVD-able. A great whimsical premise built around a kooky romantic center. With aliens! and filmmaker alums from the Buffyverse and FREAKS & GEEKS, and if you close your eyes, you'll hear Rusty Venture! =)

IFFB | website | my rambling
Supercool. SEE IT! Was on my guard going in, and there are some unavoidable cliches and conventions (it IS a high school angst flick), but I love the new media voice of our nerdy "hero" and am way pleased with the simple heart of it.

IFFB | trailer | my rambling
Good. DVD-able. Entertaining and eye-opening.

IFFB | trailer | my rambling
Love it! SEE IT! Who doesn't love encountering the heart of darkness in the American heartland, right? Some ultraviolence with a "Please" and a "Thank you, ma'am," I reckon... The way it oughtta be.

IFFB | website
Very good. See it with friends. You don't want to get this angry alone. Slightly biased in POV, heh, but if you're looking for some righteous indignation against the outcome of Prop 8 in CA, see this for some fires-stoking revelations.

"5 Variations On A Long String"
Nope. Didn't do a thing for me.

"Iowa Mixtape"
Good. Some very fun little interviews from unlikely subjects—hip-hop fans in Iowa. =)

"Keep Dancing"
Excellent! Touching, endearing, charming, focused on inspiring subjects—a couple of 90-year old MGM film and broadway dancers who meet every week at a rented studio in NYC to keep dancing.

"The Poodle Trainer"
Excellent! A lusciously shot film focused on a single-minded and talented subject—the poodle trainer of a Russian circus... AND her poodles, of course.

"The S From Hell"
Hilarious! Like Stanley Kubrick's film school documentary short. Or something. Constructs a wonderful menace out of a handful of childhood stories.

"Snake Fever"
Very good. Features the most disturbing seconds of film I saw in all of my festival viewing. I'll put a description of it at the end of this post.*
I rest.

... meaning, I play volleyball for the first time in two weeks. =)

IFFB | trailer | website
Wonderful, charming, and captivating! SEE IT! Although the storytelling was a bit jumpy and felt accelerated in parts (as if bits were missing), I was smiling throughout, enjoying the ride, as every frame of film was a delicious treat. Wonderful, whimsical characters with heart are brought to life by a talented cast and the director's vision (if you've seen DELICATESSEN, you're familiar with it). Together they tell the story of an ultimate con staged by a French "Little Tramp" and his adopted family of outcasts on two heartless arms industrialists. You know, THAT old story... =)

Question: Is "micmacs" a French version of "yadda yadda" or "somethin-somethin?"

For those of you playing at home, that's sixteen screenings in eight days. Twenty-six individual films, if you count each of the shorts. Wack.

Keep on screenin on~

* Did you know that... Snake heads can still twitch, hiss, and bite (and think their snakey thoughts, too, I assume) after being separated from their bodies... and thrown into bowls with dozens of other severed heads. Also, those bodies, sliced open, can still wriggle and squirm. A most unnerving sight.

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