Posts Tagged ‘Wrong’
This was an unusual Sundance. Going into the festival, there were only two or three movies that I was really excited about. Maybe low expectations helped the scores, which were pretty high throughout. Here are my eight favorites and three that you should avoid.
West of Memphis
Beasts of the Southern Wild
Safety Not Guaranteed
Sleepwalk with Me
Something From Nothing: The Art of Rap
The End of Love
Red Hook Summer
I came into the festival looking forward to this movie, the latest from Spike Lee. It disappointed on almost every level.
The one level it didn’t disappoint on was Clarke Peters’ work. No matter how tone deaf or mannered the dialogue, Peters really throws his weight behind it, and brings a sense of the inner life of a widowed pastor. Unfortunately, this only makes him stand out more from the rest of the cast, most of whom appear to be first-time actors. Given the number of careers that Lee has launched over the course of his career, it’s difficult to see what drew him to anybody in this particular cast. Nearly all of them fade into the vibrant, oversaturated background and those who don’t stand out simply because their work feels like it might be more at home on a small community theater stage.
The sound design and mix felt almost as amateurish as the acting. Music cues drowned out dialogue in more than one place and simply felt like a demand for an unearned emotional response in others. It was a fundamental mistake to score this film with music from open to close. Many scenes seemed extended for no other reason than to make sure that entire musical phrases. There may be a tighter 45-minute movie screaming to get out of this 135 minutes, but finding it would first require that it be untethered from the unpleasant music.
If you were searching for areas to edit, it bears noticing that during the course of this movie, I sat through church three separate times. Each time, I got a full sermon and sometimes even more. One would think that judicious editing could start there. In fact, I don’t recall a single scene in the movie that felt paced at anything fast than a shuffling gait. I stopped counting the number of times that I checked the clock to see what time it is, and the first was 30 minutes in, which may be some kind of new record for me.
Spike asked Sundance audiences to make sure that people know this isn’t a sequel to Do The Right Thing. The two movies hardly belong in the same universe much less the same sentence with one another, but some of the confusion may come from the revisiting of Mookie, Lee’s own character from the previous movie. I suppose I can see the appeal of the cameo for Spike as an attempt to inject a few moments of levity and believable acting into the movie. At any rate, there is such a step backward in all areas of film making that I don’t think that, without his name on the poster, many people would identify this movie with the earlier one.
I enjoyed Rubber moderately. This movie was as interminable as the director was condescending and pretentious during the Q&A.
Tim and Eric’s Billion Dollar Movie
I haven’t the words and, if I did, I doubt I’d waste them. Run.
Sundance 2012 – Day Three
Indie Game: The Movie
at SLC Library in Salt Lake
My Score – 93
This movie feels almost personal to me, having spent many years in the software development world and also having an indie game project with a couple of friends. Finding a way to wring the drama out of an activity as solitary as coding is an impressive achievement. The filmmakers culled through footage with 20 or so developers but showed off that old adage that casting makes a movie when they settled on their three main subjects. The creators of Super Meat Boy and Fez were a fascinating group to watch. This documentary is impressively paced and scored. I had high expectations going in and couldn’t have enjoyed it more.
Beasts of the Southern Wild
at Rose Wagner Center in Salt Lake
My Score – 92
Having just returned from a post-Christmas vacation in New Orleans, I was primed to love this love letter to Louisiana, and wasn’t disappointed. Given that the film is an exploration of a young girl who lives in extreme poverty with her father in a rural part of the stated called The Bathtub, there is plenty of room for this to be depressing. Instead the movie is a beautiful celebration of a unique and joyful community.
Two interesting notes: the first is how differently my wife and I responded to the movie. She saw it as a movie about a child in physical and emotional peril. It is worth mentioning that this was the second movie of the day that she was away from our 14 month-old daughter. Something tells me that the second part probably explains the first fairly well, but given the perils depicted, my wife’s reaction isn’t completely unwarranted either. The second note: if the bottle cap trick depicted isn’t the most efficient way that a filmmaker has managed to make me respect and like a character in a long time, I don’t know what is. Also, if that trick is remotely possible without movie magic, I want to learn how to do it yesterday.
at Tower Theatre in Salt Lake
My Score – 79
Broadway Cinemas III in Salt Lake
My Score – 33
Movies seen thus far: 11
Today’s Favorite: Indie Game
Festival Favorite: Indie Game
I just returned from a week in New Orleans, so lots of reviews on the way. In the meantime, Sundance approaches and here’s my tentative schedule of what I’m planning to see.
6 Wish You Were Here
9:45 The Raid
noon That’s What She Said
3:30 The Queen of Versailles
5:30 West of Memphis or Celeste and Jesse Forever at 6:30 if I can’t make the transition work
9:30 Red Lights
midnight The Pact
noon Indie Game: The Movie
3:30 Beasts of the Southern Wild
6 Filly Brown or 6:30 Hello I Must Be Going
9:30 This Must Be the Place or 9:45 Wrong
9 Something from Nothing: The Art of Rap
6 The End of Love
9 Room 327
6 For Ellen
9 John Dies at the End
6 Sleepwalk with Me
9 The Imposter
6:30 Safety Not Guaranteed
3 Red Hook Summer
6 Tim and Eric’s Billion Dollar Movie
9:45 Shut Up and Play the Hits
midnight For a Good Time Call…
12:30 The Words
3 Predisposed or 3:30 Robot and Frank
6 The Tower TBA