We Are The Giant – Quick Review – Sundance 2014

This film follows human rights activists from Bahrain, Syria and Libya. It examines not only how social media played a part in these uprisings against unjust governments, but also the people instrumental in starting the movements. It was a good film with a powerful message.

Bahraini activist Maryam al-Khawaja speaking at Sundance 2014

 


Frank – Quick Review – Sundance 2014

Frank

Frank“, a film about a band whose leader, Michael Fassbender, wears a giant fake head. Domhnall Gleeson is a hack keyboard player who gets a lucky break when the band’s old keyboard player goes crazy and tries to drown himself.

Maggie Gyllenhaal is excellent as the band’s Theramin player and cause of a lot of their troubles. A strange, but fun film which examines mental illness, creativity and suffering. Very funny and sweet in spots, but overall a bit to odd.

You can watch the trailer here.


Shorts III Quick Film Review Sundance 2014

Here are my quick reviews of “Shorts Program III” at The 2014 Sundance Film Festival.

The Films:

2 Girls, 1 Cake2 Girls 1 Cake Julie makes a cake for her friend’s birthday. But since she hates this friend, she uses some questionable ingredients. It was funny, gross and heartwarming all at the same time.

Best A “quickie” short about the best man and the groom who meet before the wedding. Interesting film.

Here Come the Girls The film is labeled a “Paradocumemtary”. I think that is similar to a “Mockumemtary” except it isn’t funny. The film pretends to examine the life of asshole Joe Truman, an aspiring musician, father, and drug user. The interviewer is abusive to Joe and us, the audience. What’s the point?

Immaculate ReceptionThe Immaculate Reception. A spot-on recreation of 1972 Pittsburgh. The big Steelers-Raiders game is on and sixteen-year-old Joey is psyched. His focus shifts when Gina’s sister shows up. They end up missing the big play, but don’t really mind. A lovely story that captures the decaying economic and family dynamics of the era.

Jonathan’s Chest Troubled Alex’s life changes one night when he is visited by a boy claiming to be his brother Jonathan who ran away years earlier. Or did he? A very interesting concept that draws us in. Look for this to be made into a feature.

MeTubeMeTube: August Sings Carmen “Habanera” It’s not YouTube, it’s MeTube – A guy sings George Bizet`s “Habanera” from Carmen and then things get weird. A wild music video.

SyndrobedaSyndromeda Leif wakes up naked on a remote dirt road. Was it an alien abduction? Is he crazy. Is his therapist? Is everyone? A odd, but interesting ride with nice black and white cinematography.

Verbatim A verbatim transcript from an actual deposition where a lawyer has to try to figure out if a dim-witted government employee has ever used a photocopier. A very funny film that shows how dumb people can be.

 


Film “Low Down” – Photos – Sundance 2014

Low Down“, at The 2014 Sundance Film Festival.

The film stars: John Hawkes, Elle Fanning, Glenn Close, Peter Dinklage, Lena Headey, and Flea,

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Flea tells the story of when he hit on author and subject Amy Albany at a Hollywood grocery store near their homes in the late 1970’s.

 

Low Down

Elle Fanning as Amy Albany in a still from the film “Low Down”.

 

 

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Amy Albany shares a funny story.

 

 

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Elle Fanning discusses what it was like to play the part of Amy.

 

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Glenn Close describes her role as Amy’s Grandmother.


Shorts II Quick Film Review Sundance 2014

Here are my quick review of the short films in the “Shorts Program II” at The 2014 Sundance Film Festival.

The films:

The Bravest, the Boldest 
A moving story about a pair of Army casualty-notification officers trying to give some bad news to Sayeeda Porter in a Harlem housing project. Excellent performances all around in this well directed powerful story.

Chapel Perilous A trippy story about a weird salesman with a crazy presentation. And Snakes!

I’m a Mitzvah An American man must take his dead friend home from rural Mexico. But when his flight is canceled, he spends one last night partying with his dead friend. Sort of a “Weekend at Bernie’s” meets “Y Tu Mama Tambien”. Funny, sad and touching.

Mi nina mi vida A guy in Quebec with a giant pink bear rides all the rides in an amusement park. I’m bored…very bored. But it is a bit touching at the end.

More Than Two Hours An Iranian film about a girl, bleeding for more than two hours. She and her boyfriend attempt to get medical care, but the patriarchal moralistic society stands between life and death. It was a bit slow, but did have moving moments.

 

 

PleasureAt the Q&A the director said she was an anti-porn activist, but then why did she make an objectifying exploitive film about extreme porn with NC-17 frontal nudity scenes? Because sex sells? It was a film with the poor storyline of porn and none of the sex. Nuff said.

Tim and Susan Have Matching Handguns A very short documentary about… well, read the title.


The Double – Quick Film Review Sundance 2014

The Double” at The 2014 Sundance Film Festival.

The Double

A wild ride full of amazing visuals. Part “Fight Club”, part “Brazil” with a Wes Anderson feel. Based on the Dostoyevsky novella, Jesse Eisenberg plays Simon James, a depressed cog in a dystopian bureaucratic wheel run by an excellent Wallace Shawn. He awkwardly pursues co-worker Mia Wasikowska, another lonely neurotic looking for love. His trauma increases when a new co-worker, James Simon who looks just like him, starts impressing his bosses. The film sucks us into Simon’s claustrophobic world as it falls apart. The soundtrack is mostly 50’s Asian Lounge Music which adds to the bizarreness.

The film stars: Jesse Eisenberg, Mia Wasikowska, Wallace Shawn, Noah Taylor, Cathy Moriarty and James Fox.