26 January 2006

Sundance: Day Seven

  • Old Joy (Kelly Reichardt, USA): 80

    This is one of those films I'd rather not talk too much about, for fear of ruining the experience for others. (Not that anyone's likely to see it -- hands up, everyone who saw Reichardt's equally terrific River of Grass in its initial commercial run.) I'll just say (a) that this is the movie I wanted Blissfully Yours to be, and (b) that afterwards I was so choked up I couldn't eat, even though my stomach was rumbling for the entire 83 minutes. Oh, and also (c) that I still can't believe that's the preacher kid from Matewan.

  • In Between Days (So Yong Kim, USA): 68

    Country of origin is accurate but misleading -- this feels very much like a Korean film, albeit closer in spirit to the hormonal adolescent fumbling of (say) the Doinel series than to Park, Kim, & Co. Delicate and nuanced, with the ambiguous central friendship-cum-romance handled quite deftly; I don't get the comparison to Funny Ha Ha, whose characters are inarticulate in a completely different (i.e. much more garrulous) way. Sundance oughta be chock-full of movies like this.

  • This Film Is Not Yet Rated (Kirby Dick, USA): 65

    Makes all the arguments you'd expect, but with enough wit and energy that the converted won't mind being preached to. Plus, it's almost as much a procedural about private investigators as it is an expose about the MPAA's secret cabal. The revelation of the appeal board's identities (not the allegedly average parents who decide upon the initial ratings) produced first audible gasps and then incredulous laughter at my screening; it's so ludicrously damning that Dick doesn't even bother commenting upon it. He just immmediately ends the film. Because, really, what else can you say?

  • Destricted (Matthew Barney/Richard Prince/Larry Clark/Marco Brambilla/Sam Taylor-Wood/Marina Abramovic/Gaspar Noé, USA/UK): 44

    But here, lemme break it down for ya.

    "Hoist" (Barney): D+ [Just plain silly. The last thing this dude needs is an opportunity to literalize his sexual preoccupations.]

    "House Call" (Prince): D ["In his signature style," sez here. If this is what he does, sign me up for some more Ken Jacobs.]

    "Impaled" (Clark): C+ [Absolute genius, so long as you also believe Ed Powers to be America's preeminent artistic figure.]

    "Sync" (Brambilla): B+ [This dude should never be allowed to make a film longer than two minutes ever again ever.]

    "Death Valley" (Taylor-Wood): A- [Hilarious Sisyphean gag, best enjoyed with a rowdy audience -- mine eventually started clapping along in time.]

    "Balkan Erotic Epic" (Abramovic): C+ [Scattershot sketch comedy; animated bits stand out.]

    "Babysitter" (Noé): D- [So unbelievably pretentious and stupid that it makes me want to retract my high opinion of his previous work.]
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