Posts tagged with “film festivals”
Stephin Merritt, and a little less so his band The Magnetic Fields, is one of those polarizing figures. You either love him or hate him (or a third category: never heard of him). He’s an unbelievably talented and prolific song writer, cranking out albums with The Magnetic Fields in addition to three other bands and at least two side projects at all times, including a 2009 staging of a not-for-kids musical based on the Neil Gaiman book Coraline (strangely not associated with the movie version of that book that came out the same year). His music and lyrics generally strike a lovely tone of sadly funny–unique, sweet without being sticky, and surreal but totally recognizable. My favorites of his songs live in the same part of my brain as the very best of Wes Anderson’s movies, if you get me. (It’s okay if you don’t; that doesn’t make much sense.) He tours with his band but is very open about pretty much hating playing live, due in equal parts to an ear condition that makes applause and loud music literally painful to him and to his generally prickly personality. I’ve seen him live a few times and have found him in turns to be dryly hilarious, self-deprecating, extremely entertaining, really boring, and rude to and dismissive of an audience that clearly loves him. I find him fasinating, and the documentary about him and the band that’s been floating around festivals since June ought to be really great. Strange Powers: Stephin Merritt and the Magnetic Fields hasn’t graced my city yet, but I’m keeping an eye out for it (maybe it will show up this year at STIFF?) and will report back as soon as possible. In the meantime, please enjoy these enticing clips.
[Ed. note: Since our review was posted, Stolen Lives was renamed Stolen. Smoke and mirrors, people--don't be fooled!]
STOLEN LIVES (2009/SLIFF PRE-RELEASE) St. Louisans curious about local boy turned Mad Man Jon Hamm‘s new feature film turned out in sell-out crowds for both SLIFF screenings of director Anders Anderson‘s debut, Stolen Lives. The good news is that Hamm did his family (some of whom were in attendance) proud by grounding what would otherwise be a pretty but routine basic cable crime melodrama with an intense, raw performance as a present day small town police detective investigating a child murder in 1958 that might be connected to the disappearance of his own son nine years ago.
While Hamm’s intense performance, first-time director Anderson’s deft pacing (he knows how to put a scene together), and the ace camera work of director of photography/producer Andy Steinman, help Stolen Lives open powerfully, cracks in the implausible script show early and often. (Hamm’s detective’s jogging route takes him by the working crime scene where the 1958 victim was recovered AND the prison where the man he believes to be the prime suspect for his own child’s disappearance is serving time? And that very suspect/dude just happens to be sitting in the prison courtyard as he just happens to be jogging by? Huh?) Read more »
Anticipation ran high for audience members at the SLIFF screening of Munyurangabo, an acclaimed drama shot in Rwanda by an Arkansas filmmaker of Korean descent. I know, what?! But then stuff happens and then other stuff happens. Take note of the following real life drama presented in its original aspect ratio and in electronic mail form.
Subject: MUNYURANGABO screening problems
Date: Mon, 23 Nov 2009 4:02 pm
From: Brian McClelland
I wanted to let you know about some problems at the Munyurangabo SLIFF screening on November 18, 5pm @ Frontenac. The film was digitally projected from a DVD (which is more than fine), but the subtitles were not turned on for the first several minutes of the film. A film in which the dialogue is in Kinyarwanda. Another problem—the digital projector was improperly set, squeezing the full aspect ratio of the film (1:85.1—I checked) into a 4:3 box, ruining what should have been some wonderful photography, and making everything on screen appear distorted. Read more »
The St. Louis International Film Festival takes place this month, so a few of our editors visited the lovely (and, once again, independent) Hi-Pointe Theatre for a showing of Youth in Revolt, scheduled for wide release on January 8, 2010. Please enjoy their spirited and exclamation point–heavy discussion. Feel the love.
YOUTH IN REVOLT (2010/IN THEATERS)
From: Faulhaber, Kimberly
Sent: Monday, November 16, 2009 10:11 AM
To: Gremillion, Sarah; McClelland, Brian
So, Youth in Revolt! I didn’t think the novel could be condensed into a movie, but this was not bad! In fact, I think I enjoyed the movie more than the novel, possibly because the dearth of doggy death and rape. Good editing choices, Miguel Arteta! Although I rated it 3 out of 5 on my SLIFF ballot, this morning I’d give it a slightly more generous 3.5.
Have you guys watched a lot of Hal Hartley movies? The tone of Youth felt similar to Trust—particularly the deadpan dialogue/acting and the various American grotesqueries…also, the pouty actress who played Sheeni was so reminiscent of the late Adrienne Shelley that I wondered if Arteta was a fan. Anyway, it would have fit in quite nicely with a lot of movies I saw during the early ‘90s indie boom.
Hopefully this will show audiences (and casting directors) that Cera can play more than just a hoodie-wearing teen—his take on Nick Twisp’s alter ego, Francois, was much more subtle than I feared, but still hilarious. Who knew he could look so at ease in white pants that left nothing to the imagination, loafers, and a pinkie ring? When the two characters interacted it really did look like two different actors (Francois being slightly older, even). Carlotta on the other hand… Read more »