Today was the end of the Tribeca Film festival press screenings for me. I've seen 43 features and five shorts. I can't get to any of the few remaining press screenings. I may be attending some of the regular screenings, but for me the only thing certain is I'll be looking in on the On Line and Pay Per View portion of the festival over the next few days. We will be having more actual festival coverage since Mondocurry is attending a film or two more.
And with out further adieu the remaining films----
First up they are having the world premiere of Bleeding House in a few hours. I've been restricted in writing up the film until tonight because of an embargo, however the film has been on pay per view on cable for a week so I'm posting my review now instead of later.
This is the story of named Smith family with a dark secret. The daughter stays at home and never go out, Mom and Dad are consumed with guilt but are trying to get on with their life. Their son is desperately trying to get away and is making plans to run off with his girlfriend. Into their life comes the sweet talking southern gentleman named Nick. Nick cuts people up for a living, though don’t worry he’s a surgeon. Actually do worry since Ned is a very bad man out to correct the sins of the past.
This is a great looking film that reminded me of some films from the late 1970’s and early 1980’s that tried to do more than be horror films. Sadly they, like Bleeding House, didn't amount to much. This film is little more than an episode of Tales from the Darkside stretched to 85 minutes. It’s bland, dull and uninvolving; worse it never builds to anything it just meanders to a close. If it wasn’t for Patrick Breen as Nick this film wouldn’t be worth seeing. Frankly Breen is the reason this film was picked up for the festival and it’s the reason it’s destined to get a very minor cult following.
Is the film worth seeing? On cable in a non-pay per view manner, on a slow night, it is. Okay now that I’m done with a review that has been hanging around for a month (I saw this back I March at pre-festival screening but was restricted in saying anything until now) onward and upward to more recent stuff….
A Matters of Taste is a great little documentary from HBO films on Paul Liebrandt, the youngest chef ever to get a three star rating from the New York Times. The film follows Liebrandt from 2002 until the opening of his Corton restaurant in Tribeca in 2008...and the battle to impress the critics afterward.
I had a blast with this. It's a wonderful portrait of a man and his food. I'm not a foodie, give me a burger and fries and I'm happy, but damn if his food doesn't look great. Of course some of it is things like "eels, violets and chocolate" or "Espuma of calf brains and foie gras", so I don't think I'll try it but it looks good.
I don't know what else to say other than this is going to be on HBO on June 13th and should be on your list of things to see since it's really good.
After that I went across the floor to see one of the shorts programs- Take as Directed. The plan was to see one in particular, but depending on how the films were I would make the decision to stay or go. If the films weren't great I would leave and go see the film The Kite. I made it through five of the eight films before I left.
Bunny is the great looking but otherwise unremarkable story about a young boy and his friend chasing another boy who stole his rabbit. It's not a bad film, but it's so short nothing builds and the ending kind of is a foregone conclusion.
The Philosopher was the film I wanted to see. It stars Jean Reno as a man who gives up everything in order to become a philosopher. Its a funny touching little film. Its the only film of the five I watched that seemed like a complete film. This is one to search out.
All in All is a romantic comedy of sorts. Its about two kids who are at bible camp and who have fallen in love. I have no idea if they are making fun of the kids or if the directors like them. Its a clunky film that had me wondering what this was doing at Tribeca. Its just not very good.
Cold Blood is a short little WTF about a mother that takes her son to the hospital for an unknown reason. When we got to the end of the end of the four minute film and the mother says "I didn't explain that very well" I wanted to shout at the screen "I'll say you didn't".
Last Resort is a short film that kind of almost works but ends too soon to be much of anything. I know the point of the end is to be slightly ambiguous, but it doesn't work. The plot of the film has a man rob a pregnant woman and he forces her to drive into the country. When the car gets into crash, he runs off leaving the woman to fend for herself... I'll leave the ending to the film in case you should see this, but let me just say it's the wrong kind of ambiguous which leads me to believe the director either didn't have an ending or had to leave it there because anything else would have stretched the film out further.
Unhappy with four of the five films I walked back across the floor to see the Indian film The Kite. I had heard the film was very good. What I found was a film that very messy and not worth seeing. I'm going to say right at the outset I left half way in. My life is too short for this sort of nonsense.
The plot, as much as I can figure out, has a man and his daughter going to his old home where his mom, his sister in law and nephew live. Its the time of the annual kite festival. There is some sort of familial strife but what it is wasn't really even hinted at after half the film so I know nothing. The side bits, like the kid who fails to deliver the kites, go nowhere
The film is shot in a rapid fire style. There are lots of cuts, colored images. There is lots of shaky hand held stuff. Tons of shots of the streets and people and kites but why? It's either filler or setting the scene but how much more scene needs to be set. There is little character development. What was this all heading to? I don't know, they never told us enough to know, or care.
I really dislike this film a great deal.
There was one last trip across the floor to see the wonderful film The Guard. This is coming out in the US on July 29 and is worth seeing when it hits theaters. In all honesty this is the sort of film that I wish wasn't the end of the festival since it's so good that I wanted to keep going to the next movie and the next movie...
The plot has backwater Irish police man Brendan Gleason running into the middle of a major drug case. Gleason's Gerry Doyle is a smarter than he seems sort of guy who is way ahead of most people around him. Into the mix comes Wendell Everett played by Don Cheadle. Everett is an FBI man looking to find the drug smugglers before they can spread their goods. How this plays out is not what you expect.
This is a great little film. Its a funny funny movie that is wickedly clever in it's dialog. On some level no one is ever that clever that often, on the other hand it's so damn funny you won't care. This film gt the biggest laughs of any of the 43 features I saw at Tribeca.
The press notes said that the film is actually a western and I kind of thought they were mad, until the final shoot out comes and you realize just how much of a western the film really is. This is one of the rare times where something with out horses and sage brush really is a western.(Its a better western than the weak Blackthorn with Sam Shepherd)
When it was over I was pissed off. It wasn't anything to do with the film, it was simply that for me the press screenings were done. I had no more trips into the city. I know there will me more films, but The Guard got me pumped up to keep going in a way that most of the movies I saw at the festival didn't.
And with that my daily reports are done. As I said I'm going to look at the at home component to the festival, and there is more reports coming from Mondocurry, but for now the daily stuff from me is done. (Dave's reports will be appearing tomorrow and until the festival ends Sunday)
I should also point out that Friday I'll have a longer review of Semper Fi and the week after next I'll have a week or so of longer reviews from the festival. I've already written them up in these daily overviews but some things need a second go round. (I also have a sights and sounds post in a pipeline for the next few days and look back at this years fest will come next week).
Please keep reading since we're not done yet.