Monday, April 25, 2011

Hideaways,Ozzy Osbourne,Despicable Dick, Koran by Heart, Gone, Grandma 1000 Times and Splinters or one very long day at the Tribeca FIlm Festival

It's official my limit of films is five in a day. Trying to do seven, as I did today, was way too much, fun in someways, but way too much in others.

This is going to be brief, and perhaps a tad jagged. I say this because I've been in motion since before 7AM and started watching films from 9AM.

The first film was God Bless Ozzy Osbourne. It's a warts and all look at Ozzy and his music, though the focus is very much on the man. He was once considered a wild man by the crowds, but to his friends and family he was a drunken pain in the ass and not much of a dad. Its the right sort of bio film that gives you a nice round look at the man and puts his antics and survival into context. One of the better films of the film festival.

Koran By Heart is an HBO documentary that will screen in August. It's a film that isn't really worth putting on your long range calendar. Its the story of several people who go to the Koran reciting Championships in Egypt. It's a nice idea, but at 75 minutes the film is not very detailed thanks to the producers choosing to follow too many people to the point that we never get to know anyone. Events don't really transpire naturally they lurch from thing to thing. While the pieces are interesting, for the most part you just stop caring. If I had seen this on TV I would have turned the station.

Despicable Dick and Righteous Richard is a really good little film about Richard Kuchera, a one time partier now twenty years sober and who in looking back decides it's time to put right all his past miss deeds and make up to all those wronged. Richard really is a dick, but he's trying, which counts for something, even if everyone he's trying to make up to thinks he's going to fail. As the press notes say it's a real life episode of Earl. I didn't expect to like the film and frankly I went only because it filled a hole in my schedule. I walked out singing the praises of the film. This is one to keep an eye out for if you run across it.

Gone is a riveting documentary about the disappearance of Kathy Gilleran's son in Vienna. The cops don't want to know from anything because he's gay and an American. They don't care if she's an ex-cop, they only want her to go away. A frightening story of what can happen when our loved ones are away from home. It's a sad slowly building heart breaker with only one flaw, there is no resolution (as of the completion of the film he's still missing). I really liked the film a great deal and I can't wait to see it again.

After Gone I tried to go to catch the end of the Grave Encounters Press Day stuff, but I just couldn't make it in time.

Grandma 1000 Times is a portrait of the directors grandmother in Lebanon. It's a touching funny portrait, that is an amusing 48 minutes. I laughed and had a good time. I also was puzzled as to why the film has been winning so many awards around the world. Don't get me wrong, its a good film, but at the same time it didn't strike me as special.

This was a Tribeca Talk and they had a panel discussion on Middle Eastern and Arab cinema and related subjects. It was okay. The trouble was that with the four people on the panel talking about four different subjects nothing came together.

After the movie I went ot a great diner on the corner of 23rd and 9th Avenue and had some great pot roast. It was my breakfast lunch and dinner...and t was wonderful.

After dinner it was back to the Chelsea Cinemas for Hideaways. This is the story of a young man with a deadly power. If he retreats into the woods to live alone until a young girl dying of cancer stumbles in and changes his life. It's a grand fairy tale about the transformative power of love. If you like things like Neil Gaiman's Sandman or fairy tales there is a really good chance you'll love this. I was on my way out and I made a point of telling the producer that I thought the film was great (better than my short write up) and that I really thought if it can get a US release it will make bucks. Trust me, this is a nice little winner...though I should warn you it has a very black edge, as all Grimm's like fairy tales do.(I'll do a longer piece once Tribeca is done)

The last film today was the world premiere of Splinters about surfing in New Guinea. It was also the least interesting of all of the documentaries of the film festival. I've seen more than a handful and frankly even as bad as some of them are, this film was unremarkable. Its a bout a small town getting ready for the countries first surfing contest and it follows various people as we see life in the small town and we watch people surf. I'm not an expert on surfing films but this was the dullest surfing footage I've seen. I was unimpressed. While the film isn't bad, coming at the end of 21 films in five days (and 7 of those today) I had no patience and I walked out. There are other better films out there, more worthy of your time.(and there are worse ones more worth avoiding).

After that I headed home. It was a trip delayed because someone had to be forcibly removed by the police for refusing to pay a fare.

Tomorrow is a day off for me. It's back to the dull grind of work, before I go back on Wednesday for my last day of press screenings.

And keep reading because Mondocurry will be reporting on his trips to the festival and I may get around to a sight and sound post of what I've seen and experienced at the festival.

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