Friday, May 13, 2011

Tribeca Capsule Reviews

The festival is over, and many films are heading toward oblivion, while others are heading for a theater near you. As I close out this first week of recommended films from the festival I want to take the time out to mention again a few films that I don’t have the words to write up properly but which you really need to keep an eye out to see.

Documentary on the run of John Gnarr for mayor of Reykjavik, looks to be one of the funniest more heart warming films of the year. Here’s a film that says if you beat back the gloom and status quo with hope you can achieve great things. It’s a magical movie, who’s only flaw is that it doesn’t explain who people are or what the time frame of things are. If they could make it more accessible for people out side of Iceland you’d have a film that could and would go on the best of the year list. On the other hand that’s nit picking since it’s just so god damn funny you probably won’t care. See this.

This is the story of four photojournalists who band together for safety and end up taking some of the most memorable pictures coming out of South Africa during the final days of Apartheid. The film follows the quartet from 1990 to 1994 when the first truly universal elections took place in the country. It’s the story of the unseen war where the people In power chose to create divisions in the black population so that they could hold on a little longer.

I probably should do a longer full review of this film, but to be perfectly honest as much as I can recommend the film, I found that the day after seeing the film, much of it had begun to fade from memory. What you need to know is that the cast is great. Even the big name Ryan Phillipe disappears into his role to the point you forget who he is. The set pieces where the guys go off to take pictures will amaze you and make you want to join them.(It’s some of the best stuff I’ve seen all year). It’s counterpointed by their home and office life which isn’t quite as amazing (and often down right cliché- you can see the romance between two characters from frame one). Weaknesses aside the film is definitely worth seeing. As this post appears the film is available on Tribeca pay per view and worth the couple of bucks to get.

This is the story of a man, his restaurant(Jiro’s restruant is an expensive one with a meal starting at around 300 bucks for a meal which can last as little as 15 minutes. Of course if you want to go you’re going to have to book a month or more in advance), his sons and his sushi.

It’s a loving portrait of a man who lives for his work and what it takes to be the best. Beautifully shot, with a heavy use of Philip Glass music this is a great little film that makes you want to go out and have some sushi (several people at the end of the screening were going to head across the street to get sushi.) This is a neat portrait of wiley old man who strives to always improve and be the best at making sushi and has been awarded with accolades from around the world as a result. A tough task master Jiro puts his apprentices and sons through rigorous training, and he freely admits that if it wasn’t for their preparation of the staff he wouldn’t look so good at preparing the food for the guests.(There is revelation late in the film about the Michelin award- which reveals how good his training is).

Sadly Jiro and his eldest son can kind of see the end of the road for them and their restaurant. As they note the amount of fish is rapidly declining due to over fishing thanks to the explosion of sushi across the world.Sushi was once an expensive delicacy but now is available everywhere.(This film is an interesting counter point to the Oscar winning film The Cove about the men who fish for the fish that become sushi.) I liked this film a great deal. (Coming soon to a theater near you-I believe Magnolia has picked this up)

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