Thursday, April 29, 2010

IFF Ranking

*sigh* It's all over. It was fun while it lasted...

Actually, I learned something fascinating last night. The film that played, Micmacs, is a Sony Pictures Classics film and apparently they've never been able to get an SPC film before. I had no idea that festivals had to develop relationships with studios to get films for a fest, or that the movies you are seeing are likely coming from the same handful of studios. One would think that a studio would want as wide an exposure for an upcoming release to build word of mouth in our viral age, but I guess that there are so many fests, they don't bother until they know the reputation of one or have a relationship with the booking/program managers. Isn't that crazy? Anyways, hopefully this means some more Sony films next year! I love their stuff.

So, in order, which do I think you should take the time to go seek out?

Winter's Bone Hands down - it's wildly brilliant. Sort of a neo-noir set in the Ozarks. Great performances. Limited release June 11.
Wisdom Teeth (short) Don Hertzfeldt. Go. Seek. Laugh. (his site says news of a wider release is coming soon. Here is a comic about it.)
Perrier's Bounty I know I'm biased. It's an Irish gangster flick with Cillian Murphy. I was always going to love it. But I thought it was fun and I'd recommend checking it out. May 14/21 release I think?
Cell 211 This was the other great discovery of the fest for me. A Goya-award winning prison thriller. Incredibly well done. If you liked Oz you should check this out.
Athena (short) So cute - so great. David Thewlis is awesome. I really don't want to describe it, because I don't want to give anything away. But you should definitely see it if you get the chance.
Monkeywrench (short) I really didn't think I'd like this one, given the plot, but the story is fantastic and the timing is perfect. It's about an environmental activist and a logger. (I can't find a site for it)
The Killer Inside Me I still don't get the whole Sundance uproar. And apparently the Tribeca crowd felt as we did. If you enjoyed American Psycho or Confessions of a Dangerous Mind, this is in a similar vein. Limited release June 18.
Micmacs Whimsical and very inventive. I found Amelie a bit cloying, but this one was just fun. Limited release May 28.
Junko's Shamisen (short) Sin City meets Kabuki (or is it Noh? It would be nice if I actually remembered something from my theater class in college.) Anyways, I really enjoyed this one. (Site here)
Sebastian's Voodoo (short) I wish it were longer, but I love the set up and the animation on this one. HEY LOOK YOU CAN SEE THE WHOLE THING RIGHT HERE!
Marwencol This film is about a man who suffered a brutal beating and developed his own therapy by creating model world of WWII Belgium in his backyard. A totally fascinating portrait, and very well told. More info here.
Tiny Furniture A quarter life crisis film that's actually very observant and affecting, without wallowing in self-pity.
Varmints (short) A little bit hit-you-over-the-head with a "be good to the environment" message, but it's well animated and has some very beautiful sequences. (site)
Anne Perry: Interiors I ended up liking this more than I expected. She talked far more about her prison sentence and what led up to the murder than I thought she would. She never describes the actual murder or, disappointingly, what it is like to write murder mysteries as someone who knows first-hand what murder is like. I'd love to know why she picked that genre for her career. But it's a well-shot portrait of both the author and the family that surrounds her.
One Square Mile of Earth (short) Amusing. Very much like Creature Comforts, with a more mature vibe and stylish animation. (you can watch this in parts starting here)
October Country A really interesting look at a family in upstate New York. The subjects address their circumstances with surprising insight and honesty, even if they aren't always able to find a way to change them. Through their lives, the film touches on a number of facets of modern American life, but resists generalizing any grand conclusions.
Down Terrace As an experimental film (it was filmed in 8 days) it holds together fairly well. It's definitely a different spin on the crime genre; the criminals are mostly shlubs who don't really know what's going on half the time (possibly from using too much of their own product?). Worth checking out.
The Extra Man I posted a short review the day after this came out. It's okay. I think once a trailer comes out (I haven't seen one yet), you'll probably be able to judge whether it is your cup of tea. July release.
Out in That Deep Blue Sea (short) A middle aged real estate agent deals with life. Nothing special, but it held my attention.
Cracks An artistic teacher/mentor at a girl's boarding school in 1930s England deals with the arrival of a Spanish student. I wanted more from this one. And by that, I mean I wish it were edited down better - it would have had more impact. The middle stretches on for too long once you already know where the story is going. However, I did really enjoy Eva Green's performance and the setting.

Really, don't ever waste your time (I guess I should be thankful they are all short):
One Last Cigarette (short)
Voice on the line (short)
Invisible Loneliness (short)

4/30 update: The IndieWire wrap up on the fest

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