Saturday, April 18, 2015

withdrawal sypmtoms

So I am home for an hour or so before returning to the SFF for the Closing Film... and already having some serious withdrawal symptoms... saw two films this morning - one a fairly well done standard Hollywood fare with two pretty leads (Guy Pierce and Cobie Smulders) who finally get together in the final scene- and which you knew pretty much from the opening scene that it would work out that way- but it did have a kick butt performance by the guy who played Danny...Kevin Corrigan... rent this one if you are looking for pretty standard rom-com fare.


the second film was better- not predictable and quirky with several excellent performances by the lead actors Jennifer Prediger and Jess Wiexler- who apparently have made movies together before- really fun and funny and quirky, arty film - look for this one - the scene which is the basis for the photo from the catalogue is hilarious---

down to the final film- guess it is a good thing I have theater tickets for tomorrow to help ease the pain of withdrawal.... LOL

and still turning over in my mind- my pick for the grand prize winner---

so I am heading back downtown to the opera house for the final film along with GA... more later-

Friday, April 17, 2015

have you met Stendhal?

I realized on this day, Friday, I had had the theme music of the Sarasota Film Festival pounding in my head for five days. It was now like one of those songs people implant in your head out of spite and you are soooo stuck with it.  Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald anyone? LOL-

Leaving this morning's fairly funny "Sleeping with Other People" I was maxed out on movies... I was looking out the windshield of my car and seeing it as if on a movie screen; hearing the background noise of the rap playing in the car next to me at the light, as a soundtrack; watching the guy in the car behind me in my rear view mirror, say something to the woman in the seat next to him and then punch a fist at the windshield.

Last Saturday I saw roughly eight hours of movies and I couldn't remember the third film I saw that day- and barely could dredge up the fourth one. The movie this afternoon (Sleeping with Other People) was mildly appealing with the male lead played with great charm and the female lead only moderately annoying. But really, at this point I want to conserve my resources for the final blow out day- with two films I want to see, and the closing film as a social engagement. So I bailed. Cloris Leachman I apologize. I just couldn't do it- even with the tag line of "two siblings, five pounds of pot and a runaway grandmother."

I went and had my oil changed and dropped off some recycling...

I thought I might have Stendhal Syndrome and since it is psychosomatic I guess I could give it to myself.  Here is what they say about it in Wikipedia: A psychosomatic disorder that causes rapid heartbeat, dizziness, fainting, confusion and even hallucinations when an individual is exposed to an experience of great personal significance, particularly viewing art.  There is no scientific evidence to define the Stendhal syndrome as a specific psychiatric disorder; on the other hand there is evidence that the same cerebral areas involved in emotional reactions are activated during the exposure to artworks.

No fainting, no rapid heartbeat, no dizziness or confusion, unless you count not being able to remember a few of the - now 18 - films I have seen in the last seven days, so clearly I am just in overload not in "true" Stendhal (if you can call psychosomatic "true".) Anyway- I won't desert you- here is today's film and then the three for tomorrow which I will be going to - I promise - after this time out for a few moments of silence...LOL

so I do want to review the highlights SO FAR- in the order I would rate them #1 first-

The final one on this list is one that grew on me- it kept sneaking back into my thoughts for a couple of days after seeing it- and so I will include this on my "look for these films" list.

and yes, you will get the reviews of my last three films late tomorrow or early Sunday...  don't give up hope - I just needed a bit of a break..

Thursday, April 16, 2015

the saga continues

Six films in the next two days will round out my SFF experience for 2015.  GA is coming down for the closing film and the awards ceremonies. Tonight I saw "The Last Man on the Moon" an interesting documentary about Gene Cernan. It brought back great memories of the days when we could do something like go to the moon.  The audience was made up of those of us of a "certain age" and sadly there were virtually no young people there... soon there will be no memory of July of 1969 when we were glued to the TV sets awaiting Neil Armstrong's descent from the lunar landing module on to the surface of the moon.

As wonderful of a story as it is- I felt that Cernan still had the cowboy astronaut thing going and although he said all the expected things about "family being the most important" it really didn't ring true. And that "doth protest too much" was born out in the later part of the film when he talked about the public schedule he keeps and how little time he has for anything but that touring.  His temper flared just a bit when his current wife basically called him egotistical...wife number one declared "enough" more than 30 years ago after the publicity touring post walk on the moon in Apollo 17 in 1972.... I guess she thought he would come home after the program was shut down and be a part of the family and he thought being a celebrity was more appealing (and seems to still find it that way.)

I would give this one a slight thumbs up due to the space program content but not really the guy- he just wasn't all that interesting and if he hadn't walked on the moon he'd just be some other old self important coot who thought every one's schedule should revolve around his... IMHO

So on to the next two days - since they are full viewing days I may not be back until the conclusion of the festival... and then I have one more play before I spend my final week here readying the condo for a summer with Steve (the caretaker)-

tomorrow's films may run the gamut - we will see what they have in store for us...

and then the three for Saturday-

 so lots more to come...  stay tuned!

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

competition blown away

In life it is true that at some point you will run across (if not into) people who do things much better than you do. This might be something that means nothing much to you- like someone who bakes a better pie crust than you do, or something that might mean much more.  Just yesterday a friend sent me a short video trailer of an animated film - to which, after watching the video, I replied wistfully "I wish I could draw"... and I meant it so sincerely, I think if could draw like this person, I would somehow be better able to express myself. I think tonight's film had many of the audience members yearning for a better ability to express themselves. I was certainly one of them.

The film presented tonight was "The End of the Tour" and was an exploration of the human condition that expressed itself through the words of David Foster Wallace.  Wallace first came to my attention when his work was hyped as the next Thomas Pynchon. I admit to being a Pynchon fan and think I have mentioned it before in the context of a trip to Malta- the primary motivation was Pynchon's "V". But time passed and so did the brouhaha and I went on... never actually getting to "Infinite Jest" his best known (1,079 page) work.

I knew he had taken his own life but not much more than that until a post on FB by a friend linked me to "This is Water" his brilliant commencement speech about LIFE... I chuckle when I write that because how can anyone anywhere make any headway in describing LIFE in its infinite complexity? Especially within the confines of a commencement speech - he did - and I recommend you seek it out.

And while I passed along this link to people I know and love - and saved it for myself to revisit when I needed some perspective on what is real and important in day to day living... I, again, went no further in finding out about David Foster Wallace. The man who engendered these comments upon his death was worth taking time for....and it was my loss....

"A versatile writer of seemingly bottomless energy, Mr. Wallace was a maximalist, exhibiting in his work a huge, even manic curiosity — about the physical world, about the much larger universe of human feelings and about the complexity of living in America at the end of the 20th century. He wrote long books, complete with reflective and often hilariously self-conscious footnotes, and he wrote long sentences, with the playfulness of a master punctuater and the inventiveness of a genius grammarian. Critics often noted that he was not only an experimenter and a showoff, but also a God-fearing moralist with a fierce honesty in confronting the existence of contradiction." (from the NY Times Obit)

David Foster Wallace used his prodigious gifts as a writer — his manic, exuberant prose, his ferocious powers of observation, his ability to fuse avant-garde techniques with old-fashioned moral seriousness — to create a series of strobe-lit portraits of a millennial America overdosing on the drugs of entertainment and self-gratification, and to capture, in the words of the musician Robert Plant, the myriad “deep and meaningless” facets of contemporary life. (from the NY Times Topics)

This film was worthy of a man praised for his genius.  The final comment at the the Q&A came from a critic, who said he had never seen a movie this good at the fifteen years of multiple film festivals he had attended and reviewed. Many in the audience applauded in agreement.

I predict that 1. nothing I see this year, in any venue stage or screen will touch me the way this film did; 2. that Jason Segel (whom I did not know before this film- I know I know- I haven't turned on TV in two decades- sorry!) will be be nominated for an Oscar for his performance as David Foster Wallace; and 3. that this film will haunt me for days/weeks...maybe longer.

 David Foster Wallace

tomorrow one more film - this time a documentary- which I am sure will be very interesting but right now I am overwhelmed with thoughts/emotions from tonight's film so I will leave it at that...

more later... still seven films to go before my SFF 2015 experience is over.

another good one

so now - well into the week of the Sarasota Film Festival and I have seen fifteen films so far- have eight more on my schedule-

a very intense week - and I gave half a thought to skipping tonight's movie but it is one of the featured films and sold out early- it is called The End of the Tour...... but more on that later- first let's get to last night's film - a comedy about immigrants to NYC that I liked very much.  I don't pretend to be a film critic- I just call em as I see em-

This one was one Phil and I saw together and he liked it less- said the characters were losers... but I liked most of the characters and found the contrast between the wife and the mistress an interesting study in character/personality...

the multi-national cast was excellent- and while I don't think the dialogue was witty in the Woody Allen way I did laugh pretty frequently and there were some really funny scenes throughout the movie and some very nice relationships between the characters.  The different strands of the story all tie together in the end as paths cross along the way.  I would give it a thumbs up for watching at home- no need to look for it on the "big screen" this one will work just as well on a good sized home TV.

And speaking of home viewing- you can see my second favorite film RIGHT NOW at home - the 29 minute masterpiece of comedy "Down In Flames" seriously funny- I made Phil watch it last night on the Internet - and he also roared throughout the film--- this one is worth seeking out... sign in to the website and email for a password and you can watch the film online.  The website is - ENJOY!!!!

and here is tonight's movie selection - which I will rush to from the Tampa airport after dropping off Phil for his flight to Chicago...

we will see how this one turns out- has the Hollywood cast (which is not always a plus) and of course the David Foster Wallace buzz word-- again not always a good thing - but I will get back to you on this one...

meantime - do yourself a favor and go online an request a password to see Down In Flames!

Monday, April 13, 2015

The best! followed by The worst!

So today I saw a terrific movie- the very best so far - and it will be tough to top this one... and then I also saw the worst so far and I wonder if I will see one in the next nine movies I am seeing.... we will see-

first the best - it was in the vein of The Usual Suspects and The Spanish Prisoner - two of my all time favorite movies--- an excellent and atmospheric detective story about an author who writes best selling potboilers about a Japanese police detective...

I thought this film Man from Reno was a fabulous noir story and saw several points along the way when it could have been ended but it kept flipping over into a new mystery each time... many layers of narrative and excellent performances by both the Sheriff and the Author... Really EXCELLENT- seek this one out and do your best to see it!!!!!

and here is the worst film so far--- three hours of tedium and meaningful looks from the completely unlikeable characters...  communism as the complete and total lack of nurturing? I am not sure-  but I know there sure was much ado about milk in this film... which actually seemed to be one very long film very serious about itself "art" film with a comedy thrown in the middle for a small breath (very small) of relief.... miss this one - actually RUN AWAY if someone you know tells you that they want you to go see it with them!

tomorrow - we see Welkome Home - which is bound to be better so stay tuned!