Sunday, April 24, 2011

Love Hate Love, Talhina Sky, Beyond the Black Rainbow, Jesus Henry Christ and Klitchko or April 24 at the Tribeca Film Festival

Before I talk about what I saw today I want to comment on a film I saw last Saturday but can only talk about now because I had to wait until the world premiere which happened earlier tonight.

Actually the world premiere of a documentary on the boxing Klitchko brothers is happening as this posts. An inoffensive loving puff piece, the film plays like a typical background piece you might see on HBO or Showtime before one of their fights but expanded to two hours. With a marvelous title sequence that that shows a huge arena getting ready for a fight, the film is content on showing the beauty of a very brutal sport. It's also a film that is very intent of singing the praises of it's subjects and keeping the negative side off camera.

As a fight fan I found little I hadn't heard before, other than some facts about their dad. I was amused how many in the audience were groaning at the slow motion shots of the punches in the fights as if they had never seen a fight, or even Raging Bull before. I was also amused that the fights were made to look infinitely more exciting than they really are since the brothers Klitchko both stand close to seven feet tall and have arms so long that their chances of getting hit are small.(Their matches are often so one sided that the major outlets for boxing, like HBO and Showtime tend not to run them.)

While the film looks good and is entertaining, it's way too in love with the boys to really be much of anything, especially since at just under two hours it's way too long. If you must see it wait for cable.

By the way Happy Easter for those of you celebrating. And remember if you don't have some marshmallow Peeps you can go buy them. there was a scary guy at one of the screenings today who was babbling on and on before the movie about not having Peeps on Easter and how he was supposed to have Peeps today.

For those of you who who are tired of listening to me go on Mondocurry has posted some thoughts on his blog about his first trip to Tribeca. There will be more there and here so keep reading.

I did four films today, well three and half of one (I'll explain that half when I get to the film.) and they were for the most part good.

Love Hate Love world premiere's Tuesday night. I was not told not to review the film and frankly even if they said no I would have anyway simply because as I told David Magdael (the film's PR guy) on the way out, it is so nice to walk out of a documentary and feel good and feel hopeful (most of the others I've seen pissed me off).

The film tells three stories about hope in the wake of tragic loss via terrorism. We meet the Alderman's, who son Peter was killed on September 11. They took the money they got from the settlement and set up a foundation to help people in war torn countries with mental issues as a result of the violence they have experienced.

Ester Hyman's sister Miriam was killed in the London bombings and she has set up a trust to help a clinic in India specializing in preventing blindness.

Ben Tullipan was not far from a car bomb that went off in Bali. Despite losing both legs and being terribly burned he gives back by helping those who have lost limbs. He's also a champion golfer.

I'm going to write this up in a full review after Tribeca is done (I can't do more than this brief posts now), but know that if you can score a ticket to the premiere Tuesday go. It will make you feel really good. Seriously go see this, I was thinking , okay cliche story, cliche telling... and then about twenty minutes in I changed my mind going I don't care how the story is, I just feel good and hopeful, and that's enough.

One of the finds of the film festival.

Talihina Sky is a messy too long look at the rock group The Kings of Leon and where they came from. The film nominally is about the group going home for an annual reunion and it shows where they came from in a Pentecostal family. We see their rock star lives smoking and drinking and carrying on and it's contrasted with the parents who love them but feel they maybe going to hell.

The film is a mess. It's unfocused, jumping through time and space seeming on a whim. We see them touring, in the studio and at home. We get scenes of the reunion and family movies. We talk to the boys and the relatives. But there never is a sense of place and time. As one fellow reviewer said, "there is a good movie in there, it just needs lots of re-editing."

I couldn't agree more. This film just bounces from thing to thing to thing but never builds to anything. Somewhere about an hour in the film starts to pull it together but by that time I stopped caring.

I would love to see a reedited version of this, but as it stands now this is a movie to pass on. For fans only, but even then I'm not too sure they will care.

(And one question for the filmmakers if they should read this, why do you have the five or ten seconds of graphic sex from a porn film in this? It serves no purpose and will really limit your ability to release this.)

Beyond the Black Rainbow is a very strange film.Its a supreme WTF film. Its a trippy movie that thirty years ago would have been a regular at midnight screenings. Its a visually stunning film with a wonderfully weird soundscape soundtrack. It's a stylistic throw back to the pretentious but cheap horror and science fiction films of the early 1980's (some of which came from Europe). It's full of riffs and references to at least a dozen or so other films...'s also pretentious twaddle, way too long and has one of the biggest "you have got to be joking" endings in years. It's an ending that just wrecks pretty much all the good will it may have created (seriously I could feel the audience which struggled with this film to the bitter end suddenly break with it at the end).

The plot of the film has something to do with a weird clinic in 1983 where a strange man runs strange tests on young woman. What exactly is going on is never fully explained but it has something to do with an experiment years before, about the time the young lady was born. There are theses weird guys in suits, and straitjackets and psychic powers...

...and other than that you're on you're own.

On a certain level I like the film. I liked the throw back nature of it. I loved the look of the film (the color scheme is amazing and some of the images are haunting)and the retro electronic score. I liked the enigma and the references (Phantasm, Soylent Green, The Final Programme, 2001 and others). I also liked thaat we aren't told anything and that we have to piece most of it together.

What I don't like is the glacial pace, which makes this a long 110 minutes, Nor do I like the finale which turns the film from head trip to slasher film to the wrong sort of joke in the course of about five minutes. Seriously the next to last bit just wrecked the film.

Then again, if you can forgive the out of left field, "oh crap we're out of time so lets sum this up" ending (which is hard since it's kind of a cop out), I'll recommended for the patient and adventurous film goer. If you want form over substance and can allow yourself to get lost in the trippy sound and image you'll probably think it was worth a go...then again there were several walk outs.

(I'll stand by that review even though I know brick bats are heading for the film simply because why I kind of liked it is because I have a semi-working knowledge of the films it's aping and borrowing from- which I know will make it tough for the average person- who probably should stay away. I suspect I may have to write up a fuller more detailed review down the road).

When Black Rainbow was done it was a mad dash to the bottom of the escalator for some, about half, of Jesus Henry Christ. (I had to leave because I had to get home for Easter dinner with the family and stayed only long enough that I wouldn't miss the last possible train to get home on time.)

The film starts Toni Collette as a single mom with a genius son. He's way a ahead of everyone even to the point he gets thrown out of Catholic School for posting a piece on the school doors about truth and the lack of God.

What I saw was amusing. Its an off kilter comedy about family and truth and other things. I won't go into anything more than that (Hey I only saw half) other than based on the half I saw I want to see what happens next and I regret having to leave (and considering some of the other films at Tribeca is saying a great deal).

That's it for now.

I'm heading off to rest. I've got seven films planned for tomorrow plus a possible stop in on the Grave Encounters Press look for a post about tomorrows films very late tomorrow night or more likely early Tuesday.

(Oh and before I go,I want to say that apparently I'm in a minority in not liking The Journals of Musan. I mention this simply because people who's opinions I respect think I may have gotten it wrong, so somewhere down the line I'm going to give it another go.)

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