Thursday, May 3, 2012

Tribeca Capsule Reviews From the On Line Feature Film Library


I spent the last two days of Tribeca catching up with some of the films that appeared in the Tribeca Press Library. Here are some Capsule Reviews

BAM 150
This is a look at The Brooklyn Academy of Music now and over the last 150 years.

This was to be one of the last films I saw in the theater at Tribeca but because I was exhausted and because I wanted to see Rodriguez live in concert I decided to pass. Instead I picked up the film as part of the press on-line library. Its a good look at the institution and how its changed and survived, not to mention thrived over the last century and a half. As someone who recently started to attend performances at the insttution I found I was greatly enlightened by this place I'm now starting to call home. At the same time I'm not sure how this is going to play in Peroria. Will anyone not in New York or Brooklyn really care? Maybe for some of it. Some of it is going to be of no interest. I know that even I didn't care about some of this. Its nice to see how it operates, but at the same I didn't really care that much about some of it. Definitely worth a look if you run across it on say PBS but outside of that, it's not worth going out of your way to track down.

FAME HIGH
The Freshmen and Sophmores at the Los Angeles Country High School of the Arts go through their paces. If you liked Fame and Glee and anything similar you'll like this. If you don't, and I'm one of those people who really don't, you'll find you'll want to walk away as fast as possible. Basically its a film that will appeal to its intended audience and annoy everyone else. (and this isn't to say it's bad only going to be liked by people who think they are going to like it from the get go).

Queen Days of Our Lives
The history of the rock group Queen. This is a good but not quite great look at the band. Forgive while I am a huge Queen fan, this film disappoints when compared to not only some of the other films at Tribeca (Searching for Sugar Man, Don't Stop Believin, The Russian Winter, El Gusto) but also a film like the Mott the Hoople film that played the New York Film Festival in the fall. WHile it's really good, it's just that compared to recent music films it's too staid.

ON THE MAT
Good but wholly unremarkable film about high school wrestlers in Lake Stevens High in Washington. I apologize for not saying more than that but after over 70 films this one completely slipped away from me. Of all the films I saw that were connected to Tribeca this one was the most neutral of any of them…neutral to the point that it left me with almost no feelings either way

BABY GIRL
I didn’t want to see this film. I had gone out of my way not to see this at any of the screenings during the festival. However on Saturday night, desperate for something to keep the Tribeca experience alive, I broke down and watched the film as part of the Tribeca On Line Festival which was running free films.

Slap me up side the head for being stupid, this is a really good film.

This is the story of a young woman living with her mom. Forced to deal with the fall out from Mom’s poor choices in men, she decides to show mom how bad a choice the new guy is. At the same time she has to navigate the men in her own life. Better than you think it is going to be and not falling into the trap that many similar urban dramas do, this film is surprisingly good. Buoyed by a great cast and marvelous soundtrack, this is a film that I really wished I had seen on a big screen instead of my small laptop’s screen. This is the sort of film that film festivals were created to highlight. Track this one down

JOE PAPP IN 5 ACTS
The life and times of Joe Papp, founder of the New York Shakespeare Festival and the Public Theater. Destined for screenings on PBS, this is a super biography of a man who fell in love with the theater and wanted to bring it to the masses free of charge. It’s a film that fires up a desire to see really good Shakespeare…or just really good theater. Using current interviews with friends and family the film is supplemented by archival footage of Papp talking about his life and of some of the shows he staged. This is a treat. Do yourself, when this airs, make an effort to see this film. This was one of the better films at the festival. Its so good I can't believe they only gave it one screening at the festival on the final day.

FUTURE WEATHER
Young woman leaves her mother's home and flees to her grandmother’s house. She becomes obsessed with the notion of global warming destroying the environment. While great to look at this is the wrong sort of deep and meaningful film that got a special screening at Tribeca. I saw the film on line thanks to a press library and to be perfectly honest, despite a good look, despite some great performances, I was bored. I got fed up after about 40 minutes and shut it off. There wasn’t a whole hell of a lot to grab you, at least nothing that we hadn’t seen before. In all honesty had the film not had ties to global warming the film probably never would have been shown at Tribeca, it mirrors any number of similar (better) family dramas. I freely admit I maybe wrong, and will try the film again down the line but for right now I’m unimpressed.

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