Sunday, November 30, 2014

Nightcap 11/30/14 The end of the festival year- Looking ahead to Romania and back at SAIFF and DOC NYC, a sucky Stephen King musical, bad films and links

A cutaway look at Madison Square Garden
We are now heading towards years end and all of the madness that it entails.

For me and the other guys and girls at Unseen it's a time to step back, relax and chill since the festival year is pretty much done. It also means that we can get back on our bikes and choose where we want to go since outside of the big Hollywood films there is a bit of a slow down(I'm getting hit with requests for coverage for January films now)

The last festival for us starts Thursday when MAKING WAVES: NEW ROMANIAN CINEMA hits Lincoln Center. The festival is full of good films. I really liked 4 of the 5 films I saw which has me warming more toward Romanian Cinema.

Atypically our coverage will be a single post on Friday covering all five films. This is my own damn fault  since I sat down and binged on the series Tuesday when I was home sick in bed and I didn't make much more then general notes. That says a great deal about the films quality because I got lost in them, but its bad because the films really deserve longer reviews.
I want to take a minute and just say a quick word on DOC NYC and SAIFF.

DOC NYC continues to amaze me. Its  so good that I almost want to skip seeing documentaries during the year simply because I know I'm going to get the best stuff there.

As I've said there are no truly bad documentaries, only ones that were they not mixed in with the high quality of the others they would have shined. There were a couple of of films this year that had a seen them away from the 42+ films we saw I would have loved and not liked.

I had some magical experiences going to the fest seeing SHE'S BEAUTIFUL WHEN SHE'S ANGRY and SALT OF THE EARTH, going to lunch with Mr C and seeing Steve Farhood, and hanging out with Mondo, Chocko and Hubert.

(BTW Brian I still owe you dinner.)

The SOUTH ASIAN FILM FESTIVAL is now one of my favorites.Every year I walk in not having any idea what any of the films are but I walk out with a couple of new favorites and my eyes opened regarding several others.

The thing I also love is that every year I end up conversing with the filmmakers. This year Sudish Kamath gave me one of the coolest viewing experience when he sent his film X my way. Its a film that shouldn't work but does wonderfully- especially the more I think about it.

I was introduced to the fest by Ted Geoghagen and it's a debt I really can't repay.

Apropos of nothing- this past Monday Peter and I went to see the Stephen King John Melloncamp musical GHOST BROTHERS OF DARKLAND COUNTY at the Beacon Theater in NYC.

The show is a weird mix of concert, radio show and traditional musical. It tells the story of two sets of brothers- two who are ghosts and who end up tragically. The other pair are the nephews of the ghosts and they appear to be on the same road to ruin.

The music is great. The performances very good.

The script is the worst thing that Stephen King has ever put forward. Its laughably awful (calling MST3K). Dramatically its inert with nothing much happening (certainly not enough to support two and a half hours of stage time) and there are no characters. I have no idea who any one was. There is something there but it needs to be completely rewritten by someone other than King

Any life in the script is staked through the heart by the staging which doesn’t know what it was. It looks like its chaos on stage as people sort of dance, sort of interact as if it was a play and mostly belt out songs. They should have settled on a style and gone with it. I would have gone for a radio show affair since that would have removed the need to do anything other than stand and talk or sing. It would have also would make the descriptive dialog have a reason to exist.

As a concert interrupted by shitty dialog it wasn’t bad. As a musical entertainment it sucked canal water. ( I wanted to use spew , a word the play is fond of, but the play never quite got me to the point of wanting to puke)
This week look for a whole bunch of new releases to get reviewed as well as super sized entry on MAKING WAVES on Friday.

After this week we’re doing what has become an annual event- a month of Criterion collection titles.

I should also mention that I’m at work on the year end wrap ups. The festival wrap up is more or less done, now to dive in and deal with the good the bad and the film finds.

One of the worst films of the year A SPELL TO WARD OFF DARKNESS is getting a release Friday. Its a horrible film that makes no sense unless you read the copious press notes and if then it will leave you feeling like "you must be kidding". I'm considering reposting my review from New  Directors New Films but I don't know if I want to waste the space. (It can be found here)

Another truly awful film THE STORY OF MY DEATH, a film I'd rather skip to have a root canal has started screening at the Anthology FIlm Archives in New York. I can't say anything good about it other than avoid it.

My take on the film can be found here.
And now Randi's Links

The animated adventures of Firefly- Production diary
Last Lunch with Mike Nichols
Disney Animation Posters
Mutts Behind the Curtain:The Gifts of nothing
David Hare on Mike Nichols
film critic writes on Lego
On Robert Osborne
Alex Gibney is making a film on Scientology
Foriegn Fields
Broadway Flops
William Burroughs-A Thanksgiving Prayer
reasons to be thankful-classic cartoons
70 Bootleg movie posters

(and why a cutaway of MSG? Why not?)

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