This morning I finally got the chance to see the film I was most excited about. I read about it in the brochure before we left for Sundance and told myself it was one I couldn’t miss. Fed Up directed by Stephanie Soechtig left me leaving the theater full of ambitions and hope for future change in the American food industry. This documentary revealed some of the horrifying truths about what we as Americans are consuming on a daily basis and how detrimental these products can be to our health. Everyone in the audience is presented with a handful of case studies and is told heartbreaking stories along with loads of statistics and evidence on obesity rates and nutritional value. Fed Up reveals that the long-held misconception that less calories and more exercise leads to lowering obesity rates is simply a tactic being used to cover up the real danger in our foods; sugar. The nation is being deceived by major food corporations into thinking that labels on products are truthful. (more…)
Die Hard, Rambo, Dirty Harry, Remember the Titans: these are manly movies, or, at least, movies centered around men and masculine ideals. AMC might even call them “movies for guys who like movies.” You protect the weak, justice guides your every move, and you’ll even use violence to fight for what’s right when necessary.
Sophie Hyde’s, 52 Tuesdays is innovative in both in content and in production. It is the story of a teenage girl’s mother undergoing the transformation from female to male, which is a pretty timely topic of debate today, but it’s not the typical story a Hollywood studio would pick up. It is also a topic that could potentially not sit well with an audience, but I think the film was well put together.
When Billie’s (Tilda Cobham-Hervey) mother tells her that she will be taking a year to go through the transformation to a male, it also means that she will have to live with her father for the year. The relationship of Billie and her mother is set up to be very deep and entwined, so Billie is put off at this idea, but supports her mother’s decision. They agree to meet every Tuesday for six hours so they are not completely cut off from each other. (more…)
Appropriate Behavior had everyone laughing uncontrollably while it simultaneously addressed an important topic. Desiree Akhavan was the writer, director, and star of this film and she did a tremendous job taking on all three of these roles. Desiree’s character, Shirin, has just ended a long-term relationship with her girlfriend and finds herself in a lonely and confused point in her life. Most of the film revolves around Shirin’s search for an identity as a bisexual, and a Persian. Shirin’s attempt to reconcile her confused identity is both sad and hilarious for the audience to watch. A major part of the film focused on Shirin’s difficulty with coming out to her Persian parents who strongly disagree with the idea of same-sex couples. The film deals with the difficulties of different cultural perspectives on gays and creates an interesting contrast because Shirin lives in New York City, but still practices Persian traditions with her family.
If you’re keeping up with this site (Sup, everyone’s moms?) you may have read one of my fellow sundancers’ reviews of Wetlands. If you haven’t read that article (Sup, my mom?), just know that movie makes Basic Instinct look like Veggie Tales. While David Wnendt’s film takes the NSFW crown, several shorts have been making audiences as uncomfortable as Charles Lindbergh in a kosher deli. Even if you consider such films tasteless, you have to admire their ability to incite strong emotions in viewers. Here are my top three gross-out shorts, and yes, *HELLA SPOILERS AHEAD*.
“Its like angels pissing on your tongue.” One of the many quotes in the first scene of Land Ho! that sums up the foul-mouthed main man Mitch played by Earl Lynn Nelson. This comedy has been my favorite film of the festival so far. Its is the hilarious reuniting of two old friends, Mitch and Colin (Paul Eenhoorn) whose lives seem to be going no where fast as they approach old age. (more…)
Near the beginning of the festival, I overheard a conversation between two people in the box office. One man, obviously a veterin of the festival, said that all the indie films were nice, but that the real heart of Sundance is in the documentaries. That the festival gives voices to so many amazing stories that would have otherwise been lost is why he kept coming back every year. I have not yet seen all the films I Want to at this festival yet, but juding by the two documentaries I have seen so far, I am already inclined to agree with that sentiment.
The first, To Be Takei, tells the life story of George Takei, an actor and human rights activist, whose most remembered role is that of private Sulu on the original run of Star Trek. It’s an amazing story, as the man has been through so many struggles in his life, from his families internment during World War II to having to hide his sexuality from the public in fear of ruining his carrear. That this film is about someone who faced the things he did and come out as cheerful and full of life as he is now would be enough to carry a documentaryby itself. Luckily, director Jennifer M. Kroot went above and beyond, as the film is beautifully shot and edited. Even with the heavy subject matter, George’s quick whit and the well timed editing also make the film absolutely hilarious.
The second, No No: A Dockumentary, tells the life story of Dock Ellis, who is now famous for pitching a no hitter while under the influence of LSD. After seeing this film, however, I now know that remembering him only for that is an absolute tragedy. Dock was an unrelenting force, both on and off the field. He was a surprisingly significant force in shaping race relations in America, and was the spark that lead to the first all black starting line-up in the major league. By virtue of his character this film too has a comedic bent, and is also wonderfully directed and edited. Hopefully film will be a driving force for remembering Dock for his better years, and not for the time that he forgot a day in a drug fueled haze.
Michael Cera plays Gregory in Gregory Go Boom (2013), written and directed by Janicza Bravo. I left the theater with one question after seeing it and sitting through the Q&A: Why would Bravo have cast Cera?
Watch the film on YouTube. Did you laugh? I won’t lie: I did, and not a chuckle here and there either; I let out forceful laughs, the kind that come from the gut and that disrupt all conversations in the immediate vicinity. I was far from alone in the theater. That was wrong of us.
I left the theater with my mouth open and my mind racing to comprehend what I had just seen after watching David Wnendt’s film, Wetlands. This is by no means a movie for the family to sit down and watch on a Sunday night. In fact, it may be so unholy that it shouldn’t be played on Sunday at all. The film couldn’t go five minutes without the audience shuddering in a flurry of emotion. I don’t have a sensitive stomach at all and even I was fighting my body’s reflex to gag at times. But in all its un-holiness, its gruesome subject, its visceral imagery, it is actually a pretty fantastic film.
Last night I was lucky enough to attend the world premier of “The Disobedient,” a feature film in the World Dramatic Competition hailing all the way from the eastern European nation of Serbia. Hosted by the famous Egyptian Theater, it was quite the event with reporters from all the big entertainment publications in attendance. It felt like an important moment for the indie film world.