Back in May and early June I wrote a few blogs while attending the Seattle International Film Festival. But in juggling work, family, and some times three films a day, I never got around to posting them.
There does not seem to be much of a point in posting them now, though I will make a few quick observations, including notes about my cinematic choices for Memorial Day, which were rather appropo: MISSING IN AMERICA and LAND OF PLENTY.
- M.I.A. stars Danny Glover as Jake, a Vietnam vet who has retreated to Washington's Cascadia and lives the life of a lone survivalist. After a shaky start, during which Glover's dying war buddy strands his half-Vietnamese daughter with Glover at his remote mountain cabin, the film hits its stride as Glover struggles to cope with having a young girl to care for and with the backlash her presence in these woods has created by another survivalist vet played by Ron Pearlman. I found Glover's performance convincing and at times powerful leading up to the film's tragic end. There is one scene that takes place at The Wall which I found very moving. Linda Hamilton also stars.
- Wim Wenders's LAND OF PLENTY was a disappointment. Set in L.A., this post-9/11 drama about a lone, confused, self-proclaimed pro-American militant who sees terrorism brewing in the city all around him was heavy-handed and left me ultimately unfulfilled.
- Also disappointing was an early cut of a romantic comedy starring Julianne Moore and David Duchovny called TRUST THE MAN. Oddly, I like this film less and less every time I think about it. When it comes out this fall, I will surely despise it. Avoid it.
- I thoroughly enjoyed THE THING ABOUT MY FOLKS, a warm-hearted and very funny movie about a father/son road trip. The films stars Peter Falk, Paul Reiser, Olympia Dukakis, and is written by Reiser. In the film, Reiser's Ben Kleinmann takes a journey with this father, played brilliantly and hilariously by Falk, after his parents split up under dubious circumstances. The journey is one not just across upstate New York but into Ben's family's past as well.
- Of the low-budget indies I saw, there was one that exceeded my expectations. I chose to see NOVEMBER only because I wanted at least one thriller thrown into the mix of films I attended at the festival. It stars Courtney Cox, and frankly, going into it, anticipated some B-move, horror film wannabe. My skepticism was quickly displaced by an intelligent script about a random murder told via several perspectives. Think RASHOMON meets THE OCCURRENCE AT OWL CREEK and you'll know what I'm getting at.