Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Sundance Film Guide: Lavishly Loquacious

I get a kick out of reading the Sundance Film Festival Film Guide every year. The synopses of each movie have an eerily common tonality—kind of like listening to National Public Radio, where all the announcers sound alike, except of course the distinctly tremulous voice of Diane Rehm. But I’m rambling.

To be fair, these are not reviews. They are upbeat, positive capsules of the movie. What’s funny is how the writers all sound so much alike—sophisticated, intellectual, pedantic … insular, obscure, condescending … amusing, grating and sometimes plain silly. In case you missed it, here are some actual excerpts from the 2006 Film Guide:

Friends with Money
… “portrays a world we may think we know all too well: the liberal, professional lives of women and their husbands on the west side of Los Angeles.” Oh we all know that soooo well, don’t we? Hey mom in Iowa, this is your world, right?

Alpha Dog “…this is dense, galvanizing film-making.” I’m sure it’s just like all the other dense, galvanizing movies I’ve seen.

American Blackout … “emotionally revitalizes the core of our power as American citizens.” That’s not bad for ten bucks! They should rent this out to the Democratic Party.

Iraq in Fragments … “indelible, intimate portraits, painted with strikingly beautiful verite images and poetic visual juxtaposition …” They said the same thing about Garfield the Movie!

Flannel Pajamas … “brought to life by warm, natural, and genuinely inhabited performances.” Is this another possession movie?

All Aboard! Rosie’s Family Cruise
… “the first-ever cruise for gay and lesbian families … a kind of nautical utopia.” I'm not sure this is what Thomas More had in mind.

Art School Confidential
… “When he sees that a clueless jock is attracting the glory rightfully due him, Jerome hatches an all-or-nothing plan to hit it big in the art world.” Boy that will show him.

A Guide to Recognizing Saints … “Montiel’s New York is steamy with humidity, cooking and adolescent sexuality.” And that’s just the cab ride from LaGuardia.

Half Nelson … “Gosling perfectly renders Dan, imbuing him with layers and dimensions rarely seen in film.” Sounds like a perfect role for Harvey Keitel. Or maybe Kathy Bates.

The Hawk is Dying … “an enigmatic and emotionally potent film.” Translation: You'll feel sad and you won't know why.

An Inconvenient Truth … “the gripping story of former vice president Al Gore.” I’m sorry, I just can’t read that without giggling.

In Between Days … “it is at once a love story and a neorealistic depiction of assimilation.” I have no idea what that is—maybe The Matrix meets Hegel.

Puccini for Beginners … “Maggenti playfully ushers in a new era of lesbian cinema.” What? You mean I completely missed the last era of lesbian cinema?

Sherrybaby … “all-around strong performances, led by Maggie Gyllenhaal’s deeply inhabited Sherry.” Maybe her head spins and she spews green slime.

Stay … “Raw, original and edifying.” If Sundance says it’s raw, you need to watch for food poisoning.

Steel City … “An authentic, textured sense of place.” Translation: It’s not Los Angeles.

Wristcutters: A Love Story … The title alone makes this sound like fun for the entire family.

The Giant Buddhas … “with pulsing immediacy, Frei essentially collapses time.” Einstein would have been proud.

Into Great Silence … “thrills the senses even as it eschews outward sensation. An exquisite cinematic recreation of devotional space.” This is the way film students talk when they are very, very high.

13 Tzameti … “Director Gela Babluani’s hand is firmly at the throttle.” I’m happy about that, because if he was pressing the ejector button I’d catch a different film.

The Blossoming of Maximo Oliveros … “We follow Maxi through his glowing and textured world of shopping …” Sounds like me at Wal-Mart.

I could go on and on, but I’ll leave you with my favorite from this year’s catalog:

Allegro … “Christoffer Boe … (who) established his fascination for filmic ideation and creativity, again creates a figurative universe … a realm both real and unreal, at once a fictional place and a concrete reality … Its complex visual style mirrors the cerebral vision of its maker, and its exploration of metaphorical realities and the mysteries of memory and the subconscious is richly conceived.” I’m embarrassed to say this, but it kind of makes me long for Dukes of Hazzard.


Blogger lewislangley8614 said...

This post has been removed by a blog administrator.

2:59 AM  
Blogger porterhouse1974 said...

Who wrote the rule that blogs must contain dense humor and mediocre wit, Damn can you just give a real review.

12:17 PM  
Blogger porterhouse1974 said...

Damn...can we get a real review...all blogs don't have to be full of dense humor and meidocre wit.

12:18 PM  
Blogger Bill said...

Sorry Porterhouse, mediocre wit is all I aspire to. If I was Dave Barry, I'd be getting paid for this!

12:14 AM  

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