IFFBoston ’12 Spotlight: Rubberneck

IFFBoston ’12 Spotlight: Rubberneck

Rubberneck is an incredibly fascinating character-driven film about obsession and infatuation, directed by Alex Karpovsky, and written by Karpovsky and Garth Donovan.

Shot entirely in Massachusetts, it tells the story of Paul Harris, a research scientist who works on the outskirts of Boston. After a weekend tryst with a co-worker, his unreciprocated desires gradually turn into an infatuation.

The film keeps you on the edge of your seat throughout, and is certainly one of the not-to-miss movies of the festival.

Rubberneck screens at the Independent Film Festival of Boston, Tuesday, May 1st, at 9:30pm at the Coolidge Corner Theater. Tickets are available at iffboston.org.

IFFBoston ’12 Spotlight: One Night Stand

IFFBoston ’12 Spotlight: One Night Stand

The intro-logline to the documentary One Night Stand sounds like a 24 hour film festival – it chronicles the creation of 4 musicals from blank page to live stage in just 24 hours.

With appearances by Rachel Dratch, Jesse Tyler Ferguson, and Richard Kind – Variety says that the film “Perfectly conveys the creative insanity unleashed while revealing the quasi-miraculous process, attractively lensed, dynamically edited.”

The film looks really fun, and really interesting, and is directed by Elisabeth Sperling and Trish Dalton.

The film screens at the Independent Film Festival of Boston on Saturday, April 28th at 4:30pm at the Brattle Theater. Tickets are available at iffboston.org.

 

IFFBoston ’12 Spotlight: Time Zero: The Last Year of Polaroid Film

IFFBoston ’12 Spotlight: Time Zero: The Last Year of Polaroid Film

Everyone remembers Polaroid cameras vividly. I remember as a kid being amazed at this strange technology that produces a printed picture magically in front of your eyes. But, the advent of digital cameras completely tore the company apart, rather than the instant gratification of a printed photo, you now have the instant gratification of a digital screen.

TIME ZERO: The Last Year of Polaroid Film premieres at the 2012 Independent Film Festival of Boston – a mere 3 miles from Polaroid’s former headquarters. The documentary chronicles the death, and rebirth, of Polaroid instant film. After documenting the day when Polaroid announced it would cease production of instant film, the film shares the stories of several photographers, including film maker John Waters as they recount hearing the news, and follows the efforts of a small team who tried to keep instant photography alive.

The film, directed by Grant Hamilton, looks incredibly nostalgic, and extremely fascinating.

The film screens at IFFBoston at the Somerville Theater, Saturday, April 28th, 2012 at 12:30pm. Tickets are available at iffboston.org.

IFFBoston ’12 Spotlight: Plimpton! Starring George Plimpton as Himself

IFFBoston ’12 Spotlight: Plimpton! Starring George Plimpton as Himself

Directed by Tom Bean and Luke Poling, Plimpton! Starring George Plimpton as Himself is a documentary about the writer, editor, amateur sportsman,and friend to many, George Plimpton.

The film uses Plimpton’s own voice, along with stories from friends, family, and contemporaries to paint a colorful picture of richly filled life.

Plimpton of course co-founded The Paris Review, one of the most influential literary magazines in history and is known for his participatory journalism – highlighted by books like Paper Lion (when George played quarterback for the Detroit Lions).

The IFFBoston screening is a preview screening, and has sold out! However, there rush tickets still available (IFFBoston holds a number of seats for pass holders, but 15 minutes before the show, they release any empty seats to the rush line). Make sure to show up well before the screening to try to get in. Lonelyreviewer will have a one-on-one interview with the filmmakers during the festival, so make sure to check back for that!

Plimpton! Starring George Plimpton As Himself screens at IFFBoston at the Brattle Theater, Sunday, April 29th, at 5:30pm.

IFFBoston ’12 Spotlight: Ok, Good

IFFBoston ’12 Spotlight: Ok, Good

Ok, Good from director Daniel Martinco is a character study of an actor beginning to unravel. The teaser trailer features actor Paul Kaplan (Played by Hugo Armstrong) in what appears to be pulled from a series of “auditions,” saying his name over and over again – at the end, clearly expressing a bit of frustration.

The film is the story of Paul Kaplan, a typical LA actor, going to auditions, sending out headshots, taking movement class, and listening to motivational tapes in his car. Paul, struggles through a series of setbacks that pushes him closer to the edge.

Being in actor in LA is a constant flow of rejection, and as a sucker for narrative films that come of almost as cinema vérité that this one seems to be definitely peaks my interest.

The film had its world premiere at the Slamdance Film Festival, and played in competition at the Atlanta Film Festival.

Ok, Good screens at IFFBoston at the Somerville Theater Saturday, April 28th, 2:15pm. Tickets can be purchased at iffboston.org.

IFFBoston ’12 Spotlight: Code of the West

IFFBoston ’12 Spotlight: Code of the West

Somerville local Rebecca Richman Cohen returns to IFFBoston with her latest film, Code of the West. The documentary follows the legal and emotional drama surrounding the crackdown on medicinal marijuana providers in Montana, the first state to have its legislature vote to repeal its medicinal marijuana law.

Over the past year, we’ve heard about crack downs on medicinal marijuana across the country – and this film looks at the effects of state and national drug policies.

Cohen’s last film, War Don Don screened at IFFBoston in 2010, and won the Karen Schmeer Award for editing.

Check out Code of the West at The Somerville Theater, Thursday, April 26th at 7:15pm. Tickets are available at IFFBoston.org.

Short Film: Friends I Haven’t Met

Short Film: Friends I Haven’t Met

Check out this new film from the founder/editor of Lonelyreviewer.com, Vatche Arabian. Obviously there’s a bias here so I can’t offer my own opinion, but check it out – and let us know what you think!

IFFBoston ’11 Review: Heaven + Earth + Joe Davis

IFFBoston ’11 Review: Heaven + Earth + Joe Davis

Joe Davis is a genius (most likely to the hindrance and detriment to what a lot of us would considered a quality life [though the whole eye-of-the-beholder thing probably applies, so I will concede that he may enjoy his life a lot more fully than I  ever will, though I am a fairly happy guy]; i.e. stable housing and job).  There is no denying he will wrap his head around concepts that I have a snowballs-chance even reading without getting heavy eyes, let alone understand.  Knowing this, the director contrasts our preconceived notions of an MIT level genius/artist/inventor by are introducing Joe to us as he washes dishes, picks through trash and speaks a language to his comrades that only he understands.  Joe Davis is self described as an artistic genius (and regular genius) that, if we don’t  appreciate him, it’s because we just don’t get him yet.  A bit insulting, but maybe that’s because I just  don’t get him yet(?).

The “story” (term used loosely as a documentary narrative never truly forms) meanders as we tag along with Joe in his many adventures in creating his art, various employment follies  and various rants that come off as a stoner riffing at a party, stringing lines together that sound deep, but have no real context.  He  struggles in his day to day to find who he is and seems to take no real accountability for himself.  This unwillingness to grapple with the consequences  of his actions may in fact be the reason the film is never really allowed to give us any kind of arc we are itching for. (The film does display this lack of accountability, beautifully and  in what COULD have been a powerful moment, if Joe, for a second, took the question seriously.  In this moment Joe was looking for a way to, essentially, render severe storms,  such as hurricanes, impotent [and having had his childhood home devastated by Katrina, this is more than understandable].  As he is explaining to a companion his idea, a question is brought up that boils down to: even if you could, should you?  Joe brushes this aside as though the moral issue is unimportant.  His lack of interest in exploring this area does speak volumes to his personality, but it was clearly difficult for the director to bend that void into an arc.)

Throughout the film I found myself getting more annoyed with the character of Joe.   I use the word “character” because I am fairly certain Joe used this platform as a way to write his own story.  An example of this: In the film Joe provided an explanation of how he lost his leg.  He mentioned and alligator snapping it off, and we were treated to a shot of a fairly tame gator wading in the water (thankfully no re-enactment). However, later in the film, and not soon enough after to want to point out this discrepancy as a point of interest and insight into the psyche of Joe Davis, a friend of Joe’s said the leg was lost in a motorcycle accident.  (In the Q&A after the film we were told we could not get into the why’s of this splintering of the story, but that the contradicting footage was left in there on purpose.  It came off more as a justification of  something unintended rather than an explanation of why the fork in the story. As another aside, I am not sure why getting your leg eaten by an alligator is cooler than a motorcycle accident, but maybe he has a Captain Hook fantasy and wants to have a story like his [with the obvious substitution of hand/hook for foot/peg leg].)   The director seemed to rely on the eccentricity of Joe to carry the film, but his shtick worn thin 20 minutes in, and I spent a majority of the films’ remaining run-time trying to figure out ways in which he annoyed me and why it annoyed me.

Overall I felt that the story lacked any vision.  It is most likely a good thing for a documentarian to not go in with a story in mind as it could tempt the filmmaker to want to lead the characters to reflect this desired outcome.  However, as the filming process migrated towards the end, a story should have formed, and to my disappointment, it didn’t.  Joe Davis is an eccentric artist and a genius. Nothing to write home about, and certainly nothing to film.

IFFBoston ’11 Review: Cure for Pain: The Mark Sandman Story

IFFBoston ’11 Review: Cure for Pain: The Mark Sandman Story

‘Cure for Pain: The Mark Sandman Story,’ is a memorial to Mark Sandman, the frontman of Boston based band ‘Morphine.’ The filmmakers were given complete access to the Sandman family’s archives, as well as to the band’s friends and family.

‘Morphine,’ began in Cambridge, MA, and was made up of Mark Sandman, Dana Colley, and Billy Conway. The band had an extremely unique sound, Sandman primarily playing a 2-string slide bass, Colley on sax, and Conway on drums. The film is wall-to-wall sound. I can barely recall a moment during the film without music, I believe in the Q & A it was stated that there were a total of 96 tracks used in the film.

Along with this wall-to-wall soundtrack, the film features a collection of Super-8 movies of Mark as a child, family photographs, performances of the band, and great interviews with the likes of Ben Harper, Seth Mnookin (Vanity Fair), Nic Harcourt (Los Angeles Times, KCRW), Steve LaBate (Paste), John Medeski, Les Claypool (Primus), Mike Watt (Minutemen), Josh Homme (Queens of the Stone Age).

Sandman was notorious for his privacy. Very little is known about him other than the information that is readily available. His television, radio, and print interviews were approached with very little seriousness (examples of this are throughout the film), and despite being a documentary about Sandman, I feel that ‘Cure for Pain,’ barely scratches the surface of his persona.

They do highlight some of the moments in Sandman’s life that clearly influenced his music and who he was. From his journey’s across the world, to the tragic deaths of his brothers.The film offers wonderful interviews with Mark’s parents, who talk candidly about those deaths, which occurred within a short time of each other.

While the title of the film suggests that the band was a cure for the pain that Mark felt throughout his life, I don’t feel like they explore this theme as much as they could have.

The film succeeds as being a technically sound, well edited piece memorializing Mark, and celebrating his life and talent. He lived a great life, and his unique music touched a lot of people. However, the film ended with me feeling like there is much about Sandman that perhaps we will never know.

IFFBoston ’11 Spotlight: Color Me Obsessed

IFFBoston ’11 Spotlight: Color Me Obsessed

Rolling Stones called ‘Color Me Obsessed,’ one of the seven best new music documentaries of the year. The film is the first documentary about famed 80’s indie-rock band The Replacements.

Director Gorman Bechard set out to make a film unlike other “where are they are now” style music docs. “This is a band that for its first music video used a four minute shot of a stereo speaker. They deserved a film as brash and unique as they were.” The film does not use any music or performance clips, choosing to tell the bands story through the eyes of fans, friends, and contemporaries – showing you how a band can become part of your life, change your world, and make you feel less alone.

 

Buy Tickets Here