Thursday, August 6, 2009

Z At the Movies – TCFF – August 6, 2009

Here’s the rest of what I saw at the Traverse City Film Festival. Since there are so many, I’ll be covering them in even shorter fashion than last week. I rate them on the four-star scale.

Mary & Max, 2009 / ***½

This was a beautiful claymation film, a wonderful story about a long-distance friendship. Philip Seymour Hoffman and Toni Collette do a wonderful job voicing the title characters. Even though it is animated, this film is definitely not for children.

Outrage, 2009 / ***½

Kirby Dick’s last documentary was the amazing This Film Is Not Yet Rated, and his newest is similarly incendiary. Dick’s controversial tactic of “outing” who he believes to be closeted homosexual United States congressmen who vociferously support anti-gay legislation may cross some boundaries. But in that sense it does what great documentaries do – it gets people talking.

Humpday, 2009 / ***½

This was my second favorite new movie that I saw. The plot follows two old college buddies, one of whom has become a Kerouacian beatnik, and the other is a boring old married guy. One night while drunk at a party, they cook up a scheme to enter an amateur porn festival by filming the first ever hetero-guy-on-guy porn. The way the story develops is truly unique, and the performances by Mark Duplass and Joshua Leonard are completely believable. However, Alycia Delmore steals the show as the wife in the equation.

The Girlfriend Experience, 2009 / *

It’s talky, pretentious, boring, and pointless. Steven Soderbergh continues to disappoint me.

The Garden, 2009 / ****

I saw this one back in February but was more than happy to see it again. Go Here to learn more, and see this one any way you can.

Sneak Preview Hosted By Jeff Garlin

This wasn’t actually a movie, but a sneak peak at the first two episodes in the upcoming new season of Larry David’s Curb Your Enthusiasm. I won’t reveal plot details, but suffice to say I think it’s going to be a great season.

Roger & Me, 1989 / ****

Michael Moore, founder of the Traverse City Film Festival, presented this film on its 20th Anniversary, when it’s as relevant as ever. Seeing the film with an audience was a terrific experience, and the post-film interview conducted by Larry Charles was a rare look into Moore’s process.

Metropolis, 1927 / ****

This silent-era classic by Fritz Lang was accompanied by a 16-piece orchestra inside the impressive Traverse City State Theater. It looked great up on the big screen and the orchestra was a perfect accompaniment.

Blood in the Face, 1991 / ****

This was billed as “Mike’s Surprise,” a film that Moore had worked on prior to Roger & Me. A trio from New York was to make a documentary about the Nazi and Ku Klux Klan in Michigan in the 1980s, and Moore was instrumental in getting them access to the groups, and conducted the on-camera interviews. This is a rare gem and a really cool surprise. Also, before this movie he showed a never-before-seen three-minute trailer for his new film, Capitalism: A Love Story. It looks pretty great.

Registered Sex Offender, 2009 / ***

This is a comedy about a thoroughly detestable young man, who is, as the title indicates, a registered sex offender. He takes nothing seriously, hits on everything he sees, and treats his pretty girlfriend like garbage. It’s pretty funny actually, but the style gets a little monotonous.

On the docket for this week: The Hurt Locker, (500) Days of Summer, Funny People, and I might even rent Race to Witch Mountain. I’m a mark for Dwayne Johnson, so what?

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