Sunday, April 27, 2008

In the City of Smart People

That's what we tell ourselves in Chicago, anyway, especially where I hang out. But I can't well give into self-indulgence when I'm decrying it in the movies—and there's more than enough to go around in José Luis Guerín's In the City of Sylvia, an unbearably light divertissement from Spain with pretty retro gender politics mixed in with its buttery spectacle. I saw Sylvia as part of the Indianapolis International Film Festival that I keep advertising to you; though I've had to return to my hometown and its seedy Greyhound terminal and its shady "livery cabs" to pick up the reins of my day job, that shouldn't stop you from visiting the Circle City and catching some more flicks. If all the festival screenings are sold out when you get there (dream big!), you can still catch Noam Murro's Smart People at an adjoining auditorium in the same Landmark Theatre. That's three full reviews in two days. Who knows what May will bring? (Answer: hopefully a movie that deserves higher than a B. But, a hint: I already saw one in the Hoosier State. Keep reading!)

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Saturday, April 26, 2008

'River' Queen

When it rains it pours, even if that's not quite the right aquatic idiom for Chris Eigeman's Turn the River. What I mean is, almost a month with no posting, and then two in one day! Granted, that's often the way with me, but why not keep up some momentum while I'm still here at the festival and post a full review for my favorite film I've seen so far outside of my own assigned competition bracket ...which, again, I'm not yet at liberty to discuss. Stay tuned, but for now, tune into Famke Janssen's impressive, film-carrying performance in Turn the River, reviewed here, and opening in New York and LA, we gather, on May 9. Be there for Famke, though there's even more in this film to admire.

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It Takes A Village Nathaniel... get me blogging again, but seriously, how could I share a hotel room for a whole weekend with His High Holy Hyper-Productiveness and not get my act together? It's so late now that I don't have time to say much about the movies we've been seeing at the 2008 Indianapolis Film Festival, where we are both serving as jurors—he in the World Cinema bracket, and I in the American Spectrum competition for homegrown independent dramas. Suffice it to say that none of the first four features I've seen has quite blown my socks off, but they all have significant virtues, particularly the committed performance by Famke Janssen in Turn the River and some juicy pop arcana in the documentary Spine Tingler! The William Castle Story. But more on those soon—and, later on, a little more on the features and the short films that I'm overseeing as part of my jury duties (with Sean Penn as my spiritual if not my practical leader). I'm not at liberty to say anything about these before awards are announced next weekend, but I'll allow myself these: you're missing a lot of good work if you live in the Hoosier State and you aren't catching these movies. Indiana may never again produce anything quite as great as recent birthday girl Dr. S, but this film festival would be a splendid achievement in any "small" city (and at 850,000, not that small), and the all-volunteer staff and supervisors have done a beautiful, generous job of hosting and coordinating. Come out and represent, Indiana!

Nick's Flick Picks watchers will also want to know that, with the fifth month of the year about to roll around, I finally have a Movies of 2008 page up and running, with pages and the usual screening log, though no reviews yet. I don't know where Ryan Phillippe came up with that sterling Stop-Loss performance or what so many other critics saw in the Oscar-nominated Beaufort (that 4 Months omission is officially a travesty), or quite what to say yet about the maddening half-successes of Teeth and Paranoid Park, but I'll (try to) get there. And yes, I still plan to finish that Best of 2007 countdown.

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Thursday, April 17, 2008

Welcome to a New Dimension...

The short version is that Blogger derailed my FTP publishing platform one too many times, and remained absolutely unresponsive on the issue for well over a week. So, I have finally relinquished FTP publishing on this blog—which I now realize I should have done a while ago—and have migrated the blog over to a custom domain on my own site.

So, welcome to the new address: Please update any links on your own webpages and/or bookmarks in your browsers to reflect the new destination. Enjoy the new digs!