They can’t all be world premieres, you know. So quit your complaining and suck up the cream of the other festivals, lovingly curated for you by an underpaid festival staffer. Floating on the surface of the great cinematic morass are the new film from Steven Soderbergh (good news, it’s shorter than Che!) and Michael Caine adding some dodder to Death Wish. Among the documentaries, the wistful trembling of Michel Gondry’s family tree is matched only by the weirdness of the global baby market. Click on the titles for trailers where available.
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And Everything is Going Fine
A guy sitting behind the desk is not everybody’s idea of entertainment. Spalding Gray, however, wasn’t everybody. His monologues explored history, show business, and his complex personal history and ailments in a way that was as riveting as open-heart surgery. Collaborator Steven Soderbergh has drawn on 90 hours of footage to fashion the late performer’s neurotic autobiography.
Crying With Laughter
Cinema has never really gotten to grips with the lonely hell of the stand-up comic. Maybe spritzing for a living is just too much of a one man show. Director Justin Molotnikov’s Scottish take adds a helping of revenge to the patter. Joey (Stephen McCole) tells a funny tale onstage about an old school friend. Alas, the buddy is in the audience and he ain’t laughing. This is one heckler Joey is going to regret snapping back at.
Eternal Sunshine wizard Michel Gondry takes time out from making music videos with balls of string to visit his aunt and cousin. His documentary begins as a tribute to Auntie Gondry’s career teaching in rural France. But her relationship with son Jean-Yves starts to command attention. Among the issues to be addressed: why this inspiring teacher’s own child has suffered a distinct failure to launch.
Following on from Humpday’s sexual gamesmanship comes another mumblecore-styled film about a dodgy bedroom deal. Director Katie Aselton and Dax Shepard play the married couple who agree to spice up their love lives by giving each other a freebie: a one night tumble with someone else. Will guilt, recrimination, etc., ensue? We’re more worried about similarities with the Farrelly Bros. Hall Pass.
Can’t read that title without thinking of Feargal Sharkey’s 1985 solo hit, but director Dagur Kári (Nói albínói) would prefer we talked about his Bukowski-esque buddy drama. Paul Dano is a homeless man taken in by dying bar-owner Brian Cox. Cox teaches Dano the way of his trade. Dano gives Cox reasons to live. The apprenticeship is threatened, however, when a boozy stewardess comes between ‘em.
An Israeli entrepreneur is looking to revolutionize the surrogate mother business in Zippi Brand Frank’s doc. He proposes outsourcing incubation to Indian mothers. With sperm and eggs for sale online, the parent-to-be doesn’t even need to leave their La-Z-Boy in order to virtually conceive. It’s a remarkable notion that will make any sane person hurl, but Frank follows the conceit to the Brave New World end.
If Clint Eastwood in Gran Torino sought to turn the other cheek when it came to neighborhoodlums, Michael Caine is made of sterner stuff. British director Daniel Barber’s tabloid-baiting revenge fantasy finds Caine’s senior citizen hunting down the “hoodies” who killed his best mate. Turns out London’s urban environs are second only to Medellin when it comes to gun-toting kiddie nutbags.
His & Hers
In a novel approach to the traditional romance, Ken Wardrop uses interviews with seventy different Irish ladies to tell the universe tale of love and the opposite sex. Observations and incidents are contributed by a variety of age groups, ranging from children to OAPs. The subjects’ daily routines provide addition context to dreams lost and realized. “Sublime in its simplicity!” cried Noel Murray at its Sundance premiere.
Tags: And Everything is Going Fine, Brian Cox, Crying With Laughter, Dagur Kari, Daniel Barber, Dax Shepard, Google Baby, Harry Brown, His & Hers, Justin Molotnikov, Katie Aselton, Ken Wardrop, L'epine dans le coeur, Michael Caine, Michel Gondry, Paul Dano, Spalding Gray, Stephen McCole, Steven Soderbergh, SXSW Film Festival, The Freebie, The Good Heart, The Thorn in the Heart, Zippi Brand Frank