|Five Best Films||Five Worst Films|
Life Of Reilly — I saw CNR on “Dinner for Five” and went into this knowing that he was much more than the gameshow regular and kids’ tv clown from my childhood, but I had no idea how complex a life and how brilliant a film this would be.
Out At The Wedding — Excellent all-around farce with overtones of Moonstruck and Sweet Home Alabama but plenty that’s all its own. This one really surprised me and it’s worth every minute. This film won bonus points with Trek references and great slapstick. I’ll defintely see this again, either in the fest or (hopefully) in its general release.
Bubble, The — Another great work from the director of “Yossi and Jagger” a few festivals ago. All the elements are here for an excellent film: Great performances, a compelling story, a well-put-together film. The thing is I never could let myself fully enjoy it, especially during the somewhat lighter-hearted middle third, because I knew what was coming. I didn’t need a happy ending per se, but I needed something less predictable. Perhaps the film too accurately represents the inevitability of the political situation that framed it for comfort.
Rope — Classic Hitchcock (although not my favorite) that for some reason made me wildly hungry for fried chicken. I also found myself wondering if Stewart’s stray bullets into the Manhattan night injured an innocent bystander.
DL Chronicles, Parts 1, 2 & 3, The — Sexy, funny, inventive. The format might be limiting after a few dozen episodes, but these first three were great. The first must have been a pilot; while good, there were a few production issues like abrupt transitions that the later two cleared up. Not a fan of men on the DL in real life, but it makes great film!
Shelter — A surprisingly tender and genuine first-love film with potential rewatch value. It’s another film in the kinder-gentler vein (starting with “Saved” a few years back) that doesn’t dehumanize the supporting characters to provide the conflict.
Picture Of Dorian Gray, The — A liberal reinterpretation whose distracting soundtrack and film techniques border on annoying. Still, I didn’t mind watching it despite its flaws.
2 Minutes Later — Fun, light fare that was also rather light on the wardrobe budget.
Mala Noche — An odd, dark film that certainly has the feeling of a first outing, like some alternate-universe gay Clerks with illegal immigrants, police brutality, and bad driving. I can’t really say I “enjoyed” it, but it held my attention.
Eternal Summer — I liked “Eternal Summer” despite this after-school special’s slow pacing, grating score, and cell-phone-driven plot. The characters come off surprisingly likeable (for young adults fumbling in love) and I left the theater smiling. A guilty pleasure for the jaded and cynical. Japanese strangeness alert.
Laughing Matters… The Men — Nicely assembled mix of interview and performance with six gay comics.
No Regret — Factoring in the Asian Quirkiness Factor, this was a good film. I liked–if not always understood–the main characters. The editing was smooth enough not to intrude into the narrative. The inconsistencies are forgivable thanks to a good performance by the lead and an involved if not always believeable plot.
Love And Other Disasters — Technically excellent and funny overall but oddly unengaging: I never felt any kind of connection with the characters (much like my reaction to “Breakfast at Tiffany’s”). Perhaps it was a little too clever for its own good (robbing it of heart) and far too smug about it. Despite that, it was an enjoyable watch that I don’t regret. Film *FIVE* with a breakfast theme given the homage to “Breakfast at Tiffany’s”!
Itty Bitty Titty Committee — This film has a great punk sensibility but with warmth and compassion underneath with hints of Animal House throughout. It’s the fourth film so far to feature breakfast (and the third with pancakes)! Did the programmers put this year together over hotcakes and morning coffee at the Denny’s???
Chinese Botanist’s Daughters, The — Lush, a visually stunning film that swells in verdant spring and simmers in steamy summer but yields a lackluster autumn harvest due to a somewhat predictable conclusion that squanders some well-cultivated character development.
Four Letter Word, A — Funny but a little uneven and saccharine. It’s always good to see New York, so familiar locations and opening night euphoria saved “A Four Letter Word” from another four-letter rating, fair.
Kiss The Bride — Surprisingly flat and uneven given the film maker’s previous offering. I didn’t really like any of the characters, a few of the plot twists were a little too implausible/out of left field even for a farce, and the pacing was just too slow for this kind of film. “Out at the Wedding” better navigated the same waters.
Nina’s Heavenly Delights — The film’s point about lacking chemistry despite the right ingredients rings a little too true. The elements don’t come together for a lack of passion, sexual and culinary. Maybe Nigella set my food porn standards too high, and this was tepid compared to the Lesbian heat in other films this year. The talky crowd didn’t help matters either.
Holding Trevor — Another case where too much narration hurts the film and the music distracts from rather than complements the movie.
Here’s Looking At You, Boy — Other than a few clips from movies I like and a few quips from John Waters, this doc didn’t hold my attention for lack of theme and structure. It felt like they threw some movie clips and too much movie-maker ramblings into a blender.
Socket — B movie that bogs down in the second half. A few good ideas get lost in pacing and production quality issues. While there’s plenty of sex and nudity, points go for keeping it peripheral to the plot device which would have made it a full frontal Plan 9. Hmmm, would that have been a bad thing I wonder!
Rag Tag — Bad editing and poor chemistry cripple a film that otherwise could have had some interesting things to say about immigration and African culture. The last third saved this film from a poor rating, but if you go be prepared for a long wait for any kind of payoff, dramatic or otherwise.
Curiosity Of Chance, The — All the ingredients don’t come together because of timing in this supposed 80s period piece. It just never gelled despite having high production quality and some decent performances. A pale imitation of Hughes films, you’ll be better served by “Edge of Seventeen” for this kind of film.
Blueprint — No chemistry between the leads, low production quality, and a slow middle third made an interesting idea into a fair film.
Snoozer. An incestuous Nancy Drew investigates her brother’s death. The real crime here is I originally planned to see Night Moves but stayed at the Prince to catch up with friends. Tedious, uninspiring, and surprisingly unsexy for a French film.
Awful! What should have been a guilty pleasure felt more like doing time: Agonizing rambling voiceovers, out-of-focus camera work, terrible performances (acting and otherwise), and an obsession with high school students makes this Worst in Festival so far.
Members Only — Completely hilarious and inventive. Not only should Gay come with a manual, but a whole agency and personal coach!
Night Falls Fast — Powerful with an amazing amount of story crammed into a short running time. Filmed in part at Philly’s own Chinatown fire station.
Family Reunion — A woman leaves her NYC girlfriend for a family reunion in Iceland and plans to come out. A great lead, a clever twist, and a perfect final frame!
Prenuptial Tango — Clever but some of the performances were a little wooden.
Love Is Love — The second short to reverse gender roles, this is also second to the short before “Out at the Wedding” in pacing, editing, and execution in general. Still, a good effort in an underappreciated format.
Happiest Day Of His Life, The — An amazing series of cameos in a short that pleases but perhaps needed a little better pacing. Expanding this to a feature film (in the works) will hopefully include tighter editing.
Incredible Dyke, The — Good concept, competently executed, brought down by a lackluster climax.
Heart — One amusing moment saves this short from a poor.