“I’ve seen 10 Sundance films in the last two days,” an exhibitor friend confides, “and the the highlight so far, unquetionably, has been Steve Buscemi’s Lonesome Jim, which is one of the most beautiful odes to a pathetic human life ever put to screen. It’s a breakthrough vehicle for star Casey Affleck.
“The only thing the film has against it is a horribly cheap look as a result of being shot on shit-level video. It might have been the projection at the press screening but given that most things in there have been projected digitally, I somehow doubt it. Try and check it out (although, thinking about it further, you might really hate it).”
“I thought Marcos Siega’s Pretty Persuasion was PRETTY FUCKING HIDEOUS. Trying so hard to be another Election/Heathers/To Die For — truly awful characters and a terrible, try-too-hard script. Performances were actually okay but it’s not going to take.” Wells reaction: Seeing it Monday, but heard from one journo friend that it’s “awful,” and another that it’s “okay” but not quite good enough and a little too familiar. It’s fairly raunchy in terms of dialogue and sexual stuff. Visiting costar James Woods was telling friends at a Main Street party on Friday night that “I don’t know how we’re going to get a rating.”
“Rian Johnson’s Brick is worth seeing, if only to lock in the director as definitely a talent to watch. The idea (high school noir, Sam Spade in high school) is quite brilliant, although it outstays its welcome. I have a feeling the film could grow into a little sleeper in the Donnie Darko fashion — there’s a lot to admire and enjoy.” Wells reaction: Bullshit — it’s a clever little film, and accurately reflects the way 16 and 17 year-olds see their world, which is to say totally separate from adults and utterly caught up in their narrow social spectrum, but it’s too smug for its own good.
“Scott Coffey’s Elllie Parker is awful and indulgent — I left after an hour. Wells reaction: Haven’t sen it yet, but the general reaction has been that it’s little bit like episodic TV and not good enough, although star Naomi Watts is said to be excellent. (She always is.)
Dear`Wendy is pretty interesting until the last half hour when it goes off
the rails. Lars von Trier (who wrote the screenplay, and you can so totally tell) isn’t going to win any more friends in America. I feel like he was nutting out a lot of the ideas he went on to explore in Manderlay. Wells reaction : I felt this wasn’t working from the get-go, and I left after an hour or so. I’ll have more to say in Monday’s column.
“I heard good things about Murderball — seeing it later in the week. The two documentaries I saw tonight, Protocls of Zion and Ring of Fire were both, in their own ways, quite excellent.
Logger heads is minor — it went on forever and has a very confusing time structure. I’m guessing it will probably go straight to the Sundance Channel and/or play at gay film festivals.”