Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Sundance Day 4: I Am Buried, Love!

An easy day for me after the day 3, 5 film marathon (scroll down). I saw just 2 films. There would've been 3 but for a bus mishaps. Boo. Have also developed an irritating persistent cough. I blame all this fresh mountain air. My lungs are citified.

lo sono l'amore (I Am Love)
I'll have more to say about this Italian stunner as it approaches release but I'm too sick to parse it at the moment. So for those of you who are tweetless, I share this exchange between Guy Lodge and I.


I've rediscovered here at Sundance that I tend to respond best to visually driven films. Another critic I sat with at I Am Love complained that it kept him at a certain remove and that's totally true so long as you're speaking about its narrative or dialogue but the emotional content was all in its at first stately and then increasingly baroque rush of images and score. B+/A-? [I also suspect that I liked The Runaways better than most because I dug the visuals from director Floria Sigismondi, another contestant in the long line of great music video directors who made their way into feature films. But that's a story for another post.]

One more thing about I Am Love. I find it amusing that the initial foreign poster and the American poster are basically the same thing but for the star-f***ing.


Not only do three characters get cropped out to focus on the nuclear family, but it's also becomes all about Tilda Swinton. The font obscures the other actors and loops around to create a Bust of Movie Star. Place her sculptural beauty on your mantle.

...by which I mean buy a ticket when the film opens later this year.

Buried
The announcement that this accurately named thriller had been bought by Lionsgate -- who made (tidal) waves for the Sundance acquisition Precious last year -- came shortly before the screening for critics. I don't usually do this but I spent some of the movie and a good deal of time after the movie, thinking about how they could possibly market it. The movie takes place entirely inside a coffin with Ryan Reynolds as the unfortunate American truck driver trapped inside. He wakes up to this nightmare at the beginning of the film with only a cel phone and a lighter (and unfortunately all of his clothing). Spanish director Rodrigo Cortés displays enough technical creativity here in sound, lighting and shot differentiation that the gimmick is sustained surprisingly well. But how will they ever do a trailer without revealing the onion being peeled as it were? The fun (if such a thing can be called fun) is in how the story, predicament and politics are parceled out. And if you see a lot of that in the trailer... B

P.S. [*light spoiler*] I'm tempted to pettily subtract a grade due to the completely unimaginative voice casting. You'll never believe this but ubiquitous character actor Stephen Tobolowsky (in one of the voice roles) plays an asshole! Shocking right? When you hear that voice you simply know, thereby ruining one of the film's nastiest surprises.

17 comments:

kent said...

loving any news about tilda swinton at this point. definitely will be seeing I AM LOVE. does she manage to top her JULIA performance, nat?

NATHANIEL R said...

no.

but which performances top her her JULIA performance? very damn few ever. ;)

BrianZ said...

At this point, I'd pay to watch Tilda Swinton kick my ass.

txtcritic said...

Are you seeing THE KIDS ARE ALL RIGHT? Apparently, bidding war going on.

Jim T said...

I am a bit concerned about your admitting that the visuals of a film are that important to you since that might explain why you liked Avatar a lot more than I did. That might mean that I will probably not like I Am Love? I don't think so. It has Tilda and Avatar really annoyed me. Anyway, you can never predict your reaction to a film. I'll probably watch it. Is it a great performance or just typically strong?

By the way, call me stupid but I didn't get you tweet on the Benning vehicle. Did you think the buzz was deserving?

John T said...

I just love living in a world where Tilda Swinton is a movie star.

NATHANIEL R said...

Jim T -- i have no shame about thinking visuals are most important. It's a visual medium. But some people are very obsessed with "story" as most important. I don't really care about that so much since great films can have slim stories and great stories can result in pedestrian films.

John T -- welcome to my world!

Jim T & Rob -- i am going to see it The Kids Are AllRight tomorrow. as for Mother and Child. Will write about that soon.

Jim T said...

Nathaniel.. I didn't criticize you. I was just wondering whether I would like the film as much as you did. And I'm not obsessed with story. I just think it is probably as important as the visuals. Hey, my favourite movie is Dinsey's Beauty and the Beast! Perhaps the word "admitting" was not describing what I meant to say. :)

By the way, are you starting to write comments in the same way you write tweets? :p

NATHANIEL R said...

dont know what u mean #twitteraddiction

adelutza said...

Saw The Kids Are All Right last night at the Library and Julianne Moore was a feet away from me. The whole cast and crew was there with the expeption of Annette Benning. Great performances, I enjoyed the movie a lot!

NATHANIEL R said...

I am so jealous. I couldn't get in so i'm seeing it tonight.

ricki lake said...

Superficial and off-topic: Who is the hot guy on the far left in the banner at the top of the page? lol

Jim T said...

He's Nathaniel's cat. :p
Montgomery Clift

Stefano said...

Wow, this year Annette Bening is starring in two (independent) movies with strong award-buzz and a big critical consensus... I'm so excited!!! Really hope she could get some awards this year!

gabrieloak said...

All I could think about when I read about Buried was The Vanishing.

I Am Love was sold out when I was in Toronto and I couldn't fit it into my schedule anyway. I'd love to see it.

pomme said...

OMG i could like Ryan Reynold 's acting in a movie.

Anonymous said...

...so ryan reynolds doesn't get naked? :(