This week on Drink in the Movies Michael & Taylor discuss their First Impressions of Vivos & State Funeral and the Documentary Titles: Man with a Movie Camera, Making Waves: The Art of Cinematic Sound, and Ex Libris: The New York Public Library.
The 2021 Sundance Film Festival will be upon us in just over two weeks. Although there will be a lack of snowboarding and pub-crawling around Park City this year, Sundance is committed to making us feel as together as possible while we’re apart by making the most of the virtual gathering experience we’ve all become accustom to.
Festival tickets and passes are currently on sale, and there are over 70 feature films, plus short film and Indie Series programs, talks, and “New Frontier” experiences to take in. Choose your own adventure with Sundance’s new online platform and catch films at their premier times with post-premier Q&A sessions, or view films on-demand two days after they premier. Select cities are also hosting in-person (and socially distanced) “Satellite” screenings. Single tickets are available for $15, day passes for $75, and full festival passes for $350. If you’d like to limit your viewing to just the award-winning films on February 3rd, “Award Winners” passes are also available for $100. Click HERE to buy.*
NOTE: Tickets are only available for US residents. Those outside the US can join for New Frontier programming and the screening of Life in a Day.
The festival officially runs from January 28th to February 3rd.
Jan. 28th – festival kicks off with the opening night welcome at 5pm MST, followed by the premiers of Coda and In the Same Breath at 6pm MST.
Feb. 2nd – festival awards winners are announced starting at 6pm MST.
Feb. 3rd – on-demand screening of award finning films takes place 8am-12pm MST.
Note: Short films and Indie Series programs are available for on-demand screening for the duration of the festival.
Whether you’re charting your own course through the festival, in need of guidance, or content to sit back and wait for recaps, we hope you will find some time to touch base with us here at Drink in the Movies and over at ForReel Movie New and Reviews for festival news, coverage, and updates. To get the ball rolling, I spoke with Thomas & Taylor from ForReel Movie News and Reviews to talk first impressions, festival expectations and predictions, most anticipated films, and must-know info for all those hoping to attend. We also weigh-in on how we think things might unfold for the bigger releases following the festival. Watch the video above, and we’ll see you at Sundance 2021!
“I don’t underestimate audiences’ intelligence. Audiences are much brighter than media gives them credit for. When people went to a movie once a week in the 1930s and that was their only exposure to media, you were required to do a different grammar.”
Bryan Fogel’s follow up to Icarus is a sprawling reduction of its subject with enough drone footage and shiny Twitter animations to make sure you don’t forget it was made at some point in the last three years. Investigative Journalism at it’s best boils down essential pieces of data as well as general facts and research then presents them all coherently in a digestible way. Unfortunately this documentary about an investigative journalist is a far cry from that standard. Like a microwave meal it is more manufactured than created, and once you’re done with it you feel worse than when you started. Not because it was impactful, but because it was vapid.
The Dissident presents us with a lot of emotions. Then it recreates unimportant events, throws in images of the ever polarizing Trump whenever it can, queues up some CG tweet recreations, and doesn’t focus itself squarely on anything but some circumstances Fogel is aware of. It goes for cheap emotionality instead of unwavering truth.
I’m increasingly exhausted at these glossy documentaries with talking heads that have no purpose and are clearly just padding their resumes and attempting to create a positive image. The definitive Khashoggi documentary has is not yet made. I could have just read this in an article, what a waste of all of our time.
The Dissident Trailer
The Dissident is currently available to rent or purchase digitally.
This week on Drink in the Movies Michael & Taylor Rescreen Terrence Malick’s The Thin Red Line and provide a First Impression on their next Rescreening episode title, Sidney Lumet’s Dog Day Afternoon.
The Thin Red Line Trailer
The Thin Red Line is currently available to rent and purchase digitally
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Shortly after moving to Los Angeles in hopes of a fresh start with only her cute cat Giles for companionship (don’t get too attached, Giles doesn’t last long), Sarah (Nicole Brydon Bloom), a soft-spoken twenty-something, is lucky enough to quickly land a one bedroom at an apartment complex where it appears she’ll enjoy the company of highly sociable neighbors. A lively and welcoming community is just what Sarah needs since not only is she new in town, she’s also bitterly estranged from her father after her mother’s recent passing, and we gather that mom and dad were her only close family. Loneliness, however, is better than what Sarah’s tightly knit neighbors ultimately have in store for her. Pain and suffering turns out to be a prerequisite for becoming a part of their cult-like community, and leaving isn’t any easier.
Bloom’s lackluster lead performance is one reason why this mediocre thriller doesn’t amount to as much as it should. Sarah is meant to be somewhat meek—that’s partly why her property manager identifies her as a suitable tenant—but Bloom overplays it, and doesn’t bring enough energy to the role. The rest of the cast also disappoints; when the sinister side of everyone around is Sarah is eventually unveiled, it’s not just unconvincing, it’s eyerolling. Writer/director David Marmor (this is his debut feature) does have good instincts for pacing. His freshest move is placing the film’s major revelation towards the middle of the movie, and focusing on Sarah’s response to her disturbing, imprisoning situation in the back half. Far less impressive is Marmor’s visual creativity. The film is fairly engaging, but there’s nothing interesting to look at.
A comedy of coincidence causing chaos and one great big misunderstanding, with an enjoyably balanced combination of slapstick and screwball. Fed up with his wife’s extravagant spending, J.B. Ball, a oafish banker with a fortune as big as his ego, tosses his wife’s newly purchased sable coat off their roof. It happens to land on Jean Arthur’s Mary Smith, a single working girl without much money of her own, who thereafter is mistaken by various folks as Ball’s mistress. One of those folks is Mr. Louis Louis, the proprietor of an upscale hotel at risk of being foreclosed on by Ball, and who thinks he can stay in business by putting Smith (whom he presumes is Ball’s mistress) up in one of his rooms.
The very first gag – Ball tripping and tumbling down a set of stairs – had me worried the humor would be too broad for my taste, but I was mistaken. It‘s plenty amusing. Edward Arnold and Luis Alberni as Ball and Luis respectively are very funny; Ball’s often looking hella confused and frustrated, while Louis mistakenly thinks he’s solved his problem. While Mitchell Leisen’s direction is more or less just point-and-shoot, it doesn’t need to be much more than that since the physical gags are cleverly and energetically executed, and Sturges’ witty screenplay offers many laughs. Even better than the accumulation of individual jokes is the joy in watching Arthur’s Mary revel in the luxuries of the rich. With sparkling tulle dresses, a lavish hotel suite, meals on the house, and of course that new coat, Mary couldn’t more pleased, and Arthur sweetly conveys her delight. A solid Sunday matinee.
Easy Living (1937) Full Movie
Easy Living is not currently available to purchase or rent digitally. The above link is a YouTube upload of the full film.
“I don’t know how to choose work that illuminates what my life is about. I don’t know what my life is about and don’t examine it. My life will define itself as I live it. The movies will define themselves as I make them. As long as the theme is something I care about at the moment, it’s enough for me to start work. Maybe work itself is what my life is about.”
Kornél Mundruczô’s Pieces of a Woman starts out with one of the most beautiful (to look) at sequences of film in the last year. But between issues with lighting continuity, general continuity, off center cinematography, and a story that is both too broad and too narrow. There are unfortunately a large amount of areas where the film stumbles. Which is exacerbated by the early heights of its first quarter. The central recurring problem for me is the entirely useless recurring day and month title cards throughout the film. Those specific dates offer nothing important or engaging to the viewer. A month card while unnecessary would have been just as effective without any confusion of tracking dates for significance.
There are strong performances from most the actors involved. Benjamin Loeb’s handheld cinematography is sharp while the camera is moving, and Gemma Hoff and Joan Parris do a great job with make-up. Whoever was responsible for the prosthetic stomach in those first 30 minutes also deserves an abundance of credit. We see a brief a return for Jimmie Fails to feature film for the first time since The Last Black Man in San Francisco which brought immense delight to this writer.
Ultimately the film loses its through line and suffers by removing the perpetually problematic uber talent that is Shia LaBeouf from it’s ending. Whether it was a post-hoc or narrative decision its clear from this end of the film that the decision was a poor one. It is his flawed character Sean that brings out the well of emotion for Kirby’s Martha. Allowing her squints and ringed fingers dancing with chipped polish to elicit emotionality where otherwise none might be. All these issues are punctuated by an entirely absurd 7 minutes of credits, that once again provide more continuity questions than answers due to the size of the apple trees.
Pieces of a Woman Trailer
Pieces of a Woman is available to stream on Netflix