Tuesday, October 20, 2009

IMHO - Film Fest and Broadway Opinions

I did my third yearly trek to the Hamptons Film Festival a couple of weeks ago. The beach in the fall is wonderful , and farm stands have all those colorful gourds...Well, you get the picture. And speaking of pictures, I saw some great ones...and not as great ones. Here's the scoop in case you can catch or avoid any of these IMHO ("in my humble opinion" for those not IMing w/teens):
In order of favorites of what I saw:
Big River Man - Documentary that you'll swear throughout most of that it can't be real. You'll think it's Spinal Tap, or something. But not only is this film real-life but it's hugely important to see.

Did you know that there's a guy in Slovenia who has swum the entire length of the disgustingly polluted Yangtze, the Mississippi, and now the 3,300 mile AMAZON river? Do you know the last trek took took this man, Martin Strel, about 66 days and basically drove him to the brink of insanity? He did it to raise environmental awareness (and because he probably already was a little insane). But while he's a hero in Eastern Europe, he's virtually unknown and unheralded in the U.S. Typical. Probably because he's no Lance Armstrong; he's 53, overweight, and a heavy drinker.

I digress. This is must-see, and will be on TV, premiering on Planet Green in January. Go John Maringouin (seen here w/me and my new favorite T-shirt)! A great docu-director who has made a career out of unusual stories. I mean, this guy lived on the Amazon shooting this for two and a half months, too!

  • Applaus ("Applause") - Danish film starring the amazing Paprika Steen. She plays an actress battling alcoholism and trying to regain custody of her kids, but its all interspersed with her playing the alcoholic Martha on stage in "Who's Afraid of Virgina Wolfe?" With a tight story line and intense performances everyone in the audience was amazed it was a first time director. REALLY worth seeing if you can find this foreign film somewhere.
  • "Solitary Man" - No one does man-on-the-brink better than Michael Douglass. Any guy approaching mid-life crisis, and the self-confident women (Susan Sarandon) who are fed up with them, should see this.
  • "Men who Stare at Goats" - I'm sorry. I wanted to love it. I could BE a goat starer. But I only liked it. Clooney? Excellent. (Duh.) McGregor? Dunno.
  • "Five Hours from Paris" (Israeli feature film) -- Good. Cute. DEFINITELY look for on NetFlicks. Maybe not for $12.50 at theater.

And just to throw in a theater thought? Really enjoyed Brighton Beach Memoirs on Broadway last week! Great set, great cast. Maybe NY-centric story for some, but fun. Looking forward to see the other "bookend" -- the 'sequel' of Neil Simon's story called "Broadway Bound," that also opens soon.

There you have it.