Day 7: September 10

I've been told, by my girlfriend no less, that these diary reports are becoming increasing incoherent. As I indicated several days ago (or was it weeks?), the mind mushes at fest time. Mush is a funny word to type. Mush. Much mush must mush mush mush. Mush.

At any rate, another day spent dashing from film to film. I've been managing about 10 minutes between screenings, which means McD's for lunch and some Nachos at 12am for "dinner". While my legs get more fit-like, my colon no doubt feels like it's watching the Wavelengths program or Canadian Shorts 24/7.

Was nice to see that Jarmusch snuck into the reserved section at the Ramones doc screening. It's always gratifying to see that film people you actually like and respect still actually watch a film or two, rather than, say, slump over some coked-up stupor on some expensive escort's lap after stumbling home from the local peeler bar, the way that, say, a Mickey Rourque or DeNiro might allegedly have done in years gone by.

OK, maybe I should go sleep now...

    

Tom Dowd and the Language of Music
Directed by: Mark Moormann

Tracing the career of Atlantic Records' main engineer (including his role in the Manhattan Project!), the doc is part historical tale, part introduction to the world of record engineering. The credits for Tom are impressive to say the least, everyone from the Allman's to Coltrane. The film isn't technical, nor does it dumb down its story. A must see for any fan of popular music from the latter half of the 20th century.
Grade: B+

    

Enquête sur le monde invisible
Directed by: Jean Michel Roux

A new-agey, silly look at the outlandish Icelandish assertion that there be faeries amongst us. Not funny enough to be the Spinal Tap of gnome-under-the-rock-in-my-yard films, the movie plays like one of those silly books of mysticism found at your local gas station counter. Flaky synth pads contribute to the laconic mood of the film, and it degenerates into little more than poor effects to simulate cloud-like apparitions to medium-shot interviews with delusional Icelandians. Awful.
Grade: D-

    

Cheeky
Directed by: David Thewlis

Thewlis' directorial debut, Cheeky is the tale of a widower who gets sucked into the fantastic life of the quiz show contestant. Improbable, sure, but certainly sweet in its own way, if entirely forgettable about an hour after viewing it. Thewlis is a fine actor, and he doesn't get in the way of the film, it's just that there's not so much to work with. Expect better flicks from him in the future.
Grade: B-/C+

    

The Agronomist
Directed by: Jonathan Demme

An intesely personal portait by Demme of a long time friend, Jean Dominique. A media figure in Haiti, he ran the radio station that provided the voice of dissent for the nation. You see the gut-wrenchingly poor state of Haiti (becoming all the worse as the film goes on), and a couple of broadcasts, but little else in terms of situating the tale in a larger context. An fine film, touching if not exceptional.
Grade: B+/B

    

Maqbool
Directed by: Vishal Bharadwaj


Macbeth and The Godfather, set in India. This ain't no Kurusawa'ian retelling of Shakespeare, and it drags all to hell. Still, it's got some interesting bits, and, well, they sing! By Bollywood standards, this is, well, Shakespearian.
Grade: C+

    

End of the Century: The Story of the Ramones
Directed by: Jim Fields, Michael Gramaglia

Everything you want to know about the Ramones, as told by many of the people who were there to remember. Boring in places, but generally holds together quite well. A nice compliment to last year's MC5 fun.
Grade: B