Digby's Hullabaloo
2801 Ocean Park Blvd.
Box 157
Santa Monica, Ca 90405

Facebook: Digby Parton

@BloggersRUs (Tom Sullivan)

thedigbyblog at gmail
satniteflix at gmail
publius.gaius at gmail
tpostsully at gmail
Spockosbrain at gmail
Richardein at me.com


Mother Jones
Raw Story
Huffington Post
Crooks and Liars
American Prospect
New Republic

Denofcinema.com: Saturday Night at the Movies by Dennis Hartley review archive

January 2003 February 2003 March 2003 April 2003 May 2003 June 2003 July 2003 August 2003 September 2003 October 2003 November 2003 December 2003 January 2004 February 2004 March 2004 April 2004 May 2004 June 2004 July 2004 August 2004 September 2004 October 2004 November 2004 December 2004 January 2005 February 2005 March 2005 April 2005 May 2005 June 2005 July 2005 August 2005 September 2005 October 2005 November 2005 December 2005 January 2006 February 2006 March 2006 April 2006 May 2006 June 2006 July 2006 August 2006 September 2006 October 2006 November 2006 December 2006 January 2007 February 2007 March 2007 April 2007 May 2007 June 2007 July 2007 August 2007 September 2007 October 2007 November 2007 December 2007 January 2008 February 2008 March 2008 April 2008 May 2008 June 2008 July 2008 August 2008 September 2008 October 2008 November 2008 December 2008 January 2009 February 2009 March 2009 April 2009 May 2009 June 2009 July 2009 August 2009 September 2009 October 2009 November 2009 December 2009 January 2010 February 2010 March 2010 April 2010 May 2010 June 2010 July 2010 August 2010 September 2010 October 2010 November 2010 December 2010 January 2011 February 2011 March 2011 April 2011 May 2011 June 2011 July 2011 August 2011 September 2011 October 2011 November 2011 December 2011 January 2012 February 2012 March 2012 April 2012 May 2012 June 2012 July 2012 August 2012 September 2012 October 2012 November 2012 December 2012 January 2013 February 2013 March 2013 April 2013 May 2013 June 2013 July 2013 August 2013 September 2013 October 2013 November 2013 December 2013 January 2014 February 2014 March 2014 April 2014 May 2014 June 2014 July 2014 August 2014 September 2014 October 2014 November 2014 December 2014 January 2015 February 2015 March 2015 April 2015 May 2015 June 2015 July 2015 August 2015 September 2015 October 2015 November 2015 December 2015 January 2016 February 2016 March 2016 April 2016 May 2016 June 2016 July 2016 August 2016 September 2016 October 2016 November 2016 December 2016 January 2017 February 2017 March 2017 April 2017 May 2017 June 2017 July 2017 August 2017 September 2017 October 2017 November 2017 December 2017 January 2018 February 2018 March 2018


This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?


Saturday, May 02, 2015

Saturday Night at the Movies

2015 SIFF Preview

By Dennis Hartley

In case this has been keeping you up nights, I have been accredited for the Seattle International Film Festival (May 14th through June 7th). Navigating such an event is no easy task, even for a dedicated buff. SIFF is showing 193 feature films, 70 documentaries and 164 shorts this year (ow, my ass). That must be great for independently wealthy slackers, but for those of us who work for a living (*cough*), it’s not easy to find the time and energy to catch 16 films a day (I did the math). The trick is developing a sixth sense for films in your wheelhouse (in my case, embracing my OCD and channeling it like a cinematic dowser.)  That in mind, here are some titles on my “to-do” list for 2015:

Of particular interest to Hullabaloo readers, SIFF is featuring a fair number of promising documentaries with a socio-political bent. Marc Silver’s  3 ½ Minutes, Ten Bullets delves into the senseless 2012 murder of Jordan Davis, an African-American teenager shot by a middle-aged white man who became enraged by the loud rap music emanating from the victim’s SUV. The Black Panthers: Vanguard of a Revolution looks to be a long-overdue retrospective on an impactful, yet curiously under-examined corollary of the American civil rights movement. Best of Enemies recounts the classic “point/counterpoint” political debates between William F. Buckley and Gore Vidal that took place on live TV during the 1968 elections (sharpen your knives!). French director Stephanie Valloatto’s Cartoonists: Foot Soldiers of Democracy profiles a dozen political cartoonists from around the world, who open up about their craft, and what it’s like to practice it under some of your more oppressive governments…who fail to see the humor.

Speaking of oppression, I’m really intrigued by the premise of The Forecaster, a documentary from Germany regarding Martin Armstrong, who invented the esoteric “Economic Confidence Model” in the early 80s, then proceeded to make gazillions of dollars predicting market crises and global conflicts with uncanny accuracy. This formula not only made the big bankers feel a funny tingle down there, but excited the FBI enough to get Armstrong put away for 12 years in the pen for what they called “a Ponzi scheme” (even though no judgement was passed on him). Now he’s out, making his “scariest prediction yet”. I want to see this one, because I need more things to worry about at night.

More politics: Bonifacio (from the Philippines) is a historical biopic about Filipino nationalist Andres Bonafacio, who led a revolution against his nation’s Spanish rulers in the late 1800s. Another biopic I’d like to check out is The Golden Era, a Hong Kong production that dramatizes a defining period in the life of author/essayist Xio Hang, an influential progressive political voice in China during the 1930s. And sexual politics are spotlighted in the film Challat of Tunis, a Tunisian “mockumentary” (based on actual events) that is described to be “an ironic feminist sendup” of sexism in the Arab World.

And now for something completely different. I always look forward to SIFF’s “Face the Music” showcase. From the UK, the documentary 808 remembers the 80s (is that necessary?) via a compendium of everything you ever wanted to know about the Roland TR-808 Rhythm Composer drum machine, which played a critical role during the genesis of hip-hop and electronica. Colin Hanks directed All Things Must Pass, a doc about the rise and (*sob*) fall of Tower Records (I anticipate getting all choked up…I used to fucking live in record stores). Beats of the Antonov looks to be a unique documentary from Sudan that profiles how the rich musical culture of that nation’s southern region flourishes, despite the travails of an endless civil war. And I have high expectations (no pun intended) for the Brian Wilson biopic Love and Mercy, which utilizes some interesting stunt-casting: Paul Dano as the “I wonder if this much acid is bad for me?” 60s-era Brian, and John Cusack as the “Yep, ‘spose it was” Dr. Eugene Landy-era Brian.

This year, SIFF spotlights a number of “movies about the movies”. Three documentaries in particular are on my list, and the titles are self-explanatory: Electric Boogaloo: The Wild Untold Story of Cannon Films, Fassbinder: To Love without Demands and Tab Hunter Confidential. And a biopic: Eisenstein in Guanajuato (that’s “special interest”).

I’m always a sucker for a good noir/crime/mystery thriller. From Belgium, Alleluia is a true-crime thriller based on the Lonely Hearts Killers (the case was previously dramatized in Leonard Kastle’s no-budget 1969 cult favorite, The Honeymoon Killers). The Connection is a French crime thriller being billed as “the flipside” of William Friedkin’s The French Connection, and stars Jean Dujardin. Also from France: The Price of Fame, billed as “an upbeat comedy” is based on the true story of a pair of bungling grave robbers who exhume Charlie Chaplin’s remains in hopes of holding “him” for ransom. It wouldn’t be a proper SIFF without at least one worthwhile South Korean “cop on the edge” drama, and I’m placing my bets on A Hard Day, which centers on a homicide detective who tries to cover up his own “hit and run” crime. And Kevin Bacon stars as a rural sheriff in a “lean, mean thriller” called Cop Car, presented as part of a special SIFF “tribute” event celebrating the ubiquitous actor’s career (Bacon will attend).

I always try to leave enough room on my plate to squeeze in some sci-fi and fantasy. This year’s selections include 2045 Carnival Folklore, a Japanese post-apocalyptic sci-fi thriller shot in B&W, set to a noise rock soundtrack and looking to be chock-a-block with much “destined for cult status” weirdness (so count me in). From Ethiopia, Beti and Amare is set in the mid-1930s against the backdrop of the Italo-Ethiopian War, and concerns a teenage girl who becomes immersed in a strange dream world while hiding out from Mussolini’s troops (strong echoes of Pan’s Labyrinth). Liza, the Fox Fairy is a Hungarian film (based on Japanese folklore) centering on a young woman who may (or may not) be a “demon who sucks the souls out of the men she meets” (Worst. Date. Ever.). I always get geeky with excitement when I hear about a new film from Japan’s Studio Ghibli: When Marnie Was There is the latest from the world’s top anime studio.

A few more odds and ends…I notice a proliferation of “foodie” documentaries on SIFF’s menu this year. Personally, eating is something I’d rather “do” than “watch”, but if I feel the urge to indulge in food porn, I’m considering The Birth of Sake as a cocktail, Steak (R)evolution as an entrée, with That Sugar Film for dessert. One film that’s sure to generate a lot of interest (for unfortunate reasons) is indie filmmaker Dino Montiel’s drama Boulevard, which features Robin Williams in one of his final performances as a closeted man who abandons his “marriage of convenience” to pursue a relationship with a younger man. Ending on a lighter note...Hedi Schneider is Stuck is a German comedy (is that an oxymoron?) that promises to milk laughs from “the ever-so-serious topics of clinical depression and emergency tranquilizers”. One could argue Woody Allen has already staked that claim, but I’m still intrigued. And even if the “darkly funny” Manson Family Vacation turns out to be a dud…at least the title made me fall out of my chair.

I can’t guarantee that I will catch every film that I’d like to, gentle reader- but you will be the first to receive a full report, beginning with my Saturday, May 16th post. And obviously, I’ve barely scratched the surface of the catalog tonight. So in the meantime, visit the SIFF website for more info about the 2015 films, events and the festival guests.