Sunday, January 29, 2006

Sundance Post IV: Saturday in the Snow 

Before I go into Saturday, I need to recap LATE Friday night. I'd like to have a word with the GENIUS scheduler who decided to put a 2.5 hour doc about Ralph Nader on at 10:45pm, An Unreasonable Man. Of course, we're the smarties who got tix for said showing. At any rate, it had a terrific first half recapping Nader's early years and then strangely loses its way during Nader's presidential forays. Given an editor, it would be a pretty good flick.

After getting home at 2am, we decided to bail on the first Saturday timeslot and we started with a noon screening of Wrestling with Angels: Playwright Tony Kushner. A workmanlike piece of doc-making, it flies purely on the strength of its brilliant subject. It was a joy for me because I would happily see/listen to anything Tony Kushner said, wrote or had produced.

Our second flick was a pure crowdpleaser. Kinky Boots is The Fully Monty crossed with La Cage aux Folles. As K. said, "Any film where drag queens save the day is a winner in my book." Ditto.

Right as we went into Kinky Boots, it began to do a proper Utah snow. So we were trekking about in the soft stuff for the rest of the day. It is something I appreciate as global warming seems to have denied The City any real snow this year.

We caught our first big ensemble piece next. Nicole Holofcener is a Sundance fave and her latest work is Friends with Money. Jennifer Aniston, Joan Cusack, Scott Caan, Simon McBurney (Artistic Director of Complicite), and Jason Isaacs (Harry Potter's Lucius Malfoy with an American accent!) all deliver great performances in Holofcener's well-observed dramedy.

Award winners are announced and start to screen Saturday night. So tonight we saw the Dramatic Grand Jury Winner, Quincenera. And Sherpa Dan and I have been arguing about it ever since. The story of the clash of cultures both within generations of Echo Park Latinos and between the Latino community and the largely gay entreprenuers who are gentrifying this neighborhood of L.A., Quincenera has a number of problematic elements. I thought it was good watching overall, but not the sort of integrated work one expects from an award winner. Sherpa Dan thought that it needed a significant subplot excised. K. sided with Dan.
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