Dallas Video Fest

Dallas VideoFest: A Primer On What To Expect

The festival kicks off on Thursday. Continue reading Dallas VideoFest: A Primer On What To Expect

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Dallas IFF: Sunday (4/18) – ‘Casino Jack,’ The Big Wrap-Up!

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Ah, the runner stumbles even in film review.  After what had been an almost perfect week of movie choices at the 2010 Dallas International Film Festival, I found myself wondering what had happened in those final moments, as I closed out my experience with one of the biggest (and most surprising) failures of the fest.

Perhaps I should have known it couldn’t be that good.  DIFF had played out like something from a dream, cinematically:  I had very little foreknowledge of most of the films I saw, yet was absolutely blown away by a large majority, which just doesn’t seem statistically possible.  The few films I felt didn’t cut it were at least well-made.  The science-fiction tale Earthling just didn’t know how to explain away its promising theories, and felt awkward in its execution despite a great sense of unease that recalled Lynch and Cronenberg.  And the grueling you-won’t-go-to-the-prom-with-me-so-I’ll-drill-a-hole-in-your-head horror film The Loved Ones just became so deadening in its relentless monotony that you wished the amusing subplot would have gotten more screen time.

Continue reading “Dallas IFF: Sunday (4/18) – ‘Casino Jack,’ The Big Wrap-Up!”

Dallas IFF: Thursday (4/15) – ‘Obselidia’

“With new things becoming old in months instead of years, I just want to slow things down a bit.”

George’s speech and manner make him seem like someone from a different era; that he works as a librarian but spends his days cataloging things that are obsolete might make him seem like a kook.  George is as committed to his “Encyclopedia of Obsolete Things” as someone else might be to writing poetry or maintaining a garden.  Like George, writer/director Diane Bell’s Obselidia meanders quietly, but with a purpose, and ultimately provides a sweetly endearing look at a man who believes “love is obsolete” even though it seems fair to say he’s never experienced it.

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Dallas IFF: Wednesday (4/14) – ‘Lemmy’

DIFF begins down the final stretch, and it just gets better every day.

“I’m not qualified to do anything else.”

Greg Olliver and Wes Orshoski’s documentary on Motorhead front man Ian “Lemmy” Kilmister is not so much a fully-realized personal history or detailed portrait as much as an intense love fest.  Lemmy takes a tour of the heavy metal driving force’s more mundane routines – shopping, doing interviews, playing his favorite games at local bars and casinos – before diving into a brief look at former bands he played with and current concert footage.  But most of its runtime is filled with musicians, singers, actors, roadies and fans telling us how great he is and what an influence he’s been.  At 63, Lemmy has outlived most of his friends and continues to provide a raw honesty that blows away nearly everyone else in the business.

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Dallas IFF: Tuesday (4/13) – ‘Jean-Michel Basquiat: The Radiant Child’

Director Tamra Davis’ early works may have included music videos and films like Billy Madison and Half-Baked, but it turns out her passion project was always nearby, tucked away in a drawer:  a feature-length interview with her friend, artist Jean-Michel Basquiat.  Just months before his death, Davis filmed the painter in a casual setting, talking with him about his life, influences and his perceptions of the art world.  After his passing, she put the film away and forgot about it.  20 years later, we have Jean-Michel Basquiat: The Radiant Child, a documentary that incorporates that earlier footage of the soft-spoken iconoclast with new and archival interviews with the people that surrounded Basquiat from as far back as his beginnings as a homeless graffiti artist.

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Dallas IFF: Monday (4/12) – ‘My Queen Karo’

Following a winning weekend of films, DIFF charges ahead with new entries and second screenings of many seen in the last few days.  My goal will be to provide commentary on at least one outstanding film a day…I can’t promise just one, and I can’t promise outstanding either, actually, but we’re getting off to a great start:

My Queen Karo is about a young girl’s experiences living with squatters in 1974 Amsterdam.  Karo (Anna Franziska Jaeger) has been taught to believe in sharing everything, but as she settles into a new building with her free-love-espousing, revolutionary father Raven (Matthias Schoenaerts) and more compromising mother Dalia (Deborah Francois), she learns that the problem with anything free is that eventually you lose appreciation for it.  Karo appears to be 10 or 12 years old, and the film is told from her perspective as she observes all of the adult interactions – good and bad –  around her, and must decipher what they mean and who to follow, or emulate.

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