I know the 18th Hamptons International Film Festival ran for five days, but if you saw my recent tweet, you know I got shanghaied into jury duty and spent two days in the East Hampton Justice Court listening to a NYC attorney trying to weasel out of his 6 AM DWI arrest. “The breathalyzer was faulty; the cops were out to get me.” Right.
9 Feature-Length Movies, 4 Shorts in 3 Days
Nonetheless, I managed to make it to a first-day reception by sponsor RoC Skincare at The Hedges Inn in East Hampton, where, on the porch, I breathed the same rarified air as Alec Baldwin, Marcia Gay Harden and Isabella Rosellini; indulged myself at the open bar; and snared a big, quilted, gold-colored tote bag containing RoC Skincare “Deep Wrinkle Night Cream” and “Deep Wrinkle Daily Moisturizer,” all before plunging into the darkness of the local United Artist Cinema in East Hampton Village.
- Striking a Chord: About 20 years ago an article in The New York Times reported on the power of music to lift clinical depression. When I mentioned this article to my father, a psychiatrist and neurologist who always kept his jumper cables close at hand on the off-chance that he might be asked to apply some electro shock therapy, he remarked that if it were true that music had such therapeutic properties, that could be the most important discovery in psychiatric medicine in his lifetime. Striking a Chord, a 38 minute film short about US soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan, tears your heart out, even while you’re tapping your toes to Nell Bryden and her band as they entertain the troops. Through the “healing power” of music, the band transports the troops out of the danger zone and back to the safety of United States and home, if only for the duration of the concert. [Director Susan Cohn Rockefeller]
Huey, Dewey & Louie it Ain’t – Film Shorts Force-Fed
- Mary Last Seen: Thirteen minutes of me silently screaming at the teenage girl in the film: “GET AWAY FROM THIS GUY. DO NOT TAKE YOUR CLOTHES OFF AND GO SWIMMING WITH HIM. DO NOT WALK IN THE WOODS WITH HIM.” [Director Sean Durkin]
- Loop Planes: I have no idea what that title means. Eleven minutes of a Columbia University graduate thesis film with an “awesome twist” as per 16 year old Ryan Cassata who scored the film and helped introduce this oh-so politically correct film about Nick, er, Nicole. [Director Robin Wilby]
- Further Lane: Well, if you know where Further Lane is in The Hamptons, you know it’s all about grand shingled homes and big — some would say inappropriate — white box homes designed by the likes of architect Richard Meier (who now lives in a grand shingled home). I “know” the kid in this 13-minute film. By that I mean I’ve lived in The Hamptons long enough to have seen local kids who literally press their faces to the picture window of the big homes, look into grand rooms, and then resume mowing the lawns of the wealthy summer residents. Noah Fleiss, playing Brick, works all the sexual angles in response to Further Lane’s enticements. [Director Mesh Flinders]
Films of Conflict & Resolution, Spotlight Films, World Cinema Narrative Films, World Cinema Documentary Films
If you want it, HIFF has it . . . and I saw it.
Just Drag Him Out and Shoot Him Film
- Accidental Terrorist: (No, not “tourist.”) Forty minutes of “is he or isn’t he” a terrorist. Why would a smart Danish young man, raised in a modern Muslim family, take to extremist activities that result in a six year jail sentence? Guilty? Not guilty? Justly sentenced? Unjustly sentenced? Wrong place at the wrong time? More important: do I care? Abdul Kadir, interviewed in his cell, is a just a bit too sanctimonious and annoying to earn my sympathy. During the Q&A after the film, the director spoke about a kid’s need to “belong” as a motivating factor. Lost soul? Please! We’ve got plenty of that ilk in the US worrying about self-actualization and hunkering down in smoke houses. But they aren’t strapping on suicide vests. [Directors Miki Mistrati & Nagieb Khaja]
Modern Gothic Crime Tale Film
- Small Town Murder Songs: We’re immersed in a small Mennonite town in Ontario for 75 minutes in this noir film. I spent the entire time wondering whether the local chief of police would crack and revert to his violent ways before the end of the film. The chief, hardly a romantic type, is somehow involved with two pretty women, and gives off vibes just as revolting as those of the snaggle-toothed killer. Lots of anguish sprinkled with darty-eyed praying. [Director & Screenwriter Ed Gass-Donnelly]
What’s It Going to Take to Get Them to Leave Home Film
- Tiny Furniture: If you relate to self-entitled college graduates going no place fast (perhaps they are in your house, eating your food even as we speak), this is the film for you. If your 22 year old spawn still wants to crawl in bed with you and call you mommy, you don’t need to buy a ticket to this 98 minute film: you’re already living the life, 24/7. Slackers, layabouts, mooches. I found this film a scathing indictment of indulgent, non-confrontational, spineless parents. This film was billed as being in the tradition of a Woody Allen movie. OK, if you say so. [Director Lena Dunham, who also stars in the film]
Sometimes It’s Just Over Film
- Blue Valentine: A sell-out crowd jammed this theatre to watch Michelle Williams’ and Ryan Gosling’s characters go through what probably half the audience has already endured (if divorce stats bear out), the disintegration of a once optimistic and good marriage. It’s a harrowing feature film in the “Spotlight” category at HIFF. I couldn’t help thinking that the only difference between the very blue-collar characters in the movie and those of us watching it was that we could afford a divorce attorney and a knock-down drag-out fight for assets. 114 minutes that fly right by. Polished, professional film. [Director Derek Cianfrance]
A Horror Film for White Collar Men over 50 (Title stolen from Erik Davis’s review on Cinematical)
- The Company Men: I’m crying my eyes out when Ben Affleck watches his Porsche being driven away by its new owner. Whaaaaa! Whaaaa! Affleck plays a fast track, cocky manager who gets derailed during the greatest economic downturn in the US since The Great Depression. This star-studded, big screen movie includes Tommy Lee Jones, Chris Cooper, and Craig T. Nelson as “swinging Dicks” (Wall Street argot!) in the ship building business and, surprise, Kevin Costner, as a good guy construction company owner. It’s tough to feel sympathy for people who have everything and lose some, as opposed to people who have little and lose all. [Director John Wells]
The Only-One-Good-Line Film
- Kisses Chloe: “Turnaround and bend over.” A 94 minute chamber drama, which, by definition, is a dramatic piece that is played out on a single, usually claustrophobic, set. What woman in her right mind would bring her boyfriend into the house of a known relationship wrecker, even if the crackpot, loser wench is her friend? And how much vodka can three people drink without acting drunk? Beautiful Hamptons’ scenery as a backdrop for endless vacuous dialog about personal sexual histories. Like I care. Check, please! [Director Stephen Padilla]
My tailbone is killing me. But my face is positively glowing. Thanks, RoC for the anti-wrinkle cream! And thanks 18th Hamptons International Film Festival for the press pass.
Note from Lynne W. Scanlon: Is it possible that the economy is picking up a bit? I’m noticing a flurry of activity over at my Get Published Web site. If you are ready to step back into the publishing fray with your book, click over to the Get Published site and pick up some hints. I’ve been really busy the past few months in anticipation of a step up in the publishing marketplace. Did you see the AOL Travel article in which my book The Cure for Jet Lag gets a BIG mention? My philosophy is to work harder and faster and relentlessly in order to be ready when the market is ready for you.