The Mixed Tape

Sundance 2010 Day Three by Nolan Wilson Goff

Yesterday was the best day of films so far. Saw an incredible documentary and some great narratives. Not only did we see some great films, but we got to experience a midnight screening. If you havn’t heard of the Sundance midnight screenings, they are dedicated to fun genre films (thrillers, horror, and comedy) and feature dynamite crwod reactions and involvement. It was the single best movie going experience I’ve ever been a part of. Right now, I’m literally 10 yards from Mark Ruffalo, whose directorial debut premiered this week. I’ve heard his film, Sympathy for Delicious, is fantastic. Looking forward to another great day in Park City.

– Nolan

Hesher (directed by Stephen Susser) review by Nolan

Critics have been mixed on Susser’s directorial debut. Some don’t see much of a story. Well I did. Susser crafted an unforgettable character and Joseph Gordon Levitt gives a fantastic performance as the title character. It’s rare for a director to be able to craft a story around a child protagonist. The angst of Devin Brochu’s performance as the main character carries the film, and he plays a lifelike junior high student struggling to deal with the loss of his mother.  Natalie Portman and Rainn Wilson play supporting players, and both provide good performances. The film is an examination of grief, and how humans hide it. Grief stands as the elephant in the room in the film, and the thematic density of the film relies on the character of Hesher. Without giving anything away, the emotional core of the film is rooted in Hesher. See this film. It’s a fun ride, but in the end, it will hit you like car.

(Score: 8/10)

It’s A Wonderful Afterlife review by Trevor

A comedy in London  following an Indian mother who takes her obsession with her daughters marriage into the world of serial murder. A rather enjoyable movie, it would have been easy to forget except for a hilarious death scene that catches you off guard. It would be very hard to bring this to an american audience who doesn’t understand the culture and the humor in that culture.

(Score: 7/10)

Gasland (directed by Josh Fox) review by Nolan

This was a stirring documentary about the hazardous practices in which natural gas companies go about removing the gas from the earth. Hydraulic fracturing is contaminating the nation’s underground water sources. The effects of the chemicals used in this process and the natural gas are a serious hazard to humans, animals, and the environment. This is the best documentary I have ever seen, because of Josh Fox’s wonderful revealing story.  The narration is infused with humor, as Fox presents indisputable evidence of the fracking’s disastrous effect on America. He even holds a lighter up to a water faucet, and after several moments, flames erupted. Fox presents many more examples, and displays the bipartisan nature of the issue. This is unflinching, unrelenting, and unbiased storytelling. The best film I’ve seen at Sundance.

(Score: 10/10)

Holly Rollers review by Trevor

We follow Jesse Eisenberg as he falls away from Messianic Judaism. He is leaving his family and culture behind as he is tempted by money and ends up smuggling extasy into the country. A great and truly honest film that speaks truth to a world who values the sin our protagonist falls into. No matter what religion you follow  it is interesting to see the spiritual journey and how anybody can relate it to their own journey. Shot in 20 days. We witness the skill of new comer Director Kevin Asch in his debut film.

(Score: 7.5/10)

Tucker and Dale vs. Evil review by Trevor

Never had more fun in a theater. This took your typical horror movie and kicked it in the balls and laughed at it. Our lovable protagonists (Dale) Tyler Labine and (Tucker) Alan Tudyk are mistaken for crazy psyco killers. Their relationship is perfect and they play off each other so well. This is a must see when you are looking a fun time with friends and laugh for an hour and a half straight. (9/10)

More reviews coming later today!

Up Next For Us:

  • Blue Valentine
  • Four Lions
  • Sympathy for Delicioous
  • happythankyoumoreplease
  • Night Catches Us
  • Lucky

New York, I Love You by Nolan Wilson Goff


Disclaimer: I have never been to New York City.

After seeing New York, I Love You, I’m dying to go. Inspired by Paris, je t’aime, New York, I Love You follows a very similar formula.

11 filmmakers, 11 stories, and a Robert Altman size cast (including Natalie Portman, Bradley Cooper, Shia Labeouf, Orlando Blooom, Robin Wright Penn, Eli Wallach, and Chris Cooper), bring New York City to life in this anthology film.

Critical praise has been mixed, many agreeing that the film is an inconsistent, plot-less film.

Well there lies the beauty.

The stories (each directed by a different director) intertwine with one another and connections are made from character to character. Remarkably, the fragmented storyline is still able to keep viewers captivated.

The film is simply about fragments of time and how characters interact with one another throughout life.  Although the film is a tiny glimpse into the character’s lives and cultures, New York, I Love You paints a realist world that hasn’t been seen since the Italian neo-realist movement.

The remarkable performances of Ethan Hawke, Natalie Portman, Shia Labeouf (what a shock?!), and Orlando Bloom really bring the film to life.

Bloom’s performance is the centerpiece of director Shunji Iwai‘s segment.  Without a doubt my favorite storyline, Iwai’s story of the hopeless, writer romantic (Bloom) and the unlikely girl next door (Christina Ricci) is something every girl would call “cute” and every guy would have to fight off emotion to hide it.

Even hack director Brett Ratner directed a segment that had heart (something he has never done, outside of TV’s Prison Break).

If you are looking for a three act plot with a singular storyline, forget about this film. If you seek a story that is foundationally simple, yet sophisticated in its realism and heart, New York, I Love You would be a wonderful choice. The fragmented storyline won’t give you a singular storyline, but it will paint a vivid picture of life and a small period of time: a period of time so small that if you blink, it could be lost for good in the Big Apple.

(3 out of 4 stars)

I Love You,

-Nolan Wilson Goff

Check out the trailer below: