Saturday, February 20, 2010
Knowing that readers are seeking out Tinsel & Tine for commentary on new films and reviews on restaurants, here's my final round-up from Sundance, embracing Hollywood star-power, Asian noodles and a different way to view movies!
In these hard times, everybody knows somebody who has lost his or her job. In The Company Men directed by John Wells, three men Bobby Walker (Ben Affleck) Gene McClary (Tommy Lee Jones) and Phil Woodward (Chris Cooper), senior executives in a shipping company, find themselves causalities of successive (and devastating) rounds of corporate downsizing. If success is measured by grand sounding job-titles, a flashy car, membership to an exclusive golf-club, a large house and a stay-at-home wife what happens when all that is suddenly taken away?
The answer is obvious, and presents a major problem for any distributor handling this films release in theatres. Though Up in the Air and The Company Men have timely storylines revolving around corporate lay-offs, and feature recognizable and known Hollywood stars in principal roles, the latter is going to be a much harder sell at the box-office precisely because the three central characters are the one’s fired – not the one doing the firing. While there is no denying that Affleck is convincing and perfectly cast as Bobby Walker, a 30-something hot-shot sales executive who is left scrambling to find work, pay bills and nurture his family in the worst job-market in recent memory at least he is young enough to grasp other opportunities. In contrast, the two 50+ characters, Gene and Phil are frozen out of the job-market considered “too old” and dispensable replaced by fresh-faced graduates willing to do the same work for a fraction of the price.
If the plot sounds depressingly familiar you should consider keeping your dollars in your wallet and seeking out a more cheerier film in your local multiplex. Rating:2 Tines
Talking of multiplexes….the Holiday Village in Park City where the majority of the Sundance industry & press screenings were shown, is located in a strip-mall which includes numerous stores and restaurants including Maru a tiny Japanese sushi restaurant. A hangout for Sundance industry folks in need of wholesome and nutritious food in-between film screenings, the compact restaurant was packed every night I attended. Greeted by a giant rotund stone Buddha and a large tank full of tropical fish the food is fresh and the service, considering how slammed they were, was impeccable. I loved the wooden rack where locals can park their personal chopsticks under a designated number (see pic). Ecologically recycled chopsticks…lets hope it takes off in other cities!
The New Frontier performance and installation sidebar hosted in the labyrinth of a shopping mall on Main Street is sometimes hit and miss. This is not a criticism but an acknowledgment that the convergence of film and art and its interpretation and delivery by artists is subjective.
As audience members we are frequently positioned in the dual role of participant and viewer. Thomas Gläser & Jens Franke’s "The Earthwalk" was by far the most popular installation in this year’s program. Projected from above, "The Earthwalk" encouraged you to step onto a projected image of Park City and literally walk yourself via Google mapping technology to a chosen destination. One participant literally jumped his way around the world with a bottle of beer in his hand.
"Bordertown", a mixed media sculpture with video by U.S. artist Tracey Snelling explores the uncomfortable yet familiar meeting between two cultures at the Mexican/American border. If you are somebody like me, who likes to look into windows and conjure up scenarios about the inhabitants based on their furniture and drapery choices, you will love Snelling's work, which captures the intimacy of people’s lives. Cleverly recreating small-scale life-like models of sleazy hotels, strip-joints, cheap motels Snelling allows us to peep inside and become the voyeur. El Diablo Inn a small-scale model motel featuring minute video-installations allows us to view four different scenarios. In one room, a cowboy drinks beer, in another, a man and a woman copulate on top of a bed.
Matthew Moore a fourth generation farmer and artist created a site-specific installation titled Lifecycles that included edible vegetables coupled with a split-screen video installation depicting a time-lapsed film of the vegetables from seed to grown plant. The free radishes, packaged in bags saying “For You” were fresh and delicious.
I know Tinsel & Tine's ambition is to cover Sundance 2011 first hand; and I would hope that since Tinsel & Tine's creator/blogger is hungry for food and film, we will one day see her covering this festival:
one of the premier film festivals in the World!
“In The Food For Love” is the motto of the Berlinale’s 4th Culinary Cinema. Eleven films revolving around the relationship between food and love, nature, and the environment.