Blog - Photo Blog Written by John Shea
This was a damn busy day at the festival. I caught another five movies today, bringing my three day total to thirteen. Yes, my ass is getting tired.
Up first was The Illusionist. No, not the Edward Norton movie. This one is animated by Sylvain Chomet, who previously brought us the brilliant Triplets of Belleville. This time he's a lot less weird but a lot more emotional. It's a sad tale of a small time magician, traveling the land looking for work. Indirectly it shows the slow sad death of variety acts as the world moves on to TV and movies.
Next was Tiny Furniture. Now, I was excited to see this one because it was shot with a Canon 7D DSLR camera, which uses the exact same sensor as my Canon T2i. I was dying to see just how well that can translate to the big screen. And the answer is pretty damn well. Producer Kyle Martin was on hand to answer questions, so I made a point of picking his brain on how they dealt with shooting on a DSLR. As for the film itself, it is great and funny as hell. Writer/director Lena Dunham does a brilliant job of tackling the little humiliations of life, particularly for someone with a less than perfect body. It is well worth your time to check out.
White Irish Drinkers was the third movie. Written and directed by John Gray, it's a coming of age story set in Brooklyn in the mid 70s. And it is a hell of a film. This wasn't on my radar at all but it's a really solid movie with some great moments. Gray and actors Peter Riegert (Animal House) and Stephen Lang (Avatar) showed up to take questions from the crowd. I was pretty pleased to note that Lang, a monstrous bad ass in Avatar, stands no taller than I do.
Fourth on the dance card was Client 9: The Rise and Fall of Eliot Spitzer. This documentary was made by Alex Gibney, who picked up an Oscar a couple years ago for Taxi to the Dark Side. I'm a little torn on this one. From a critical standpoint, it's a solidly made documentary. Gibney makes one really bold choice that pays off pretty well. But as a resident of New York, and a pretty political guy, I had some problems with it. Most notably, I could feel Mr. Gibney's political leanings coming through. There is the distinct sense that Spitzer was the subject of a political hit, and quite a lot of the movie is devoted to that idea. Spitzer certainly had enemies but the problem with a conspiracy story is that Spitzer is guilty of breaking the law and incredible hypocrisy. But that doesn't seem to matter to some folks. When given the chance to ask questions after the movie, a string of people stepped up to complain that a variety of alternate conspiracy theories hadn't been analyzed in the movie. Maybe it's just me. I have zero respect for the Republican and Democratic parties. So when one of them turns out to be crooked, I'm very comfortable ditching them. For devotees of those parties, that doesn't seem to be the case. Puzzling. Anyway, if the subject interests you, check it out. Gibney's a good filmmaker, even if he can't completely set aside his biases.
Finally came Suck. This is a comedy about a struggling rock band that finds its fortunes turning after the bass player is turned into a vampire. It's a very funny movie with a host of great cameos by the likes of Alice Cooper, Iggy Pop, Henry Rollins, Malcolm McDowell and Dave Foley. I dug it a lot but wished the crowd was bigger. This is definitely the sort of movie that will feed of a big audience in the mood for fun.
Here we see the first few people arriving at the Crandell Theater in Chatham, NY for the 2010 FilmColumbia film festival. You may not have heard of it but it is a hell of a festival. Five days, three venues and dozens of features and shorts. I've been going for the last seven years and loving just about every minute of it. How such a great festival sprung up in a tiny town like mine is beyond me.
Today I saw three films. The first is Night Catches Us, starring Anthony Mackie (The Hurt Locker) and Kerry Washington (The Last King of Scotland). It's set in the mid-70s and takes a look at what happened in the aftermath of the destruction of the Black Panther movement. Now, I admit not being terribly knowledgeable about the Panthers. So that definitely affects how I view the movie. I'm a bit too young to remember this stuff personally and haven't really studied it, so I have no preconceived notions to deal with. That said I thought it was an excellent film. The Panthers are just about as murky to me as before seeing the movie but I now have some idea what it would be like to try and live with that in your past. The acting is excellent and it is a beautifully shot film. It does a wonderful job of mixing urban decay with wilderness imagery and uses depth of field to great effect to help tell the story. Definitely recommended.
Next was the French film Partir, starring Kristin Scott Thomas. She plays a bored housewife who rather suddenly has a torrid affair with an ex-convict. Thomas is magnificent in the lead role. Her ability to speak volumes about her character with the tiniest shift of expression is brilliant. That said, I'm not a huge fan of the movie. Her husband is never well fleshed out, which makes it much harder to understand her actions. And I had the third act pretty much figured out well in advance. But it could well be worth your time just to watch her performance.
Finally, there was The Girl Who Kicked The Hornet's Nest, the third film based on Stieg Larsson's series of novels about the cyber witch Lisbeth Salander. I haven't seen The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo but did see The Girl Who Played With Fire. I felt a bit lost in the second movie due to having missed the first but felt on much firmer ground with the third. This is a thriller of sorts, albeit an odd one in which the title character is confined for almost the entire movie. It's a tale of conspiracy and intrigue and all that sort of thing. And it's two and a half hours long. The first couple hours buzzed along pretty nicely for a movie built almost entirely out of exposition. But by the time that last half hour rolls around, I was checking the clock pretty frequently. Noomi Rapace isn't given much to do but stare sullenly at one character after another, barely speaking for two thirds of the movie. I liked the second film in the series a lot more. I'll probably make the effort to go back and watch the first film, just to see if that changes my view of the other two.
I'll be back tomorrow with another photo and more mini reviews.
There was a horrible accident last night at the end of my road. I don't have a lot of details at this point. A firefighter drove down the road, responding to an emergency call. Something went wrong and he missed the turn completely and slammed into a telephone pole. He didn't survive. I suspect something happened before he hit the pole, like a heart attack. It was a heartbreaking moment. Seeing his family as they discovered his fate is something I won't soon forget.
This isn't a photo of the accident. It shows the power crews working hard to replace the downed pole. This shot was taken around 2 AM, several hours after the accident. These guys have a pretty thankless task, cleaning up after a mess like this. They are easily forgotten in the aftermath, which is a shame. They are dedicated and hard working and deserve a little recognition for their work. Thanks guys.
|I can't really think of anything to say on this shot. It's with my new 50mm lens, which I am absolutely smitten with.
My son's football season ended today, not exactly on the frozen tundra, but certainly in the frigid rain. He had a tough game, with the opposing team's biggest player constantly lining up across from him. But despite getting repeatedly run over, he kept popping back up and taking another shot at it, without complaint. He won plenty of praise from the coaches today for toughness. And he's already looking forward to next season.
To say I'm proud of him is an understatement. We didn't encourage him to play football. He decided it all on his own. Actually, it was more like we had to slow him down. He's been watching the bigger kids practice at the park in town since he was two years old. Finally getting to join the team was a big deal for him. His only real complaint is that they don't get helmets at this level.
He's made huge progress during the course of the season. He's a much faster runner now and a lot more confident. And he made a ton of new friends. It's been a pleasure watching him develop a dream and tackle it, even at his very young age. I can't wait to see him take the next step.
|This is the world with an infrared filter. Under normal light, this is a pretty ordinary photo.
This is the sort of photo that makes me very happy. The artsy part of my brain is delighted with the light, framing, angles and bokeh in the background. The other part of me is just loving how cute my kid looks in it. Win win.
This is an excellent example of why I was so excited to get a 50mm prime lens. The tack sharp detail on his face plus the dreamy out of focus background is a wonderful combination.
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