Oh how time flies when one’s life is full of schoolwork and screenings. I managed to post two reviews over the past week, but I never wrote about my second and final day at this year’s San Diego Film Festival. As I had predicted, it was indeed better than the first. Unfortunately, the movies I saw were still far from what would desire from a larger-market film festival. [Read more]
I always make a concerted effort each year to attend the San Diego Film Festival, mainly because it feels like my duty as a San Diego native to foster the “growing” program. And yet, each year I attend, I can’t help but feel like the selection is getting more and more intolerable. Rarely do programmers book foreign films or experimental features. It seems as though SDFF is stuck in commercial-territory, although I don’t know why given the fact that it seems less commercially successful with each passing festival. My first day at the event this year was Friday–I had to skip out on Thursday given my now out-of-town academic obligations–and not a single showing I attended was even close to being sold out. [Read more]
Day One (“First Helpings”). Films reviewed: Phantom Love, Inside the Circle, The Box, and Kabluey.
Day Two (“Made for TV”). Films reviewed: The Northern Kingdom, Finding Kraftland, and Little Fugitive.
Day Three (“All Too Familiar”). Films reviewed: Adrift in Manhattan, Taxi to the Dark Side, and The Cake Eaters.
Day Four (“Get Me Outta This Place!”). Films reviewed: For the Bible Tells Me So, The Devil Came on Horseback, Coyote, and The Walker.
The close of the 2007 San Diego Film Festival brings the conclusion of my third time attending the affair. It will likely be the last time, too. This prediction comes not only because I expect to be participating in bigger and better events of the same sort when I move to Los Angeles in January, but because the poor film-selections made by the festival-coordinators this year have provided me no incentive to return. The past four days of movie-going have been rather tasking on my senses. They have made me feel hatred toward the medium of film far more than they have made me want to embrace it. Of the fourteen pictures that I have seen at the festival, I am only able to wholeheartedly recommend two of them: Marcy Garriott’s Inside the Circle (discussed in my “Day One” commentary) and Paul Schrader’s The Walker (discussed below). What a frustrating, excruciating time I have just endured over the long weekend. [Read more]
Three days down, one to go.
That thought has become the motivation that will get me through the final four screenings that I have planned tomorrow for the festival. This year, the selections—after seeing ten of them now, I feel like I can make this statement about the festival as a whole—have been utterly nightmarish. The quality of films presented might be acceptable for, say, the Mount Appalachia Festival, but the San Diego Film Festival? A festival programmed for one of the largest cities in the United States? A festival that regularly is named one of the best for networking-parties in the country? Sure, it ain’t Sundance or Toronto, but it should be much better than it has been this year. While I commend festival coordinators for ensuring that most of the films have started on time this year (which has, to say the least, not been the case in past), the fact remains that these have been bad films starting on time. [Read more]
Friday. I had been dreading this day of screenings, mainly because of the fact that, in years passed, the programming offered on it seemed to always turn out to be the worst of the festival. This year proved to be no exception. While I didn’t see a movie today that was quite as disastrous as last festival’s Friday disaster, G.I. Jesus, I came pretty close. I will be surprised if The Northern Kingdom, Finding Kraftland, and Little Fugitive all don’t soon end up playing on the Lifetime Network. The three films ring as melodramatically false as one could possibly imagine, each in their own way. In my previous column, I made the comment that the San Diego Film Festival keeps getting better with each passing year. After watching today’s horrendous line-up, I’m not so sure about that anymore. It is going to take a whole lot of good movies in the next two days to recoup from the cinematic horrors that I have witnessed thus far. [Read more]
2007 represents the third year that I have attended the local San Diego Film Festival, which usually offers a mostly-uninspired but thoroughly-welcome line-up of films. This time around, I am flying solo—both festivals in the past, I attended with a guest—allowing me to choose to attend whatever programming I wish without being heckled for it. After the four days of the festival are over, I will have seen a total of fourteen feature films, four of which I will cover in this column. Despite the lackluster quality of three of these, I still have hope for this year’s Official Selections (although I do rather detest the lack of foreign films available to festival-attendees). One thing is for sure: whatever its problems related to programming-choices and event-coordination, the San Diego Film Festival gets better with each passing year. That being said, let’s dive right into the movies… [Read more]
After skipping out on the first two years of the San Diego International Film Festival and missing priceless gems in independent cinema such as Roger Dodger, Pieces of April, 8 Women, Bus 174, and The Weight of Water, I finally forced myself to attend, in its third annual run. After anxiously reading up on many of the movies in contention for the Best Feature award, I eagerly anticipated a superb five days of screenings. Unfortunately, that’s not exactly what the experience turned out to be like. [Read more]