Had coffee today with fellow blogger Carsten and Coast film critic Mark Palermo. We sat and commiserated on the trials and tribulations of being a media person at the fest, which, if anyone was listening in, must have sounded like a quorum meeting of Halifax’s biggest cry-babies; boo-hoo, the media screenings often start late; wah-wah, I feel so drained after sitting and watching three movies; sniff-sniff, after watching three movies, I have nothing to write about on my blog. Nice visit, I’d say. The days have been so full since the fest started, it feels like a week since I last saw those guys at the opening night party.
I saw a trio of enjoyable films today. Of All the Things, the story of Dennis Lambert’s comeback tour of the Philippines, was a delightful meditation on how and why an artist sustains passion for their craft. Lambert was a successful songwriter (Rhinestone Cowboy! Baby Come Back!) but gave it up when he realized his hits and artistic peak may be behind him. His Philippine tour, where his song Of All the Things is something of a love anthem, reignites his passion for performing his music. It is a sweet story, and, this being a tour-doc, is complete with a couple of Spinal-Tap-ian moments where things go wrong for Lambert before they go right. Check it out Wednesday when Jody Lambert (Dennis’s son and the film’s director) and Dennis will be present to introduce the film.
The Brothers Bloom is fun mostly for Rachel Weisz’s kooky performance and Rinko Kikuchi (from Babel) as a silent femme fatal with a withering stare.
The Nurse.Fighter.Boy screening allowed me to conclude some unfinished business I had with star Clark Johnson, which explains the photo up top. It reads, To Hillary, Question Authority, Clark Johnson, "Gus." (Season 5 is all about the media and I am a media person, thus the awesome inscription. Mr. Johnson played 'Gus.') Pretty cool, eh? In the movie, Johnson plays the fighter of the title, who begins a relationship with the nurse, played by Karen LeBlanc. The nurse has a twelve-year-old son, played by Daniel J. Gordon, that has a passion for music and magic and fears for his mother’s health – she suffers from sickle cell anemia. The film has a dreamy and sensuous quality and takes great care in introducing the audience to its characters. The nurse and the fighter have only a quick courtship but the film has taken plenty of time beforehand to give us a sense of how these two would behave in a relationship together. The real concern of the film is to create a setting where it is conceivable that the boy can believe in magic, the fighter can be redeemed, and the nurse can go on in peace. The result is a film that is exhilarating for its assurance in tone. It also has a great soundtrack to boot.