I know less about Formula 1 racing than any human being currently alive, and care even less about it. So it's a testament to this film that I was fully engaged throughout this entire documentary about Brazilian racing great Ayerton Senna. Using only (plentiful) archival footage + new audio interviews, the director whose name escapes me now crafted a pretty entertaining glimpse into the short life of the handsome and determined competitor.
We Were Here:
Another doc - this time a personal story about what it was like to live in San Francisco at the start of the AIDS epidemic. I'm not sure that this will win any awards but I do think it was a very captivating look at a community that was absolutely ravaged. It was cool to see it looked at very intimately - focusing on four or five people's stories - rather than a macro look at the history and the politics and the milestones. I knew a lot of the facts before, but it was stunning to see them laid out in such a stark and emotional way as these interviews were. I am glad I saw the movie.
The Music Never Stopped
I was really needing an accessible, decently paced narrative at this time of day after waking up so early, and this movie absolutely delivered. It was based on a true story apparently. Starred Lou Pucci, JK Simmons and Cara Seymour. In the '80s, two 60-somethings learn their estranged son has a brain tumor that won't kill him but will mess with his memory. His loyal but strict and old-fashioned father attempts to bring him out of this fog by hiring a music therapist who tries to make progress on his memory loss by playing him music that matters to him. Lord knows I love any movie that focuses on music and memory and the "father and son make good" element can't hurt here. This movie was pretty soft and sweet. Nothing wrong with saying this at all- but I don't know that I come to Sundance to be able to say "Oh, my mother would love that movie" on the way out.
Shut Up Little Man! An Audio Misadventure
I knew I couldn't go wrong with a title like that. Another documentary - this one about two guys living in San Fran in the '80s who surreptitiously recorded their neighbors tumultuous relationship - over and over - and sent it to friends who sent it to friends until at some point it became (pre-Internet) a viral success, spawning plays and comic books and several parties vying for movie rights. The film juxtaposes the solving the mystery behind these two fighting neighbors (one flamboyantly gay, the other drunk homophobe) with the two friends' obsession with the pair and their journey distributing the material over the years. It asks some interesting questions about voyeurism and exploitation and requires even the viewer to define what they love about these two crazy guys - are we laughing at or with them? This is a kind of Winnebago Man with a few extra (maybe too many extra) layers. It's a very good movie that could be great if they get rid of the reenactments and edit out 15 minutes of the final 30. I do recommend it though.
Josh Leonard (actor from Humpday) directed a sweet little movie about a hipster dad (wife Jess Weixler from Teeth) who becomes increasingly unhappy with his lot in life and makes up a crazy lie to get out of work that ends up having far-reaching consequences. There were a handful of memorable (one funny, one resonant) scenes in this that elevated it for me from "just ok" to "quite good." Won't change my life or anything, but I am glad I saw it and I can see it doing OK when and if it's released.
The Troll Hunter
Found footage comedy about three journalists in Norway who accidentally discover a plot by the Norwegian government to cover up the fact that trolls exist. It took place in the woods and made me passionately wanted to go to Norway. There were some okay laughs. Beyond that, I wouldn't go out of my way to insist that anyone see it.
Sent from my iPad