Surfwise- One of the best documentaries to come along so far this year. Like "Capturing the Friedmans" or "Tarnation", Doug Pray's family expose goes to some pretty dark places and is present during some of their most joyous (such as a truly moving family reunion in Hawaii) moments. It's hard not to feel anxious for these kids, and even before I had any idea where this thing was headed, I found it psychologically perplexing that the children all referred to their father by his real name "Dorian", and not "dad".
Sleepwalking- Bill Maher's laborious indie drama is indicative of just how boring independent film has gotten. Dreary settings up north, yep. Emotionally stunted man child? Yes. Big actors taking small paychecks and financing the film? You got it. A journey of self discovery? Oh hell yes. All of this has been done before (and better) without Nick Stahl brooding in every scene and Charlize Theron portraying a lay-about mom who abandons her daughter.
21- Really surprised by how much I enjoyed this one. Though I'm sure it's been dazzled up and invigorated with drama from the original story its based on- yes I watch the History channel- "21" is still brisk, sexy film making. Then again, I'm always a sucker for movies about Vegas. And Kate Bosworth.
The Notorious Concubines- More cinema weirdo from Koji Wakamatsu, this time taking place in feudal Japan as a king takes many wives, has orgies, and begins wars. It's actually not as fun as it sounds. Like Wakamatsu did with "Ecstasy of the Angels", this is really a mainstream pinku film where sex is substituted for actual narrative and reasoning. The blood is cheap, the action is even cheaper.. but I'm told it was a huge art house hit back in the late 60's. Go figure.
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