Saturday, April 07, 2007

Philadelphia Film Festival 2007 - Night 1

Hey, still working on the show, however since film will be consuming all my free time for the next 2 weeks I'm going to try to get my thoughts on all the films at the festival up here.

Thursday night was opening night at the fest and the lead film was The Ten
. Its an anthology of sketches, each one dealing with one of the 10 Commandments (in order). Fitting for the season, the film also marks the second big screen reunion of The State this year after Reno 911!: Miami (a 3rd is on the way though the full cast isn't in Balls of Fury as in these two). It was writted by State alumns David Wain and Ken Marino, directed by Wain and also stars Jessica Alba, Adam Brody, Paul Rudd (also in Reno), Famke Janssen, Gretchen Mol, Justin Theroux, Oliver Platt, Winona Ryder, Rob Corddry, Liev Schreiber & Ron Silver. All 10 stories are set in the same world and characters are part of several different sketches.

As a huge fan of the genius that was The State it pains me to say that this is not a very good film. The faults start right at the beginning. The anthology is tied together by interstitial segments featuring Rudd in a kind of negative space with 2 huge stone tablets (guess what's on them?) talking directly to the audience about the film ("I'm here to present the 10 stories" kinda thing) while also being a character in the film who is cheating on his wife (this becomes commandment #7 or 8...or whichever). These are awkward and underwritten. On the otherhand the rest of the film is way too over the top. It feels like what The State would've been like with a bigger budget and fewer people to scrutinize what was funny and what was just lame. There are some hilarious moments and others, that while supposed to be, elicited something more akin to deafening silence from the audience. If there was more of a filter I think this woulda rocked - there is an animated sequence for False Witness that I keep dwelling on because of a great and subtle joke that the rest of the film could've used more of: a rhinoceros is walking around in his work uniform and the back of his shirt reads the name of the locksmith company he works for: Locksmith Black Mombazo. The movie should've had more bits like this and fewer of Platt imitating Anuld.

So why open a festival with a mediocre film like this: celebrity guests!!!

From the left that's Wain, Rudd & producer ___ (there were 19 on the thing and I don't remember this one's name).

The Q&A was more enjoyable than the film! Some nice banter and Wain who fielded most of the questions was cracking wise throughout. The best part of the night however was this revelation: The State is coming to DVD in the Fall!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

So the 200 bucks for the festival badge was worth it!

Anyway I'm hoping to surpass my film count from last year (33). So whenever I have time available, the reviews will appear. In the meantime enjoy don't worry your pretty little head about it.


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