So, what is there about the comedy "Jesus Henry Christ" from director Dennis Lee ("Fireflies in the Garden") to get excited about? Well, for one, it stars Michael Sheen, Toni Collete and Jason Spevack, the young boy best known for roles in "Sunshine Cleaning" and "Ramona and Beezus ." Not a bad cast. And perhaps slightly more interesting to us is the fact that the film is being scored by celebrated composer/guitar-texturalist David Torn (occasionally known as the recording artist Splattercell) and up-and-coming composer Simon Taufique who's done some interesting score work in indie films like "Dog Sweat," "Haber" and "Sonnet for a Towncar," an 18-minute short co-directed by Mary Harron ("American Psycho").
Torn's moody, atmospheric guitar music (think Explosions In The Sky or ethereal ambient guitar music of that ilk) has been featured in films like "Kalifornia," "Three Kings," "Velvet Goldmine," "Adaptation" and "The Big Lebowski," and has been well regarded by experimental guitar geeks since the '80s (he's worked with Jeff Beck, David Bowie, Tori Amos, David Sylvian, Steve Roach, Vernon Reid and many others). But it wasn't until the late '90s that he started composing for films on his own. He first caught our ear in 2004 as one of the three composers on ""Friday Night Lights" (Brian Reitzell and the aforementioned EITS were the other two) and the music he wrote for "The Wackness," "Lars and the Real Girl" and "Anvil! The Story of Anvil" has been some some of the more striking pieces we've heard at the movies in the last five years. Suffice to say whenever his name pops up, we pay attention -- and there's more to come, as he's also written the music to the upcoming Will Ferrell dramedy, "Everything Must Go."
OK, so to the film at hand which hopefully Torn will make that much better. The "Jesus Henry Christ" synopsis reads: "At the age of 10, Henry James Hermin, a boy who was conceived in a petri-dish and raised by his feminist mother, follows a string of Post-It notes in hopes of finding his biological father." Interesting enough, Lee already made an 18-minute short film in 2003 with the same title, but it appears to be a completely different premise (here's a recent IndieWIRE interview with the director).
As for "Beautiful Boy," the only connection with the previous film is Michael Sheen and the Shawn Ku-directed film ("Pretty Dead Girl"), starring Maria Bello, Alan Tudyk, Moon Bloodgood and Meat Loaf is a much, much heavier affair. The film centers on a married couple (Bello and Sheen) on the verge of separation as they are leveled by the news their 18-year-old son (Kyle Gallner) committed a mass shooting at his college, then took his own life.
"Jesus Henry Christ" premieres during the Tribeca Film Festival this week and has its debut screening on Saturday, April 23rd. "Beautiful Boy" opens in select cities on June 3rd.
Photos of "Jesus Henry Christ"
Photos Of "Beautiful Boy"