I consider it a condemnable crime of irony that Ronald Bronstein's Frownland will be getting a legitimate New York City run the exact same week that just about all of the New York City independent film industry will be in Austin attending South by Southwest, the festival where Frownland arrived just one year before. Why didn't this happen next week instead, to help satisfy our post-SXSW hangovers? Or maybe Frowland will do well enough that it's run will extend beyond next Thursday. Which is why I'm sending out this plea to those of you who read this site and won't be going to Austin, or to those of you who will be returning early/mid-next week. Please go see Frownland and show your support for one of the most audacious, electrifying, brilliant independent films of recent memory. Frownland is the work of a bona fide mad genius. Tell your friends. Tell your enemies. Tell your neighbors. Tell your landlord. Tell everyone.
I also very much recommend Gus Van Sant's Paranoid Park, which is opening at the IFC Center alongside Bronstein's debut masterpiece (can someone say Coolest Double-Feature Ever???). I don't know if Van Sant's latest portrait of pretty adolescents is genuinely extraordinary or if I'm simply too far up the butt of this kind of filmmaking to judge it with clear eyes. Beautiful slow-motion set to Elliott Smith... yes, please! I don't know if I ever genuinely got inside the mind of the troubled protagonist or if the emotion was created by the more superficial elements (pretty images, nice music, etc.). Like, was Elliott Smith making me sad or was it the direction and the performances? Even if it's the former, I don't care. Paranoid Park plays like a greatest hits of Van Sant's "Death Trilogy," and I do find it to be a moving work.
Next up is Snow Angels, which I've been talking about all week. I'm starting to realize that the reason people criticize David's films is the exact reason why I find them to be so exhilarating. He allows mistakes to happen, he lets the film drift from heavy to light in an off-kilter way, he is more concerned with each singular moment as opposed to the external whole. By the end of a David Gordon Green film, many people are spun and don't know what to think. I usually have a big smile on my face. While that didn't happen this time around--this movie is dee-press-ingg--I still felt a sense of pleasure in watching a distinct vision at work. Perhaps you should see this movie at noon-ish at the Sunshine, then grab a bite and take a breather before hitting the IFC Center for the coolest double-feature ever.
And don't forget to hit up Cinema Village as well (sheesh, gotta catch my breath for a second) for the re-release of Philippe Garrel's I Don't Hear the Guitar Anymore (J'entends plus la guitare). Congratulations to The Film Desk for getting the rights to this lost gem. So everyone support the film in order to keep more hits coming from them!
I also personally enjoyed Ira Sachs' Married Life. It's all over the place, yes, but I thought it was very well executed and I had a lot of fun with it.
Go see all of these movies so you can distract yourself from the realization that you're a total loser for not being in Austin.