Wednesday, May 30, 2007

SIFF Opening Weekend

I'm covering the Seattle International Film Festival for, and you can find my write-up of OPENING WEEKEND here. is also showing some of SIFF's short films, which is really cool, and you can find them HERE.

Thursday, May 24, 2007

FILM Lars von Trier is depressed

Last week we learned that Danish filmmaker Lars von Trier, co-creator of the whole Dogme movement, has been hospitalized for depression. He's now saying that he may not go back to directing movies, not in the near future. Because he's been such a master at using the publicity machine for his own benefit, some people are wondering if this is yet another stunt.

When I first learned about it, I wanted to give him the benefit of the doubt. Upon further reflection, I started to wonder...

Read THIS POST I wrote for the website and draw your own conclusions, why don't you?

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

FILMMAKING Improving Indie Scripts

Another one of my rantings has posted to This one is about how screenplay readings are good for the whole film community. The more feedback that occurs before the script goes into production the better! That's pretty much what I say HERE.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

FILM Waitress

Rating: ***
Recommended Viewing: Cinema or DVD

So many American indies fall back on the clichés of romantic obsession and love being the means and sole goal of any lead character. As an actress and as a director, Adrienne Shelly has indulged in that, often to good but not always to great effect. I came into Waitress with the expectations of that kind of film, and boy, was I pleasantly surprised that it wasn't.

I think what surprised me most was that the naïve and fun-loving filmmaking style was balanced by a mature, even brokenhearted storyline. In Waitress, love is not something that will save the day. Instead, love is a flash in the pan that will at best dissolve quickly and at worst lead to a drawn-out life of purgatory or pain.

Keri Russell, in a revelatory performance, plays Jenna, the lead waitress at a semi-rural Southern pie shop. She has a gift when it comes to baking pies, with an ability to come up with recipes based on her mood or on the pie’s desired effect, such as the cinnamon spice custard “Kick in the Pants Pie.” She’s also trapped in a marriage with a needy and abusive husband, inspiring the “I Hate My Husband Pie.” As the movie opens, she’s inspired to make “I Don’t Want Earl’s Baby Pie,” but her desire to keep the baby effectively kills her motivation to run away, which of course leads to the “Pregnant Miserable Self-Pitying Loser Pie.”

Yes, the pie names are cutesy, but the emotions running under them are not. And she is not the only one trapped in an unhappy relationship. In fact, everyone in this town is unlucky in love. Her fellow waitress Becky (Cheryl Hines) has an invalid husband and an eye for an adulterous relationship with a married man. Her other coworker Dawn (Adrienne Shelly) is unhappily single who is then stalked by a man she rejected from a personals date, but because of his persistence she settles for him. Jenna herself looks for happiness and affection through the attention of her doctor, who is also married. In this town, no relationship is a good relationship.

Against this backdrop, Shelly has crafted a story of growing self-awareness and hope. Without this dark background, the movie would have been saccharine enough to send you into diabetic shock. Without the levity and some of the indie film quirkiness, it would have been too depressing to be deemed “entertainment.”

As it stands, Waitress strikes a wonderful balance of bitter and sweet, of darkness and light. It earns its tears by the end, even without the knowledge of the unsavory murder of the director, Ms. Shelly, late last year.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

FILM Archiving the Future just posted another one of my rantings. This time it's about how old industrial and educational films are rarely archived, about found footage films, but mostly it's about going to see 35 year old, 16mm prints of Future Shock and In Search of Ancient Astronauts over at the Northwest Film Forum last week as part of their "Search and Rescue" series.

Friday, May 11, 2007

FILM The Tribeca Price Hike

The good thing about writing for is that it forces me to post a couple of times per week, and usually it's something I can link back to here. My latest is about the price hike at the Tibeca Film Festival, which everyone was talking about before the festival started as some sort of thing that will chip at the sanctity of film festivals.

Afterwards? Not a peep. Not on that subject. Not really. So I wrote this article about that phenomenon.

It could very well be that they haven't crunched the numbers for the festival yet. Somehow I doubt that, but it's possible. There's also a chance that maybe they lost a little more than $1 million this year and don't want to admit it yet, but I have nothing to base that on.

As the festival wrapped up, all anyone could do was write about their favorite movies. That's a good thing, of course. I'm just wondering when we'll hear the resolution to "The Case of the Jacked Up Ticket Prices."

Friday, May 4, 2007

FILM The new Zoo review

If, somehow, you didn't hear about the movie Zoo after it polarized audiences and critics at the Sundance Film Festival, then check out my look at the movie HERE at

Wednesday, May 2, 2007

FILMMAKING Support Your Local Filmmaker

Another article I wrote got posted on This one is inspired by the upcoming auction for the Northwest Film Forum, and because I'm writing for a national publication, er, website, I focused on auction items of a national interest rather than the local ones. All of them are of interest to filmmakers (though a couple can be transmorgrified into being for and about writers).

Anyway, check out Support Your Local Filmmaker.