*Puppet shenanigans bring hilarity in Jackboots on Whitehall
*Nuclear proliferation documentary Countdown to Zero irks and informs
*Monsters suddenly becomes a contender as one of my favorite films of all time (Fight Club and Children of Men, its challengers)
Friday was a big deal given I got to see Monsters. If this doesn’t become one of the most talked about films this year, the world will gloss over an amazing piece of cinematic storytelling.
After the film, director Gareth Edwards and the lead actors, Skoot McNairy and Whitney Able, hung around the cinema’s bar to chat about the film. I spent a fair bit of time sharing with Skoot how the film delivered to me. When he was heading out with the rest of the staff from Vertigo Films (who produced Monsters) he invited me to tag along. Suddenly I was glad I chose the button up shirt that morning.
We got to a club near Princes St. and planted ourselves in the VIP room with an open bar. Considering the absence of food in my belly, I maintained a two drink maximum. Now, I’m not really a bar guy. I like to hang out talking one on one, or organize an event with an activity at the center, keeping casual drinking on the periphery. Considering all this, I didn’t know how long I would be staying.
But it couldn’t have been a better environment. I got to meet people working in different areas at Vertigo (trailer creation, script development) and even though I was just a random guy invited along (I was frequently asked my place in the production), no one gave me the cold shoulder. I actually had a good time.
Not to mention that despite the loud, festive atmosphere, I was able to talk with Skoot and Whitney about the film (among other things). As a filmmaker and critic, there is a lot to praise in Monsters, most of it’s in subtle ways general audiences won’t recognize. So as I was rolling out my thoughts to Skoot or Whitney, I’d feel like I was talking at them, but they’d quickly tell me how much the appreciate such specific feedback, not just “Oh, it was great.”
I know that when I screen a short film I’m itching for the same type of feedback: Did you notice this sound effect? Did this twist hook you? Specifically with films distributed at the international level, there is little room for interaction between actor and the audience receiving that performance. So the lengthy ramblings of someone who knows the nuance and difficulty of filmmaking, but who has had no involvement with the production, counts for a lot. I know I’d love it if someone wanted to point out all the things that I displayed well.
Plus, how often are we allotted the chance to explain how a work of art affected us to the artist her/himself? It’s definitely a two-way street of appreciative barter: artist wants to communicate to the world and the audience wants to return the call.
Fear keeps us locked away from one another, blockading the beautiful connectedness between us all. Thus, it was soothing to walk home toward the rising sun, away from the assorted conversations with Vertigo people, and especially with Whitney and Sckoot, and only feel the buzzing aura of connected sincerity that make our lives worth living.
reviews to come
HIGH School, Winter’s Bone, Lucky