September 8, 2004
I saw Primer this morning, which, in case you've forgotten, is the film that won the Grand Prize at Sundance this past January, and which will be opening in theaters this October. It's of note to indie filmmakers because the writer/director/et.al Shane Carruth made it for a reported seven thousand dollars, and it's of particular note to me because he's from Dallas.
Critically speaking, it's far from perfect, but I'll deal with that side of things when I review it. As an independent filmmaker and filmlover, I loved it. As I think I've already admitted, I felt a bit of skepticism tinged with a bit of jealousy when the film made its waves at Sundance, but now I see why it was so well received; this is the type of film that should be playing at Sundance, because it's smart, challenging and creative. It's not the kind of movie I might be interested in making, but it was inspiring nonetheless because of how it was made, where it was made, and what it's achieved. It was sort of like seeing Pi for the first time, only this cost a tenth of what that did. Which is a fact, incidentally, that I'm still not entirely convinced of -- but what the hell, I'll believe it anyway. I'm going to try to get an interview set up with Shane Carruth, so hopefully that'll be showing up here sometime in the near future.
I also caught Criminal this afternoon, which was fun, and notable for being co-written by Jonathan Pryce's character from Brazil -- who not coincidentally also co-wrote The Underneath. Local connection: it was produced not only by Soderbergh and Clooney but by Mark Cuban's company, 2929 Entertainment.
I then went to a screeening of this film called Evergreen, which is the type of film that shouldn't show at Sundance, but did anyway. It's being distributed digitally by AMC Theaters, who I guess decided to beat Mark Cuban and Landmark Theaters to the punch as far as that goes. One major difference: Landmark is using DLP technology, which is awesome, while AMC has substantially inferior prosumer digital projectors -- I know all about them, since I was still a projectionist for the company when the systems were installed last summer. They have pretty lousy image quality, and the movie, which wasn't that great by itself, was not exactly pleasing to look at. I overheard one of the managers talking about how the satellite feed (the idea is that the movies will be downloaded and never physically exist at the theater) was interrupted in the middle of a previous screening and is still pretty shaky. It's scheduled to open at AMC Theaters across the country this week, I think, and while it's cool that indie films will have a potential new venue, for the time being I'll say: don't support substandard exhibition practices and skip it. Wait for Landmark to do it right.
I say this even though all of my own films have been (and probably will continue to be for the near future) projected digitally on non-DLP projectors, but I'm the underdog and AMC is an evil conglomerate, so it's okay. For now.
Anyway, look forward to Primer. I'm off to grab a few hours of sleep; in the face of my current lack of inspiration and drive, I have to force myself to stay awake and active as long a I can or I feel completely worthless.
Posted by David Lowery at September 8, 2004 2:46 AM
Just go back and read my review of "Henry Lee". That should motivate you some.
Posted by: Matt at September 8, 2004 7:17 AM