Confusions Of An Unmarried Couple (2007) Film Review

Confusions Of An Unmarried Couple is a film about a couple, Dan and Lisa, who separate after Dan catches Lisa having a lesbian encounter. He leaves without another word to her and returns months after the incident to finally speak with her about what had happened. Shot partly like a documentary and partly like a home video, the film seems like a fairly realistic take on a couple who simply can’t communicate with one another all that well. It’s low-budget and lacking in scenery, with most of the film taking place in either Lisa’s house or Dan’s house, which makes the importance of good dialogue the key to this film’s sustaining itself. And it does, because although backgrounds don’t really

MORE »

Barstool Cowboy Review (2009) Film Review

Barstool Cowboy begins with a man donning a cowboy hat, drinking a beer, sighing, and smoking a cigarette. He stares into the camera for a good few minutes while interchanging between all of those activities before he starts speaking. And from that initial scene on, one can immediately conclude that Barstool Cowboy will either be quite excellent or quite atrocious — and nothing in between. The initial scene is shot like a documentary, and it starts to look like Barstool Cowboy is a documentary. The main character painstakingly recalls a tale of heartbreak and vows to spend three months on a barstool, drinking away his pain. From there, new characters are introduced with awkwardly-placed music — the unfitting likes of

MORE »

Haack: The King of Techno (2005) Documentary Review

Recently, I had an experience with a friend who basically attributed a huge amount of today’s electronic music and electronic music hybrids to the well-known artist, Aphex Twin. Aphex Twin started his career in the early ’90s, and while he has been extremely, extremely influential in the emergence of and style of contemporary electronic music, there’s one person who is perhaps just as significant, yet does not get enough credit for his contributions. That person is the Canadian-born Bruce Haack. Prior to receiving one of Haack’s albums and this documentary in the mail, I had never, ever heard of Haack. A musician who was trained at Julliard, Haack primarily created music for children’s television shows and advertisements, but his personal

MORE »

Girls Rock! (2009) Documentary Film Review

While female musicians are represented a fair amount in Redefine’s reviews and interviews, I have noticed, over time, that the majority of bands and musicians we cover are in fact male. The number of female rock musicians has certainly increased through the years, but the industry is still largely male-dominated. Girls Rock! takes a look at this issue by documenting an annual all-girls rock n’ roll in Portland. With over 60 volunteer counselors and staff, including well-known musicians like Carrie Brownstein from Sleater-Kinney and Beth Ditto from The Gossip, the camp helps young girls aged 8 to 18 build confidence in their songwriting skills, in their instrumental skills, and most importantly, in themselves. Girls are split up into groups according

MORE »

Goth Cruise (2008) IFC Documentary Film Review

My first, and probably only, cruise experience was two months ago. It sailed through the Northern European Baltic Sea countries, like Norway, Sweden, Poland, and Russia, and it epitomized all that I hate about traveling: gluttony, closemindedness, and lack of desire to really get to know other countries. To make it worse, I was one of less than a dozen people under 40 on the entire cruise (workers not included, of course). It was a harrowing experience in where I thought I was the only one like me on the entire ship. No one seemed to share my interest. I wanted off. Apparently, Angel Sil, Goth Cruise founder, felt just like I did. She and other goths wanted the luxuries

MORE »

Rewind Short Film Review (2007)

One of the best shorts I’ve ever seen, Rewind is a complete mind fuck that is confusing at first and genius upon completion. Set wholly in a dingy room, the entire short is played backwards, with no dialogue between the characters. The only words are the description of a narrator, who is not describing the scene, but the events leading up to the scene. Yet, somehow, the entire short meets together at a common point and makes perfect sense. Rewind is absolutely captivating in its nonlinear storytelling, and the way the visuals sync up with the narration is brilliant in its inventiveness. Directed by Atul Taishete Ω

MORE »

1,000 Journals (2008) Documentary Film Review

Two months ago, I received a black journal. It was the project of a fifth grade class, and my task was to add my contributions and then pass it on in a week’s time. Although it was not a new idea to me, it was a lot of fun, despite the fact that this particular journal only made its rotation in the Seattle area.The film 1,000 Journals follows the project by Someguy, a San Francisco artist who one day decided to release 1,000 blank journals out into the world to see what happened to them. His journals, by contrast, ended up traversing the world. I’m a huge fan of social experimentation and doing things to invoke the human reaction. This

MORE »

Donkey Punch (2008) Film Review

I watched Donkey Punch on a whim (it was between that film and the French sci-fi flick, Chrysalis). Both films were up for midnight screenings, but I chose Donkey Punch. Given its lude title and classification as an erotic thriller, it seemed more appropriate and entertaining for the evening. I haven’t seen Chrysalis yet, but I think Donkey Punch was the right choice. It was surely a shocker; most movies chock full of boobies and promiscuous sex turn out to be B-rated throwaways, but Donkey Punch showed a level of creativity that showed a lot of thought beneath the nude exterior. The movie started off a bit hoaky, with believable but cheesy dialogue and a bright, beachy color palette. It

MORE »

Summer Heat / Zommerhitte (2008) Film Review

I guess erotic thrillers aren’t supposed to be that much more than erotic and thrilling. Summer Heat is pretty much exactly those two things, manifested in the form of two somewhat good-looking people with sexual attraction for one another and a loose plot about drug-dealing and an old man who is practically a pimp. The storyline involves scene after scene of the main character finding himself in similar compromising and voyeuristic positions. Perhaps it is his experience with being a bird photographer for National Geographic, but he becomes an expert at stalking just about anyone and everyone. But not in a creepy way… more like in a… “I’m going to rescue you” type of way. He’s practically Superman when it

MORE »

Continental: A Film Without Guns / Continental, un film sans fusil (2007) Film Review

Cool graphic design doesn’t even make this film interesting. An extremely minimalist take on the lives of four deeply unhappy people. Well-shot if you are fine with a drab color palette. Largely pointless. I mean, one can stretch potential meaning if one really wants to, but this film certainly didn’t make me want to. I’m only giving it minor consideration now that I am sitting here writing this review. Continental, despite its entertaining and clever title, is nothing more than somber entertainment that fails to make any memorable or long-lasting impressions. Director: Stéphane Lafleur Producer: Luc Déry, Kim McCraw Editor: Sophie Leblond Screenwriter: Stéphane Lafleur Cinematographer: Sara Mishara Music: Stéphane Lafleur, Hugo Lavoie Principal Cast: Marie-Ginette Guay, Gilbert Sicotte, Fanny

MORE »

The Wave / Die Welle (2008) Film Review

One of my favorite films of the 2008 Seattle International Film Festival, The Wave is based off of a true story. Although the actual story takes place in Palo Alto, California, the film takes place in Germany.Teacher Rainier Wenger receives “autocracy” for his project week theme, instead of “anarchy,” as he previously wanted. A generally unconventional character, Wenger decides to undergo a project in his class when his students declare that they think a dictatorship can never happen in Germany again. For the week, Wenger declares himself dictator and becomes the ruling leader of his newly established autocracy.Before he knows it, however, his students, newly dubbed The Wave, have taken the project outside of school grounds. They extend fascism into

MORE »

Savage Grace (2007) Film Review

Savage Grace is a tale about the incestuous relationship of a mother and her homosexual son. The entire film is an ever-deepening downwards spiral that is disturbing to watch. Yet, like a car accident, the viewer cannot help but be interested by the dysfunction; it’s twisted to watch, but it’s interesting. Savage Grace is a drab-colored, slow-paced film that is beautifully shot and well-acted. Unfortunately for the film, however, it is based off of a true story and there is much more motive to the true story than there is to the movie. In Savage Grace, the incestuous relationship between the mother and son comes about from seemingly nothing more than simple perversion. In reality, the story is much more

MORE »