Portland International Film Festival 2011: 02/20-02/26 Closing Week Round-Up

How To Die In Oregon This film does not beat around the bush. Beginning with a terminally-ill cancer patient who dies on camera, How To Die In Oregon explores the sensitive issue of physician-assisted suicide. Directed by Peter D. Richardson – UNITED STATES SHOWTIMES Sun, Feb 20 @ 9:30am (B1) Mon, Feb 21 @ 7:30 (B1) 7 Days In Slow Motion Explore the humor and drama of growing up in middle-class Indian household, where education is valued to an extreme, but children will be children. Directed by Umakanth Thumrugoti – INDIA SHOWTIMES Sun, Feb 20 @ 12:15pm (B1) Sun, Feb 20 @ 3:45pm (B2) Budrus Nicholas D. Kristof described this documentary as, “This year’s must-see documentary.” Budrus captures a family

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You’re Doing It Wrong — TRON: Legacy Film Review

Make no bones about it, TRON: Legacy is not a good film. It’s not even that entertaining of a movie. But it’s hard to pinpoint just exactly why there’s such disappointment with this franchise cash-in. There have been worse, less intelligent attempts at nostalgia milking. But what sets TRON: Legacy apart from the rest of the “sequels-we-never-asked-for” set? Why have our expectations fallen from such a great height? You can point to the acting, the set-design, the anachronistic visual style, the flimsy and nonsensical plot devices (You cannot point to the score; the music is about the only thing that works). However, these things had precedent in the original, and are generally accepted and swallowed willingly by most nerd fan

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We Who Are Young Are Old (2010) Short Film Review

We Who Are Young Are Old is based off of a poem by Dylan Thomas, of the same name. Set against a backdrop of industrial decay, not unlike scenes from Andrei Tarkovsky’s Stalker, it has an immediately alluring aesthetic. Dramatic use of sound effects elicit skin-crawling responses, and when paired with stop-motion reinterpretations of blood, guts, and gore, one is not quite sure whether to feel disgusted or enthralled. The final product, though, is undeniably captivating. Director: Matt Lambert Cinematography: Michael Ragen Styling: Mark Holmes @ SEE Management Art Direction: Carline Celis Edit: Peter O’Donovan @ Final Cut, LA Online and VFX: Gavin Camp @ The Mill, LA Original Score and Sound Design: Terressa Tate @ Final Cut, NYC Featuring

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The Agony and Ecstasy of Phil Spector (2009) Film Review

The Agony and Ecstasy of Phil Spector Directed by Vikram Jayanti Starring: Phil Spector, Lana Clarkson Last year, legendary producer Phil Spector was (spoiler alert!) sent to jail for 19 years to life for the murder of Lana Clarkson. The circumstances were suspect, the scene of the crime grisly; Lana Clarkson had been shot point blank in the mouth inside of Spector’s home, and immediately after the incident Spector called 911, stating that he thought he “killed someone.” Now, someone who knows nothing of the circumstances would probably react with a response akin to “What a horrible crime! Phil Spector must be a horrible, insane individual.” But what this new, BBC produced documentary posits is a slightly askew version of

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MMMicrofestival: Call For Video Art! Aural/Visual Synthesis To Soundlers By Hoop Dreams

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Open Call For Video Art : An Installation Of Aural/Visual Synthesis At MMMicrofestival : An Evening Of Music, Movement & Multimedia On December 8th, 2010, REDEFINE magazine and InterArts will be curating MMMicroFestival – An Evening of Music, Movement, and Multimedia – at Holocene in Portland, Oregon. The inventive evening will feature cross-disciplinary projects and performances, including four musical acts, three performance pieces, and one video installation. (Complete event details here.) A community-rooted project of aural and visual synthesis, the side room installation will feature an open call for video art. Portland/Seattle-based musical trio Hoop Dreams will be offering forth “Spirit Momentum,” a track from their forthcoming debut album. Artists of all disciplines and persuasions are invited

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Do It Again (2010) Film Review

Director: Robert Patton-Spruill Starring: Geoff Edgers Do It Again documents Boston music critic Geoff Edgers’ quest to reunite his favorite band of all time, the Kinks. But as anyone who knows the Kinks at all, this monumental task is akin to turning water into wine. Reuniting the Kinks would mean putting a bandaid and some ointment on one of the most long standing sibling rivalries in rock and roll history. The Davies brothers have been on the outs for more than a couple decades; getting them in the same room together without them tearing each other’s throats out seems nigh impossible. The very first lines of the movie clearly state Edgers’ criteria for failure: 1. If he doesn’t get the

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There’s Still Time, Brother Short Film Review (2010)

The Wooster Collective’s There’s Still Time, Brother, is quite the interactive filmmaking achievement. Displayed in a circular room, it features the composite of twelve different cameras, stitched together loosely to fill a 360-degree space. From the center of the room, stools radiate outwards, and one central chair, with a back, serves as the solitary “remote” on which an individual sits. Whichever section of the screen that individual is facing is highlighted, and all other parts of the screen are blacked out in a foggy haze, with their respective sounds hushed. Even dozens of run-throughs later, a viewer realizes that he or she has seen a different film every time, keeping each viewing a mystery.   While partly scripted documentary, partly

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Bunny and The Bull (2009) Film Review

Director: Paul King Starring: Edward Hogg, Simon Farnaby Bunny and the Bull marks the feature film directorial debut of Paul King, well-known in the U.K. for directing The Mighty Boosh. While both Boosh and Bunny are firmly entrenched in the “buddy comedy” genre, it is there where similarities end. Bunny and the Bull finds Paul King pulling out all the stops, using every visual trick in the director’s handbook to spice up what ends up being a fairly pedestrian script. Animation, green screen, fantastic production design and a healthy dose of whimsy combine to create a film that would be a feast for anyone’s eyes. The film stars Edward Hogg as Stephen Turnbull, an anal-retentive, flimsy man who has developed

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Wu-Tang Saga (2010) Film Review

I have nothing against Cappadonna. I respect his skills as an emcee and consider him a real part of the Wu-Tang Clan. Even though Wikipedia calls him a quasi-member. Even though he was in prison when they signed. Even though he doesn’t really contribute anything unique to the crew. He’s a good guy and I wish him well. His lines on Cuban Linx I and II are hot; I would miss them if they were cut. Cappadonna can rap, and he should rap, and he should be a part of Wu-Tang. All this is clear to me. But seriously, packaging a Cappadonna documentary as the Wu-Tang Saga and saying it stars all the main members of the clan is downright

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First Annual Chicago Food Film Festival

After four years and 20,000 guests served, filmmaker George Motz and the team behind the NYC Food Film Festival are pleased to announce the first annual Chicago Food Film Festival, taking place September 24-25 at the MCA Warehouse. Packed with mouth-watering documentaries, features, short films and food, the festival brings you the opportunity to taste what you see on screen for a multi-sensory, full-bodied experience. Kicking off with Edible Adventure #002 on September 24th, each film is paired with a tasting of its subject matter. Nuggets of fried cheese curds, corn dogs, and other fair foods are served with the film Eat Your Fill, directed by Mark Irving, where a man eats every menu item that is fried and/or on

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Sally Tomato’s Toy Room (2010) Film Review

Sally Tomato’s rock opera, Toy Room, arrived with a cover that boasted of four acts and ten accumulated laurels from the 2009 festival circuit. I pretty much always watch rock operas with hesitation, for their qualities are largely determined by the quality of their music. Toy Room was met with similar levels of hesitation. The music of Toy Room is mostly competent, falling under all genres, from synthpop and alternative to hard rock and new age. There’s even an electronic track replete with Autotune! Not all of it is top-notch, but there are a couple songs that stand out; the rest are generic songwriting central, but they seem to fit pretty well with this film. Take that as you will.

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Mogwai’s Burning (2010) Film Review

Mogwai’s claim for being the “loudest live band on the planet” gets thrown around quite often — and why shouldn’t it? If your band is reliant on distortion, just crank those knobs and make some eardrums bleed. That is, at least, the mentality for a lot of bands. And while the Scottish post-rock tour de force Mogwai don’t quite fit into that mentality, they are one of the loudest live bands you’ll ever see — a fact that is no doubt agreed upon by everyone who has witnessed the sonic force. Burning was recorded over three shows Mogwai played in April of 2009 in Brooklyn, New York City. The subsequent black and white film by Le Blogotheque directors Vincent Moon

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