After a lengthy dryspell without attending any screenings, I've recently hit a deluge of sneak previews. A mixture of a lack of daytime screenings, prior engagements, and the onset of the summer blockbuster season have culminated in flood of screenings over the past couple of weeks. Since I have a few reviews I'd like to get through, I'll keep them relatively short.
The newest Michael Caine film, "Is Anybody There?" is a cute film about a young boy who lives with his parents who operate a retirement home out of their house. The boy is obsessed with ghosts and the afterlife while Caine is a former magician whose senility is fading. I'd say rent it or catch it on TV.
"Lymelife" is a "coming-of-age" tale starring one of the Culkin brothers. The story focuses on Rory Culkin as he deals with his parents' failing marriage, the changing dynamic of his socio-economic status, and his crush on longtime friend, Emma Roberts. There's also a lyme disease scare, Cynthia Nixon's horrible New York accent, and some of the worst composition in the history of cinematography. The story is clunky and predictable with characters who are inconsistent, unbelievable, or totally flat. Skip it - avoid it at all costs.
Probably one of the best films I've seen in a long time is "Sugar," the second feature from Ryan Fleck, director of "Half Nelson," and writing partner Anna Boden. "Sugar" follows the rise of a Dominican Republic baseball player who hopes to make the big leagues.
The film is shot in a cinema vérité style and took turns I was not expecting from beginning to end. If you enjoy baseball, you'll like the film, but I think you'll especially enjoy it if you liked "Half Nelson" as this is not what I expected next from Fleck at all. It's somewhat daring, unconventional, and shows great promise for the young director duo. See it.
All three films will be starting tomorrow (5/8/09) at Plaza Frontenac.