At first, it was comforting to walk through Provincetown Friday night and see how little had changed in the two years since my last visit... all the same shops, boys, bears, and drag queens hawking their evening cabaret acts.

On Saturday, everything changed.

The world seemed much more lucid and vivid to me than ever before. My awareness of all of life's possibilities increased significantly. It was exhilarating and frightening. Initially, I felt like I was losing control, and it took awhile for that feeling to dissipate.

Anyway, that's all I want to say on the subject in my blog for now. On to the filmfest...

I saw four movies. I had already seen Dig! at the Independent Film Festival of Boston, albeit with fucked-up sound. This time, the sound was better but the aspect ratio was off. Still, it more than held up to a second viewing, and I can't imagine anyone being put off by this fizzy, highly entertaining documentary. The only challenge is getting 'em into the theaters.


Having had time to process this, I've concluded that it isn't that abrupt a change from director Christopher Munch's previous work after all. The same constants are there: sex, family, conversation, landscapes, but in a decidedly less austere package.

Harry and Max are brothers (aged 23 and 16) who both happen to be pop stars, and this film explores the slipperiness of their relationship, which crosses sibling boundaries in more ways than one. Many have commented on how uncomfortable this film made them feel, but Rick and I agreed that, on the contrary, it didn't go far enough. Instead of pushing Harry and Max towards some sort of catharsis about each other or even some self-realization, its supposedly controversial subject matter just seems like a wasted tease.


Since the book is one of my favorites, I approached this one with equal gobs of anticipation and dread. A truly faithful adaptation would have to be five hours long, and the casting of Colin Farrell gives the movie "star power", which it really doesn't need (and which I felt was a detriment to The Hours).

Even though it cuts out a fairly major character and settles for an omniscient point of view (rather than the book's chapter=character format), Michael Cunningham fully captures his book's beauty in his adapted screenplay. The story follows two Cleveland teenagers, Jonathan (Dallas Roberts) and Bobby (Farrell), from 1967 through the '80s when they reunite in New York and form a makeshift family with a female friend, Claire (Robin Wright-Penn). There are many highly emotional scenes that could've easily been cheapened into melodramatic hackwork, but instead, they're handled deftly. I can recall at least two halfway through that left me shaken and I couldn't stop thinking about them through the rest of the film.

The cast is pretty stellar, especially newcomer Roberts and the inimitable Sissy Spacek as his mother. Even Farrell proves not to be an odd choice as Bobby--it's possibly his least flashiest, realest performance to date. I hope people take notice of the actors playing teenaged Jonathan and Bobby: they're responsible for one of those amazing scenes I alluded to above.

While this isn't really an unconventional or innovative film via construction or execution (like Lost In Translation was), it was thoughtful, honest and pretty damn moving to me, and that's enough.

(What I saw in P-Town, however, wasn't the final cut. In a Q and A with Roberts after the screening, he mentioned a key scene that was cut, but will be restored when the film hits theaters in late July. It changes our perception of Bobby considerably, and although the film didn't fall apart without it, now that I know about it I'd be sorely disappointed if it didn't make the final cut.)


A film with more great performances than the director knows what to do with: just the cast alone (Mark Ruffalo, Laura Dern, Peter Krause, and Naomi Watts) was all I needed to want to see it. All four leads are good, with Ruffalo finally delivering that big lead performance his admirers have been waiting for. And people put off by Watts' histrionics in 21 Grams will love her restraint here.

Unfortunately, it amounts to a slow, brooding tone poem about infidelity/jealously/dysfunction/desire between two married couples in a small college town. I admired that someone chose to make a film about this particular subject. But The Ice Storm and The Secret Lives of Dentists had a lot more to say about it, and they tempered their pretensions with more humor and depth. Oh well, at least this one's Denis Leary-free.