Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Talk Cinema: 2 Days in New York

Just in case anybody from Magnolia is reading this and wants to get on me, eFilmCritic, or Independent Film Festival Boston - I'm not breaking the embargo imposed on the IFFBoston screening, because I wasn't there (I saw Think of Me instead) and didn't go to this screening to try and exploit some sort of loophole (I bought tickets for the entire Talk Cinema series last year). Besides, eFilmCritic has an international audience and this has already come out in the UK.

I mean, I'll take it down if you insist because I don't want of those entities to deal with any crap, but can we just take a moment to pause and think about the absurdity of embargoing film festival screenings, especially since every one with filmmakers present includes an exhortation to get the word out? That's basically an implicit amendment to what the guests are saying: "If you liked the movie, please vote for it on IMDB, tweet/Facebook/blog about it -- except you guys who people might listen to; you've got to wait!"

Anyway, now that that's out of the way, this was the last screening in the Talk Cinema series, which turned out pretty good. I likely would have seen most of the ones I got to anyway, and I regret missing the one I did for misreading the calendar. I'll probably do it again next year, although it is a bit of cash for movies that will likely be getting a local release soon enough. The feedback portion can be a mixed bag; the portion that a critic has prepared beforehand is usually pretty good, but I'm a bit skeptical about what we all say immediately after the movie. I need a bit of mulling-over time to really formulate my thoughts, which sometimes only really solidify as I'm writing (and aren't you glad that you mostly just see the result, rather than "I think A, B, and C... oh, wait, C totally changes A, select, delete, new words, control-end, blah-blah backspace backspace backspace..."?), so I don't contribute much.

The conversation at this one was a little like that, a lot of half-formed thoughts. There's a bit of a theme of how liberals can stereotype just as much as the conservatives who are often painted as racists - hence the way Marion's family acts kind of crassly around Mingus - but that sort of petered out, and it took me until I was actually writing the review to connect it less with politics than how these French people view America, kind of a counterpoint to how 2 Days in Paris had fun dashing American preconceptions of France.

I don't recall how many people in the room had seen 2 Days in Paris at all, for that matter; I'm guessing not that many, because the first movie barely came up in the discussion. In fact--

(SPOILERS!) when discussing the matter of who had purchased Marion's soul at auction, the discussion was mostly about what people thought of Vincent Gallo outside the movie. That's fair; it's all of those things that make his unbilled cameo very funny (although maybe kind of inside/obscure, as Marion actually has to say "you're Vincent Gallo" before things start to click), but saying "I hate Vincent Gallo so I hated this part" is kind of frustrating; it's such an over-the-top parody that it should be funny for exactly the reasons you hate him. Still, as much as I liked that gag, I was pretty much expecting it to be Adam Goldberg's character from the previous movie. Jack has sort of been hanging over things a little, much like Marie Pillet's absence has, and while I don't think the story really needed an appearance by the guy, it's a place I could see the movie going.

Or maybe a lot of other people had the same thought, and didn't raise their hands for the same reason I didn't.(!SRELIOPS)

Still, pretty good movie, and while I'm glad I saw Think of Me at IFFBoston - I've got my doubts as to that getting distribution - I do rather wish I'd been able to see Julie Delpy introduce/answer questions in person. (Haven't had time to watch this yet, unfortunately.)

2 Days in New York

* * * (out of four)
Seen 6 May 2012 in Coolidge Corner Theatre #1 (Talk Cinema, 35mm)

Sequels to independent films that didn't really break out are kind of odd things; the audience is as much those who heard the first movie was pretty good as the people who loved it, so even more than with studio productions, they've got to be accessible and familiar, though without actually repeating anything. 2 Days in New York manages this pretty well; it amuses whether you've taken the previous trip to Paris or not.

When we last saw Marion (Julie Delpy), she and her boyfriend Jack were visiting her family in Paris. Now they have a son but are no longer together; Marion and Lulu (Owen Shipman) instead share an apartment in New York City with new boyfriend Mingu (Chris Rock) and his daughter Willow (Talen Riley). Marion is having her first gallery show of her photography tomorrow (where, as a conceptual piece, she will auction off her soul), and has invited her father Jeannot (Julie's own father Albert Delpy) and sister Rose (Alexia Landeau) - who brings a boyfriend, Manu (Alex Nahon), who had been with Marion years ago.

While both 2 Days movies are rooted in the same thing - the hidden tensions between Marion and her boyfriend being brought to the surface and exacerbated by her crazy, crude family, at first glance New York seemed a bit less clever and subversive than Paris, which gleefully demolished the romantic mystique of Paris one horribly racist cab driver at a time - an ambition this movie seemingly does not share. Then it dawned on me that I'm an American, and thus wasn't looking at things from Rose's and Manu's point of view, which has them discovering that New York, Americans in general, and black Americans in particular, are not exactly the anarchic rebels they had imagined. It's not quite the same - Rose & Manu are such broadly-sketched characters that I somewhat doubt that French audiences saw them as surrogates (though, to be fair, Adam Goldberg's Jack was pretty weird, too).

Full review at EFC.

No comments: