1. Dungeon Masters
An attempt at eye-level documentary of three still-operating Dungeon Masters. One is an active American Reservist who has a wife one would assume to sway the army from examining his obvious need to come out. Another is a part-time apartment manager living in Torrance with a wife and kid who just can’t find a way to make a living doing what he does best – running a D&D campaign. The other is a lonely intelligent girl from Mississippi who paints herself black from head to toe to become a Drow Elf and frequently participates in LARP (live-action role-play). The score is by Blonde Redhead. The film is great, one of my festival favorites, but there is so much more to mine, that I left feeling a bit cheated and curious if it was really as neutral an eye as the introduction claimed. I felt a like the director was mesmerized by the nerdiness of it all. I think there is more to the culture than nerddom. But that’s just me.
2. Who Do You Love
Bleh. What is it with German directors who can’t grasp what it is that makes American music as cool as it is? An outside-in fanboy look at the Chess Record label, it misses every opporunity for nuance, subtext and so on and defaults to the same shitty Lifetime Network Movie of the Week about [Insert Blues/Rock Icon Here] growing-up-in-a-small-time, having-affair-on-his-small-town wife,-seeing-the-error-in-his-ways, trying to -to-get-her-back,-left-onstage-at-the-end-with-the-fans, but-was-it-really-worth-it? formula that we saw in Ray, Walk The Line, etc etc ad nauseum except to the point of caricature.
Stop-motion. Using almost Bunuelesque surrealism, a freaky fallen angel character who I am still contemplating, great voice work from Geoffrey Rush and company, eerie winsome soundtrack, a refreshing and candid fiction about the meaning of life.
Recommend if you can ever find it in distribution.
4. American Swing
Some documentaries are just plain archaeological digs that endeavor to retroactively reassemble a story from the few bone fragments discovered. This one feels like that and does a remarkably good job considering the short order of barely viewable beta 3/4″ footage they have to intercut between the HD interviews they shot with the old-folks who once moshed around in a couple of club basements in New York in the ’70’s fucking everything that moved. Then AIDS and coke came into the picture and the scene crashed and roll credits. Cool enough I suppose, if I cared a little more.
For a slow night, or if you need more insight into why people dig the Lifestyle.