August: The Dead Month of Movies?

For a year that was highly-anticipatory for film, January through April took its sweet ‘ol time passing through, delivering only one fairly memorable film–The Hunger Games–and made all us viewers wonder if 2012 was really going to deliver, or just release a few biggies during the summer and Oscar seasons.

Finally, May rolled around and The Avengers blew everything away for the past 4 months. Then June opened up with some fun summer films, notably Prometheus and Snow White and the Huntsman (would everyone please stop talking about Kristen Stewart already?!), and The Dark Knight Rises showed up in July along with The Amazing Spider-Man. And now we’re sitting in August, dealing with 80s remakes and unsuccessful franchise continuations and not a whole lot of films to look forward to until October/November/December sweeps.

All of this begs me to ask, is August the “dead” month of movies? Both Total Recall and The Bourne Legacy came with their disappointments, though the latter succeeded the former with its storyline and acting alone (talking to you, Jeremy Renner!). Premium Rush is the only film I see with a hint of promise for the month. There’s a little hope with Lawless, watching Shia Labeouf attempt to win people over after his run through the Transformer films.

The only film I feel gipped for missing is Celeste and Jesse Forever, which opened only in very limited release, Rashinda Jones’s first writing project that performed successfully at Sundance.

We’re in that busy month of the year where everyone’s going back to school, and no one’s really focused on going to see a good film, with studios optimizing on the summer and Christmas breaks to release the films people most look forward to.

So ease my mind and tell me, have you liked any of the films August has offered so far? Or is it really the dead month of the year for film? What do you look forward to for the rest of the month? 

Sundance in Chicago: 2 Days in New York

So it’s been an extended weekend for me, ranging from last Friday to this past Monday. I have been incredibly busy, but I’m happy to be back to posting today.

Last Thursday, I got the opportunity to attend the Sundance Film Festival . . . in Chicago. I would have loved to attended the actual festival in Park City, but I settled for Chicago, one of the nine cities that Sundance sends a film from the festival to be screened. Chicago was the recipient of Julie Delpy’s second Sundance film, 2 Days in New York. Back in 2007, the festival showcased 2 Days in Paris, Delpy’s prequel to this year’s film. I had not seen 2 Days in Paris–and still haven’t–yet I was able to very much enjoy New York.

Screened at Chicago’s Music Box Theater, 2 Days in New York was a hit. It was cool to sit among the other 640 something people for the movie experience. Co-writer and star Alexia Landeau attended and answered questions for the Q/A session following the film. Then, the film’s director, writer, and star–Julie Delpy–appeared on the screen via Skype, and continued with the session.

I won’t review the film in its entirety, but I will say that 2 Days in New York is worth a watch for those of you out there who enjoy comedy. I don’t think I’ve ever attended a film that garnered as many laughs as New York  did. Delpy’s father, Albert, actually played her French-speaking father, who shared some hilarious scenes with Chris Rock, each struggling to understand one another. Delpy explained in the Q/A session that those scenes were very real considering that her father speaks little to no English, and Rock isn’t exactly a multilingual guy who majored in French at college.

The film had its ups and downs. There were some parts that didn’t seem to quite fit together all too well with the plot (such as the scene where she sells her soul to Vincent Gallo!), while other scenes sparked hilarity, such as Delpy using the excuse of having a brain tumor to get her neighbor to lay off calling the police for the noise her French family caused. Wholly original, 2 Days in New York is a fun ride, but not incredibly memorable. It lacks a certain kind of emotion to make a viewer care, but it has enough poise to let you enjoy the film and laugh along with it.

It was nice to see Rock play straight to the Delpy’s hilarious protagonist. New York is a different film altogether that you probably haven’t seen. There may be bits and pieces of it that you’ve seen in other comedies, but New York has a mind of its own, in a playful, unique kind of way.

Even GQ took notice of  Delpy’s hilarious performance, including her in their top 15 performances of the festival. Also, be sure to check out EW‘s hilarious portraits of the cast. The film is released in theaters on March 28, 2012.