Other Movies Seen By This Director (0)
|10.25.05||Bullock IMAX||This Screening is part of event: Austin Film Festival 2005|
Ahh day six: that point where the novelty and excitement of attending a film festival gives way to marathon endurance and a growing realization that it will all soon be over.
Tonight I started with Winter Passing starring Zooey Deschanel, Ed Harris, and Will Ferrell and playing at the IMAX theater here in Austin. Several rumors had spread concerning films shown in this theater for the festival. Word had it that they showed one movie here on DVD last night. I'm sure if theaters were alive this one would be crying alone in a corner somewhere. It hardly gets to show anything besides Texas history documentaries and Stomp! films as it is, so to finally have a chance to see something worthwhile here and have it be a DVD projected into the middle of the gigantic screen is a real shame. The troubles don't end there however. Winter Passing, either from a bad print, mis-configured settings, or inept projectionists, spent half its time sputtering out droning helicopter machine-gun jackhammer noise pollution at us in the audience, sometimes cutting out to mono or dropping to a whisper. It'd be one thing if this was a fantastic movie that excelled even with the crappy sound, but to be honest this movie needed all the help it could get and truly suffered because of the sub-par presentation.
Winter Passing tells the story of Reese Holden (Zooey Deschanel), daughter to extremely successful and "important" writer parents, whose mom has just died. She's currently disconnected from her family, living in NYC acting in off-Broadway theater, doing coke with grungy guys in dingy bar bathrooms, indiscriminately sleeping with men, and slamming her hand in dresser drawers (presumably just to feel something because her life is so full of woe). A book agent approaches her with a generous offer for a series of love letters written between her parents long ago. Tempted by the money, she agrees to go back to her childhood home in Michigan and retrieve the letters for publication. Upon arrival, she finds her father Don (Ed Harris wearing a great hermit wig) living full-time in the garage, drinking himself into insanity and death. In the house, Will Ferrell and Amelia Warner play characters who nurse/aid Don with stuff like walking and eating. Will Ferrell plays Corbit, a guy who's a bit slow, either for medical reasons or just because it's funny, and Amelia Warner plays Shelly, a 23-year old hottie basically just like Katie Holmes' character in Wonder Boys except with medical problems.
The movie has your typical acoustic-folk hand-held de-saturated soggy autumnal Michigan depressio indie feel, complete with bad haircuts, overcast skylines, and dreary mornings. Winter passing is a not-nearly-as-good Wonder Boys mixed with a Bizarro-world Elf; A Jesus' Son without the charm. Granted the film does have a few moments (most coming from Ferrell's innate comedic timing), it's not completely horrible, but I found it to dip into morose melancholia a bit too much. At least it didn't feel like a play.