All Tomorrow's Parties

Battles, Belle & Sebastian, Dirty Three, Grinderman, Octopus Project, The Gossip, Animal Collective, Saul Williams, Daniel Johnson, Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Mogwai, Hawk & A Hacksaw, David Cross, Iggy & The Stooges, The Boredoms, Fuck Buttons, Sonic Youth, Akron/Family, Mars Volta, Portishead, Les Savy Fav, Patty Smith, and Grizzly Bear

Sounds like a newbie Indie kid's Amazon wishlist, instead these are the artists that populate ALL TOMORROW'S PARTIES. This suedo-documentary is great in its conception, but fails to give us enough of each band or a straightforward plotline (though one is never needed in a music film). It is conceived from fan footage/found footage during different Holiday Camps sponsored by various musicians. I don't ask a lot from music docs, except for music and in this area it delivers almost too much. Each band gets less then two minutes of face time, so it plays like a guessing game. While the inbetween footage is fun and homages Woodstock in its use of split screen, these 'kids' that the film is somehow about come across more as hipsters than lovers of the music/movement. Their documented debauchery and all too hip clothing seem more like artifacts of a culture trying to create themselves in the eyes of the past rather than forming the titular - "future party." What truly bothered me were the shots of drunken Neanderthal behavior that seemed to convey a mixed message - douchebags listen to great indie music?

Putting aside this infectious idea of a counter-culture that buys its image to look counter-cultural, and spoiled children with the ability to go on holiday to spend the week with their favorite bands - and not have to worry about WORK or BILLS, lets look at the positive message embedded in this film. The new DIY generation with all of its toys and abilities to create can form a revolution in the music industry - independent artists that could never be heard before are becoming the forerunners of a new music industry. This new electronic/throwback/sweet/rock/metal is setting new standards for the future of music, so even with douchebags and hipsters listening to it the perpetuating effects of a DIY culture is the positive that prevails.

Check it out for the music - not the short bits between acts.

Rating: IV/V

GREENBERG


Preface:

Not a normal Niche review, because GREENBERG is getting a lot of press, but Baumbach's genius here is not in creating something for the masses it is creating something far too human.

And so it begins...

Noah Baumbach does it again. By it I am referring to his simple ambiguous style he refined in SQUID AND THE WHALE and continued in MARGOT AT THE WEDDING - both films contain a feeling that is never conveyed within the narrative. He never hands us his characters - though he used to i.e. KICKING AND SCREAMING (1995). His characters create themselves on the screen and we are given a glimpse at their psychology but pinpointing them or stereotyping them is impossible - because they are ‘real.’

Roger Greenberg is 40, lost, and recovering from a mental breakdown. This said mental breakdown is never given description or reason which is what makes it human, sure a shortcut would be Roger has lead a life without any direction until it finally collapsed upon him, or the negation of a musical career has finally taken its toll, but a breakdown never has one specific cause. Roger has become an anxiety induced monster that builds defenses all around him to create what he believes is comfort, but while watching his brother’s house for six weeks in the city where all his old ties remain, those walls begin to crumble. Enter Florence Marr played by Greta Gerwig, everyone’s favorite mumble-core girl. Florence is 25, lost, and recovering from a long term relationship - she is vulnerable and wading in the shallow end of despair. The two of them have the oddest and most awkward chemistry of an on-screen couple I’ve seen, but it works, and that is what makes the film good.

One could write Roger off as an asshole, but there is much more to him. It’s great that at one moment you can sympathize with him, and then the next really hate him. His party scene is by far some of the best dialogue in the film - he trashes college freshman types while on coke = pure gold.

Baumbach asked James Murphy to do the score because the script came out of a sort of musical epiphany that happened to him and Jenifer Jason Leigh while listening to LCD Soundsystem’s “All My Friends.” Murphy’s music works perfectly in the film and each track makes your head bob to the beat.

Of course this film isn't for everyone, if it were it would be called NIGHT AT THE MUSEUM 3 and lack any artistic talent or creativity.

RATING V/V

TAKING OFF: Milos Forman's First English Film


Prior to Milos Forman's groundbreaking adaptation of ONE FLEW OVER THE CUCKOOS NEST, he made a wonderfully radical film called TAKING OFF which featured extreme hippy overtones. This film has never received a wide DVD release and thus is holy grail to find. I viewed a VHS of it recently and it still lives up to what it was in 1971. The basic plot is simple: a married couple Lynn and Larry Tyne cope with their runaway daughter. What makes this so interesting is how they cope. The Tynes' have decided that their daughter shouldn't be the only one having fun and seize the opportunity to relinquish their parenting duties to dance, drink, smoke pot, gamble, and be merry.

Among the twenty films in Forman's repartee, the Czech born director has achieved international acclaim with only a select few. First with FIREMAN'S BALL (1967), then ONE FLEW... (1975), AMADEUS (1984), and finally MAN ON THE MOON (1999). Each one with its own independent theme and feel. He isn't an auteur filmmaker, but his acclaim is fitting. Even with TAKING OFF, Foreman won the "grand prize of the jury" at the Cannes film festival which for a hippy comedy is a huge achievement.

The film relies heavily on its creative editing techniques, on first viewing it feels cacophonous as you try to establish the plot but it finds its rhythm quickly. When you see it again - everything fits. The editing feels like the brain child of Scorsese's work on WOODSTOCK coupled with every Hal Ashby film. He uses two main narratives and cuts between them, one is an audition for what in reality is TAKING OFF and the other is the main plot-line. So each woman auditioning for a film part is singing (mostly about independence and female empowerment) while the Tyne family struggles to find their daughter and end up finding their own zest for life again. While by todays standards this technique can come across as gimmicky, here it adds a completely different texture to the film.

Overall a great find for any film lover. I believe you can stream this one in 9 parts on YOUTUBE

Here is the best scene of the film:


RATING: IV/V

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