Although Wednesday was Day 1 of the 2010 Wisconsin Film Festival, it seems fair to say that the fest didn’t kick off in earnest until last night. I caught two films: Benny and Josh Safdie’s revelatory “Daddy Longlegs” (2009) and Bong Joon-ho’s ridiculous and ridiculously fun “The Host” (2006).
“Daddy Longlegs,” formerly known as “Go Get Some Rosemary,” overflowed with feeling, charm and painful honesty; Ronald Bronstein’s performance as Lenny, a film projectionist who apparently attended the William Burroughs school of parenting, is the strongest and most magnetic I’ve seen so far this year, trumping even the excellent work of Ben Stiller and Greta Gerwig in “Greenberg.” “Daddy Longlegs” will screen again at 11 on Saturday morning at the MMoCA; there’s a pretty good chance that I’ll be there for seconds.
“The Host” had its Orpheum audience in the palm of its slimy, mutant-reptilian hand. The film was hammy as hell, unsubtle in its politics and grandly operatic in its overall sensibility. The visual texture of “The Host” was really something: dirty, damp, bloody at times, scaly—and then abruptly sterile, clean, white. It certainly helped that I had plenty of good company with me at the screening, of course.
For more on yesterday’s proceedings, check out Sally Franson’s coverage over at the Isthmus. (A line formed at the Orpheum for “The Host” at 9:30? Yeesh. I walked in at 10:10 and had no trouble finding a prime seat.)
As far as today (Day 3) is concerned, there’s much to do and see. In today’s DC you’ll find a batch of recommendations from my colleagues Kevin Slane, Kyle Sparks, Mark Riechers and Todd Stevens; it looks to me like they made some good picks.
Me, I’ll be attending “Collateral” at the Orpheum at 4:30 (the NY Times’ Manohla Dargis will introduce), “Harmony and Me” at the Union Theater at 7:45 (director Bob Byington will be in attendance and will do a Q&A after the screening) and “It Came from Kuchar” at the Play Circle at 9:45 (to be preceded by George Kuchar’s “500 Millibars to Ecstasy”). I’ve got big-time expectations for all three.
Whatever you do, go see some goddamn movies.