19 October, 2014
92. Catfish
Directed by: Henry Joost, Ariel Schulman
Produced by: Andrew Jarecki, Henry Joost, Ariel Schulman, Marc Smerling, among others
Cinematography by: Henry Joost, Ariel Schulman, Yaniv Schulman
Edited by: Zachary Stuart-Pontier
Original Score by: Mark Mothersbaugh
Subjects: Yaniv “Nev” Schulman, Ariel “Rel” Schulman, Henry Joost, Angela Wesselman-Pierce, Melody C. Roscher, among others
Synopsis: Two twentysomething filmmakers (Ariel Schulman and Henry Joost) start to document Schulman’s brother, “Nev”, as he develops this relationship with a woman he met over Facebook after her sister sent him a painting of one of his photos. The friendly relationship soon becomes more intimate, but as it does Nev starts to find holes in the logic of her story. On a spur-of-the-moment detour from one of the group’s gigs, they travel to this woman’s house to watch the truth unravel.
Thoughts:
(Some of this will be put under the “Read more” tag because it’s hard to talk about its overall emotional impact without discussing some of the spoilers.)
I might’ve read too much of the buzz surrounding this film before actually seeing it, so I already had the gist of what the ending would be and its sense of surprise was lessened. That being said, for the first half of the movie I had a really hard time believing any of it to be real—or, at the very least, heavily fabricated and/or worthy of documentation. Sure, it’s not like online romantic relationships are super common—and sure, it may be a little out of the ordinary to receive oil-painted fan art of your photographic work—but even in an age of massive multimedia obsession it seems really weird to me that these guys would spend almost a year just following their brother around with a camera to document his every trivial move with a possible love interest. Hell, this was even made before Vine or Snapchat was a thing, so these are some really camera-happy dudes! And Nev isn’t even all that interesting of a guy to begin with—he’s just a college-aged New Yorker feigning interest in the daily events of this dubbed “Facebook Family’s” life.
And, as some reviews have stated, the film feels a little too convenient to be legitimate. Even though the filmmakers claim happy coincidence, it seems to unfold in a way that’s too perfectly narrative.
But let’s play innocent for a minute. Let’s give these filmmakers the shadow of a doubt…
[[MORE]]
As they soon discover, the family members who Nev was interacting with were either made up completely or greatly exaggerated by a middle-aged housewife/painter named Angela. After enough patient prodding, she admits to fabricating the whole situation: the painter wunderkind and dedicated horse farmer daughters (she actually does two daughters but neither of them hold their fake versions’ interests), as well as the art gallery sales, the extended family, and many other details.
Angela admits to creating the ruse as a way to escape the pains she’s experienced her whole life, from never pursuing her dreams of art and dance as a child to other family-related hardships (she doesn’t go too deep into her own past, but she’s seen currently caring for her two adult stepsons, both of whom are severely mentally handicapped and at times a bit aggressive). Whether or not this whole situation is true or not—as these filmmakers might’ve actually known what was going on from the start and simply exploited her loneliness for entertainment value—Angela’s story isn’t so creepy as it is heartbreaking. Her story is a search for happiness and acceptance and how she ended up finding it through the Internet, regardless of its short lifespan. Angela’s tale (if it’s true) is a prime example of the power given to individuals by social media to create new lives for themselves and, in a way, start over from a blank slate.
I’m still debating how much of this documentary was fabricated, and whether or not it can even be considered as a good example of exposé journalism, but its ending was powerful enough to sway me over from completely hating it. So I guess that’s a plus….Not a very big plus, but a plus nonetheless.

92. Catfish

Directed by: Henry Joost, Ariel Schulman

Produced by: Andrew Jarecki, Henry Joost, Ariel Schulman, Marc Smerling, among others

Cinematography by: Henry Joost, Ariel Schulman, Yaniv Schulman

Edited by: Zachary Stuart-Pontier

Original Score by: Mark Mothersbaugh

Subjects: Yaniv “Nev” Schulman, Ariel “Rel” Schulman, Henry Joost, Angela Wesselman-Pierce, Melody C. Roscher, among others

Synopsis: Two twentysomething filmmakers (Ariel Schulman and Henry Joost) start to document Schulman’s brother, “Nev”, as he develops this relationship with a woman he met over Facebook after her sister sent him a painting of one of his photos. The friendly relationship soon becomes more intimate, but as it does Nev starts to find holes in the logic of her story. On a spur-of-the-moment detour from one of the group’s gigs, they travel to this woman’s house to watch the truth unravel.

Thoughts:

(Some of this will be put under the “Read more” tag because it’s hard to talk about its overall emotional impact without discussing some of the spoilers.)

I might’ve read too much of the buzz surrounding this film before actually seeing it, so I already had the gist of what the ending would be and its sense of surprise was lessened. That being said, for the first half of the movie I had a really hard time believing any of it to be real—or, at the very least, heavily fabricated and/or worthy of documentation. Sure, it’s not like online romantic relationships are super common—and sure, it may be a little out of the ordinary to receive oil-painted fan art of your photographic work—but even in an age of massive multimedia obsession it seems really weird to me that these guys would spend almost a year just following their brother around with a camera to document his every trivial move with a possible love interest. Hell, this was even made before Vine or Snapchat was a thing, so these are some really camera-happy dudes! And Nev isn’t even all that interesting of a guy to begin with—he’s just a college-aged New Yorker feigning interest in the daily events of this dubbed “Facebook Family’s” life.

And, as some reviews have stated, the film feels a little too convenient to be legitimate. Even though the filmmakers claim happy coincidence, it seems to unfold in a way that’s too perfectly narrative.

But let’s play innocent for a minute. Let’s give these filmmakers the shadow of a doubt…

Read More

19 October, 2014
91. Kill the Messenger
Directed by: Michael Cuesta
Written by: Peter Landesman (based on the books “Dark Alliance” by Gary Webb and “Kill the Messenger” by Nick Schou)
Produced by: Pamela Abdy, Naomi Despres, Jeremy Renner, Scott Stuber, among others
Cinematography by: Sean Bobbitt
Edited by: Brian A. Kates
Original Score by: Nathan Johnson
Starring: Jeremy Renner, Rosemarie DeWitt, Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Oliver Platt, Lucas Hedges, Paz Vega, Barry Pepper, Tim Blake Nelson, Michael Kenneth Williams, Andy Garcia, Michael Sheen, Dan Futterman, Richard Schiff, Aaron Farb, Yul Vazquez, Robert Patrick, Ray Liotta
Synopsis & Thoughts:
Mini-review coming soon.

91. Kill the Messenger

Directed by: Michael Cuesta

Written by: Peter Landesman (based on the books “Dark Alliance” by Gary Webb and “Kill the Messenger” by Nick Schou)

Produced by: Pamela Abdy, Naomi Despres, Jeremy Renner, Scott Stuber, among others

Cinematography by: Sean Bobbitt

Edited by: Brian A. Kates

Original Score by: Nathan Johnson

Starring: Jeremy Renner, Rosemarie DeWitt, Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Oliver Platt, Lucas Hedges, Paz Vega, Barry Pepper, Tim Blake Nelson, Michael Kenneth Williams, Andy Garcia, Michael Sheen, Dan Futterman, Richard Schiff, Aaron Farb, Yul Vazquez, Robert Patrick, Ray Liotta

Synopsis & Thoughts:

Mini-review coming soon.

18 October, 2014
"What makes cinema so attractive, so fascinating is that it’s not just a one plus one process. It’s a chemistry between sounds, words, ideas & image."

— Wong Kar-Wai (via bisoushells)

(via salesonfilm)

18 October, 2014
Dividing Highway.

Dividing Highway.

17 October, 2014
Brass Light Gallery.

Brass Light Gallery.