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Starz Denver Film Festival 2010 Picks

The wonderful thing about film festivals like the Starz Denver Film Festival is (November 3 – 14, 2010), when the lights go down and we have turned off our cell phones, what appears on the screen is free from “feel good movie of the year” anecdotes, a 3D horror-meets-jaws-meets-spring-break, talking dogs, a remake of 80s television show that wasn’t that good to begin with…you get the picture. Pun intended.

Blank City

It was an era that will never repeat. It was New York City in the ’70s, when creativity rose from the ashes of the East Village and the Bowery in the form of music, film, and art, stripped down and true to life to the point that one filmmaker was detained by police at the airport for the posession of underground films.

In her documentary debut, filmmaker Céline Danhier pulls scenes from Jean-Michel Basquiat and Vincent Gallo’s “Downtown 81,” interviews with John Waters along with  New Wave pioneers of the day Lydia Lunch and Thurston Moore, and takes us back in history via black and white Super-8 and 16mm film clips of Jim Jarmusch, Debra Harry and Steve Buscemi.

Debbie Harry puts it this way, “It felt like our lives were movies. It was very cinematic.”



“This is like in Colorado where they build developments and suddently people are being eaten by mountain lions.”

What Austin is going through and what the documentary “Echotone” captures is a huge gripe those of us who live and play in our given downtown neighborhoods have: people moving into a downtown area, and then complaining about what goes on there, mainly the noise, people out at late hours. You know. Downtown city shinanigans.


William S. Burroughs: A Man Within

I’ll go see any film on William S. Burroughs, and there have been a few. I always admire anyone who not only give a middle finger to those who judge and are clueless about taking advantage of the fruits of life, but does it in such a brash yet intelligent way. Anyone who appreciates literature, art, drugs, sex, and rebel-esque American culture should appreciate this flick as well. Director Yony Leyser takes on this provocative subject.


Nice Guy Johnny

I’ve also been a fan of Edward Burns for some time. And among all the documentaries, it is nice to throw in a light-hearted feature film to balance things out. This film, directed by Burns, seems like the perfect recipe for escape.

Featuring actors that are on their way up, including Max Baker and Kerry Bishe, along with Burns himself (of course), the story is one that is quite common: do we as adults need to sacrifice our passion in trade for stability and financial security? I have a feeling that the film’s main character, Johnny Rizzo, who is an avid sports nut with a dream job as a sports radio jock, will be doing some real soul searching as he contemplates his upcoming marriage and the responsiblities of being an adult and a husband. Will he quit his job to take another offered by his father-in-law at a cardboard manufacturing (cough, boring!, cough) company?  Or will his accidental meeting of a tall blonde, a free spirit who fuels his own way of life, sway him the other way? Hmmmm…


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