There’s an undeniable novelty to this 1999 dramatic feature by writer-director-actor Sujit Saraf about Indian engineers living and working in Silicon Valley, but there’s also an undeniable tedium in the insularity it not only describes but embodies. The all-male group of friends and coworkers are plainly bored and alienated, a problem expressed with craft and taste but little urgency. The film’s publicity states that it has been made by, for, and about Silicon Valley engineers. It should also have a wider appeal among expatriate Indians and Indians in the urban centers of India. Anyone who fits one of these categories can probably find his or her own way to this; the rest of us have to relate to it rather voyeuristically. (JR) On the same program, two 1999 short films: Nancy M. Kwon’s The Question and Allison Lee’s Trick or Treat.
It must have been therapeutic for former management consultant Danny Yoon to throw caution to the wind and make this amateur 1999 comedy feature about his struggle to recuperate from a serious head injurya production in which he functions as writer, producer, director, cinematographer, editor, and lead actor. It might even be edifying for other people recovering from serious head injuries to laugh at Yoon’s jokes, including his satirical segments about New Age therapies. But what about the rest of us? This is good-natured and likeable as a serious form of fooling around, but I can’t say I found it very entertaining or interesting. The unvarnished acting charms initially through its brazen lack of pretense, then gets dull and duller. Extended clips from Plan 9 From Outer Space suggest that Yoon knows how bad this is, but that doesn
A video documentary about the celebrated Hollywood noir actress and neglected independent film director. (JR)
A feature-length 1986 documentary by Hiroshi Fukumoto chronicling a Tokyo performance by the great jazz vocalist and pianist. (JR)
By their own admission, screenwriters Joan Didion and John Gregory Dunne spent only a day or so researching their assigned topicNew York junkiesand this early Jerry Schatzberg feature (1971) shows it, though Al Pacino plays one of the two romantic leads (along with Kitty Winn), and many of Schatzberg’s fans have praised the mise en scene. With Richard Bright, Raul Julia, and Paul Sorvino. 110 min. (JR)