CIFF 2012 Day 5: Empire Builder & Not Fade Away

CIFF 2012 Day 5: Empire Builder & Not Fade Away

My last day at the Chicago International Film Festival started out with Kris Swanberg who was there to introduce Empire Builder and a short Q&A afterwards. She introduced the film by saying that it is a very personal film. It is easy to tell that by how much of her real family was in the film; the baby was her real life 10 month old child and the man who played the husband was her actual husband (famous mumblecore director Joe Swanberg).

Empire Builder is about a young mother who is looking to escape, if only for a bit, her routine marriage. She and her child leave behind their Chicago home as well as her husband for a week to a cabin they inherit in Montana. A handyman who is working on the cabin sparks her interest and she is initially drawn to him. The new exciting guy eventually ends up as dull as the husband she escaped from in the beginning.

There is not much dialog outside of 30 minutes in, which is when the title cards appears. Instead on relying on dialog it mostly observes characters from the outside without really hearing what they are thinking. It is a slow moving film that really works (something I have not had much success with at the festival up until this point).

RATING: 7.1/10

Empire Builder movie
Empire Builder

My last film of the day and festival was Not Fade Away by director David Chase who also was there for a Q&A. This is a film that will probably be a hit for the target audience (anyone who grew up in the 1960’s). The reason being is that this is a pure nostalgia piece for the Rock n’ Roll era of the 60’s.

Not Fade Away follows an unknown (and fictitious) band made up of three friends who want to make it big like their idols the Rolling Stones. As you could guess the soundtrack was good but you would assume it would be considering the film is centered around music. James Gandolfini steals every scene he is in as the supporting actor. A lot of people will have a problem with the ending and rightfully so. It is a real head scratcher of an ending. For the most part, the film feels like it is on cruise control.

RATING: 6.2/10

Not Fade Away movie
Not Fade Away

COMING UP: Before I leave town tomorrow I plan catch Looper, which is not apart of CIFF but is one that have been meaning to see. It was nice to be apart of the Chicago International Film Festival, we had fun!

Recap of some of my Tweets from today:

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Author: Dustin Jansick

Dustin Jansick is an independent film critic who also enjoys; indie music, cooking, technology, sports, puzzles, graphic design, and P.T. Anderson films. He is the founder and editor-in-chief of Way Too Indie, which means he reviews hundreds of movies each year. Also a proud member of the OFCS.

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