|Index||5 reviews in total|
1999 contains some witty, well-written dialogue, but the plot eventually
stalls leaving the audience unfulfilled. The editing and film quality is
also sub-standard creating an ambience of unprofessionalism rather than
This timely film takes place New Year's Eve 1999 -- on the eve of the millenium. The film explores the relationships of a number of 20/30 something New Yorker's attending their last New Year's Eve Party of the century. Sort of an attempt at a Woody Allen-style for the younger indie-film set.
The main plot line revolves around Andrew Goldman (Matt McGrath) the party's host and his relationship with his father (Buck Henry). Unfortunately, this story stalls and the resolution is uninteresting.
The plot line involving a love triangle between Rufus Wild (Dan Futterman), Annabell (Jennifer Garner) and Nicole (Amanda Peet) fares better as the appealing and talented actors carry the day over the pedestrian story line.
Some of the lesser characters in the film provide its most interesting moments. Sandrine Holt excels in the part of Suki. Steven Wright is hillarious as the Goatman. Margaret Devine is fantastic as Sylvia.
While not groundbreaking, and certainly flawed, 1999 has some nice moments and some interesting performances.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
First-time director Nick Davis shows impressive rookie chops in this
freshman outing, skillfully handling one of the more diverse and
engaging casts you will find assembled in any ensemble piece - from
then almost-unknowns Jennifer Garner and Amanda Peet, to
well-established actors such as Steven Wright, to the legendary Buck
Henry who appears as the characters', and the film's, pater familias.
It isn't often a director so successfully manages a group of both new
and established talents as Davis does here.
Fans of My Dinner with André, Metropolitan, The Anniversary Party, and Rachel Getting Married will enjoy this pleasurable look at a disparate group of New Yorkers who come together at a party at their friend Andrew's (Matt McGrath) townhouse on New Year's Eve, 1999, to await the New Millennium and what, if any, changes it will bring to their somewhat chaotic lives; also viewers who enjoy the films of Henry Jaglom (especially New Year's Day and Someone to Love) and even the '70s films of Robert Altman such as Welcome to L.A. and A Wedding.
This movie also may have the funniest Bay City Rollers joke in film history.
The characters are universally engaging. Garner is charming as Annabell, the on-again, off-again girlfriend of main character Rufus Wild (Dan Futterman). Garner acts with a depth of feeling which we (understandably) never got to see on Alias. Once you've see her here, her strong work in The Invention of Lying (2009) comes as much less of a surprise. Amanda Peet is perfect as Nicole, the "perfect fantasy woman" who for a time distracts Rufus from his real, and thus much more difficult, relationship with Garner's Annabell.
If Rookie Director Davis makes one rookie mistake it is the most forgivable, in my opinion: he tries to do too much. While it is a movie about a party, and scene-setting is essential, Davis spreads himself too thin, lavishing screen time on fundamentally ancillary characters while neglecting the three main characters -- Futterman's Rufus, Garner's Annabell, and Matt McGrath's Andrew -- for too long periods at a time. Thus there is a sense of missed opportunity (but also future promise) that haunts the end of this film, but one that mirrors one's actual experience at many real parties, where one spends too much time talking with people one doesn't really want to, and not nearly enough time with those with whom one really does.
An excellent first outing, I look forward to seeing Davis's next feature film. He is clearly a born writer/director.
Caught this movie on Sundance Channel, couldn't believe how good it was.
Why wasn't it released? Or was it? (There are too many indie movies out
there, I guess...) The movie is basically about a bunch of control freaks
at a new year's Eve party in New York City, all of whom are fantastically
well drawn anxiety-filled New Yorkers. Director Davis has caught New
Yorkers' self-absorption perfectly, but unlike, say, Seinfeld, the
characters are actually trying to better themselves, and struggling with
real, deep issues of identity and self-worth. And unlike Whit Stillman's
movies (which I guess this is like, although I enjoyed it way more than
Metropolitan), the movie really knows when to laugh at these characters,
when to feel with them.
And then, for good measure, there are Steven Wright and Buck Henry giving unexpected and wonderful performances. Steven Wright is amazingly funny, and Buck Henry really sad and sensitive, kind of in the Jack Lemmon role of the father of the host of the party, only doing a real job of acting, not whining like Lemmon now does.
I haven't heard much about this movie (other than Sundance Channel) or this filmmaker, but I bet that in ten years we'll all be scratching our heads trying to remember who Ed Burns was (wish I could say the same thing for Kevin Smith, but the guy's too much of an operator to go away) and plunking down our cash, if it is cash we're still using (the movie is very funny about what the near future might or might not hold, and has me thinking the same way) to go to movies by Nick Davis.
...but not bad for a first time director. In fact, in the beginning of
the movie, the director himself tells the camera how broke he was as a
result of making the film. I thought that was odd---was it part of the
movie? The side of the box said First Rites Series, an independent film
thing, so I guess it had something to do with that.
The movie tells a simple story of a group of young adults celebrating New Years on the eve of the year 2000. It had some witty dialogue, but nothing else about it was original, including the Woody Allenesque lead character Rufus. (have you noticed actors who impersonate other actors are very annoying?)
I take it back---just because its a film by a first time director, there's no reason it shouldn't be 'original'. While all directors cannot have the first film appeal of Scorcese, Tarantino, or Spike Lee, they should all take a stab at it and resist directing what has been done before. What have they got to lose?
Best lines include something about a hotel "labia" and signing in with his "penis" and a hippiechick talking about why she wants to be an ear doctor instead of a singer.
5 out of 10
A movie about a party on New Year's Eve, 1999. --A party filled with
highly irritating people who have highly irritating things to say to
each other. Whether that was intentional or not, I have no idea.
I tried to like this movie, as I think Buck Henry and Jennifer Garner are both pretty darn watchable most of the time, but I just couldn't summon up enough like from within me to watch the whole movie in one sitting. I had to take a break and watch the second half the next day.
The weird thing about '1999' is that..well... I kinda like the IDEA of the movie and the way it looks--kinda amateur/arty, and I even like the actors--in other movies, anyway. Unfortunately all of the characters suffer from Tarantinoism-wherein all the different characters' lines sound like they were written by the same person in the same "voice".
It would have been one of the best student films in my film class back in the day, but that's about the most praise I can give it. --That, and that it only cost me eight bucks at the 7-11.
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