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Saw at Cinevegas film festival - am going to see again at Outfest in
July, as I live in LA.
Reminded me of those fun ensemble movies I watched growing up (16 Candles, Fast Times at Ridgemont High, Caddyshack). Multiple stories, multiple characters and a lot of laughs. As with most of those multiple-storyline movies, there are always the occasional 'clunker' moments... but those moments are few-and-far between, and are outweighed by a good rhythm to the movie, great comic timing, and a lot of heart.
Also, I think it's safe to say I developed a huuuuuuuuuuge crush on actress Dagney Kerr - who plays suicidal April in the movie. I challenge anyone with a pulse to resist falling under her spell here... Really really lovable, adorable, squeezable and any other '-able' you can think of.
I think most people will find this movie a lot of fun - a rare comedy that is actually really funny.
I live in Las Vegas and saw this movie yesterday at the 2006 CineVegas movie festival. The director, majority of the actors and producer were all at the screening to answer questions and talk about the movie. I thoroughly enjoyed watching it and could not stop laughing. For the most part its a comedy but also deals with people finding themselves and having realizations that life its self is what you make of it. Like the tag line says 10 people, 5 cars, 1 day....only in L.A...this makes for a funny, smart and charming movie. And having Trent Ford acting in it doesn't hurt.(because i find his to be very cute) Billy Baldwin, Cheri Oteri and Ricki Lake all do a great job at making their characters have quirky personalities and make us go" oh yeah i know someone like that". In the end, i say go see this if you get the chance, you wont be disappointed.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
I came across this film by accident, you know - one of those films that you watch because there is nothing better on and then really end up enjoying, whether it be because you happen to be in that frame of mind or whatever. Very much along the lines of Robert Altman's work, but with the advantage of being a little bit fresher and not so serious - i mean yes there are serious parts but they are book-marked with so many good one liners and so many scenes which will have you smiling that the serious dialogue probably won't even be noticed. William Baldwin once again proves that he is more Alec Baldwin, than Alec Baldwin himself and surprisingly he is not that bad and may even have a comedy future ahead of him (like Alec on TV). Trent Ford and Ricki Lake prove that they too can hold there own in this type of film and Ricki Lake providing one of the best moments when she realises that she may actually be a lesbian. Kudos, however, must go to Dagney Kerr for providing the character of 'April' with such a tragic and funny personality and the best lesson to be learnt from her is that if you are going to kill yourself - then plan ahead!! Overall, you will be surprised by this if you give it a chance and let yourself relax and i would certainly recommend it for a lazy Sunday in bed when you are feeling a little bit low and need cheered up in a gentle way. You have nothing to lose anyway.
Park's sole setting is in a remote park in Los Angeles that one
character calls, "the one place in LA not turned into a strip mall, a
gay community, or a fast food restaurant." It's your typical park -
mostly vacant, relatively plain - for walking your dog or having a
simple picnic, but it is the setting for one of the most atypical
lunchbreaks in film history in Park, an anthology-comedy revolving
around several characters as they spend an unforgettable hour and a
half with unexpected people.
The characters we focus on here are a woman trying to kill herself and failing miserably, a depressed and dateless dog groomer trying to hookup with his gorgeous foreign assistant, a serial cheater, the wife of the serial cheater spying on her husband while she has sex with the foreign dog groomer, her friend, and a quartet of aspiring nudists, all of whom emotionally broken, distant, or troubled in some way. The most recognizable actor of the bunch is William Baldwin, portraying the serial cheater with coldhearted materialism as he has sex with the dog groomer as she reads aloud the manual to his sports utility vehicle, which he seems to love more than life itself.
Baldwin's character, while easily the most unlikable of the bunch, isn't unlike those who surround him in the park on this afternoon. All of these characters, in some way, are searching for companionship and trying to lead a life with more satisfaction than they currently have. Voelker illustrates these characters in a collectively absurdist fashion, but allows this theme to carry over into all of their stories to create a central idea, instead of having numerous, unrelated characters collected on screen.
The film also benefits from the star-power of talk-show host Ricki Lake, who gives devilishly-funny leverage as the cheater's wife. In a role that could've been burdened and deluded by predictable moans and "woe is me" tears, Lake finds an unexpected blend of wackiness, sadistic intentions, and tenderness in her role.
The other character that finds himself to be very noteworthy and most interesting is Ian (David Fenner), the depressed single guy who has failed to win the heart of his extremely attractive co- worker Krysta (Izabella Miko), who goes on to have sex with Dennis. Fenner's character is likable mostly because of the relatable qualities he exercises throughout the entire film, and his struggle with trying to be a nice guy in general, which gets him nowhere, will find a way to connect with many audience members.
The bottom line is Park is about companionship through- and-through. Voelker paints a collection of unsure, vulnerable characters and finds them all wanting some sort of meaningful relationship in their life and not necessarily a romantic one. The characters on display here go to drastic measures to receive personal gratification, whether it be buying books on how to get girls to want them, sucking gas through a hose, having sex in a car, or embracing the nudist lifestyle. At the end, a relationship may not be exactly what they crave, but rather just the thought they can rely on someone and know they have their place. Even if it sounds like a ridiculous statement, there is some truth to that observation and Voelker depicts it beautifully through a picture with hilarious absurdist tendencies.
Starring: William Baldwin, Ricki Lake, Cheri Oteri, David Fenner, Izabella Miko, and Melanie Lynskey. Directed by: Kurt Voelker.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
I actually liked this movie for the most part. Some parts of it got on my nerves, like the obnoxious whiny character of April. I wanted her to just kill herself and get it over with. I didn't really have any likable characters in this movie, but I thought William Baldwin looked hot running around in his little see-thru undies...and the nudists guys in the van were kinda hot too. But all in all, this movie was pretty funny and entertaining. Cheri O'Teri and Ricki Lake played some quite interesting characters (though seeing Ricki as a lesbian was kinda funny for a change). I wanted to see the two guys kiss like Ricki and Cheri kissed...but of course that didn't happen. Oh well... *sigh* I definitely recommend this movie because it's very different than most movies. Tho I don't really think it has much of a plot, but oh well...
I first had the chance to see Kurt Voelker's "Park" at the Cinevegas film festival. I then proceeded to see it at every film festival after where it was available. This is by far one of the funniest films I have ever seen at a film festival and I am so excited it is finally out on DVD...a great stocking stuffer for all those friends I have been raving about it to. I believe that (director) Kurt Voelker and (producer) Dana Jackson both have very bright futures ahead of them. Their casting, while risky, is dead on, the soundtrack is amazing, the production design is wonderful in that it makes the most of what is available, which to any indie film junkie shows the making of a great talent.
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