Can’t say I really get the mini-trend of remaking documentary films as dramatic features. OK, Werner Herzog (Little Dieter Needs to Fly –> Rescue Dawn) gets a pass, mainly because he’s Herzog. But translating Grey Gardens into a fictionalized piece robbed the story of something essential and, I think, added nothing.

Last year saw the release of Young@Heart, a great little documentary about a group of senior citizens that performs their own versions of rock songs. Working Title Pictures picked up the rights to remake the film as a dramatic feature before the doc was even released. Now the company has a writer in mind for the project: Will Reiser, a former producer on Da Ali G Show. Read More »

Sundance Movie Review: Young@Heart

Young@HeartYoung@Heart is a documentary about a Massachusetts Senior Citizen’s chorus that rocks out to everything from the Clash, Ramones and Sonic Youth, to Coldplay and James Brown. The film follows the chorus members and their director, Bob Cilman as they learn new songs, cope with illnesses and deaths of their close friends, and prepare for a concert performance, dubbed “Alive and Well”.

Label me mean, but the “old people are so cute” sappiness drives me insane (hence the fact that I almost wanted to smack the two annoying girls sitting next to me that kept loudly aww-ing during the movie).  I don’t normally see the charm in grandmotherly types, but I must grudgingly admit, this film won me over, and actually almost drew a few tears.   Young@Heart is a great film that shows seniors who enjoy music more than anything.  They’re singing their hearts out, and doing something that makes them happy all the way until the very last days of their lives.  It is so refreshing to see these elderly characters, alive with so much energy, as opposed to the often seen images of them wasting away in nursing homes.  These are old people that sing loud music, stay out late at gigs, and travel the world to perform.  They’re not dead until the day they really die, and that is so inspiring to see.

A scene that I found particularly moving was one where the chorus performs for convicted felons at a prison.  The positive reactions of the prisoners after the show are absolutely tearjerking.  The film is also humorous at times, like the scene where two of the chorus members are trying to learn how to play a CD that chorus director, Cilman has handed them (they can’t figure out which side should face up in the player).

The narration in the film is a little excessive, and director Stephen Walker chose to fill the film with cheesy music videos starring the elderly chorus members, which cuts into the pacing of the film, but overall, Young@Heart is a great movie that shows charming seniors who are living their lives to the fullest by doing something that they love.

/Film Rating: 8.5 out of 10

Sundance 2008 Photo Preview: Part 3 – Spectrum

Sundance 2008

The line-up for the 2008 Sundance Film Festival was announced earlier this week. I just got my hands on a boat load of photos from the films in this year’s festival. We actually have too many photos to feature in just one posting, so we have divided this feature into a few parts.

Our third segment in the series takes a look at the films in the Spectrum category. The list of films includes: Anvil! The True Story Of Anvil, The Black List, Kicking It, The Linguists, Made In America, Where In The World Is Osama Bin Laden?, Young@Heart, August, Baghead, Birds of America, Blind Date, Bottle Shock, Chronic Town, Goliath, A Good Day To Be Black & Sexy, Love Comes Lately, Momma’s Man, Quid Pro Quo, and Red.

Also be sure to check out our Sundance 2008 Photo Previews for the Premieres and U.S. Dramatic Competition.

Check out the photos after the jump. Click on the images to enlarge.

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