September 19, 2007
Toronto. Honeydripper."I have seen fourteen of John Sayles's first fifteen films, most more than once, and the only one I didn't like was his last one (Silver City)," writes Kenneth R Morefield at Looking Closer. "So it was with an odd mix of excitement and anxiety that I approached the world premiere of Honeydripper at the Ryerson Theater in Toronto. Two hours later the anxiety was gone and I just felt the excitement. Honeydripper had the scope of Lone Star, the eye for detail of Limbo, the great acting of Casa de los Babys and the depth of understanding of human nature of Matewan and Eight Men Out. In other words, it had and was everything I love about Sayles's films. It also had something relatively rare in a Sayles film: joie de vivre." Updated. "Honeydripper is slow and simple, following the attempts of Alabama juke-joint proprietor Danny Glover to save his business by booking a hot rock 'n' roll guitar player - in 1950 no less," blogs Noel Murray at the AV Club. "[C]ompared to Sayles's recent sprawling social dramas, Honeydripper's relaxed pace and familiar milieu have a lot of charm." "The pitch-perfect cast is almost entirely black (Charles S Dutton, Sean Patrick Thomas and Vondie Curtis-Hall are especially memorable) and the music is sensational," writes Nick Roddick in the Evening Standard. "But Honeydripper, at 123 minutes, is in need of a trim; its script is a little stagey, and the result is a loving slice of alternative Americana that finally fails to engage as a film." "While it has its faults, the film is a joy if only as a showcase for one of America's greatest screenwriters," writes Matt Dentler. "Exactly like Casa de Los Babys, the last Sayles film I saw - nicely acted, sensitively written, intelligent and completely inert," writes Steve at the Film Experience. At Filmmaker, Alicia Van Couvering has notes on the session with Sayles and his producer Maggie Renzi at the IFP Filmmaker Conference: "They remember showing up at the IFP Market twenty-seven years ago with The Return of the Secaucus 7 and hoping someone would tell them what to do next." And so, they offered some "hard-earned pearls of wisdom." ST VanAirsdale talks with Sayles and Renzi about their marketing plans. Online listening tip. Cinematical's James Rocchi talks with Sayles. Update: "When Honeydripper opens, we see two young boys," writes Monika Bartyzel at Cinematical. "One's fingers are pulling away at a string, while the other's are pounding piano keys painted on a piece of wood. While their music echoes only in their minds, their passion is palpable. This sweet scene is, in a way, a perfect metaphor for the work of John Sayles - his films are, at once, both subdued and sonorous. However, where most of them seek to reveal hidden layers and webs, Honeydripper is a simple and plainly executed ode to the start of rock 'n' roll."
Posted by dwhudson at September 19, 2007 12:12 AM