January 20, 2008
Sundance. The Wackness."I was pretty impressed with director Jonathan Levine's debut film, the retro-slasher horror throwback known as All the Boys Love Mandy Lane, and so logically I was looking forward to the filmmaker's follow-up project," writes Scott Weinberg at Cinematical. "Based only on his first two films, it's pretty clear that Levine has a gift for the visual side of the equation - but as far as the writing goes... The Wackness... feels like something that was written by a bored 17-year-old during one lazy afternoon in detention." "The Amerindie annals are over-full of withdrawn male loners hoping to quirk or cathart themselves out of teenage purgatory," writes Dennis Harvey for Variety. "But like Donnie Darko, Thumbsucker and a few others, The Wackness treads this familiar terrain with assurance and distinction." Updated through 1/24. "I've watched five films so far here at Sundance, one was fucking fantastic (The Wackness), one was flawed but very good (In Bruges), two were mediocre as all hell (Sunshine Cleaning and The Yellow Handkerchief), and one I just plain did not care for at all (The Broken)," writes Rav at AICN. As for The Wackness, "Much like 2000's Sexy Beast Ben Kingsley's performance elevates the film to a whole other level, completely knocking it out-of-the-park." Adds Quint: "I wouldn't be surprised if The Wackness becomes the 'big sell' of this year's festival. It really is that good." The Reeler talks with Levine. Updates: "A filmmaker who matters is someone capable of re-invigorating genres with spunk and a playful lack of caution. That's Jonathan Levine," writes Steve Ramos at indieWIRE. This is "a fun-loving movie that audiences will find impossible to resist." "The story, which director-writer Levine apparently based on his own adolescent wanderings, is well told but the basic points seem familiar as hell in numerous ways, and the visually murky, sepia-like photography starts to feel almost claustrophobic after a while," writes Jeffrey Wells. Update, 1/23: "Bad memories of Igby Goes Down and The Chumscrubber abound, and yet, The Wackness turns out to have a surprisingly sweet center, particularly in the scenes between its brooding, pot-dealing Holden Caulfield surrogate (Josh Peck) and his sorta-kinda girlfriend (well played by Juno co-star Olivia Thirlby)," writes Scott Foundas in the Voice. Update, 1/24: "A concluding moment that pines for the majesty of New York City's pre-9/11 skyline would register as ham-handed if Levine's overwhelming affection for the island of Manhattan had not been so thoroughly established in the hundred or so minutes hence," writes Josh Slates at Hammer to Nail. "In short, The Wackness is a film that is quite acutely aware of its target audience, simultaneously pandering to and honoring its nostalgic remembrances of days of yore."
Posted by dwhudson at January 20, 2008 12:49 PM