Jacksonville Business Journal, May 16, 2008
Film Festival opens with 'Crazy'
The Jacksonville International Film Festival kicked off Thursday night at the Florida Theatre with a rocking biopic of the rise and fall of one of Nashville's greatest guitar slingers who is also a long-time Orange Park resident.
The independent film "Crazy" tracks Hank Garland's battles with the Nashville music industry and the allure of new-found fame. Garland, who played with greats such as Patsy Cline, Roy Orbison and Elvis, is convincingly portrayed by the charismatic Waylon Payne, who played Jerry Lee Lewis in "Walk the Line."
But despite a much leaner budget and the absence of well-known celebrities, with the exception of Ali Larter, "Crazy" trumps the Johnny Cash biopic. The chemistry between Garland and his wife Evelyn, played by "Heroes" star Larter, is far more convincing than the Cash-June Carter relationship. And Garland's fight for musical ownership and the prejudice he encountered for playing with black musicians lends an authenticity to the burgeoning music scene.
The directorial debut of Rick Bieber occasionally tells too often through dialogue instead of trusting the audience, but sharp camera work, dead-on settings and witty dialogue keep it moving. Garland's descent into insanity could have used some foreshadowing, but the emotional punch of watching the emotional glow depart Garland, leaving a shell of a great musicians, is haunting beyond the credits.
There are a myriad of choices this weekend, but we know you don't have the time to see them all or be at two screenings at once. Here's Jacksonville Business Journal's best bets for the weekend.
6:30 p.m. Friday and 5:30 p.m. Saturday, FUEL in Five Points
Sisters Nicola and Teena Collins document the confessions of their gangster father and his friends in London's East End and the code of honor that binds them. Think "Snatch" but real and without heartthrob Brad Pitt. Check out the film's Web site to brush up on your Cockney vocabulary.
7:30 p.m. Friday, Florida Theatre
A Brazilian construction crew is left in the lurch after a military coup puts the highway project on hold. An indigenous Indian's lessons lead them to believe in the worship of meteorites and that their fate is to create a spiritual community. Everything changes when the government threatens their new utopia. A cocktail party precedes the film by an hour.
9 p.m. Friday and 11 a.m. Sunday, Jacksonville Public Library
It's the age-old tale of a successful doctor who leaves the rat race to start a family of 10 devoted to surfing. It turns out his eight children were negatively affected by being isolated from society, living in a tiny camper and following a strict diet and lifestyle akin to wild animals.
After Dark Shorts
11:30 p.m. Friday, FUEL in Five Points
Short films find the dark side of everything from the tax auditor from Hell to a hitchhiker trying to find his wife (he's trying to kill her). Local productions and a scrappy setting guarantee a rollicking, evil good time.
11 a.m. Saturday and 1:15 p.m. Sunday, Jacksonville Public Library
From Siberia to Bolivia, professors David Harrison and Gregory Anderson rush to document languages on the verge of extinction. The film has already won applause at the Sundance Film Festival and an array of glowing reviews.
"Cracker- The Last Cowboys of Florida"
2:45 and 6:45 p.m. Saturday, Jacksonville Public Library.
Don't let Mavericks fool you. There are real cowboys in Florida, and this documentary depicts the beauty of a profession slowly being killed off by rising land values and big cattle ranching operations. Little known fact: Florida vies with Texas as the number one cattle-producing state in the country.
8:15 p.m. Saturday and 8 p.m. Sunday, Jacksonville Public Library
This collection of short films shines light on people forgotten in the United States, Bolivia, Uganda, Democratic Republic of Congo and Spain. Heavy hitting director Wim Wenders, of "Buena Vista Social Club" fame, contributes one of the films.
"The Year of Getting to Know Us"
7:30 p.m. Saturday, Florida Theatre
The Jacksonville-produced film stars Jimmy Fallon as a New York journalist who feels emotion only on the job. After his father has a stroke, he is forced to return home and face his predicament. Lucy Liu stars as his girlfriend, and Sharon Stone portrays his mother.
"Ghost of the Heartland"
5:15 p.m. Sunday, Jacksonville Public Library
A big-city reporter returns to his small Chinese hometown in the 1950s to find that his neighbors are suffering persecution akin to the Jewish experience in Germany during the 1930s. Protagonist Roland fights to prevent a McCarthyite bruiser from stealing the persecuted's land.
"Inside the Circle"
6 p.m. Sunday, Florida Theatre
This multi-award winning documentary tells the story of two break-dancers as their involvement in the underground hip-hop movement leads one to international fame and the other to the criminal justice system. A party featuring break dancing performances follows the film outside the theater.
6:30 p.m. Sunday, Terry Theater
The county's growing debt, overextended entitlement program and increased foreign competition are the subject of this documentary. Director Patrick Creadon cuts through the financial and policy jargon to show how citizens can make sure those who steer the country's economy are on track.