|Posted: Tribune Media Services / MovieQuest April 22, 1999
L.A.I.F.F. held its 5th annual gathering of indie filmmakers April 15 - 21, and
MovieQuest was there. A report from the field:
Day 1: Joanou tweaks Hollywood... Director Phil Joanou (Final Analysis,
Rattle And Hum) introduced his new movie Entropy at the Los
Angeles Independent Film Festival Thursday. Are you insane? was the response
Joanou got from studios when pitching them the modest $3 million budget for his ambitious
picture, the director told the opening night audience.
Stephen Dorff, the film's star, slouched in his seat wearing an untucked white shirt, just
like the character he plays. Entropy concerns Jake, a music video director
(Dorff) who gets his first big budget Hollywood movie, only to discover that his bossesare
venal idiots. Jake falls in love with a French model and winds up drunk on the ledge of a
Manhattan skyscraper trying to sort out his identity. U2s Bono, Lauren Holly and Jon
Tenney co-star, but the movies biggest scene-stealer was a sarcastic cat who
dispenses advice in between puffs of a cigarette.
Day 2: Artsy, but not fartsy... Thats how director Jessie Feigelman
described his movie Snapped, which debuted Friday at Los Angeles Independent
Film Festival. Snapped stars Johnny Zander (who did those steamy Calvin Klein
commercials a few years back) as a petty thief/short order cook who returns home to East
Hampton during the off-season hefting a bag full of money belonging to somebody else. Gaby
Hoffman plays his anti-social ex-girlfriend who lives in a shack, takes photos of roadkill
for a home-grown art project and gives the finger to just about anyone who gets in her
way. David Wheir, strikingly David-Bowie-esque, is a slacker who gets mixed up with the
others after he sees some surprising pictures while working a dead-end job at a photo
Day 3: Ricci joins white trash in the Valley...Riff raff living in a seedy motel try
without much luck to get the heck out of there in No Vacancy, which debuted to
sold-out crowds Saturday at L.A.I.F.F. Christina Ricci wakes up with a hunky refrigerator
repairman who accidentally fell asleep in her bed. She wants to be an astronaut.
Theres also a violinist who simply wont shut up, two drug-addled roommates, a
waitress torn between a rich boy and her macho dad plus Lolita Davidovich as a health food
nut and Robert Wagner as an obscenity-spewing pimp named Tangerine. Directed by Marius
Balchunus, the ensemble slice-of-life comedy features a happenin soundtrack of
accordian-pumping salsa music.
Day 4: The next Pacino?...13-year old Cameron Van Hoy gives an explosive
performance in Pups, the new effort from Ash, which debuted Sunday at the Los
Angeles Film Festival. The British director, who made a splash with last years
Bang, shot the film in just 16 days. "Pups" stars Van Hoy in a role
similar to Al Pacinos in Dog Day Afternoon: weirdly likeable loser holds
up bank, takes hostages and ponders the meaning of life. Mischa Barton (Lawn
Dogs) is terrific as his smart and funny accomplice. Burt Reynolds also appears as a
hapless F.B.I. agent trying to negotiate with the kids.
Day 5: on the town: In Hollywood, you don't get ''He looks like Keanu
Reeves.'' No. He is Keanu. (showing up at a retrospective of ''River's Edge.'')
You're striding up Sunset, a stranger passes on the left and you're suddenly wondering
''Why's Jerry O'Connell walking down the street by
Two dwarfs and a tattooed rocker are hanging out in the lobby of the Sunset Marquis hotel,
just outside of the Whisky Bar, owned by Cindy Crawford's husband Randy Gerber.
Dietrich the waiter, a pop/gospel singer, reads scripts on the side for his roommate's
boyfriend, who directed "The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert."
Dietrich suggested the director ''pass'' on the ''Charlie's Angels'' movie because the
script was "uneven."
The masseuse rubs shoulders with Mel Gibson.
When a taxi driver makes an excuse for why he's at the wrong address, the dispatcher
replies sarcastically in a heavy Russian accent ''Yeah. Right. What-EVer.''
A gaggle of Star War fans camped on the sidewalk outside of Mann's Chinese Theater waiting
to get into the premiere screening of ''Phantom Menace'' were unable to speak on the
record to a reporter. They have a publicist. (pictured above)
Day 6: Fest finale: script by Orson Welles... L.A.I.F.F. concluded
Tuesday with the world premiere "The Big Brass Ring," based on a never-produced
screenplay by Orson Welles about a politician with skeletons in his closet. The festival's
most impressive effort, "Ring..." took seven years for "Hearts of
Darkness" director George Hickenlooper (pictured to left) to complete.
Clean-shaven star William Hurt showed up at the premiere, jovial in a tropical suit.
Praised for his ability to deliver a line, Hurt told Movie Quest "I don't turn
the line; the line turns itself."
Celebrity scene..."Matrix" star Keanu Reeves showed up Sunday for a
retrospective screening of Rivers Edge, the mother of all depraved teen
movies...Courtney Love was seen hanging out at The Body Shop, a strip joint in West
Hollywood...Billy Zane, dapper in a Frank Sinatra-style fedora, strolled into a
press reception for Pups, directed by his pal Ash. Zane, whos done a
bunch of indie features since Titanic, pops up in theCleopatra TV
miniseries, may take a part in Ashs next film...Jill Henessey (pictured
to left) (TV's ''Law and Order'') promoted ''Chutney Popcorn'' dressed in a
turquoise sari with a dot painted on her forehead...Sally Kirkland was
animated and wearing black...Tia Carrere, in horn-rimmed glasses, black
dress, burned-red shoes and purse, posed for pictures. Sighted a few rows ahead of
Stephen Dorff at the "Entropy" premiere: a great head of chin-length blonde hair
cut in uneven layers belonging to Rachel Hunter.
Indie chic... Grey the new black? Don't believe it. 90 degree heat was not enough
to separate the opening night crowd from their black duds. Not that there's a dress code.
The festival's two big winners -- director Chris Roe, whose "Pop And Me" was
voted Best Feature, and Ed Radtke, named Best Director for "The Dream
Catcher") gave their acceptance speeches Tuesday night outfitted in baggy tee shirts.
Smoke & mirrors... After each screening, an exodus of smokers filed through the
glass doors to the patio, surrounded by smoke, backlit by a quartermoon. Through the front
glass doors, people stood about three feet apart lined up at the curb, oblivious to their
curbmates as they talked animatedly, cell phones on one ear, fingers stuck in the other.
Director's Cut... Was waiting to see his virgin-at-29 comedy ''Cherry'' a moment of
great satisfaction for director Jon Glascoe? Well, no. ''Are you kidding? They had to drag
me kicking and screaming to come to L.A.,'' the New Yorker admitted. ''I'd rather be at
the bar around the corner.'' In ''A Good Baby'' Henry Thomas plays a hill country
loner who finds a baby in the woods and nurtures it. Director Katherine Diekmann described
the protagonist as a ''boy who becomes a man who becomes a woman.''