Saturday, January 20, 2007

Day 2: Tooth and Consequences

With some cloud cover accompanying the prospect of snow later tonight, it's also not nearly as frigid. The absence of sunshine also might prevent the slush piles on the sidewalks from turning into lakes for which a catamaran might assist in the crossing. Unfortunately, without sun you don't get one of the most strangely lovely Park City roadside phenomena: diagonal stalagmites of ice in amazing patterns. You find quiet beauty where you can when everyone around you seems to be the world's biggest hurry.

Quiet beauty has been one of the hallmarks of David Gordon Green's films, including his previous Sundance competition entry All the Real Girls. As one of the only filmmaking known-quantities in the Dramatic Competition, Green became a magnet for high hopes bringing Snow Angels. And it's another often lovely film -- it just also happens to be bleaker than a Democrat's election prospects in Utah. Green captures individual moments of heartbreak as well as anyone, but this story of small-town relationships takes a depressingly dim view of cycles of optimism and disappointment. It's a good film I really don't feel like ever seeing again.

Less overtly depressing, but also less skillfully crafted, is writer/director Mitchell Lichtenstein's Teeth, about a high school girl (Jess Weixler) with a unique anatomical feature. Suffice it to say that being conceived in the shadow of a nuclear reactor has made her potential team leader for the Chastity X-Men. It's a one-joke black comedy with a fiercely interesting lead performance by Weixler, and your stomach for it may be limited by how many comically severed apendages you care to see in one 85-minute film. (Scott Renshaw)

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