By at April 20, 2008 | 10:12 pm | Print

Here are three more movies to watch for at the upcoming 2008 Independent Film Festival of Boston.

Other IFFB 2008 Previews:
Ping Pong Playa, Crawford and Timecrimes
Goliath and Severed Ways

:: BallastDrama
A woman, her young son and ex-brother-in-law play out a complex relationship twist in this Sundance favorite. Art director-turned-filmmaker Lance Hammer knows how to keep the proceedings low-key and quiet, making the moments of true tension and drama that much more arresting.

Ballast Production Still

Hammer also keeps the dialogue sparse, the pace deliberate and the soundtrack empty (no music). In essence, he clears the decks for the trio of performances, and the actors — all in their first films — deliver. It’s worth noting the three major players are black, an unfortunate rarity in film except for dance movies and Tyler Perry features. Recommended. Lance Hammer will be in attendance.

:: The LinguistsDocumentary
How many languages you think there are on the planet? C’mon, guess. Seven thousand. Yeah, my guess was off by about 6,000 as well…

In this world-travel documentary, two ethnographers (look it up) span the globe in search of native tongues that are about to kick the bucket. They end up in Siberia, India, the American Southwest, all the while discovering oppression, cultural strong-arming and occasional danger.

Their efforts are admirable and their methods fascinating, but the filmmaking team doesn’t really lead us anywhere in the long run. Still, getting to find the last speaker — the very last speaker — of any language makes for a pretty cool detective story. Co-director Jeremy Newberger will be in attendance.

:: Big Man JapanComedy
Many of you have already enjoyed our bizarre production still, and now we’ve seen the movie…

Here’s a superhero tale for the midnight crowd: A mild-mannered guy regularly gets a jolt of lightning, grows to the size of a skyscraper as “Dai-Nipponjin” and defends Tokyo against other similarly sized “baddies.” Wait, I didn’t get to the weird stuff yet…

Big Man Japan Image

The big guy’s only costume is a pair of purple briefs and his only weapon, a stick. One of his archenemies’ “power” is that he/she smells like 10,000 human feces. Another evildoer leaps around on one limb and has the brain of an eight-year-old. This and much more emerge from the gooey minds of writer-director-star Hitoshi Matsumoto and co-writer Mitsuyoshi Takasu.

Matsumoto riffs on fame, the media, agents, TV ratings, cheap advertising and obligations to family and country. But enough of the intellectual crap. The final act of this film is so sublimely absurd and oddly paced, you’ll be scratching your head straight through the closing credits — which you should absolutely stay to watch.

Planning to see any of these? Let us know your opinions

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  2. […] here are our capsule reviews for the following festival movies: At the Death House Door Ballast Big Man Japan Crawford Dreams with Sharp Teeth Goliath The Linguists Nerdcore Rising Ping Pong Playa Severed Ways […]

  3. […] the group for sure, but I’m partial to Lance Hammer’s work in the deceptively quiet Ballast […]


  1. Kabul Jobs, 7 years ago Reply

    The Linguist is a great movie! One of my all-time favorites.

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