On Wednesday, April 14th, the Gen Art Film Festival kicked off its 9th edition with a screening of United Artists'
Saved from director Brian Dannelly starring Jena Malone (Cold Mountain, Donnie Darko), Mandy
Moore (Chasing Liberty), Macaulay Culkin (You're kidding, right?), Patrick Fugit (Almost Famous),
Heather Matarazzo (Welcome to the Dollhouse, The Princess Diaries), Eva Amurri (The Banger
Sisters), Hal Hartley mainstay Martin Donovan (The Opposite of Sex, Trust) and Mary Louise
Parker ("The West Wing," Angels in America)…whew!
Saved is a funny, well acted and somewhat over-the-top send up of a fundamentalist Christian high school, complete with god-squadding teens trying to convert the "heathens," a principal who preaches old-time religion with a hip hop "flava" and of course, a teen pregnancy. Despite the obvious "too on the nose" clichés, the film is well acted with Amurri particularly shining as the only Jew in the crowd and a serious thorn in the side of Moore's tightwad Hilary Faye, the Rizzo of the school's versions of the Pink Ladies. Amurri has that rare ability to be gawky, funny and sexy at the same time. Does it surprise anyone to find out her mother is Susan Sarandon? Culkin has seemingly taken a look at some of younger brother Kieran's work (The Dangerous Lives of Altar Boys) and has turned into a restrained and mature actor. Although to be referring to someone at the ripe old age of 23 as "mature" is a little scary from this near-35 year-old's P.O.V. Then again, I referred to the 19 year-old Amurri as sexy, so I really shouldn't comment on age anymore, should I?
The film's after party was at NYC club Black. While the DJ was far above par, the club was really too large for the crowd. All in attendance seemed to have a good time, with drinking and dancing continuing until the wee hours.
After party pix from top to bottom: Gen Art festival director and programmer Jeffrey Abramson; A fest goer shows where his heart and head are at; "Ooooooh! Colors!"