still1_tb.jpgThere seems to be two ways to use consumer technology to professional/commercial ends. You either fuse the unique lo-fi-ness of IMovie into your own hodgepodge aesthetic and end up with Tarnation, or else, you allow the cheap aesthetics of your software to dictate the look of your film. It's hard not to watch the trailer for Stephen Tobolowsky's Birthday Party and not put it in the later camp. With its obstinately ugly intertitles and obnoxiously derivative voice-over, it's hard not to roll one's eyes, as if to say, "So: cinematographer Robert Brinkman has directed himself a little movie...how quaint." It's a good thing the footage on display is sporadically hilarious. Brinkman, best known in some circles as Mena Suvari's cradle-robbing husband, seems to have turned a documentary about Tobolowsky, a bit-player who has appeared in "more films than Tom Cruise", into a piece of star-making performance art. It wouldn't work if Tobolowsky wasn't so unassuming - the same quality that's turned him into an invisibly working actor - but it almost doesn't work due to its ostentatious cheapness.
categories Cinematical