April 28th, 2006


In Texas, maybe it's an 11-syllable word


Wordplay (5 p.m. Sunday): What's an 11-letter word for a film about crossword puzzles? It features ____ Shortz, the New York Times crossword puzzle editor, as well as celebrity crossword fanatics such as He Hosts Daily Nightly, A Civil Filmmaker Who Got Jazzy, and President With a P-Funk Surname. If you think that's all gibberish, maybe Wordplay isn't for you.
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I just wrote the guy:

I don't know what's an 11-letter word for a film about crossword puzzles, but "Wordplay" is an 8-letter word for a film about crossword puzzles.

Just so you know, EVERYONE uses "What's a __-letter word for __?" for leads and headlines in articles about crosswords.

Update: I got a reply, and obviously he's fixed things. He concluded, "That said, it sounds like you'll like this movie." I had to tell him that I was, um, *in* the movie.

Tribeca TFriday

"American Cannibal" is still BY FAR the best thing I've seen so far at Tribeca.

Today's selections were both in a theater on West 34th where most of next week's movies will also be. It's a nice new (at least I was never there before) multiplex with stadium seating, which I as a short person appreciate. I walked right in and did not attempt to find a ticketholders' line. The volunteer directed me to the fourth floor, where "Metro" was in theater #10. Today they were handing out the Zagat booklets separate from the audience ballot, so I did not have to worry about accumulating multiple books.

It was about a half hour before showtime and the theater was practically empty. About 4 rows were roped off, and as people came in, they soon complained that seemed excessive. The masking tape people reconfigured and freed more seats for us common folk. People apparently connected with the movie did eventually fill the place up. The festival person intro'd the movie, noting the director had a distinctive style which we'd see soon enough.

"Metro" is an atmospheric character study of some young, creative women in New York. VERY atmospheric. Half the time I wasn't sure what was going on, and much of that time nothing was really going on. It was very moody. I dunno. I gave it 4 out of 5 (5 being the lowest rating).

Everyone ran out of there in a hurry, leaving maybe 20 for the Q&A, at which point I felt I should stay so the director wouldn't feel lonely. I don't wear a watch, but figured there was enough time before I had to be at the next movie. The Q&A was OK, with the director and two of the young actresses. I appreciate his effort (he basically did everything but be a young actress), but it didn't completely jell for me.

The next film was across the hall in theater #11. Since I have a pass, I figured I'd avoid any possible line, and they let me right in. Again, it was almost empty. Someone was handing out questionnaires with a free pass to Mme. Tussaud's as incentive; unfortunately, it was too dark for me to read the small print so I passed. I couldn't read my magazine either; I may bring the iPod next week to have something to do between movies.

This movie was "New York Waiting," a combination of "Before Sunrise," "An Affair to Remember" and any number of brooding Swedish films. The production was entirely Swedish, but with American actors and settings. I immediately noticed the "New York" airport was too leafy (from the credits, it must have been either in Florida or LA). They must do things very slooowwwwly in Sweden, as the pacing was really sloooowwww. The plot wasn't bad though a bit contrived; there were a few nice twists. The lead actor was appealing, and the actresses OK. A step above the other fictional films so far (I gave it 3/5). Q&A afterward, with the director and lead male.

I'm realizing music can help make or break a movie. I LOVE the "Wordplay" music, while all 3 fiction films I've seen had at least some music I actively disliked. Some of it was noisy, some schmaltzy. Nothing grabbed me.

I also noticed people have not been as friendly as at Sundance. Then again, I haven't made any effort to chat up my neighbors. Too bad I don't have any "Wordplay" buttons or pencils to give out. Maybe next week I'll start asking people what they've seen, liked/disliked so far. There could be some gems I don't have on my list, or losers I might want to avoid.

Still nothing on the "Wordplay" site. The Tribeca site now has a "director's statement" by Patrick in our listing.