A friend has an extra pass to the LA Film Festival so I took in a few offerings yesterday. New York Doll is a surprisingly involving behind-the-music rock doc about Arthur "Killer" Kane, the hulking former bassist for the New York Dolls, who drifted into alcoholism and destitution while David Johansen's star ascended. While in recovery in L.A., Kane became a Mormon, and that's where filmmaker Greg Whiteley enters the picture. Intrigued by Kane's stories of his rock 'n' roll past, he started following him around. Then Morrissey called to reunite the (surviving) members of the Dolls for the 2004 Meltdown Festival and Kane's dream of a reunion was realized. I've never seen a film that moves with such comfort and revealing contrast between the worlds of rock and religion. It works like gangbusters. The film will have a theatrical release in October.
Unfortunately my next choice was Yes, Sally Potter's new film starring Joan Allen as a woman who has an affair with a Lebanese man. The whole somnabulent wank-a-thon is written in (bad) rhyming couplets—or at least, I think the whole thing is, since I staggered out at the one-hour mark to wander into the lobby and read this airheaded quote from Roger Ebert: "Joan Allen is amazing in Sally Potter’s YES. And director Sally Potter is amazing in the way she makes her amazing." My short review: No.