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Movie Review: Storytelling

Story: Do you like films that make you fell uncomfortable? Squirmy? Slightly embarrassed and ashamed? Then Todd Solendz is your kind of director/writer. Did you see his Welcome to the Dollhouse and Happiness? Storytelling is a two part film that fits comfortably (or for the audience, a bit uncomfortably) into the ongoing series from this conflicted, self-reflective film maker.

We are once again back in suburban New Jersey and have its inhabitants to kick around. The first part, called Fiction takes place on a college campus and in 30 kick ass minutes manages to be funny, sad, passive, aggressive, depressing and exhilarating. It is damn good film making.

Part two, called Nonfiction seems longer than the one hour of its presentation. It is about an upper class Jewish family, their live-in housekeeper and an inexperienced documentary film maker. Solendz has the ability to create seemingly normal, yet really despicable characters, who have terrible things happen to them. He also manages to allow the audience not to have any compassion for them. Brilliant!

There was supposed to be a third part to this film but it did not make it to the big screen.

Acting: In Fiction, Selma Blair and Robert Wisdom are terrific. In Non-Fiction, everybody is outstanding, but special kudos to young, Jonathan Osser, for the being the kid you want to see something dreadful happen to, as soon as possible.

Critters: One gray tabby cat in a cameo role.

Food: Lots of food from all over the food pyramid in Non-Fiction (it is a Jewish household).

Visual Art: Lots of funny posters and T-shirts in the first film and hilarious Judaica household art in the second.

Blatant Product Placement: None.

Soundtrack: Funny.

Opening Titles: Gorgeous, knock your socks off color fields and type.

Theater Audience: A few Solendz fans and us. We laughed the loudest.

Quirky Meter: 5

Squirm Scale: 5 - I think Todd Squirmy Solendz should be his reel name.

Predictability Level: Low. Did not have a clue as to what was going to happen.

Oscar Worthy: No.

Nit Picking: I would like to see him upgrade the quality of his films in the lighting and cinematography departments. His films tend to have that film-school look.

Big Screen or Rental: Either. But for a really disturbing, squirmy weekend you could wait until this one is on video and rent all of his films.

Length: One hour and 45 minutes.