IR TV Review: JETT [Cinemax-S1]

The texture of a series like “Jett” really keys into understanding what it is but the implicit necessity of what can be done within its confines. Writer/Director Sebastian Gutierrez and his wife/actress Carla Gugino have a real sense of the way to make noir idealism with sexuality and emotional overtones without becoming melodramatic. They have done this in many of their low budget films like “Elektra Luxx” and “Women In Trouble” but were always limited by the budgets or the eyes of the independent film crowd.

In making “Jett” with Cinemax (which has delivered another interesting tale right after “Warrior”), this series takes that European sensibility that Gutierrez has created (watch his most recent film: “Elizabeth Harvest” which played SxSW in 2017), but gives it an effective almost low end DePalma make over without losing the abstract elements in part that have become a stalwart of these collaborations. Gugino famously starred in “Snake Eyes” with Nicolas Cage for DePalma nearly 20 years ago so seeing her transformation from there to this is undeniably satisfying. Though there are moments of plot driven exposition, the idea and dynamics flow along at a decent pace while still letting some of the scenes breathe.

The plot without getting into too many details follows Jett played by Gugino whose real name is Daisy who is a master thief both helping and providing intel for Charlie, a debonair gangster played with aplomb by the dynamic Giancarlo Esposito. Many different characters interplay but what is interesting is no matter how damaged they are, or how cold Jett might be, there is always a sense of what might be called malignant hope…a hope that gnaws in the plot and the characters even though you know it is bad to believe in it. Whether it is Elena Anaya (who Almodovar discovered) as the rock Maria to Gaite Jansen as the lost Phoenix to Michael Aranov as the intrepid Jackie, there is so much to rip them apart and yet certain travails keep them going and connected. The violence is motivated but also malignant in its wantonness.

Gutierrez is specific with his colors and textures as he has always been but what this medium allows him to do (as he wrote and directed all 9 episodes) is a consistency of vision but also to focus on small character moments which are made specific by the titles of all the episodes. One of the more dynamic because it doesn’t focus as much on the main characters is called “Rosalie” where Bennie, one of Esposito’s hitmen, gets into a different situation than he bargained for with one of the affected victims of a hit. It is both a diatribe on human behavior but also ironically funny and introspective in many ways. The inherent essence also behind “Jett” is that it doesn’t feel it necessary to put an air of true finality on certain relationships and yet it defines them…it gives the perceptions of the characters but lets the viewer decide on their own what they think of them.

“Jett” is by no means an excellent series but it is quite good. It is self indulgent at times. But it is also undeniably poetic and vicious, tender and dark, beautiful and messy. Gugino glides through the scenes like a crow stalking its prey but also understanding that without the surrounding messy ends around her, she would not exist. Her losses are visceral but they are also necessary. Jett is an image but also a reality in terms of the character build. And for that reason because Gugino and Guitterez can approach this material in this medium with a sense of instinct, style, fun and gravitas, it allows that kind of tone that maybe might have been difficult to give a wide breathe in an independent movie the kind of texture it needs in a cabler series like “Jett”.


By Tim Wassberg

IR Television Review: Human Falacies & Supernatural Idiosyncracies – Returning TV Shows – Spring 2012 – Part I

The intention of human fallacies in unwittingly non-normal situations whether it is tracking drug smugglers, taking down a government agency or trying to exist as a supernatural create in a world of human brings its own set of idiosyncrasies which allows the participants to react in a variety of ways but most necessarily in the normality of who they are.

Justified [FX] Adjusting to a life without a murdering matriarch consumes itself to the will of Yankees invading the plot in the smiling goodness of Neal McDonough, Now granted Raylan (the always cool Timothy Olyphant) is still pervading his sense of Southern law, but, at some point, the women in his life get sick of it. His former flame returned to darkness in the intent of her ex, Boyd Crowder, who has found his way to enlightenment through a more demonstrative criminal method. The realization of Raylan, especially when he gets into another shootout in a hotel, seems to prove that he doesn’t have what is needed to be “father” material. Enter Carla Gugino (always a welcome sight) as a Director in the Marshall service who gives Raylan a run for his money. In terms of her resurrection in terms of intermingling with Raylan’s heart, only time will tell. This bodes darkly, especially with a treacherous and involved runner of organized crime who seems the figure to beat, personified in the visage of Mykelti Williamson who brought tenderness as “Bubba” in “Forrest Gump” but hits the intended notes of intelligence and intimidation which has not quite yet come to fruition.

Nikita [CW] Involving the notion of psychology into the reasoning behind Nikita’s actions to take down Division, the source of all her strength and death, becomes more dastardly when the woman responsible for recovering her from her initial life as a junkie becomes one of the masterminds behind the company that caused her so much grief. Many of the plot developments begin to take on double negatives especially with a girl Nikita brought back from the brink now the focus of an internal hit squad. Percy, right now the most engaging of the villains (after getting out of his box), mingles a turn of loyalties with the wantonness of Nikita to try to balance both sides of the equation but situations, despite her best efforts,  are likely to explode on cue.

Royal Pains [USA] HankMed has truly got into a normal functioning matter-of-course with Boris’ illness somewhat under control and the boys’ dad taking responsibility for his earlier sins. The more interesting structure of this season, by extension, is Evan’s relationship with his girlfriend-now-fiancee. The class structure progression of this ideal is something that some people might relate to if one has experienced The Hamptons because the possibility of all is right around the corner and it dexterously keeps you on your toes. Hank’s pressing perception also lies in the fact that Jill, his past and present girlfriend, is leaving to do her part in Uruguay and that his one true friend on the peninsula, a pro golfer named Jack [played with aplomb abandon by Tom Cavanagh], is suffering from a manageable but deadly progression of lupus and just wants to joke it away. Divya is dealing with class structure pressures from the opposite direction in that she has to pay back her part for bailing on her Hindu wedding. All within, the series is attacking more domestic issues which give it a sense of depth without the ideal that everything in these people’s lives will collapse at any given moment.

Being Human [SyFy] The predatory nature of the leads involved in this series dictates that everything in their lives cannot remain structured and unchanged as life (or death) always has a way of creeping up on you. Our lead vampire, despite being able to quench his thirst for blood while working at a hospital, only needs to watch the undoing of his maker from last season to propel him into a situation he cannot control. The most intriguing of all is the introduction of his lost love who supposedly went on a rampage when he was around in the 1920s. The flashbacks and the way they are captured are undeniably forthcoming because it shows the indelible sense of self-control that is required of this person. Our werewolf in question is both bringing and diminishing more from his pack and the dichotomy of his new girlfriend because of what she is, emboldens the idea of alpha versus benign into a very tense atmosphere. Our ghostly female roommate-in-question finds more of her own and finds out that it might be possible for her to sleep (and therefore dream) but it unlocks something inside her which, when compounded with certain forms of addiction (like possession of a human to experience sex), creates an interesting form of withdrawal which is unbalanced by the death of her mother. The series continues to explore utterly human experiences in otherworldly situations using a seemingly progression of morality.

Character Structure & Texas Vision: South By Southwest 2011 – Feature

South By Southwest balances itself with a texture of networking and filmmaking, parties and professional tendencies, finding itself in the middle with an essence of undeniable energy. Whereas last year, the purity of SX Fantastic ruled the roost, the expanding perspective made itself prevalent this year, especially in the International section, ranging from Ireland to Israel to beyond.

Beginning with one of the first films opening night with Danny DeVito and Rosario Dawson in presence along with star Carla Gugino, “Girl Walks Into A Bar” stays in relevance with director Sebastian Guiterrez’s other “surreal world pictures” though this one seem decidedly more noirish as compared with his more telenovela-style predecessors like “Women In Trouble” and “Elektra Luxx”. While the plot itself is anything but full of depth, the dialogue and locations are what keep the plot moving. Shot with Canon DSLR camera with audio inputs, Sebastian has found an interesting balance because these cameras can use exceptional and far ranging lenses that the Red and others can simply not deliver on. The lighting and coolness of the bar sequences (each bar was shot in one day over a 7-day shooting schedule) merges well with the other great cameos ranging from Josh Hartnett to Robert Forster.

“Little Deaths”, part of the SX Fantastic sidebar at the festival, is a horror anthology from a group of UK filmmakers who frequent the festival and have played films individually at Fantastic Fest before. Each has their own sociological and stylistic progressions which make them specifically unique. The first segment follows a couple who brings in homeless people off the street in an attempt to make their life better but what is revealed is a twisted perception of masochistic sex reflecting the rich preying on the poor. The resolution highlights a supernatural comeuppance which though visually acute doesn’t quite have the bite needed. The second segment reflects a body altering vision progression of a more mech/historical bent involving a mechanical Nazi machine that creates a aphrodesiac/medicine that twists reality to a certain point. A young woman who has a peripheral connection to the bloodline finds herself in the middle of a would-be conspiracy. The play through reads more interesting than it functions. The final segment entitled “Bitch” involves a more “master and slave” idealism with a dog “role-playing” fetish. The girl of the relationship as the master takes the intention too far which causes a revenge of exceptional viciousness. What works within this segment is that what is not seen causes more impact than what is onscreen.

Happy New Year“, using motifs of “Awakenings” and “Full Metal Jacket”, attempts to humanize and visualize many of the soldiers coming back from Iraq and Afghanistan in terms of the VA experience. The lead character here is a tortured soul who believes that he should not have survived his unit’s last onslaught. In keeping his head held high and trying to maintain a notion of discipline, he is slowly eating away at his actual identity. What happens ultimately involves the notion of what makes him a man leading up to a New Year’s celebration. While the performers work adequately, it is the friend of the lead soldier who himself suffers from Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome who really brings the grounded emotion home.

“Andante” as an experience is a little more abstract. Occupying a sector most often reserved for textured auteurs, the visual style plays to a mix of “Eraserhead” and “City Of Lost Children” swirled with certain elements of “1984” and “Brazil”. While the narrative sensibility goes in and out of focus at many points because of the overarching structure of dreams, the visual beauty and complexity of what is shown as well as the sound design is definitely intriquing. The language barrier (the film is Israeli) also adds to the luridness at times but also offers an intensity and reflection of that country’s psychological state from the perspective of its artists. The forced camera perspective and movement along with the balance of both the music and the brutality truly offers a cinema experience that can both baffle and consume an audience.

“No Matter What” functions from a much different basic structure of the spectrum. Made by a former Florida State University student, its portrayal of the Florida rural experience is both humorous but uninteresting. The cinematic basis is fairly bland in terms of what the boys in question are pursuing. While the existential qualities in regards to their necessity of being are definitely in question, the improv elements they are asking (much like the progression of Harmony Korine’s ideas) seem inevitably banal. The two teenage leads simply wander from house to house searching for a mother who infinitely doesn’t want to be found. While many could equate the tendencies of the boys to a mythic search, the intelligence reflected in that primal element simply does not formulate itself to any specific point.

“Charlie Casanova” by comparison is very aware of intelligence (almost to a fault). The lead character in question is such a cruel man, self-involved with an ego of infinite proportions, that he never apologizes for who he is, which is the point of the film. Made by Irish filmmaker Terry McMahon, the film possesses a claustrophobic feeling that forces people into Charlie’s world which as Terry himself says is “a dangerous place to be”. The aspect of Charlie that defines the rest of the film is the concept of “borrowed time”. After Charlie kills a pedestrian in a hit-and-run and realizes the finite nature of his life, he proceeds to completely take it overboard in terms of the concept of what is socially acceptable including the class structure where the rich punish the poor. As the narrative continues it becomes more and more severe. Most dark movies allow for a relief to the tension but Charlie keeps piling it on with no remorse for the inherent viciousness he keeps allowing. At the end, the palette paints a man that should be pitied because, even in the notion of “winning”, he is character apathetic in his life with no conscience of his being.

Bad Fever” shows an ulterior side of the structure. While “Charlie” is about a man on a road to ruin, “Fever” is about a man whose identity is structured in the idea of who he thinks he is. But unlike “Napoleon Dynamite” which played its oddities against a notion of playful undermining, here the lead is lamented for what we wants to do: become a stand up comic. The problem is that he has no act to speak of. The characterization of Eddie however is quite riveting at times though hardly focused. When an seemingly unfocused girl becomes ensnared in his vision, he never stops to think whether or not her motives are pure. His agenda is hardly unselfish but there is a sense of hope to it. Ultimately he becomes mired in his own self loathing and finds redemption (or at least acceptance) by an unlikely companion who, unlike him, is almost what she seems.

American Animal“, jumping back, works on the same tendencies of “Casanova” but revels in a kind of pop culture mismash which is more mind-play masturbation than a sense of actual intelligence. The writer/director who, by functionality, in his own words, took on the acting role of a would-be Dionysus in the film, has a wonderful theatricality about his performance but no sense of reality in what this character would consider righteous. The narrative revolves around two roommates who are basically trust fund babies who don’t have to work if they don’t want to. The more motivated and less leader-oriented of the pair thinks that it would be a interesting idea to actually get a job. This, of course, does not resonate well with his partner-in-crime who has the penchant of acting out his would be thoughts from a Victorian dinner to his monologue on being via “Gangs Of New York”. Two young beautiful ladies who obviously simply hang out because of the drugs and luxury involved, which seems more than a superficial paradox since they mostly just sit around, feed this notion of simple nihilism. When the motivation involved, which revolves around an unnamed life-threatening illness, takes center stage in the third act, the lead character takes on a cracked facade. Now granted the type of exposure that the lead actor entices really does show a commitment with a raging stream of consciousness notion of what “freedom” truly means but ultimately the entire episode seems empty because of a lack of empathy for what the character is going through. He wants for nothing and is beholden of nothing but yet he truly tries for nothing.

“Small Beautifully Moving Parts” balances itself out mostly in caring too much which can lead to boredom. This “girl finds herself” story is a little more modern and, while it tries to play, especially in its relationship perspective, against its idea of convention, it decidedly plays all the more normal. The narrative follows a NY artist-type who becomes pregnant but wants to learn why her mother left their family because, without that notion of self, how can she become a good mother? While the idea is one of existentialism, it comes off rather banal. While her boyfriend/husband is very supportive, he is not essential to the story. Nobody seems to have a clear read on the mother either, even the ex-husband who lives in Santa Barbara and carries out his relatioships via Skype. The one thing the movie does do is indicate the need for one-on-one communication which is infinitely true and is something more and more people are scared of these days. After a brief respite in Vegas with a sister-in-law which seems all too unneeded, our lead finally finds her mother in some meditative commune in the middle of Utah. It all plays very new age with ultimately the lady-in-question unable to explain why she left (except that it is better that she did). The boyfriend ends up finding his girlfriend in the desert and they go back to NY. The relevance only being that we are all alone and have to deal with our pain and joy in our own way which is universal but nonetheless basic.

The Divide” provided the most gripping possibility with the genre functions of Xavier Gens (who directed the Fox movie “Hitman”) operating within a set structure budget. Having interviewed the director and his partner-in-crime Michael Biehn (best known for “The Terminator” and “Aliens”), the awareness of the process of how the movie was made distinctly informed its viewing. The narrative involves a group of people who are trapped underground in a vault of sorts after a nuclear attack decimates New York City. What transpires because of the leaking of radiation is a breakdown of the primal nature of man and, in a secondary case, woman. What begins as a waiting exercise turns into what one does when there is no hope left. The idea of primal and alpha takes on a interesting premise with a sense of law. Biehn’s character who was the superintendent of the building is a gruff man who brings to mind the psycho he played from “The Abyss” if he took his meds and tried to hold down a steady job. Milo Ventilmiglia (best known from “Heroes”) along with relative newcomer Michael Eckland plays the brothers who descend into a non-functional but sly pack wolf structure becoming more brutal as time goes on. Rosanna Arquette, plays a mother whose daughter is taken away by a strike team who ambushes the survivors. She loses the will to live and becomes almost a doll from which the men vent their rage and desires onto. The entire progression plays bleak save for a couple who, having broken up, keep their wits about them and don’t degregate themselves through necessity whether it be chopping up bodies or in other ways cutting away their humanity. Ultimately the resolution distinctly plays to the notion of survival and results in a texture of more hopelessness which plays well (harking back to “Aliens”). The way Gustav supposedly directed caused alot of tension on the set (in somewhat of a controlled chaos) allowed some of the actors to take the characters farther than they possibly should which was something that Biehn, as an actor, relished. “The Divide” is not for everyone but is that rare balance that mixes good character work within a structure of genre and paranoia without having to resolve to high priced tricks.

“Last Days Here”, the only documentary viewed, tells the volatile story of the lead singer of the metal band Pentagram from the early 70s. The film follows this man as he is completely decimated by the demons that control him. When the crew first meets him, he is a crack cocaine addict living in his parent’s basement in squalor. While this seem like a basic “phoenix” story, it plays with alot more depth than that. This man is a fuck-up prone to both creative whims and crushing blows of ego. However what transpired in the early 70s with the band still speaks to many today, both with certain fans and musicians. The docu explores interestingly enough how the lines sometimes merge which they inevitably do in any industry. What this vehicle does though is not pull the punches. A fan and would-be music producer [Ferret] tracks down the metal frontman and tries to help him get his life together to make another record. Ferret puts his reputation and personal life on the line. The great aspect is that you see that this man believes that a comeback for this lost talent is possible after the forward momentum is cut down again and again. The frontman even hooks up with one of his fans which gives him the ability to see the light at the end of the tunnel but that collapses as well. The devil (in his case: crack) is always waiting in the wings to mess it up. The documentary crew checks in every couple months to document the reality but it is an inherent rollercoaster. What is also interesting to see as the band makes it way to Webster Hall in NYC is how much the singer pulls back the curtain on the backstage structure of this kind of metal and the show it becomes. More than many other music documentaries which simply become promo tools for the band, this was nothing of the sort. It was a character study of a man who could have easily died during the making of the film and somehow didn’t. The relevance is showing his humanity despite the reality of this man’s demons.

Now the parties at SxSW are also reflective of the movies they promote and inherently of Austin but life tends to function that way.

The Opening Night Party again found its home at Buffalo Billiards, wrangling its way throughout the upstairs structure. Miller Lite followed as the wraparound bar belied a sense of clandestine tendency. The beers drank in tandem before the late night screening at the Alamo Drafthouse proceeded with “Little Deaths” and the inevitable and heavenly chocolate peanut butter shake.

Celebrating a new deal between Fandango, the ticket buying entity and the Alamo Drafthouse, owner Tim League blasted out an exceptional and cool blast-off at Highball, which is literally yards from the theater. Usually reserved as a more upscale cocktail spot with some definite old school swing, entering in, the venue permeated energy with a cool color palette that truly amped the vibe. As the local and exceptionally diverse draft beers flowed, the karaoke interaction in the back balanced out to rock star potential. While individual rooms can be rented for private function, the full rock band was on hand on-stage which League doing his best AC/DC full throttle. As the night continued on with baskets of fries and Guinness shots, the bowling alley built in gave a true feeling of symbiosis.

Across the street at The Trailer Park, a few nights later, League himself paid homage in structure again at the kegger/donut eating shindig to celebrate the premiere of “Bellflower” replete with fire spewing muscle cars and cricket eating contest. While jerry-rigged spotlights highlighted the shadows and the beer flowed freely, the Glendonough trailer served donuts galore with everything from bacon-opped concoctions to dark southwestern fried demons which seemed remarkably accurate considering the movie is about a girl on a vendetta in a “Mad Max”-type wasteland.

Quick parties gave a visceral feeling and intimate interaction with the people that made them especially in a launching pad such as SxSW. Some are simple ways for cast and crew to celebrate their accomplishment while others become magnets in terms of pure networking. The reality is that across the boards all became magnets for discussion in one way or another.

For “Dish & Spoon” whose party was held at Paradise Cafe, the red ale flowed strong and smooth while the queso dipped heartily as star Greta Gerwig, fresh off “No Strings Attached”, chilled with her filmmaking partners in a nearby booth. “Charlie Casanova” commenced their premiere shindig at Mother Egan’s bathed in dark shadows and a little bit of Dropkick Murphys as Guinness pints flowed with incandescent flow as twilight set in. “American Animal” by comparison chilled outdoors just across Congress from the State Theater at Hickory State Bar & Grill where a discussion with a nurse at the local mental institution over many frosty beverages encouraged any interesting balance about the film between psychology, connection, emotional electricity and what fulfillment means.

SxSW is always a smorgasbord of ranging ideals, thoughts and celebration. While the genre underpinings continue to structure many of the programs, the expanding discussions offer a grand vision of greater American idealism and character work stretching beyond the SX Fantastic sidebar while continuing to highlight all that is Austin.

Cape Latitudes & Shrouded Harbors: The 2010 Provincetown International Film Festival – Feature

The inherent structure of Cape Cod allows for many misinterpretations but the most structurally specific revolves around a sense of geography. Provincetown, as a destination, rests at the tip of Massauchussetts…a perception of Land’s End, if you will, marked by the precipitous beacon of a white lighthouse.

Unbeknownst to many, the Pilgrims first landed here before settling on Plymouth further down the way. The natural harbor brings through a sense of calm but also a brisk breakwater which holds away storms steaming just 125 miles off shore on the Grand Banks. One cannot help think of “The Perfect Storm”.

It only seems fitting that a film festival rests within its quaint streets offering a glimpse of life both lithe but also socially conscious.

Reached briskly from the gateway of Boston, Provincetown is a swift 2-hour high speed ferry ride via Bay Street Cruises from the World Trade Center wharf in the infamous harbor where tea once sprung in majesty. Nearby Logan International Airport is right across the water, reach with utter ease by MTBA, the city’s intrinsic and easy-to-use train system. Dependent whether coming from the West Coast or closer, an overnight stay in the Boston area might be deemed necessary simply because of schedule.

Arriving in Provincetown, the planks of the wharf reveal the lobster boat swinging in the crux of early morning fog. The pinnacle of Pilgrim Monument rises above the town as Commercial Street rises from end to end consumating the heart of the tourist trade.

A short 10 minute walk affords the stay of the jewel of the island: the Crowne Pointe Inn. Its bungalows gently lifted with the aroma of flowers and gentle sloping fences give it the perception of a high-end bed and breakfast with all the amenities. The included breakfast, prepared by a master chef highlighting culinary delights from eggs benedict to quiche along with the essence of freshly squeezed orange juice, provides a remarkable beginning to the day.

The Provincetown International Film Festival is in a persistent growth balanced with its different textures of films inevitably creating structure of its status. The films themselves are mired between an aspect of overarching stylistic representation and a plethora of existential journeys.

Hipsters” is a Russian film taking on the representation of the 50s idea of “cool” in the 1960s perception of Communism. With some exceptionally shot musical sequences that rival some Western European productions with distinctly more flair, the movie also works on the level of contrasting sociological differences. The characters in the film long for the texture of America in terms of its rebelliousness only to realize at the end of the film that the times had past them by and America has moved onto another trend. This along with an ending musical sequence that mixes both aspects of “Grease” with the anthem angles of U2 showing 50s youth and today’s youth on the streets of urban Russia show distinctly how life has changed there.

Hideaway“, in many ways similar to the film “Swimming Pool” ( made a couple years ago), uses a tragedy as a resetting mechanism for a character to retrace her identity. Unlike that earlier film, this French outing focuses on a former drug addict’s hope for the brother of her dead lover only to be confused by his actions. The aspect of her pregnancy is the only aspect of her love that she can still feel. The resolution feels metaphorical beyond a doubt but nonetheless the narratives wilts in comparison.

Tanner Hall” reflects more with the search for identity than any specific plot contrivance. The story, set at an all-girls college, revolves within the idea that in every situation, there is a need for escape. The lead actress, Rooney Mara, who is every bit as quiet in real life, speaks with her eyes and movements which makes the progress of the story much more primal. Certain character structures surrounding her though are wasted, especially those involving Amy Sedaris and Chris Kattan, who though comical don’t necessary play through in tonal tandem with the rest of the cast.

All About Evil” swings the complete other way with its gore instilled movie homages revolving around the psychologically disturbed granddaughter of a movie house owner who seeks to make her own works of horror. While the offbeat structure and characters (especially in the form of two sadistic twins in bobby sox) provide some camp laughs, the tonal structure is at times un-wielding despite an understanding of macabre by the director, who also moonlights as drag queen celeb Peaches. Natasha Lyonne, who here reteams with her “But I’m A Cheerleader” co-star Mink Stole, gets the viciousness focused full throttle but her lavish intensity at times overwhelms the idea unraveling its momentum.

Wasteland“, the sole documentary viewed, premiered to intensive raves at the Sundance and Berlin Film Festivals earlier in the year. Using recycling and the persistence of third world poverty as a vehicle for social change, filmmaker Lucy Walker and artist Vik Muniz create a reflective study of human behavior set in the garbage dumps of Rio. The idea of creating visual art as a medium from life, transposing it into a photo then using the same workers to reconstruct the image using recyclables from the same landfill is both cyclical and affecting, especially when the film captures how it changes the subjects’ way of thinking.

“Every Day”, much more a character study, stars Liev Shreiber and Helen Hunt as a couple trying to find sanity in their daily lives between a dying alcoholic father, a overly steadfast son, an unbridled affair and fears of getting old. While the story leans towards the melodramatic, it is the focus of the two stars and their slightly bent (and on-purpose) miscommunication, that rightly relates their overarching shortcomings. Supporting turns by Brian Dennehy as the father and the always sensuous Carla Gugino as Liev’s sexual laision lost in her reverie solidify this small independent’s possibility.

The vision of honorees swells through the town like an uninterrupted wave of praise. The exceptional aspect of Provincetown is that people can walk down the street undeterred even as a celebrity. John Waters, who is a member of the festival board and summers in the area, can be seen riding up and down the streets on his bike.

This year, the honorees included director Kevin Smith (who brought his producing effort “Bear Nation” to town) as well as Oscar winning actress Tilda Swinton (with her new film “I Am Love”) allowing them to assimilate directly into the calmness of the town’s setting.

At a filmmaker brunch at the scenic Land’s End Inn with a vista over the harbor, Smith related that the town reminded him of the first place he wrote a screenplay but harked back that the entire business has changed since then. Interacting with indie filmmakers is a joy for him but, with the saturation of product now, the idea is much more complex. The key is enthusiasm.

While films abound within the streets of Provincetown, its bright corridors also hold distinctions of food and drink for respite.

Mews, on the far east end of Commercial Street, envisions itself as a vodka destination and revolves in the textures of its martinis.

The intonation of The Butterfinger, mixing Van Gogh Chocolate Vodka with Frangelico, creates a perfect soothing ideal as the boats sway on the water outside the frosty windows. The “Cape Blush” Zinfandel from Truro Vineyards, near where “Storm” author Sebastian Junger lives, provided less intention withering instead of inspiring.

The appetizers provided a structure of balance entering into the main course. The crabmeat filled avocado, available only in season, provided a paradox of sensation from the sweet taste of its pinnacle while the creamy influx of the sizable salad wedge soaked in blue cheese and bacon waxed heavenly.

The main entree of lobster risotto, provided with large claws of local crustacean meat mixed with scallions, wild mushrooms and truffle oils, simply purged the soul while the after-dinner devilish “Cookies & Cream” concoction, balanced with the heightened espresso, steadied the senses.

The Bistro Grille, located within the Crowne Pointe Inn, offers another permutation of the dining experience with similar flair.

Similar within the sweetness of the Butterfinger at Mews, the Jade Martini mixes Midori, Malibu and pineapple juice with a smooth feeling that carries over the gentle fog encircling the town.

The starter consortium failed to waste any time with a tuna tartare cylinder, topped in caviar, that both lightened and assaulted the taste buds at the same time while the clam chowder, a stalwart of the area from its plentiful bounty offshore, did not disappoint in its creamy countenance.

The main dish again highlighted the delicacy of the area in the form of a butter-poached lobster which, again with its meat encrusted wondrousness, simply melted in the mouth, this time surrounded by an array of vegetables from carrots to peas soaked to the bone, not to mention the visceral and downright seductive Red Velvet Cake enjoyed afterwards that, were it not for the side of au gratin potatoes during dinner, would surely have caused ensued food rapture.

While these two establishments represent the height of dining for either meeting, romantic or other escapades in the small town, the cross-section of local food elements both in Provincetown and late night in Boston show the personality that encompasses the area.

Whether watching the game or surfing the net, George’s Pizza on Commercial, can do both especially when its oven baked sausage and spaghetti gets the heart pumping while P-Town Lucky Dogs, created by a transplanted Californian from Brentwood, understands the cruciality incumbent in the freshness of ingredients whether it be bacon, chili or cheese.

Down the street, the Old Colony Tap is essential for the comings and goings of all points draft while the personification of Pabst and the dark cringing of crackling night pontificates the locals with an immense sense of humor especially when a party just off a harbor cruise makes their way in.

In counter-structuring presence, the round structure in Boston especially if one has to stay the night revolves around which section of the city retains your business. In the necessity of the Boston Commons area, any section of the park can create an adventure in its own.

Staying at the Boston Park Plaza off the city’s Chinatown but also straddling its Theatre District, the selections are eclectic but ultimately satisfying. The Tam, located next to the W, functions as a friendly bar, undoubtedly Bostonian in its identity with the $3 Amber Bock specials to prove it and a warm intense vibe.

Barely four blocks away, Asian Garden, in the heart of Chinatown, relishes with the hotness of the food even as the hour passes ten. The lobster dumplings, reveling in a chili sauce makes way for a scallop soup mired in hot and sour spices that fills with gusto. The main course of orange chicken stuns in its sheer volume and taste that makes one glad.

If late night continues the run, Boston Kitchen Pizza, only blocks away as well, offers that thin cheesy heaven that can only be made in certain corridors of the East Coast, assaulting its consumer with thoughts of college nights past.

Returning to the tip of Cape Cod, adventure outings allow for a balance of land and sea, optimizing the preferential pull of the region.

Art’s Dune Tours is a functional anomaly in many ways within the artisan personality of Provincetown. The presence of large sand dunes ranging for miles with lone shacks still maintained atop their pinnacles might seem like a progression out of a movie. In all perceptions, this is true.

As pointed out by the knowledgeable owner Rob, Hollywood lore has retained its own small part of history within this area. Tennessee Williams wrote a discernible chunk of “A Street Car Named Desire” atop a dune shack. When Marlon Brando made the trek here to meet the playwright in advance of the production of said movie, it is said the actor had to traverse the dunes, not unlike a quest of his own. In parallel to that, only a few yards away around another bend are the dunes Steve McQueen traversed in the original “Thomas Crown Affair” in the infamous chase sequence. Art’s is the only company allowed to tour the land which makes their business specifically unique across the board and a must-see for any visitor to the area.

For the seafaring, Cee-Jay Fishing, departing from MacMillan Wharf, offers a taste of the local fishing without overwhelming the visitor. The great possibility is that the fish run far and about around the harbor. A full school of stripers hit multi-hooked jigs barely 200 yards from the dock. With all bait and reels provided within the excursion price which is more than reasonable, a 3-hour cruise with the inevitability of sunshine always makes for an efferverscent morning.

Provincetown offers a getaway that many attest as peaceful. With a town both “user friendly” and walkable, the key is attained with wonderful democracy. In tandem, with the advent of the Provincetown International Film Festival, the inventive and locally specific programming both engages the viewer and brings them into the mindset of the city. With summer locals such as John Waters championing the possibilities of the arts here, a local community centered on the ideal of a creatively bred township and food with a taste of the sublime, Provincetown knows itself through and through with a sense of pride.