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directed by Matt Porterfield
USA 2010

 

PUTTY HILL was a filming "experiment" prepared quickly from a five-page treatment and shot over a period of twelve days when funding collapsed for the more ambitious coming-of-age project METAL GODS (which director Matt Porterfield had been developing for three years) in order to to utilize the cast, crew, and locations director Matt Porterfield had already assembled (including actors Sky Ferreira, James Siebor, and Zoe Vance). The "open scenario" - as Porterfield describes it - uses the untimely death of twenty-four year old Cory from a drug overdose. The day before the funeral, a camera crew documents how the event has effected his family, friends, and acquaintances around Putty Hill including his kid brother, mother, grandmother, and sister. Merging fiction and documentary (somewhat unsuccessfully, as the interviewer is abruptly dropped while the verite camera coverage remains), the film does not attempt to paint Cory's fate - he is the protagonist even though he is not present, as far as the director is concerned on the commentary track - as a product of environment or upbringing. Instead, it focuses on how people with their plenty of their own issues deal with the loss and unanswered - and unanswerable - questions. Porterfield's second feature (HAMILTON runs a bit long for a short) is an intriguing but unsuccessful experiment. We know more about some of the characters than in Porterfield's first film, but we connect less about them (not because they are less likable or of any deficiency in the acting, but because the more characters and the greater amount of cross-cutting between more groups of characters does not allow for the same kind of intimacy. As expected, the tone varies from sequence to sequence, but wildly so in some instances (Zoe and Jenny's search for and visit to the empty house in which Cory had been living builds up an effective sense of dread that has the viewer half-expecting the director to cop out with some sort of post-BLAIR WITCH or David Lynchinan twist). There are, however, some wonderfully moving moments: for instance, the in-the-works song performed by Carole Ray (the real mother of actors Cody and Dustin Ray) - featured prominently in the trailer - the scenes with the grandmother, the karoake performances at the reception, and Dustin's interview melding his true story with that of Cory's fictional backstory. The film should be experienced at least once, however, because Porterfield's ability to approach strangers and allow them to express something true about themselves within a fictional narrative is admirable.

Eric Cotenas

Poster

Theatrical Release: 18 February 2011 (USA)

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DVD Review: Cinema Guild - Region 0 - NTSC

Big thanks to Eric Cotenas for the Review!

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Distribution

Cinema Guild

Region 0 - NTSC

Runtime 1:26:09
Video

1.78:1 Original Aspect Ratio

16X9 enhanced
Average Bitrate: 5.23 mb/s
NTSC 720x480 29.97 f/s

NOTE: The Vertical axis represents the bits transferred per second. The Horizontal is the time in minutes.

Bitrate

Audio English Dolby Digital 2.0 stereo
Subtitles none
Features Release Information:
Studio: Cinema Guild

Aspect Ratio:
Widescreen anamorphic - 1.78:1

Edition Details:
• DISC 1:
• Audio Commentary with director Matt Porterfield, cinematographer Jeremy Saulnier, editor Marc Vives,
• Six Deleted Scenes (16:9; 12:19)
• Behind the Scenes (16:9; 31:03)
• METAL GODS screen test (16:9; 6:44)
• Theatrical Trailer (16:9; 2:13)
• Trailers for AURORA, NE CHANGE RIEN, THE STRANGE CASE OF ANGELICA, MARWENCOL, GUY AND MADELINE ON A
• PARK BENCH, BEESWAX, EVERYONE ELSE, 35 SHOTS OF RUM, SWEETGRASS, and THE BEACH OF AGNES
• DISC 2 (see below)

DVD Release Date: November 8th, 2011
Amaray

Chapters 18

 

Comments

PUTTY HILL was shot with an early RED camera at 720P and blown-up to 35mm. Cinema Guild's progressive, anamorphic transfer represents the film's moody naturalistic look nicely (the look was the fortunate accidental result of the cinematographer underexposing for fear of clipping the highlights). The stereo track relies on a lot of live recording (subtitles are employed in one sequence when the sound of a tattoo gun muffles a lengthy conversation), but there are some moments of effective sound design (the opening paint-ball scene, for instance). The audio commentary is forthcoming about the rushed nature of the project's development, and its shaping in post-production (the editor was left to puzzle out the narrative line, and his penchant for including camera gaffes stylistically enhancing the film), and Porterfield pointing out some of the true stories woven into the film's fictional narrative. Sky Ferrera's and James Seibor's screen tests from the abandoned METAL GODS are included, and some of the aspects of their characters are carried over to PUTTY HILL. The behind-the-scenes featurette is just as shapeless as the feature (almost annoyingly so) but it provides some additional interesting unused bits not included in the deleted scenes section.

  - Eric Cotenas

 


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directed by Matt Porterfield
USA 2006

 

Seventeen year old Lena (Stephanie Vizzi) is living with the family of her baby's twenty-year-old father Joe (Chris Meyers, LADDER 49), who is estranged from them. Although Joe sends the money that he makes mowing lawns to Lena, she wants support in the form of his presence in her daughter's life. Lena and Joe's sisters Candace (Sarah Seipp-Williams) and Kelly will be going away to stay with Joe's grandmother for an entire month and she wants Joe to visit her before they leave. That's pretty much all there is to the narrative, which is more concerned with exploring the relationships between the family and friends than whether Joe will eventually step up to his responsibilities (their brief sexual encounter suggests that making a choice is not a matter of keeping or losing Lena, but of breaking the monotonous routine of their estranged lives). The dialogue is straightforward, eschewing any artful ambiguity or profundity and giving the audience just enough to ponder their difficulties as we follow them through their daily lives (the film's lingering silences are also pregnant rather than pretentious). Jeremy Saulnier's cinematography is often striking, imbuing the everyday Baltimore settings with a sort of exoticism that might encourage viewers to try to see their own environments in a different light. Hamilton (the place) is where writer/director Matt Porterfield grew up and some of the film was shot in his family home, and HAMILTON (the film) shows that the adage of "writing what you know" can be rewarding if one can look for the connections and the everyday little moments that make the rest of life livable.

Eric Cotenas

Reviews        More Reviews       DVD Reviews

DVD Review: Cinema Guild - Region 0 - NTSC

Big thanks to Eric Cotenas for the Review!

Distribution

Cinema Guild

Region 0 - NTSC

Runtime 1:03:54
Video

1.78:1 Original Aspect Ratio

16X9 enhanced
Average Bitrate: 6.48 mb/s
NTSC 720x480 29.97 f/s

NOTE: The Vertical axis represents the bits transferred per second. The Horizontal is the time in minutes.

Bitrate

Audio English Dolby Digital 2.0 stereo
Subtitles none
Features Release Information:
Studio: Cinema Guild

Aspect Ratio:
Widescreen anamorphic - 1.78:1

Edition Details:
• DISC 2:
• Four Deleted Scenes (4:3; 12:243)
• The UnionDocs Richard Brody Q&A (16:9; 3:41)
• Trailer (4:3; 1:23)

DVD Release Date:
Amaray

Chapters 12

 

Comments

Disc 2 featuring the Matt Porterfield's hour-long first films HAMILTON is a single-layer, progressive, anamorphic transfer of this 16mm short feature. Although the compositions are often impressive, detail is often not. The sound design is not so accomplished as that of PUTTY HILL, but I will assume that the muffling of some dialogue by environmental sounds is intentional. A twelve minute selection of deleted scenes is included, as well as a short Q&A session with the director (Brody also contributes an essay on the film in the liner notes booklet that is far more enlightening than the Q&A). A trailer for the film is also included.

  - Eric Cotenas

 


DVD Menus
 

 


Screen Captures

 

 


 

 


 

 


 

 


 

 


 

 


 


DVD Box Cover

CLICK to order from:

 

 

Distribution

Cinema Guild

Region 0 - NTSC

 

 


 

 




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