It's a real shame that a film as unusual -- and unusually well-made -- as INCENDIARY, adapted and directed by Sharon Maguire (right) must go straight-to-video. On the other hand, we can at least be grateful for the chance to see it. One side-effect of straight-to-video is that you won't have heard that much about the movie's plot -- which is all to the good. To be surprised by what happens is to also be in the shoes of the movie's heroine, played by the ever-wonderful Michelle Williams (shown below, right, with Sidney Johnston, who plays her son), and this situation will ad enormously to one's appreciation of the film. (Even reading the IMDB's single-sentence description is a spoiler of sorts.)
|And afterwards, you might want to confront something a little simpler -- funny and sweet -- with the added bonus of a really terrific acapella chorale. So try another little-seen movie (this one at least got a small theatrical release two years ago) called THE WEDDING WEEKEND, in which a group of old friends who, since college, have performed in an acapella vocal group, reunite -- with their significant others -- to serenade at one of their member's wedding.|
That's right: We have a "reunion" movie, a "weekend getaway" movie, a girls-against-the-guys movie, and a 30-something coming-of-age film. Have you seen all this before? Sure, but seldom with as light or entertainng a touch as here -- and never with the wonderful music. (The songs appear to have been peformed by various acapella groups -- including the cast members: good for them!) No wonder Wedding Weekend has walked away with nine film festival prizes, many of these the popular "audience award."
Writer/director Bruce Leddy (left) and casting director Avy Kaufman have assembled an ensemble that absolutely clicks -- including David Harbour, Rosemarie DeWitt (also quite good in that other wedding ensemble pic Rachel Getting Married), Reg Rogers, Elizabeth Reaser (so great in Puccini for Beginners and Sweet Land) and Molly Shannon (have you seen this woman's wonderful performance in Year of the Dog?). Everyone in the cast is fine, but space and linking time is limited.
The movie zips along on memories, reconnections, some clever and funny sex talk, and even a delighful jailhouse scene (below) -- only going off-track late in the game when needless melodrama rears its head. But Leddy manages to get it bouncing back in no time. Romantic comedies, ensemble style, are nothing new, but it's the rare one that works as well as this.