No one plays hungry restlessness better than MendesOne modern Cinema Obscura that I always wanted to see is Bill Guttentag's "Live!," which, to the best of my knowledge, never received a U.S. theatrical release between its Tribeca Film Festival screening on 28 April 2007 and its under-the-radar DVD release on 1 December, 2009.
Guttentag, an Oscar-winning documentary filmmaker (2003's "Twin Towers"), made his fiction-film debut with "Live!" and, on paper, it sounds like a compelling doozy, mockumentary-style, with the always game Eva Mendes vamping as a network's cynical president of prime-time programming who comes up with an idea for the ultimate reality series - a weekly game of Russian Roulette, wherein contestants vie for $5 million.
With loaded guns.
I can't imagine any other actress, besides Mendes, who could pull off as premise as ballsy and deranged as this one.
"America's ever-elastic appetite for assimilating what was once offensive, rendering it both acceptable and profitable, gets a mostly deft satirical workout in 'Live!' Playing like 'Man Bites Dog' meets 'Network' retooled for the current media climate, well-cast venture from Oscar-winning docu vet Bill Guttentag incorporates its lacerating commentary about reality TV and fame into a suspenseful fake-docu format..."
So wrote Lisa Nesselson in her 1 October, 2007 review in Variety
Guttentag's large cast also includes David Krumholtz as an eager young documentary filmmaker (and possible stand-in for the director), Jeffrey Dean Morgan, Missi Pyle, Andre Braugher, Paul Michael Glaser, Charlotte Ross, Katie Cassidy, Rob Brown and Jay Hernandez.
"Live!" will receive a rare screening at the ever-enterprising Rafael Film Center in San Rafael, CA. at 7 p.m. on Sunday, 7 March. Guttentag, who also directed the recent "Soundtrack for a Revolution" documentary, will be present to introduce and discuss his film. Wish I could be there.