Friday, November 16, 2007

Purple Violets

This was the last movie I was able to catch at the Savannah Film Fest this year. Opening for it was a delightful short called "Numero Dos." This follows a roadie for country music star, Brad Paisley in his attempt to find a bathroom, because of an unwritten rule about not being allowed to defecate on the tour bus. This is immediately a rather humerus situation. There's nothing terribly original about Numero Dos. The situations are fairly obvious and cliched, and it looks like it was shot over a weekend. But it is fun, and in a comedic short, that's really all that matters.

Purple Violets is Ed Burns' newest movie. For this outing, he trades in his macho man characters (Brother McMullen), for a dramatic sappy turn. Behold, it turns out Burns actually has a sensitive side. Purple Violets is about four singles living in New York City. Patti Petalson (Selma Blaire) and Brian Callahan (Patrick Wilson) are both authors with their unique problems. Petalson wrote the great American novel, then dropped of the face of the literary Earth, never to repeat. Callahan makes millions writing schlocky detective novels, never able to write what he wants. What brings the two of them together? They used to be in a relationship and are now trying to rekindle it. The problem? Petalson is married.

Meanwhile, Michael Murphey (Burns) a trashy Ben Affleck wannabe is Callahan's lawyer. Kate SCott (Debra Messing) is Petalson's best friend. These two also used to be in a relationship. The entire movie follows these two couples trying to cope with their demons from the past, and try to rekindle what they had. The characters seem very real, if a little exaggerated. But you really feel for them.

Purple Violets feels like an updated 1970's Woody Allen Film. The movie is as much about New York as it is about the characters. They embody the same desperate loneliness as Allen's Manhattan, all while having a bit of dark humor. There were a number of negative reviews about this movie, but I didn't really understand their problems. The cited poor acting, and drivel written by Burns, but I think all of them work.

Purple Violets also is ushering in a new form of distribution. This movie is not going to be seeing a wide theater release. Instead, it is being distributed entirely on iTunes. This may be because they weren't expecting a terribly commercial success out of this one, so it's a perfect test. If you have the time, you should hop on iTunes and check it out.


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