Vindaloo Philm-Wallah

PRESS

  • Keith Uhlich Dec 12, 2007

    The entirety of Jones plays as a sort of disquieting delusion. Miller and cinematographer Arsenio Assin favor languorous long takes and tracking shots that make full use of video's tendencies towards haze and halo effect. Jones' visit to a Queens-based brothel is suffused in grain – murky exteriors contrasting with harsh-lit interiors – lending the bizarre proceedings (involving the inopportune lactation of yet another business-minded escort) an even more mesmeric intensity. "I don't even want to think about it," says Jones at the conclusion of this sequence, as if he's forcibly willing himself out of his compulsive dream-state. But it's not so easy for him to rein in his obsessions, to claim the so-called moral high ground. Indeed, as suggested by the climactic sequence (set on the Newark Airport AirTrain, moving around in perpetuity as if on a life-size Möbius strip), Jones can never fully master his desires and proclivities. In some deeply entrenched way, Miller so profoundly suggests, he'll always be coming and going.

  • Amy Taubin Mar 1, 2008

    SELF-DISTRIBUTED PICK of Film Comment Mar/Apr 2008 edition.

    Early in Preston Miller's tough, formally elegant, micro-budgeted Jones, the camera, a la Antonioni, tracks the alienated protagonist, a no longer young but hardly middle-aged father-to-be from South Carolina, as he walks along Broadway near Times Square. That Miller stole the three-block-long shot from a moving car without once having stop for traffic or red lights proves that he's either lucky or ingenious or both. The eponymous Jones (Trey Albright) is in New York on a business trip: he videotapes depositions for an insurance company. At night, he does all the things lonely tourists are programmed to do- drinks himself blotto, talks to strangers in bars, gets lost on the subway, telephones his wife, and summons an Asian call-girl to his dreary hotel room. But just when you think you have Jones's number, he surprises you by, say, expressing a passion for the Japanese writer Haruki Murakami or taking a taxi to Queens to further explore his libidinal leanings towards all things Asian. Jones is a find.

  • Bruce Bennett Dec 13, 2007

    What's enjoyable and surprising about "Jones" is how little judgment Messrs. Miller and Albright pass on their lead character. Needy, alienated, wide-eyed, and a bit slow on the uptake here and there, Jones is a considerably more honest and three-dimensional approximation of the everyman of his generation than one usually sees in American movies.

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  • Nathaniel Rogers Nov 30, 2007

    Jones may be slight, but I enjoyed it. This is a welcome edition to the burgeoning mumblecore movement, Miller's clever guerilla filmmaking (NYC filmmaking without permits!) and his game lead actor create a funny/sad character study.

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  • Andy Webster Oct 27, 2011

    "Wayne Chang, as Teacher Chen’s spokesman, has an unsettlingly beatific delusionality, and Mr. Shing is poignant..."

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  • Ronnie Scheib Oct 26, 2011

    Preston Miller deftly navigates his pic's unusual tonal mix, balancing absurdity, melodrama, comedy of manners and an unblinking ethnographic stare.

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  • M. Faust Jul 28, 2011


    God's Land

    by M. Faust

    Prior to the popularity of Hong Kong action films and J-horror, Asian cinema was best known for contemplative dramas that favored an open, direct gaze over camera movement and editing. That tradition is the inspiration behind this independent feature, which has a substantial layer of humor as well. It is based on a true story about a religious cult of Taiwanese men and women who gathered in Texas to await the arrival of God. Their leader, Teacher Chen, has prophesized that this is where God will return to earth, to take away the faithful in a space ship that holds 100,000 people. At least, we’re told that these are the words of the teacher, but he never speaks—we learn of the cult’s beliefs from his aide. Mr. Liu, who could be making it all up himself. He holds a series of increasingly bizarre press conferences to explain what will happen on earth prior to the arrival of God, who will then broadcast to the world from a local public access station.
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  • Maitland McDonagh Oct 28, 2011

    "...leads Lin and Ka are remarkable, and Chiu is a charming, unaffected child performer. The film is strongest when it stays close to the family, whose complicated dynamic is delineated with considerable grace and subtlety. The poignant conclusion neither ridicules nor endorses the cultists' belief, instead acknowledging that the experience of divinity is a deeply personal thing whose transformative power isn't subject to consensus."

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  • Frederic and Mary Ann Brussat Oct 27, 2011

    An exploration of the spiritual challenges of membership in a religious cult that is obsessed with the end of the world and an escape to paradise.

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  • James van Maanen Oct 26, 2011

    "...a movie about faith (and how to under-stand it) -- and they seem to me the perfect way to approach this beautiful, comical, kind and sad new film, my favorite of the year so far."

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  • Sheila O'Malley Dec 10, 2010

    "In terms of filmmaking, a subtlety that, approaches poetry. A moving piece of work."

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  • Andrew Schenker Oct 23, 2011

    " the movie’s understanding of how the group taps into people’s deep need to believe ensures that the film remains not only fair-minded, but sensitive to the tortured emotions of its conflicted central characters."

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  • Caroline Thomas Nov 7, 2011

    "I can’t recall a film in which I’ve felt an interaction like this. It invites us to contemplate, rather than judge, deepening our reaction to the film’s message about the possibilities and limitations of spiritual belief."

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  • Mark Jacobson Oct 31, 2011

    Flying Saucer Cults and the American Sprawl: How Preston Miller Made God’s Land for $30,000

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