Pavan Moondi's low-key comedy has a plotline that wouldn't be out of place in a mainstream Hollywood effort. But this Canadian indie mostly avoids the sort of vulgarisms attendant to films of that ilk, displaying a slyly droll humor that proves consistently engaging.
Actor Luke Lalonde and Director Pavan Moondi discuss their anti-wedding movie Sundowners, and the destination shoot in Colombia that almost killed them
Sundowners knows its heroes are dolts – inept with women, sloppy with their equipment, terrible at arranging wake-up calls. They’re doofuses but at least they’re trying, so we root for them to carve out one tiny victory somewhere, even though we know that’s probably not going to happen. But we can still laugh.
The Orchard and Factory 25 has announced that they will partner for the comedy Sundowners starring Tim Heidecker (The Comedy, Tim and Eric’s Billion Dollar Movie). The Orchard has acquired the U.S. and U.K. digital rights while Factory 25 has stepped up and will release the film theatrically in the U.S.
Despite this being Moondi's third feature after two widely acclaimed projects (2015's Diamond Tongues, 2014's Everyday is Like Sunday), a solid reputation in an absurdly small industry, and a daring and fresh voice that's the perfect antidote to decades of Cancon gripes, it is a minor miracle that Sundowners got made at all.
The vacation-gone-awry movie is a tried-and-tested formula. Ditto the bros-being-bros film. But when writer-director Pavan Moondi (Diamond Tongues) decided to combine the two genres with his new comedy Sundowners, he created something deliberately awkward and bravely subversive.
There's a palpable sense of fun and camaraderie that jumps off the screen and can't help but be contagious for the viewer. Alex and Justin may be floundering while trying to find their purpose in life, but Moondi cements himself here as one of Canada's best emerging filmmakers.
"As much as I appreciate the bluesy style that July Talk brings to the Toronto alternative rock scene, I’m now convinced that it wouldn’t be the end of the world if they were to go on indefinite hiatus tomorrow. If for nothing else, it would mean that Leah Goldstein could continue her acting career. Diamond Tongues gives her an opportunity to showcase her talents outside of music, and she absolutely knocks it out of the park..."
Filmmaker Magazine: Q&A on Diamond Tongues, working with Tim Heidecker, and shooting quickly in Toronto
A Q&A with Filmmaker Magazine on the eve of Diamond Tongues' US theatrical release. This Q&A was conducted via e-mail during the production of SUNDOWNERS in Colombia.
“DIAMOND TONGUES, an alternately sweet and slashing microbudget comedy from Canada, makes a great vehicle for Leah Goldstein, a musician and performance artist appearing in her first movie. As Edith, an aspiring actress who seems blind to her deficits and personal flaws, Ms. Goldstein gives a performance that requires her to swing between disarming and loathsome. She demonstrates impressive skill in slowly peeling away her character’s charm..."
"The film purposely indulges Hollywood formula only to subvert it, intent on allowing its main character to organically, if excruciatingly, find her own way out of life’s quagmire..."
"As much as anything, this is a film that has heard every excuse about why life isn’t working out quite the way you want, been told all the just-so stories of the clever and talented whom the world has failed to recognize. Even if you’re right about the world, Diamond Tongues seems to be saying you still have to find a way to live in it. The saving grace is that trying is all that is necessary..."
"Goldstein...is excellent in the role, rendering Edith’s monstrous ambition with relatable (and frequently terrifying) conviction. At bars and parties, Edith mingles with more successful peers as jealousy begins to manifest itself, sociopathically, as sabotage. The result suggests All About Eve by way of The King of Comedy: contempt and envy reign and the threat of disaster closely follows..."
"Thanks to [Leah] Goldstein’s performance and a smart screenplay that knows its subject well — the life of struggling thespians — it’s a film of dark wit and uncommon depth..."
An interview with the Diamond Tongues team - Pavan Moondi, Brian Robertson and actress Leah Goldstein - for The Globe and Mail on the eve of its Toronto theatrical release..
"This could be the springboard for a Hollywood story about an indefatigable optimist who finally finds herself, an ultimately feel-good movie wrapped around its charismatic lead. But it isn’t. Diamond Tongues has been reviewed at hipster meccas like Slamdance as a kind of indie/millennial All About Eve – mostly because Edith isn’t very nice behind her smile, and she actively sabotages other people’s careers, including that of her best friend..."
An interview with Norm Wilner of the Toronto's NOW MAGAZINE.
"Rating: NNNN Pavan Moondi’s script is sharp and thoughtful, and he and co-director Brian Robertson create a terrific sense of place, bouncing around their downtown locations with just the right level of now-what exasperation..."
"Edith responds to this by embarking on a listless downward spiral, leaving terrible reviews for her frenemies online, masturbating to fantasies of being massively famous, and generally failing to get her demo reel or her shit together. Shot almost entirely in shaky close-ups that capture the claustrophobic quality of Toronto’s art scene (I live on the outskirts of said scene, I can vouch for the verisimilitude), it’s perversely fascinating to watch, and it’s a testament to filmmakers Pavan Moondi and Brian Robertson’s script and Goldstein’s completely un-self-conscious performance that Edith never once tempts the viewer’s pity or schadenfreude..."
"Indie films usually depict aspiring actors in such noble terms that it's refreshing to encounter Diamond Tongues, about a struggling actress who's as unlikeable as she is compelling. Pavan Moondi and Brian Robertson's feature which recently received its world premiere at the Slamdance Film Festival resembles a modern-day All About Eve in its portrait of its lead character Edith Welland (Leah Goldstein), who descends into a downward spiral of destructive behavior, directed at both herself and others, in her desperate attempt to make it in an unforgiving industry..."
"[This] Toronto-set drama intrigues by how unlikeable they are willing to make Edith. While indie cinema has no shortage of protagonists that are relentless assholes (see last year’s “Listen Up, Philip”), rarely are they women, and even more, it’s not often they are as complexly drawn as Edith....“Diamond Tongues” isn’t your standard movie about making it, instead, it’s about what happens when everyone else does and you’re left behind..."
It’s about poor, jobless, lonely Torontonian twentysomethings — and it’s smart (Review) – National Post
“There’s an honesty and whip smart humour to the micro-budget Everyday Is Like Sunday that separates it from similar fare, and Moondi and Sloane have expertly distilled the disillusioned charm shrouding Toronto youth into snappy dialogue. If only every film about this doomed generation could be so smart...”
Local indie comedy about conflicted, young people is smart, energetic (Interview/Review) – Toronto Star
“Local indie comedy Everyday Is Like Sunday has a fresh take on quarter-life crises….What the result lacks in polish it makes up for in smarts, energy and local colour...”
“Sometimes flossing can feel like starting over again. Everyday is Like Sunday begins with Mark (David Dineen-Porter) going about a morning-ish personal hygiene regimen that we can tell isn’t routine. But where standing in front of the mirror is habit for some, for Mark it’s start of a new chapter, an attempt to shake off his jobless, broken-up-with life and start fresh. That doesn’t quite happen, but over the course of the movie we’re treated to a lot of other small but potent scenes from life…What emerges is a pointed portrait of what being young and stuck in Toronto can feel like, a time and place where meaning is groped for, grasped and dropped again over the course of a coffee...”
“Marrying the same priority of comic banter over plot points as Whit Stillman, with the loose, improvisational style of Curb Your Enthusiasm, the film is rife with quotable lines and amusing pop-culture references. While all of the actors deliver refreshingly unaffected performances, Dineen-Porter has an especially magnetic on-screen presence that enlivens every scene with an air of unpredictability, while Thorburn is delightfully smarmy in his memorable supporting role...”
In December 2012, The Seventh Art launched its Live Directors Series, which featured much-adored filmmaker Whit Stillman appearing in Toronto to present his classic films, METROPOLITAN and THE LAST DAYS OF DISCO. In this piece, The Seventh Art producers Pavan Moondi, Brian Robertson and Christopher Heron sit down with The National Post to discuss the series and The Seventh Art video magazine.