Monday, September 23, 2019
If you fly regularly EVERYBODY FLIES will scare the living shit out of you. Even if you don’t fly it will make you think twice about doing it. The fact that there is something scarier than cigarette smoke in the cabin is perfectly chilling. While I have never flown, after seeing this film I kind of never want to.
Director, presenter and former Airline Captain Tristan Loraine, and co-director with Beth Moran have made one hell of a documentary. It brings to light a problem that possibly could cripple or kill anyone who travels by air. Its also a gripping thriller that lays its cards on the table at the start to grab us and then ratchets things up as you repeatedly ask why no one is really doing anything about this.
I really don't know what to say other than EVERYBODY FLIES is a stunner. What it puts before us is so vitally important that any quibble one might have are not worth mentioning.
A must see.
Everybody Flies will premiere at Raindance Film Festival on Tuesday 24th September 2019 at 6:45pm.
A second screening will be held on Wednesday 25th September 2019 at 1:45pm at Vue Cinema Piccadilly, London.
For Tickets and more information go here.
Jacqueline Olive’s film is nominally focused on the case of Lennon Lacey a 17 year old African American who was found hanging from a swing set in North Carolina in 2014. While his death was ruled a suicide there are indications that it may not have been, from his not really having a reason to the fact his grave was desecrated. While the FBI did get involved they found the evidence hopelessly tainted. The result is a a great feeling of unease for many in the community.and in particular In order to explain why Olive masterfully explores the history of lynching, and the 1946 Moore's Ford Lynchings in Georgia when four people were pulled from their car by a mob and killed, horribly. Olive uses a re-enactment of the killings to explore people's thoughts and feelings to lynching and all things related to it.
Watching the film I was left stunned. Even in this age of Presidentially fueled racial hatred ALWAYS IN SEASON was a stark reminder of just how deep hatred runs and how evil even supposedly good men and women can be. In reading on the film, (I was so stunned watching the film I didn't take notes and put into such a dark place I didn't want to revisit the film to get the information I wanted to have) that the one thing that many people writing on it called it infuriating and noted how it makes you angry. I agree, there is much to be angry about. But also there is a profound sadness that despite claims to be good, many of us really aren't.
ALWAYS IN SEASON floored me. Watching it it left me struggling to find words. There was a sense that no matter what I had to say was meaningless because most of you are just going to glance at my words and move on, which is wrong. What I felt I needed to do was find away to just make you see the film. Yea my words may be nice, but they are no match for the power and importance of Jacqueline Olive's film. It is a vitally important missive about the state of America that we all must see.
Do yourself and your fellow human beings a favor and take the time and see this film
Sunday, September 22, 2019
Jason’s latest attempt at homicide comes in the form of his short THE LAST CALLBACK. The film is the final auditions of two actresses for the role of a crack addicted serial killer prostitute and what follows.
A stunning comedic tour de force for Tasha Tacosa and Rachel Riley, who were the titled giant women in Jason’s documentary and glorious love letter to filmmaking GIANT WOMEN, MICROBUDGET, this film just lets the women go crazy and show what they can do. Watching them go from a straight on reading of the proposed role into what they think the directors want, on to the mania of ripping their competition is a joy. More importantly the shifting nature of their performances reveals them to be so much better than the role they are being offered. I completely understand why Jason would want to make a film with the pair at the center, because they are really funny and work incredibly well together. (Jason, please a buddy film for them)
What delights me about Jason’s short comedies is that he understands how to pace a film. When you see any of his comedy shorts, such as SUBCULTURE or this watch how he builds the comedy. Starting with a premise, say dueling auditions, he builds and inflates the situation, (the women become more and more over the top). He raises the stakes further with a twist, and then twists it again…. And by the end we’re doubled over with laughter, tears streaming down our face.
So few people do that anymore. Most people think a funny line or a non sequitur is the way to go, but Jason understands that building a situation creates greater laugh. It is the way comedians like Keeton, Chaplin, or Jacques Tati built their comedy.
Jason Kartalian is a genius. He is one of my favorite filmmakers and his film THE LAST CALLBACK is a masterpiece.
The Gig Harbor screening is at the Galaxy Uptown Luxury+ Theatre -
Last Callback times are Friday Sept 27, 5;25pm Screen 3
And Saturday, Sept 28, 8:40pm Screen 1
The Valley Film Festival screenings is Friday September 27 at 6pm at the Laemmle NoHo7
Saturday, September 21, 2019
The relationship women have had with baseball has been strange. Despite their having a mad passion for the game (I have a great aunt who was a fanatic and would start fights at both Yankee Stadium and Ebbits Field), they were largely not allowed to play the game for scientific reasons that made zero sense. Even today after women have made strides in football, boxing and mixed martial arts many men still see women as too dainty to play. Of course it’s utter bullshit and if you need proof all one need to is look at the women in the film to realize that there are a lot of women playing the game who could kick most major leaguers asses.
I really liked this film a great deal. While I could nitpick that it didn’t jump back and forth between some the threads as much as it does, it is still a winning piece of filmmaking. This is just a wonderful film that not only functions at bringing the story of women and baseball to light, but also entertains the hell out of the audience. This is a great time with great people with the result that we come to love all the women in it. Actually and most importantly it makes a solid case that there is absolutely no reason that Major League Ball should seriously consider letting women play on the big stage.
Highly recommended for anyone who loves the game or just wants to see a film that is going to make them smile. The film hits various home video platforms September 24
Friday, September 20, 2019
Gamblers who rely on luck are just plain gamblers. Gamblers who employ “skill” consider themselves “swindlers.” Somewhere in between, you will find “Tazzas,” the legendary gamblers of Korea’s underworld. A poker-playing college student gets burned by a notorious Tazza, but a less frightening Tazza will recruit him for a potentially lucrative caper—and perhaps a chance for pay back in Kwon Oh-kwang’s Tazza: One Eyed Jack, which opens today in New York.
Do Il-chool is more comfortable at a card table reading people and calculating odds than taking notes in a lecture hall. Unfortunately, his luck runs out when he meets a femme fatale known as Madonna. It turns out she is the deceitful accomplice of the infamous Tazza known as “Demon,” or “Ma-gwi.” She throws Do so far off his game, he winds up deeply indebted to loan sharks.
Fortuitously, the Zen-like Tazza, “One Eyed Jack,” comes along at an opportune moment, to pay off his debts and enlist his services for a big-time swindle. The mark will be Mool Young-gam, an arrogant real estate mogul involved in some seriously shady dealings. Mool also can’t resist a not so friendly game of cards. Do and “Director Kwon” will worm their way into his confidence posing as his poker mercenaries, while Kkachi the swindler and Young-mi, the “actress,” will bait him masquerading as an obnoxious nouveau riche couple in the market for a weekend home, with One Eyed Jack pulling the strings behind the scenes.
Based on the third volume of the Tazza graphic novel series, One Eyed Jacks is considerably darker and more violent than the previous Tazza film, The Hidden Card. However, it is still fully stocked with twisty-turvy Runyonesque deceptions and betrayals. The con is most definitely on and on and on.
Park Jung-min is certainly adequate enough taking over for T.O.P. as the latest young new cardsharp in town. In fact, he is considerably steelier, which is a good thing. However, films like this never belong to the leading man. Instead, it is the colorful supporting casts that make or break them.
In this case, Ryoo Seung-bum radiates coolness and rock-solidly anchors the film as One Eyed Jack. Lim Ji-yeon and Lee Kwang-soo definitely lay it on pretty thickly, but they are still amusing as the bickering scammer tandem, Young-mi and Kkachi. Yoon Je-moon chews the scenery quite devilishly as Demon, but Woo Hyeon out-chews him as the slimy, rat-like Mool. However, Choi Yu-hwa is problematically passive and weirdly distant as Madonna. There is not much narrative connection to the previous Tazza films, but Joo Jin-mo technically returns in the tough luck prologue, briefly reprising the role of Jjakgwi.
This chef has had almost as many media lives as the heroine of the often-remade Miss Granny. He debuted in Yaro Abe’s manga and has subsequently come to life in multiple Japanese TV series and movies, as well as Korean and Chinese television series. His work is tasty, his wisdom is sage, and his late-night hours are convenient for his restless clientele. This time, “Big Tony” Leung Ka Fai takes his turn behind the grill as “The Master” (or “The Chef,” translations vary) and behind the camera as the director of Midnight Diner, which opens today in New York.
Originally, the Master’s cozy eatery was nestled away in a Shinjuku back alley, but Leung moves it to Shanghai. The hours are still the same: midnight to 7:00 AM, or whenever the Master feels like opening up for customers who look like they are in need of comfort food. He has several regulars, including his Alon, his adopted brother with anger management issues, and his old crony, Uncle Zhong. Plus, three scatterbrained millennials nearly always stop by.
However, most of the drama focuses customers, who are irregular regulars, like the dopey boxer, who only comes to the diner to retrieve his mischievous mother (and partake of the stir-fry clams). With the help of the Master and his mother (which he never requested), the big lug might have a puncher’s chance romancing the pretty single-mother nurse living in the neighborhood with her wheelchair-bound daughter.
We also meet a lovelorn brand marketing specialist, and a poor, scuffling singer-songwriter, whose stories have varying degrees of bittersweet tragedy. Yet, the tale of two country naïfs, whose bumpy romance cracks under the pressure of mega-urban life is probably the centerpiece of the film.
It is all very nice, but the concept probably works better as a series, allowing characters to more easily enter, exit, and intermingle without the pressure of reaching a quick resolution. Nevertheless, the good-looking cast is certainly pleasant to spend time with. The diner itself is also quite a warm and inviting setting (it still looks very Japanese, but whatever).
Unfortunately, the film has been clouded by controversy completely outside its scope. Reportedly, Leung’s Diner has been on the shelf for two years awaiting the go-ahead for release on the Mainland, which was suspiciously granted shortly after the actor appeared at a rally for the Hong Kong police—even though they have been recorded on video violently attacking pro-democracy protestors, with absolutely no provocation or justification. Sure, Midnight Diner is an agreeable film, but it is not worth selling one’s soul over. (Coincidentally, the film depicts Alon as a cop, whose rage drives him to physically abuse innocent citizens.)
Big Tony, you’re breaking our hearts, especially since you seem so warm and down-to-earth as the Master. It is a side of Leung we rarely see on-screen, while Zhang Li lends the film surprising grit and human frailty as the disturbed Alon. Jiao Junyan is also quite poignant as Snow, the ill-fated singer. Zhang Yishang and Vision Wei are both quite charismatic as the young provincial couple, but their tale of underdog love rent asunder by life is pretty familiar stuff.
Thursday, September 19, 2019
Glorious to look at film is both bigger than what went be fore and smaller. While the sets are decidedly more epic the cast of character seems to have narrowed with a few of the carry overs reduced to little more than cameos.
The plot, such as it is, is a confusing mess that has Alice stealing the Chronosphere in order to go back in time. The trouble is that things get messy and where the earlier film had a sense that we are in a place where anything can happen, here we have a sense that anything can happen because the writers need it to go that way never mind if they have to rewrite the rules. This makes for a story that you kind of give up on about half through simply because things are just happening.
Its not bad but it isn't anything special. The truth be told, while I will look at the film again-it will be to look at it since the visuals are wonderful. And while I was hoping for a sequel when the first film ended when the end credits rolled on this story I was thrilled that everything seemed to be tied up with no sequel possibilities.
Now that it is on home video it definitely worth a look for fans of the first film but I think the film is going to be welcomed more by people who love the visuals.
Wednesday, September 18, 2019
I'm mixed on AUGGIE. The problem is the narrative covers a great deal of ground that similar virtual reality films have covered before so this doesn't feel new, especially if you are a scifi fan. While it brings in more recent twists from the real world where everyone is tied to their cellphone and refuses to go entirely as expected there still is a strong sense of deja vu.
I will say that the reason to ignore the deja vu and see the film is Richard Kind. Long one of Hollywood's great actors he has rarely been given a chance to shine and really show what he can do. This is the showcase he really deserves and the chance to watch him go through his paces kept me watching even when I wasn't fully engaged with the plot.
While never bad the film never fully soars, except for Kind who is simply marvelous and heartbreaking in all the right ways. If you are forgiving and want to see what will be one of the under appreciated performances of 2019 give AUGGIE a shot.
And indeed this film is primarily interested with ushering viewers into the interior world of its subjects. But unfortunately, if La vida en común is not a film for the squeamish, it’s also not a film for those who enjoy good documentaries. As an aesthetic statement the film is marvelous in how it observes indigenous life in the dusty hillsides of the La Pampa Province; originally a people of nomadic hunters, the Ranquel were forced onto reservations in the late nineteenth century and it’s clear that even centuries later they still haven’t fully adapted to a sedentary lifestyle. The subjects only truly come to life when they’re hunting or driving or moving—contrast this to the deadening scenes of them learning Spanish in a schoolhouse.
But the film insists on having a plot, namely that of a coming of age story concerning its two subjects Uriel (11) and Isaías (13). For them, the hunting of the puma is a rite of passage and a metaphor for their looming adolescences. But instead of observing and letting the film express its story organically, Yanco stages things like a fiction film with sequences that obviously necessitated careful blocking and lighting such as one scene of alternating closeup shots of the boys and a newly arrived girl in their community staring at each other, blushing, and looking away. One can’t help but think of the early docudramas of Robert J. Flaherty like Nanook of the North (1922) where sequences involving indigenous peoples were deliberately planned and staged. But Flaherty films seldom entered the world of metaphor—if we saw a staged scene on an Inuit man building an igloo, it represented just that, the building of an igloo. But Yanco is trying to make a statement about manhood and maturity that feels betrayed with his obtrusive documentary techniques.
Tuesday, September 17, 2019
This elite squad is a lot like the Dirty Dozen, but there are only four of them. Fortunately, Don Lee counts for at least eight guys—eight really big guys. The old team of convicts is reconstituted to capture several far worse criminals in Son Yong-ho’s The Bad Guys: Reign of Chaos, the feature sequel to the hit Korean TV show, which opens this Friday in New York.
Big bad Park Woong-cheol has been given a two-day furlough to mourn the death of his best friend, one of the last old school, socially responsible clan bosses. As luck would have it, he will be available to return to the crooks-catching-crooks task force that has been called back into service to catch the high-profile criminals who just escaped in the Fugitive-style opening action sequence.
Sadly, Lt. Yoo Mi-young, one of their badge-holding comrades from the TV series, was badly injured in the attack, so it is personal for Park. At least their old commander, Captain Oh Goo-tak is back in charge, but the ailing copper is not long for this world. Naturally, there will be some tensions with the new recruits: Ko Yoo-sung, an overzealous cop and “Jessica” Kwak No-soon, a confidence trickster. However, they will all be on the same page when they realize one of their targets is the serial killer who seduced and murdered Kwak’s sister. Yet, there is probably even more pressure to re-capture No Sang-sik, a high-ranking mob boss, who had promised to reveal his secrets to Lt. Yoo.
After the initial escape, Reign of Chaos gets a little bogged down in exposition, but then it cranks it up again and never slows down. Frankly, this is a perfect vehicle for Don Lee (a.k.a. Ma Dong-seok), who is quickly becoming the Arnold Schwarzenegger of the modern era. His imposing physique cannot be missed (even by a blind man on valium), but it is his earnestness and “aw shucks” charm that really pop off the screen. He performs feats of strength and bashes more bad dudes (we can’t call them “bad guys”) than viewers can easily count without a hand-clicker, always in a way that is upbeat and entertaining.
Kim Sang-joong is a perfect counter-balance, playing Cap. Oh with world-weary gravitas. Just one look at his wrinkled brow can cause sympathy headaches. Kim A-joong also has fun vamping it up opposite Lee’s burly but Boy Scout-ish Park. Park Won Sang also has some nice moments as the cynical but honest copper, Jo Dong-sul. They all form quite a colorful ensemble who rather overshadow Chang Ki-yong, who is quite competent as the hot-headed Ko, but he just can’t compete with Lee and company.
Sara Dosa’s The Seer and the Unseen is the portrait of one woman’s battle to preserve her beliefs and homeland from the ravages of capitalism run wild. At least it should’ve been. Overlong and unfocused, the film attempts too many things at once, veering wildly from lectures about the Icelandic economy and the reckless “Viking investors” whose antics exacerbated the 2008 financial crisis to glorified home movies of Ragga puttering around her home with her family. These latter are at least tolerable due to their depiction of how folk beliefs are transmitted through the generations, but when the serious topics of climate change and economic corruption show up they feel thematically out of place. It grows into a film of visceral psychological violence, unflinchingly showing the abuse of protestors by police and the destruction of the environment by construction workers.
This film needed tighter focus, a clearer purpose, and about fifteen minutes shaved off.
The film is framed as an episode of a monster hunter TV that has discovered the only known print of an unreleased horror film about MOMO, the man beast that terrorized Louisiana Missouri in the early 1970’s. The film was made in response to the success of The Legend of Boggy Creek but for various reasons was never released. It is intercut with modern interviews where the shows host talks about the events that inspired what happens in the film.
I really like MOMO a great deal. It is both a scary monster on the lose pseudo- doc and an amusing send up of the monster films of old. The film gets the modern sections dead nuts right and there are some genuine chills in those sections of the film where the story of the beast is related straight faced. It’s chilling.
While the throwback sections are entertaining there are two problems with them that keep them from having the fullest effect. First they are don’t quite match the films its aping. Yea the look is right, but as one who had gone through a good number of the films in the weeks leading up to being offered Momo, the film makes the cardinal sin of not playing it straight. The actors, who play the modern sections of the film deadly seriously, play the 1970’s section with a nod and wink, camping it up ever so slightly, taking the edge off not only the period section but the film as a whole. Rewatch Boggy Creek or Legend of Black Lake or any thing else and you quickly realize that even if the performances were bad, the actors were playing it straight. The other problem with the film is that actors appear in both sections. While this is no doubt due to budget issues, it weakens the film because what should be a straightforward film is instead kind of knowingly humorous because, as I stated above, they are not playing it straight in the old film.
But my quibbles are ultimately small. I had a blast watching Momo, so much so that when I was done I was emailing friends and family to tell them that the film existed and that they should see it. You should get some popcorn and see it too.
Recommended for monster fans I suggest you get some popcorn and take the plunge.
Monday, September 16, 2019
I really enjoyed this documentary. I found that it really was educational, and explained things well. It was very thorough. There was a lot of research done, and they used easy concepts to understand. It was also entertaining. I do hope and feel that as the title suggests that it will be a game changer. I think it will have a lot of impact on current and future athletes, as well as your regular gym goer, or anyone trying to be healthier. A must see.
The Game Changers plays a country wide single screening tonight, then opens Friday in New York and the following week in LA
You can accuse ghoul of many things, but not cannibalism—because they eat people, not other ghouls. Yet, what about a half-ghoul, half-human, like Ken Kaneki? The notorious ghoul known as “The Gourmet” is convinced Kaneki is not just edible—he will be absolutely delicious. The man-eating ghouls of Sui Ishida’s manga are hungrier than ever in Takuya Kawasaki & Kazuhiko Hiramaki’s live-action sequel, Tokyo Ghoul S, which screens nationwide today, Wednesday, and Friday, courtesy of Funimation.
Thanks to an involuntary organ donation from his late ghoul friend, Kaneki became a human-ghoul hybrid in the first Tokyo Ghoul. He has yet to fully embrace his ghoulishness, especially the eating human flesh part, but he has found belonging in the Anteiki coffee shop that caters to ghouls (coffee being the only human food they can stomach, because it is rich and delicious).
Shu Tsukiyama is exactly the kind of ghoul they prefer not to serve. Viewers first meet him in the bloody prologue. Kaneki’s co-worker Toka Kirishima, a petulant high school student and lethal projectile-wielding ghoul, boots him out on his ear, but not before he gets a whiff of Kaneki. Convinced the human-hybrid will be a rare delicacy, Tsukiyama lays plans to ensnare and feast on him, starting with a charm offensive.
The first live-action Tokyo Ghoul was a lot like the X-Men, but with ghouls not-so secretly living among humans in place of mutants. However, “S” more fully lives up to the horror implications of ghouls eating people. Tsukiyama is a classic horror movie villain, played with scenery-chewing relish by Shota Matsuda. In contrast, one of Kaneki main adversaries from the first film returns in a sickly and more empathetic state this time around.
Masataka Kubota still plays Kaneki like a wide-eyed and largely freaked-out sad sack, but he laos nicely conveys signs the character is starting to mature and grow into his new life. Maika Yamamoto shows off all kinds of action chops as the hard-charging Kirishima. However, it is Shunya Shiraishi and Mai Kiryu who really give the film heart in their poignant scenes as the formerly sinister ghoul Nishiki Nishio and his human lover, Kimi Nishino. As a bonus for Japanese pop-culture junkies, Canadian-Japanese model Maggie appears in the prologue as the bi-racial model, “Margaret.”
One of my must see films became one of the biggest disappointments as what appears to be a truly intriguing story is completely garbled in the telling. Complicating matters more is the fact that in trying to sort out what the story is most of the things I could find only mention his saintliness. To be perfectly honest I had no idea what the heck was going on in this story which has a lot of people talking well of the man some talking suspiciously something about naked pictures, some other misdeeds and the question of who he was really. Full of people who don't always talk on point the film wanders all over the place like a man speaking his stream of consciousness.
I wanted to walk away but I wanted to see if this film pulled it together. It never did and I genuinely have no clue about Bendoraitis other than he was a priest in the Amazon and stuff happened. I won't speculate on the stuff good or bad.
A complete and total mess.
The film follows Sheng Nan a photographer who is diagnosed with ovarian cancer. Having her world upset at the age of 29 she has to figure out what comes next. Needing to get some money together to pay for the treatment and wanting to experience the world’s sensations before the treatment wrecks her body, she sets off to figure out what comes next.
I should say at the start that watching the film I was struck by the feeling that as much as I liked the film, and I like it a great deal, I would be even more over the moon had I been a woman. I say this because the film’s exploration of how a woman is supposed to handle a world that wants so many contradictory things from them is one most modern women face. How do you face a world skewed toward men? You are supposed to be a wife and mother if that isn’t really on the trajectory you’ve chosen? What if the disease you have makes you unacceptable to finding a mate? Do you want one? Being a guy I could only intellectually connect with some of the issues being raised.
Ultimately it doesn’t really make a difference. While I couldn’t relate on the deepest of levels I could still ponder the issues. I could also connect to the journey of self-discovery Sheng Nan takes. This is the sort of journey that many people take when they are faced with something life changing. The need to reassess and reevaluate where we belong and what we want is universal.
I also could fall madly in love with the images. In a year where there have been a good number of great looking films that you’d want to just have play on you wall as a living painting, SEND ME TO THE CLOUDS is near the top. It’s images will make you sigh audibly. I was going “wow” repeatedly.
This is a great film.
Highly recommended SEND ME TO THE CLOUDS opens in LA Friday before opening in theaters across America in the coming weeks.
Sunday, September 15, 2019
This record of the state of New Yorkers is either going to thrill you or bore you. An intriguing, if very up and down film THE HOTTEST AUGUST works best in pieces. I say this because some of the people interviewed are more interesting than others, either because of what they say or because of where they were interviewed- say the two gentlemen who are interviewed at the start (they are hanging out a window in a house).
This is a film that is impossible to really review because how you are going to react to it is going to change with each person. Besides as a film it kind of isn't something special, rather this is a film that is the start of something not the be all and end all. I spoke with someone who saw the film at BAM Cinemafest earlier this summer and their reaction to some people was completely different than mine. As a result of our discussion, which lasted for two times the length of the film, the film because something else. Ultimately this is not a film so much as a conversation starter. It is a film you need to see with people who will engage with it and do more than simply say if they liked or disliked it but really talk about what the various people have to say.
If you want to see a film, especially with friends and family who like to talk about what you've just seen, then THE HOTTEST AUGUST is highly recommended. If you just want to see a film about the state of the world in one place and time it's still worth a shot.
Camden 2019 Shorts: Shoulder Season, Enforcement Hours, The Last Miller, 6 Degrees of Freedom, Coby and Stephen Are In Love, and In The Wake
wickedly wonderful film about a dodgeball program at a YMCA in Maine. Wild crazy and just damn fun- just see it. One of my favorites of the film festival
Thought provoking and emotionally moving film about a California Hotline that people can call when either they see ICE raids or are caught up in one in order to get help. Made up entirely of recorded conversations it reveals the gamut of people who call the line with the results that we feel for the people involved. I was moved by the film to actually try and do something to help and when the film was done I looked into the sort of services that are available on this side of the country. Worth a look.
THE LAST MILLER
Portrait of one of the last stone millers in Columbia and the complications that have hit his profession. A stunningly beautiful film that reveals the life of a man who is practicing an all but lost art that no one wants to continue. Recommended
SIX DEGREES OF FREEDOM
A stunning to look at portrait of a swimmer.This needs to be seen on the big screen where the images can over whelm you.
COBY AND STEPHEN ARE IN LOVE
Biography of two senior performers and their life. This is a half an hour with two nice people.
IN THE WAKE
A look at the women who still use hand looms to make cloth. Its a visually beautiful take on a dying art.
Ragsdale’s daughter disappears after taking a dare from a friend that if she hits the buttons in a certain elevator in a certain order a gateway to another dimension will open up. The gateway opens and she goes missing leaving her father to try and work out what happened.
When we Dance is supposed to be based on the strange death of Elisa Lam. Lam was found dead in a water tank on top of a hotel. No one knows how she got in there. The creepy part of the story is not where she ended up but the really weird elevator ride she took before hand and which was recorded on security video. In the video she staggers into the elevator and then takes a ride in the elevator hitting random floors before wandering off. While the end isn’t the same the elevator ride to hell is.
Writer director Anthony de Lioncourt has taken the elevator and fashioned it into a creepy little confection. While the film echoes other films –‘s film works on it’s own terms thanks to a good script, good actors and an incredible series of sequences that perfectly marry sound and image to send chills up and down your spine. These stunning sequences carry the film over the occasional bump and keep the film centered and compelling.
I really like the film a great deal and if there is anything negative I have to really say about the film is that it runs just over an hour. While this would be fine for a TV series or a film from 50 or 60 years ago, where there were shorter films played with A releases. The run time is potentially going to prevent people from plunking down their cash since they aren’t going to feel they are getting a full feature. Of course they are getting a full story, but people are now sadly trained not to be certain what to make of an hour long film if it isn’t a children’s feature.
Don’t be stupid hunt this film down and give it a try. Its worth your time
Saturday, September 14, 2019
The film follows Krow, a young man who was born a girl, but who always thought of himself as a boy. As a teen he thought he should get in touch with his feminine side and became a well-traveled model. Realizing that he needed to become who he was really he began the process of transitioning. Along the way Krow meets Kas Baker another young man like himself and his partner both musically and in life Emily Seal (the duo provide the music for the film).
This is a warts and all look at Krow and Kas‘s lives. There is frank discussion of everything involved in the whole transitional process. We hear the stories of bullying and abuse. We see the sadness and loss of way and we see the hope at finding one’s self and supportive family of friends. The whole hard road both, good and bad, is here. As a result we come truly understand the happiness they have found.
While decidedly not for all audiences, some people sadly will balk at a film like this, but for everyone else this is a great film. And for those who are looking to find a way to be themselves this film is going to be a game changer. This is a film that is going to spread some hope. For those who need to know that there is a light out there this film is a must see.
Krpw's TRANSformation plays the Raindance Film Festival on September 18th
As a white male I am not even going to attempt to say anything about this film other than I liked it. While I am not certain that the styles and pieces all connected up for me, I will say that I loved the headspace they create and the chains of thoughts they created. There is a great power in the marriage of word and image and they take you out of where you are and place you into a place where you can consider the ideas and revelations that Ms Gary is throwing at us. The truths of the lives of the women in Harlem and the patter of Ms Simone moved me.
One of the most thoughtful films playing at the Camden international Film Festival, THE GIVERNY DOCUMENT is highly recommended.
Camden 2019 Shorts: Citizens of the Cosmos, Excess Will Save Us, Sam and the Planet Next Door, Motherland, Helga and Walled Unwalled
Less documentary than essay on the manifesto of Biocosmism, written by Alexander Svyatogor. As a narrator reads from various the texts we get related images filmed in Japan and Russia. It’s a trippy experience with its own unique head space. I was kind of thrown off by the film to start because I was looking for a conventional documentary, but there is nothing really conventional about this film (and we are better for it). A wonderful visit with a different headspace.
Excess Will Save Us
The story of what happened in a small town when series of unconnected events (an argument, shots from a hunting party…) were misinterpreted as something series and authorities rushed in with tons of fire power to take care of it. This is a funny shaggy dog sort of a tale that is funny after the fact but was probably scary when it happened. I chuckled a great deal at the great story tellers spinning their tale.
Sam and the Plant Next Door
Very good portrait of a young man growing up in the shadow of a power plant. It a really good look at one kids life in the modern industrial world
Excellent portrait of some of the women who are tasked with finding and defusing the mines that still litter their country, Artsakh, after an ethnic warar. Far from flashy and simply matter of fact this is powerful look at women doing what they must to make their country and fellow citizens safe. A wonderful love letter to unsung heroes.
Excellent portrait of Helga Testorf who was the subject of Andrew Wyeth’s Helga paintings. Testorf has been called the last person to be made famous by a painting. She was Wyeth’s muse for decades until word of the paintings broke and took over the art world. An excellent portrait of not only a feisty woman, but also the artistic process as we get a peak into what transpired between the pair that created such great works of art. This is a great great film on so many levels that you just need to see it.
More performance piece than conventional documentary, this recounting of various crimes that required technology to breach walls is just a thing of beauty. On one level a beautifully narrated accounting the film transcends its simplicity by being set in recording studio where walls are moved around, images are projected and our senses are massaged in such a way as to make the resonances something greater. One of the best films at the Camden International Film Festival it is an absolute must see.
Friday, September 13, 2019
The film is the story of musician Ike White who killed a man in a robbery that went wrong and ended up in prison, where he managed to make some absolutely incredible music. It was so good that reporters came to do stories on him, his songs were recorded and Stevie Wonder became an advocate for his release. What happens around and through that is the story and it isn't what you expect (it wasn't what I expected).
You will forgive me if I hold back in discussing this film, its not for lack of desire more it's the realization that as you read this the film is just World Premiering at the Camden International Film Festival and as such I don't want to spoil all of the films twists and turns for you. Sitting, staring at my computer screen when the film was done I had ponder whether I wanted to clue you into the ride or just say buy a ticket and take a ride. I'm going with the just buy the ticket approach.
And never mind the story you're going to want to see this for the music that fills it from start to finish. White was and is and incredible musician and the grooves he came up with are absolutely amazing. This is a glorious primer for his work is nothing else.
Ultimately the best thing I can say is this is a great great film and you should see it. One of the absolute must sees at the Camden International Festival you'll want to buy a ticket and see it before your friends discover it first and tell you about it.
MAKOTO SHINKAI’S “WEATHERING WITH YOU” TO OPEN FESTIVAL
JEREMY CLAPIN’S “I LOST MY BODY” TO CLOSE FESTIVAL