Wednesday, April 26, 2006
Indie Incubator Film Fest II: The Incubator film fest is something unique, it is a small film fest dedicated to young film makers and their short films. To steal a line from their poster - In order for us to have Peter Jacksons and Steven Spielbergs they need that tender loving care to develop and hone their skills, an incubation period if you will. This was my 1st appearance at the festival and I was not sure what to expect, I am happy to say I was pleased to the highest degree. It was great to see such creativeness lit up on the screen. The fest opened up with The Week, directed by Chris Lane – this film is about a salesman confronting his guilt for trying to sell Diamonds made from ashes of loved ones that have died…..he gets his leads from the obituary. The laughs kept coming when Abba and Me rolled on. Directed by Steve Delahoyde & Wakiza Gamez, we have a faux documentary about a man driving in a car for 10 hours listening to one song over and over – Dancing Queen. A few trailers for upcoming short films also appeared, the highlight of those being for The Bleakest 3 – a Charles Klein Film. I had a chance to sit down with Charles after the event – Simply put: expect the unexpected. The Fest’s second half had 2 gems. 1st up we had Sign Me Up by Justin McClain – a hilarious look at a crazed video store employee. Finally the movie that brought the house down was Numbers are Down by Alex Krochman & Jerrid Neal. Here we see a salesman from hell in a conference with 6 serial killers, giving them a beat down about their numbers being down. The Films ran anywhere from 30 seconds to 15 minutes in length. The production of these films is superb, given the fact that these young film makers are out there making movies for nonexistent budgets. It is not money that makes these movies but rather it is the passion for film inside these young directors. These guys love to make movies and it shows. Word on the street is the next Incubator is going to be in November, I know I will be there for sure and I suggest you check it out as well. An excellent time!!
* * * and 1/2
<> Award for best production value - Rock on Wesley - Directed by Erika Valenciana
<> Award for best film - Numbers are Down
Friday, April 14, 2006
Everything is Illuminated: Elijah Wood stars as a young Jewish American who is obsessed with finding out everything he can about his grandparents past. After seeing his grandmother die, Jonathan (Wood) sets out on a trip to the Ukraine and tours the villages his grandparents lived during World War II. It was in these villages in the Ukraine that a young woman helped Jonathan’s Grandpa escape the Nazis. Overall the movie has a serious tone, but is also filled with quirkiness. The 2 characters that take Jonathan on the tour are odd balls. I see what the filmmakers were trying to do, but it just did not fit. They use these unusual characters in the film to bring plenty of humor early on, but later it does not seem to work. The acting by Wood is minimal and hurt the emotion of the movie. It is a shame too, because the idea for the movie is strong, could have been soo much better with a few tweaks here and there.
If this movie had parents they would be: Big Fish & The Pianist
With a running time of 102 minutes
This film is rated PG-13
Wednesday, April 12, 2006
Wallace and Gromit in The Curse of the Were-Rabbit: Winner of the Academy Award for best animated movie in 2005, this movie is fully worth a spin in the DVD player. The movie is not as “adult oriented” as some of the other animated movies we have seen lately, but still has jokes and references that only older views will get. Clay animation is used to bring this story to life and it really is the star of the movie. Wallace and his sidekick Gromit (a dog) own a pest control company which helps the neighboring farmers control the rabbit problem they are having. Each year the town has a contest / festival for the largest vegetable grown. This year we have a very BIG problem as a giant rabbit is on the loose eating every vegetable in sight. The mysterious giant rabbit proves to be a tough catch for Wallace and Gromit, to help catch him they may just have to look into a mirror. Voicing some of the characters are Ralph Fiennes, Helen Bonham Carter and Peter Sallis. A great movie for kids that adults will like as well!!
* * * and ½
If this movie had parents they would be: Thriller (Michael Jackson Video) & Who Framed Roger Rabbit
With a run time of 84 minutes
This movie is rated G
Wednesday, April 05, 2006
Jarhead: Many movies have been done about soldiers in the Vietnam War and World War II, but Jarhead is one of the first to be done about the ground troops involved in the 1st Gulf War. As we know the ground troops did not see much action on the battlefield, so do not expect big “war scenes” ala Private Ryan (not much action at all). What we do see is the psyche of the marines that went to the gulf and how they are trained both physically and mentally for the experience. Marines are one of the toughest trained groups around…..second only to the Cobra Kai karate group. Based on the writings of real life Marine Anthony Swofford, we have a very authentic look at the experience. The acting job by Jake Gyllenhaal, Peter Sarsgaard, and Jamie Foxx are all good and believable. It is not a traditional story – we do not have a hero overcoming obstacles to solve a problem or reach a dream. Instead the story just reflects the time and the situation without much resolved. I thought it was a very fascinating insight, but for a movie as a whole I would only slightly recommend.
* * and ½ stars
If this movie had parents they would be: Full Metal Jacket and Three Kings
With a running time of 123 minutes
This movie is rated R