Friday, July 28, 2017

Fantasia Capsules- Fritz Lang, Dark Land, LaPlaces Demons, Drib , and Expo 67:Mission Impossible


Fritz Lang
Intriguing idea of Fritz Lang becoming a kind of character in one of his movie in between Woman in the Moon and M never quite comes together the way it should. The problem with the film is too much of a hybrid. Mixing actual footage with new as well as expanding on actual events the film never quite feels real. We are constantly pulled out of one reality, either real or created, and put in the other. The blending isn’t as seamless as it should be. I think the film should have been all recreation then we would have accepted it all. I should also probably mention that having a cursory knowledge of Lang kind of prevented me from buying the dramatic premise as well. Worth a a look but nothing spectacular.

Darkland
Good thriller has a well-respected doctor putting his career on hold to chase down the bad guys who killed his brother after a heist goes wrong. Great looking with style to burn this is a film that will hold your attention despite a slightly slack pacing and some plot bumps (why would crooks continue with a robbery when a car accident happens outside and cops are descending on it). Recommended.

Drib
Part documentary part dramatic recreation follows what happens when an energy drink hires provocative comedian Amir Asgharnejad to rep their company and do advertising spots. Things do not go as expected. Odd film about a clash of cultures, provocation comedy and advertising, never quite works. So much of the film is recreation that nothing feels real. Worse unlike Orson Welles F is For Fake which most people believe the first time through Asgharnejad is such a joker that you never go with the flow. (and he’s a bit of an ass as well so you really don’t care.) Not bad but extremely disappointing in that it never achieves whatever it is it wants to do.


La Places's Demons
Scientists who discover the ability to predict the outcome of any event such as a smashing glass are invited to an isolated island to share their discovery only to have things go really weird when their host begins to act strangely. Moody black and white film is very mannered and echoes the work of Guy Maddin in an over long tale that is more intent on making a point rather than actually telling a scary story. More a series of moments or images rather than a whole movie my interest waned early and never returned.

Expo 68: Mission Impossible
Good but much too short look at the making of the Expo 67 the biggest world’s fair ever. Featuring tons of unseen films, photos & documents the film tells a story . Breezing by in a swift 68 minutes this film goes into the behind scenes story of the making of the legendary world’s fair at speed. It’s a great but at the same time after showing us the archive that had until recently never been touched we are left wanting more. I would love to have seen more of everything. And while I enjoyed the hell out of the film I kind of wish it had slowed down and shown us more. Definitely worth a look – now if they would only put out a companion book all would be right with the world.

Fantasia ’17: Oscar (short)

Legendary jazz producer Norman Granz knew what he was doing. It would be quite a challenge for just about any musician to make their American debut during a Jazz at the Philharmonic Concert at Carnegie Hall, but Oscar Peterson killed it. Not merely the greatest Canadian jazz musician thus far, Peterson probably led the best-selling, most acclaimed mainstream swing piano trio—ever. He took the place Nat King Cole vacated to become a full-time crooner, making the piano trio bigger than ever. Marie-Josée Saint-Pierre mixes animation and archival footage to pay tribute to the master in the National Film Board-supported short film, Oscar, which screens during the 2017 Fantasia International Film Festival.

O.P., as he was sometimes called, played his final bars in 2007, but he left behind a rich and extensive recorded archive. He was also interviewed on numerous occasions, so Saint-Pierre had plenty of primary sources to draw from. We do indeed hear Peterson recall his sink-or-swim debut and also listen to him self-deprecatingly tell the famous story of how he erroneously assumed an Art Tatum record was a piano duo, which is probably the second most famous event in the O.P. creation story. Fans would probably prefer to hear more about his great trios, but Saint-Pierre opts for the personal side of Peterson, in which he forthrightly admitted the demands of his profession put unfair stress on his first wife.

We hear a great deal of the Peterson touch in Oscar and it still sounds sophisticated yet infectious. The film is also attractive looking, frequently framing the archival performances and interviews in suitably urbane animated foregrounds. Saint-Pierre and animator Brigitte Archambault previously collaborated on the documentary short McLaren’s Negatives, which explored the creative process of Canadian animator Norman McLaren, whose 1949 short Begone Dull Care was scored by Mr. O.P., so presumably they shared a full understanding of Peterson’s significance as well as a strong working relationship—at least we would so assume from the stylish finished film.

It is hard to explain what a giant, transcendent figure Peterson cut in his final years. When he came to town to perform a concert, he was more like the earthly personification of jazz itself than a merely mortal musician. This is someone who recorded on equal terms with Louis Armstrong, Charlie Parker, Dizzy Gillespie, and Ella Fitzgerald. Saint-Pierre’s film gives us a taste of what made him so special. Frankly, the only problem with the film is it isn’t longer. Peterson’s life and Saint-Pierre’s approach could easily sustain a two-hour feature treatment. Recommended with affection, the fan-making Oscar screens tonight (7/28), with L’Ange et la Femme, at this year’s Fantasia.

Hound of the Baskervilles (1939) Fantasia 2017


I find it funny that the film that would alter Basil Rathbone’s career and type cast him forever is a film he is barely in and lists third in credits. A reasonably faithful adaption of the Conan Doyle story, Rathbone’s Holmes is off screen for much of the film as Watson and top billed Richard Greene wander the moors.

A griping dark and stormy night flick this is a super film that rightly spawned a series. I find it odd that after one more film(The Adventures…) Fox would let the series and its stars go where it would spin out for twelve more films before Rathbone walked away saying enough. I guess they couldn’t see what they had.

I really like this adaption a great deal. It’s perfect for curling up on a couch and just losing yourself not just in old Hollywood but Victorian London. Highly recommended

It plays with CHARLIE CHAN AT THE OPERA July 30 at Fantasia. For tickets go here

Thursday, July 27, 2017

Disasterpieces August 18-24

The Quad showcases the best and biggest onscreen depictions of disaster. Brace yourselves for panic, pandemonium, and even parody with titles including The Towering Inferno, Black Sunday, Airport 1975, and of course Airplane! on 35mm (surely we're serious)

Aptly echoing the malaise of the 70s, the Disaster Movie cycle offered mass jeopardy as morbid spectacle, with A and B-list stars and superstars holding on for dear life as natural and man-made catastrophes threatened annihilation. The prime mover in this special-effects-plus-human-interest format was producer (and 2nd unit director) Irwin Allen who inaugurated the genre in 1972 with The Poseidon Adventure and sounded its death knell with the fittingly-titled When Time Ran Out in 1980. There were notable precursors to the trend such as the 1933 Deluge and the 1958 Titanic film A Night to Remember. For a genre often on the brink of self-parody, the coup de grace was delivered by Airplane!, which unapologetically rounds out this thrill-a-minute survey.
Airplane! Jim Abrahams, David Zucker, & Jerry Zucker, 1980, 35mm
Airport George Seaton, 1969, 35mm
Airport 1975 Jack Smight, 1974, 35mm
Black Sunday John Frankenheimer, 1977, 35mm
Deluge Felix E. Feist, 1933, DCP
Earthquake Mark Robson, 1974, 123m, DCP
A Night to Remember Roy Ward Baker, 1958, 35mm
The Poseidon Adventure Ronald Neame, 1972, DCP
The Towering Inferno John Guillermin, 1974, 35mm
Two-Minute Warning Ronald Neame, 1972, DCP
When Time Ran Out James Goldstone, 1980, 35mm

Charlie Chan at the Opera (1936) Fantasia 2017

Charlie Chan at the Opera was one of the later Fox productions of a Charlie Chan story. Made at a time when the series was worth of big budgets and big stars the film is a grand mystery of the sort they don't make any more.

The film has Chan getting involved with the murders happening in and around an opera house. It seems that a crazed composer (Boris Karloff) has escaped from the asylum and plans to kill the man who wronged him.

Its a wonderful production that is so lavish that the studio actually has a mini opera written just for the production. It looks and feels impressive and will surprise you if you've only seen the public domain ones not the ones that Fox produced.

As a Chan film, it's one of the best. There is a genuine mystery here and the characters while stock still manage to grab you.To be certain the there had been a lot of films in the series -this is the thirteenth of forty four, but the film still had a lot of life in it and it wouldn't really begin to become mechanical until later into Sidney Toler's run at Monogram. Fox cared about the films and made sure that they were quality products because they were a cash cow for the studio.

The shame of the Chan films is that they are viewed as being un-PC. While that may be true on some level it has to be remembered that Chan is always the smartest guy in the room. It is a something that the early entries in the series made clear. By now the series was set so they didn't need to emphasize it. (So as a result the portrayal when stripped of the previous film always looked questionable)

Regardless this is a great film and fun mystery

Recommended

The film plays July 30 as part of the Sherlock Holmes vs Charlie Chan screening at Fantasia. For tickets and more info go here

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Crushing on Luc Besson's Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets (2017)


Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets is a masterpiece. A masterpiece of filmmaking and of visual storytelling.

It is a huge sprawling space epic that contains a beautifully created universe where anything is possible. It is alive and vibrant and does not follow American movie conventions. It is unlike anything I have ever seen except for the Euro-comics that it is based on or that it’s source inspired.

It is overwhelming, exhausting, and maddening. It’s a film that foregoes straight forward exposition and dares us to keep up.

It is clearly the work of only one filmmaker Luc Besson, whose Fifth Element is the only work of live action cinema I can compare it to.

Major Valerian and his partner Sargent Laureline speed toward their next assignment , Valerian has a weird dream that haunts him. Tasked with retrieving a converter, a creature with the ability to make copies of anything it eats the pair accomplishes their assignment and then heads back to their home base- just in time to get involved with a strange radioactive void in the center of the city. What happens from there, and how it relates to Valerian’s dream, is the film.

What I love about the film is that Besson has made a film where the world all hangs together. While so much of the film flies by at speed everything feels connected. While the film might collapse if we stayed in the various section longer than we do, what we see is hangs with everything else to make a real world.

It is a film that may very well be one of the great comic adaptions because all you really can compare it to is that of the great European comic masters who turned out dense stories with dense visuals. The film reminded me of my old issues of Heavy Metal or the works of the artists the magazine brought to the US.

The plot moves along at speed daring us to keep up. Any exposition, other than a clunk portion about an hour in, only occurs where we need to have it. The result is a film that is actually about the world of the film instead of explaining it.

The action sequences are first rate and never go over he top too far (this is a space opera after all)

The casting of Dane DeHaan and Cara Delevingne in the leads is against Hollywood thinking but brilliant. Since the character do not behave in prescribed ways why have faces we know? Their interaction with each other and the world is alien as it should be considering the film is set 400 years or more in the future. The casting of unknowns gives us a blank slate and no expectations.

Rihanna is quite good in the film. I really like the character and her performance. My single problem is how she leaves the film comes off as kind of lazy. It wasn’t necessary. It smells of Besson not knowing what to do with her past the logical point.

To be honest I don’t know what I think of the film over all. I desperately need to see the film again. As an experience the film is awesome in the truest sense of that word. But as a film, as a story I need another pass through to get y words together since my one reaction to the film is feeling as if I was bludgeoned by it.

Regardless the film is a must see in a theater- the film is just so overwhelming it must be experienced

Second Annual TransNation Festival Announces Dates: October 13 – October 21, 2017

Second Annual TransNation Festival Announces Dates: 
October 13 –  October 21, 2017
St. John’s Well Child and Family Center, creator of the Trans Health Program, one of the largest transgender health programs in the country, is announcing the second annual TransNation Festival. This week-long event in honor of transgender artistic and cultural achievements includes a film festival running October 13-15 at The Cinefamily (611 N. Fairfax) in West Hollywood and Eleganza, a celebratory affair on Saturday, October 21 at the Cicada Club (617 S. Olive Street) in downtown Los Angeles. Early bird tickets for both events will go on sale August 29. There will also be numerous Trans Health Program community events throughout the week at St. John’s clinics in Los Angeles.

The second annual TransNation Film Festival is a three-day event guest-hosted by Zackary Drucker (Drucker is Emmy-nominated producer for the docu-series This Is Me, co-producer on Golden Globe and Emmy-winning Transparent, and cast member on the E! docu-series I Am Cait), featuring an eclectic program of works by emerging and established filmmakers and rare and underseen repertory gems and classics that reflect the trans experience. Noted filmmakers, actors, and special guests will present works, along with special tributes, receptions, and industry panels at West Hollywood’s cutting-edge independent theater The Cinefamily.

Eleganza, a celebratory affair honoring the trans community through music, fashion, and entertainment will close the TransNation Festival on Saturday, October 21 at the Cicada Club in downtown Los Angeles. Last year’s event was hosted by Candis Cayne and attended by Caitlyn Jenner and Kelly Osbourne. The night will kick off with a VIP reception and red carpet greeting for celebrity guests and presenters, as well as trailblazers in the trans community. The party will include performances and entertainment throughout the evening, including a set by a notable DJ.


WHAT:           The Second Annual TransNation Festival in Los Angeles

WHERE:       TransNation Film Festival
                      The Cinefamily
                      611 N Fairfax Ave. 
                      Los Angeles, CA 90036

                      Eleganza
                      Cicada Club
                      617 S. Olive Street
                      Los Angeles, CA 90014

WHEN:          TransNation Film Festival at The Cinefamily
                      Friday, October 13 - Sunday, October 15, 2017 

                      Eleganza at Cicada Club
                      Saturday, October 21, 2017

WHY:             Proceeds from the event will benefit St. John’s Well Child and Family Center’s Transgender Health Program, which is an independent 501(c)3 community health center that serves one of the largest populations of transgender patients in the country with primary medical, dental, and behavioral health care, as well as support for the community’s unique socio-economic, legal, and advocacy needs.
INFO:            www.transnationfestival.org
                      Ticket prices vary by event 

TWITTER:     @TransNationFest

M.F.A. (2017) Fantasia 2017

Noelle is an introverted Fine Arts Student who keeps pretty much to herself. Invited to a party she is raped by a guy she had been infatuated in. Getting nowhere in reporting the crime, the camps officials want to play the blame game, she takes matters into her own hands and begins hunting the predators herself.

Painful unpleasant film is not for all audiences. This is a film that ends badly for everyone. That statement includes the audience who left twisting in their seats through most of the film either through it's use of violence or the way the film throws up real questions about how we treat victims of sexual assault.

And the violence will get a rise out of you. The rape of Noelle is one of the most brutal and ugly things put on screen. You will look away, and even then it will haunt you for a long time afterward. Credit director Natalia Leite and writer Leah Mckendrick for giving us an act that we can't forget. Even now hours after seeing the film that one sequence is like a bludgeon to my brain.

As an emotional scream about sexual violence this film is top notch.It is a damning indictment of a society that allows women to be abused with limited support and a system that often blames the victim.

But at the same time the film wobbles at times. The problem is that the change of tone as Noelle becomes an avenger doesn't always integrate completely with the seriousness of the other half of the film. It muddies the water and doesn't make it clear what exactly it wants us to feel.

Regardless it is film that is nigh impossible to shake.  Recommended for those who think they can handle it's assault on the audience.

MFA plays tonight and tomorrow at Fantasia. For more information and tickets go here.

The House of the Disappeared (2017) Fantasia 2017

Hearing weird noises a woman goes to the basement to find her husband dead and her young son sucked into a dark void. After going to jail for the murders she returns to her former home to try and find out what happened.

Okay supernatural mystery is nothing we haven’t seen before (even allowing the fact its a remake). While always entertaining it never truly thrills the way it should.

Blame the films technical quirks which require our heroine to wear a long gray wig that looks like a long gray wig and editing that seems to have everything happening a half step slower than the production of chills require.

While not a bad film this is more something to watch on a couch on a slow night instead of paying good money at a film festival.

Women Texas Film Festival 2017 - Full Schedule Announcement

The Women Texas Film Festival presented by Studio Movie Grill
announces selections for 2nd edition of the film festival 

(August 16-20)

Savannah Bloch’s Award-Winning AND THEN THERE WAS EVE 
is Opening Night Selection 

Brooke and Doug Purdy’s QUALITY PROBLEMS is
the Closing Night Selection

 
AND THEN THERE WAS EVE 2  QualityProblems_1.1.9  
AND THEN THERE WAS EVE, QUALITY PROBLEMS


Dallas, TX (July 25, 2017) – The Women Texas Film Festival presented by Studio Movie Grill today announced the official selections for the second year of the critically-acclaimed Dallas-based film festival which focuses solely on the work of female filmmakers. Screening exclusively at Studio Movie Grill’s Northwest Highway location in Dallas (10110 Technology Blvd.) on August 16-20, WTxFF has chosen Savannah Bloch’s award-winning, AND THEN THERE WAS EVE as their Opening Night selection, with Brooke and Doug Purdy’s festival favorite, QUALITY PROBLEMS, taking the Closing Night slot. This year’s edition of WTxFF will showcase 8 feature-length films, 38 short films, and 3 VR projects screening.

WTxFF Founder and Artistic Director Justina Walford, said, “Following the success of last year’s WTxFF, our challenge this year was to grow in the areas where our hopes and ambitions led us, without jeopardizing the things that worked so well in our debut. Of course, that starts with the films, so while we added a dozen or so, including a few that have made a mark at other noteworthy fests, we were very careful to hold fast to our programming vision that people responded so well to during our launch. As the only full-fledged film festival in Texas focusing solely on the work of women behind the camera, the heart of WTxFF is shining a light on women pulling the strings and at the helm of visual storytelling. Once again, we look forward to putting the women responsible for these stories on a pedestal here in Dallas."

Newly installed WTxFF Executive Director Vanessa Cook added, “As a presenting sponsor, Studio Movie Grill will enhance the viewing and dining experience for our patrons in their state-of-the-art theaters. Their belief in Women Texas Film Festival speaks volumes and will contribute to the success of our mission moving forward. I’m in love with our lineup this year and thrilled that many filmmakers will be in attendance! We have the essential elements in place for a fantastic film festival." She continued, “The Dallas Film Society, Women in Film-Dallas, Dallas Comedy House, Dallas Comedy Festival, and Texas Frightmare Weekend are co-presenting several of our films, and the Dallas Film Commission and Selig Polyscope Company have returned as sponsors. The support of these incredible organizations is a huge boost for WTxFF and female filmmakers."

The Opening Night selection is immediate evidence of WTxFF balancing it’s acclaimed programming acumen with the ability, in just its second year, to attract award-winning films from larger fests to Dallas. Winner of the LA Muse Award for Best Fiction Film at the LA Film Festival, Bloch’s AND THEN THERE WAS EVE is a rare psychological thriller/romance hybrid about a photographer, who wakes one morning to find her apartment ransacked and her husband gone. Without anything to offer the police to help find him or investigate, she turns to his colleague Eve, a jazz musician with a flirtatious charm and disarming grace. Eve helps the woman confront her husband’s longtime struggle with depression and to, over time, accept his absence. While getting to know this woman through such unusual circumstances, Alyssa is surprised to find herself falling in love again. AND THEN THERE WAS EVE will screen on Wednesday, August 16, with Bloch expected to attend the screening.

Brooke and Doug Purdy’s QUALITY PROBLEMS will serve as the Closing Night selection on Saturday, August 19, co-presented by the Dallas Comedy House and the Dallas Comedy Festival. The film has been a popular performer on the film festival circuit thus far in 2016 with appearances at notable regional fests like Cinequest, Bentonville, Harlem, and a scheduled appearance at Woods Hole before screening in Texas for the first time at WTxFF. The husband and wife team co-directed, co-produced, and co-starred in the entertaining film, which skillfully manages to balance both grass-roots humor with “life in crisis” events as the couple deals with a breast cancer reoccurrence diagnosis at the same time her father’s ability to deal with his Alzheimer’s condition deteriorates, and perhaps, most alarmingly – their 8-year-old daughter’s birthday party is fast-approaching. The film also stars a host of recognizable names and faces in cameo appearances, including Chris Mulkey, Robbie Rist, and Mo Gaffney, among others. Brooke Purdy and co-writer/producer Colette Freedman are expected to attend.
 

EKAJ-WALKING STREETS SCENE withJAKE MESTRE_BADD IDEA   MAYA DARDEL (Photo courtesy of Shipwreck Film LLC)
EKAJ, MAYA DARDEL

Another highlight in the 2017 WTxFF lineup is Zachary Cotler and Magdalena Zyzak’s sexually charged drama, MAYA DARDEL. Co-presented with the Dallas Film Society, the film, which screened earlier this year at SXSW, features Lena Olin as the title character, who issues a challenge to male writers to visit her in an effort to compete to be executors of her estate. A Samuel Goldwyn Films release, MAYA DARDEL also stars Rosanna Arquette. Other highly anticipated features include Cati Gonzalez’s EKAJ, and the Brazilian duo of Monica Demes’s LILITH’S AWAKENING, and Luciana Canton’s PUBLIC INTIMACY. EKAJ is a love story between two young male drifters, a naive teenager and a sarcastic hustler. The film has been described as a cross between the infamous KIDS and MIDNIGHT COWBOY. LILITH’S AWAKENING, which is co-presented with Texas Frightmare Weekend, is a psychological horror art film that tells the story of Lucy, a sexually repressed woman trapped in a loveless marriage and a dead-end job at her father’s service station in a small Iowa town. Until the appearance of a female vampire in her dreams and her world changes everything. PUBLIC INTIMACY deals with sexuality and love on public and private levels via four stories touching on profound themes, like homophobia, prostitution, transsexuality and madness.
 

i-am-evidence-rape-kit-backlog-project-1920  ITS CRIMINAL Nell Photo by Gavin Huang  
I AM EVIDENCE, IT’S CRIMINAL: A TALE OF TWO AMERICAS

A pair of feature-length documentary selections demonstrate WTxFF’s desire to not just zero in on filmmaking skill, but also to explore subjects and issues that women in this country face. Trish Adlesic and Geeta Gandbhir’s I AM EVIDENCE, which is produced by Mariska Hargitay and includes the Emmy-award winning actress’s appearance in the film, looks at the alarming backlog of unprocessed rape kits and the enduring issues and trauma that survivors must deal with due to their cases hanging in perpetual limbo. Signe Taylor’s IT’S CRIMINAL: A TALE OF TWO AMERICAS (which will be co-presented with Women in Film – Dallas) explores the plight of incarcerated women and the economic and social divide it highlights and exacerbates through a program where inmates connect with Dartmouth College students.

The shorts programs include themes of “Liquid Lunch,” “Comedy,” (which is also co-presented by Dallas Comedy House and the Dallas Comedy Festival), “Dark Minds, Dark Worlds” (also co-presented by Texas Frightmare Weekend), “Strong Female Characters,” and “Wonder Women.” Like last year, the shorts programs skew toward darker and edgier material highlighting “WTF” moments, with the added emphasis this year of emphasizing strong, dynamic female characters put in the forefront of the storytelling.

The Women Texas Film Festival will also, once again, offer virtual reality (VR) programming, free to any festival attendee, in the lobby of the Studio Movie Grill’s Northwest Highway location. The three female-created projects include; Kelsey Sante’s FAMILY PORTRAIT, which puts the viewer inside a family’s home as they deal with the repeated cycle of tragedy caused by drug addiction; Susana Gibb’s HOMELESSNESS 360, which explores the immediacy of the homeless lifestyle in Dallas through a 360 degree viewing experience; and for a lighter VR experience - Maggie F. Levin’s VAIN: THIS PARTY SUCKS, which places the viewer in the middle of a warehouse rave as it is being attacked by a bunch of hungry vampires.

Film festival passes and tickets are on-sale now. Trailblazer VIP passes are $95 and allow access to all films, parties, and events, Film passes are $75, and Student passes (including access to all WTxFF parties and events) are $50. Individual Tickets are $10. For more information on the Women Texas Film festival go to WomenTxFF.org. To purchase VIP passes, the special Shorts Programs package, or tickets to individual screenings go to: https://prekindle.com/event/58319-women-texas-film-festival-badge-sales-dallas.

 

PUBLIC INTIMACY 12 Talita Contipelli 2  LILITH's_AWAKENING-sophia_woodward
PUBLIC INTIMACY, LILITH’S AWAKENING


 

The 2017 Women Texas Film Festival official selections:

OPENING NIGHT SELECTION
AND THEN THERE WAS EVE
Director: Savannah Bloch
Country: USA, Running Time: 97min
Alyssa, a successful photographer, wakes one morning to find her apartment ransacked and her husband mysteriously missing. Left without even a photograph to offer the police, she turns to his colleague Eve, a talented jazz pianist with a flirtatious charm and disarming grace. Eve helps her confront her husband’s longtime struggle with depression and to, over time, accept his absence. While getting to know this woman through such unusual circumstances, Alyssa is surprised to find herself falling in love again.

CLOSING NIGHT SELECTION
QUALITY PROBLEMS 
Directors: Brooke Purdy, Doug Purdy
Country: USA, Running Time: 106min
Bailey and Drew are a 40-something couple much like other couples: They have two kids, two jobs, one dad with Alzheimer’s and one boob with cancer. Toss in planning a birthday party for an 8-year old, and the only thing you can do is laugh.


EKAJ
Director: Cati Gonzalez
Country: USA, Running Time: 80min
A love story between two drifters, a naive teenager and a sarcastic hustler. EKAJ is a film packed with real life drama and raw sense of humor. The film capture’s a runaway journey to New York City. After a few rude awakenings, Ekaj (Jake Mestre) meets Mecca (Badd Idea) who takes him under his care. Mecca is a foul mouthed character who has AIDS and multiple problems of his own. He is high all day but still manages to be the only voice of reason in Ekaj’s hopeless world. They cruise the city together looking for money and places to stay. The core of the movie is Ekaj, who thinks he will become the lover of a rich man and be taken care of for life but ends up finding his dreams quickly shattered. Although he makes some money as a prostitute, he finds he is disposable, replaceable and lacking what it takes to survive in the city. Mecca shows him how to endure and not lose hope. As the film progresses, their relationship develops into true friendship and love as they lean on each other for survival.

I AM EVIDENCE
Directors: Trish Adlesic, Geeta Gandbhir
Country: USA, Running Time: 87min
I AM EVIDENCE exposes the shocking number of untested rape kits in the United States today. Despite the power of DNA to solve and prevent crimes, hundreds of thousands of kits containing potentially crucial DNA evidence languish untested in police evidence storage rooms across the country. Behind each of these kits lies an individual’s unresolved sexual assault case. Produced by Mariska Hargitay, I AM EVIDENCE follows stories of survivors who have waited years for their kits to be tested, as well as the law enforcement officials who are leading the charge to work through the backlog and pursue long-awaited justice in these cases. The film reveals the high cost of the lingering lassitude surrounding rape investigations in this country, and the positive effects of treating survivors with the respect they deserve and an opportunity for justice.

IT’S CRIMINAL: A TALE OF TWO AMERICAS
Director: Signe Taylor
Country: USA, Running Time: 78min
IT'S CRIMINAL: A TALE OF TWO AMERICAS is a powerful critique of the economic and social inequities that divide the United States. Featuring incarcerated woman working with Dartmouth College students, the film shows that empathy is a powerful force in bridging the divide.

LILITH’S AWAKENING
Director: Monica Demes
Country: Brazil, Running Time: 80min
LILITH’S AWAKENING is a psychological horror art film that tells the story of Lucy, a sexually repressed woman trapped in a loveless marriage and a dead-end job at her father’s service station in a small Iowa town. The highlight of her existence comes at night, when she dreams of a mysterious and beautiful woman who haunts the woods outside her modest home. One night, a mechanic who works for her father forces himself on Lucy, awakening in her an uncontrollable dark force. When he makes her promise to meet him later at his hideaway in the woods, it may be the girl of her dreams – not his – who shows up for the fateful rendezvous.

MAYA DARDEL
Director: Zachary Cotler, Magdalena Zyzak
Country: USA, Running Time: 104min
The film depicts the final weeks leading to the ambiguous disappearance of Maya Dardel, an internationally respected poet and novelist, who lived until 2016 in the Santa Cruz Mountains of California. Maya announces on National Public Radio that she intends to end her life and that young male writers may compete to become the executor of her estate. They are challenged intellectually, emotionally, erotically, until one of them begins to fathom Maya's end game. The film stars Lena Olin and Rosanna Arquette.

PUBLIC INTIMACY
Director: Luciana Canton
Country: Brazil, Running Time: 71min
PUBLIC INTIMACY is a movie about how we deal with sexuality and love on public and private levels. The four stories within the film deal with urgent and profound themes, like homophobia, prostitution, transsexuality and madness. PUBLIC INTIMACY proposes a cinema that is focused on its characters. They struggle to become who they really are.


 

SHORTS PROGRAMS

SHORTS PROGRAM #1: LIQUID LUNCH
(TRT: 43min)

ALTERNATIVE SCENARIO
Director: Jennifer Ford
Country: USA, Running Time: 2:09min
A study in objectification of the male form on film

BANANA FILM
Director: Emily Miller
Country: USA, Running Time: 1:15min
The product of a beard, a banana costume, and some bored teenagers in the summer.

CALL OF CUTENESS
Director: Brenda Lien
Country: Germany, Running Time: 4min
Whilst we remain safe and sound, watching the highest grossing cat fail compilation - all that is kept out of sight gets back to us in this consumerist nightmare. On a global playground, without bounds, the cat’s body is devoured, exploited and controlled - its fear of pain being stronger than its longing for freedom. Objects are fetishized and subjects made into things that are quantifiable and ready for use. They are the natural resources of a luxury they will never know. We are here because you were there – and waste is dumped in the ocean. In the end, bodies reveal the causes and effects of power, pleasure and hate.

COLOR
Director: Emily Miller
Country: USA, Running Time: 5:40min
A young woman tries to create a piece of art.

THE CONTEST
Director: Aimee Morgan
Country: USA, Running Time: 7:54min
A darkly comic horror film about an annual cherry pie contest in a small town where one - or more - of the contestants is a murderer

GONNA GET ALONG WITHOUT YOU
Director: Saylor Ley
Country: USA, Running Time: 2:20min
A love story with creepy masks and dancing.

HI STRANGER
Director: Kirsten Lepore
Country: USA, Running Time: 3min
The story is about 50 shapes of you drawn by a cute nutty human being that stares directly into your soul.

IMAGINARY LOVE
Director: Beatrice Bellino
Country: USA, Running Time: 4:20min
A story of objects, shadows of possibility, processing that, and letting go. A burlesque fantasy of objects buries a memory of childhood trauma until it can no longer remain hidden.

THAT’S MY BOY
Director: Rudy Cervantez
Country: USA, Running Time: :30min
A baby is fed his favorite dish.
(Producers: Rudy Cervantez, Nicole Pence, Director of Photography: Director of Photography: Nicole Pence)

TROLL: A SOUTHERN TALE
Director: Marinah Janello
Country: USA, Running Time: 11:30min
An eccentric artist navigates self-expression through his experiences living and growing up in the South.


SHORTS PROGRAM #2: COMEDY
(TRT: 91min)

BETTER LATE THAN NEVER
Director: Atheena Frizzell
Country: USA, Running Time: 4:09min
A teenage girl must figure out a way to keep a secret from her devout family.

BLOOD SISTERS
Directors: Caitlin Koller, Lachlan Smith
Country: Australia, Running Time: 10:30min
Amateur witchcraft conjures up bloody consequences

DUMPED
Director: Desiree Nash
Country: USA, Running Time: 8:52min
Dee gets dumped while sitting on the toilet. Mostly based on a true story.

THE IMPORTANCE OF SEX EDUCATION
Director: L. Elizabeth Powers
Country: USA, Running Time: 14:57min
In 1976, a 12-year-old girl tries to unravel the mysteries of sex ed.

NATHERINE: FUTURE EXPERIENCE
Director: Rachel Wilson
Country: USA, Running Time: 21:15min
Nat and Kat - the world’s worst drug dealers - are cut off by their parents right at the cusp of their experimental band’s rise to internet infamy. They’re thousands of dollars in debt for their bad business investment - a huge brick of skunk weed. On top of all that, they are being fined $25,000 by the US government (a real thing!) for their use of real eagle feathers in their radically offensive culturally appropriative music video, shot by a fake shaman in a fake sweat lodge in Joshua Tree. When the rent is due on their luxury loft in DTLA, they must take in roommates to be able to stay: Gideon, an aspiring musician/comedian from Illinois, and Chloe, a successful Instagram model/philanthropist. Will they pay their rent and save their band and their pet hedgehog Kiki?

SERVICE ELEVATOR
Director: Sarah Adams, Maggie Reith Austin
Country: USA, Running Time: 8:30min
On her way to a life-changing meeting, Claire takes a moment of meditation in the quiet solitude of the service elevator. Her focus is interrupted when she is abruptly joined by a manic stranger. Claire struggles to regain her calm, finding peace in the knowledge that elevator rides don't last an eternity. Then, between floors, the elevator stops. The next few minutes feel like eternity as Claire unexpectedly finds herself at a crossroad. She did not plan for this.

SOCIAL HOUR
Director: Leelila Strogov
Country: USA, Running Time: 10min
Nora only wants two things for her 72nd birthday: the demise of her patronizing retirement home orderly and some reefer. A Columbia College Chicago senior thesis film created by an all female team (director, editor, production designer, producer, and director of photography). This film about women by women features music from the female punk rock group, The Coathangers.

WELCOME TO MY WORLD
Director: Ching Wang
Country: USA, Running Time: 12:06min
The ideal world of a compulsive alienated young man shatter as a spontaneous woman shakes up his everyday routine. A sparkling adventure between Bob, Alex, and Kiddo.


SHORTS PROGRAM #3: DARK MINDS, DARK WORLDS
(TRT: 75min)

A BIRD’S NEST
Director: Christine Chen
Country: USA, Running Time: 14:41min
A lonely boy hides from his troubled life in his secret hideout, until the day he befriends the girl next door.

JAPANESE LEGENDS: SLIT
Director: Pablo Asento
Country: Japan, Running Time: 8:57min
The film tells about a part of a famous urban legend, which is believed to be based on true events. A strange character walking around the empty streets was terrifying locals in 70s-80s of the last century. Rumors of alleged sightings began spreading around the Nagasaki prefecture, then spread throughout Japan and caused panic in many towns.
(Producers: Pablo Absento, Satoru Fukuyama)

JULES D
Director: Rodolfo Cervantez
Country: USA, Running Time: 10:40min
A woman bullied by a clique of bake sale mean girls takes action.
(Producer: Sierra Robinson, Producer and Cinematographer: Nicole Pence)

MIMI’S MISADVENTURE
Director: R.D. Womack II
Country: USA, Running Time: 12min
This tongue in cheek dark comedy follows Mimi, a former prostitute and heroin addict who is down on her luck. While working at her job in a strip club, Mimi overhears a conversation that can change her life forever.
(Producer/Screenwriter/Cast: Ashley Atwood)

REAL ARTISTS
Director: Cameo Wood
Country: USA, Running Time: 12min
Against all odds, Sophia Baker just scored her dream interview at the world-famous Semaphore Animation Studios -- who’d have thought a fan edit of one of their hit films could land her a shot at a job? But when she meets arch, mysterious executive Anne Palladon, she soon learns all is not as she expects behind the curtain. Every instinct Sophia has ever had about art in filmmaking is about to be challenged. Based on Nebula, Hugo and World Fantasy Award-winning author Ken Liu’s short story of the same name, Real Artists asks a poignant question: In a dystopian near-future where big data, AI and natural language processing learn and create quickly and at massive scale, what role can a single artist play? Is Sophia a creative rebel who can make a difference? Or is the situation more serious than that?

SOMBRAS
Director: Alycya Magaña
Country: USA, Running Time: 9:30min
Ana, a broken, young woman, must choose between living in the past or finally overcoming it.

TWO TEXAS
Director: Emilie Biason
Country: Brazil, Running Time: 7min
Isabella is an 18-year-old girl who collects knives waiting for an intervention of destiny to use them. The Intervention occurs when her grandmother, watching a TV show, recognizes the bride of the son of Denis, the man who abandoned her at the altar. Suddenly, two armed boys arrive in the house, and she finds a reason to use the knives.



SHORTS PROGRAM #4: STRONG FEMALE CHARACTER
(TRT: 79min)

DRIVER’S ED
Director: Chase Norman
Country: USA, Running Time: 14:34min
A shy, overweight young woman leaves the safety of her home for an unwelcoming high school classroom.

EASY GIRL
Directors: Adam Goldhammer, Katie McMillan
Country: Canada, Running Time: 10:48min
A young woman struggling to come to terms with a traumatic sexual experience finds herself in competition with her roommate over the same man. Over the course of one night, a startling discovery forces her to confront her past and re-evaluate her relationships. EASY GIRL is a reflection on patriarchy, rape culture and female relationships, that seeks to challenge representations of “cattiness” as a natural or inevitable relationship between women.

EMMI
Director: Andrew Carslaw
Country: UK, Running Time: 10:08min
EMMI is a powerful drama about a teenager living in a tower block who has a dark secret. One evening she crosses paths with Sarah the kindly but nervous resident living in the flat below. The events which follow later in the night will change both of their lives forever.
(Producer/Screenwriter: Susan Stead)

FREEZE
Director: Nelicia Low
Country: Singapore, Running Time: 15min
When her husband cannot give her the love she desires, the lonely and insecure Hui will do anything to feel loved.

PAPARAZZO
Director: Angelika Bräuml
Country: Austria, Running Time: 16min
The encounter between a devoted fan and his big idol, a popular professional athlete, is changing both lives. Whilst the course will be set for a perfidious act in this drama, the question, who is using who for his own ends, is spotlighted more and more.

POSSIBILITY
Director: Siena Pinney
Country: USA, Running Time: 12:54min
A young woman takes a pill that changes the course of her life. Dreams and memories blend into reality as she faces herself and her relationship in a new light.


SHORTS PROGRAM #5: WONDER WOMEN
(TRT: 90min)

CHRISTINE
Director: Jessica Adler
Country: USA, Running Time: 10:03min
With the help of her best friend, Christine redefines her perception of strength and what it means to be herself.

DAYDREAM
Directors: Genevieve Kertesz
Country: Australia, Running Time: 14:15min
Mitch is a man who lives a controlled life with a self imposed strict set of rules and boundaries. One night he is dragged against his wishes into a fantasy strip club called “Daydream". He sees himself above the debauchery and depravity displayed by his work colleagues but then struggles to cope with his own hypocrisy and desires when he becomes obsessed with an exotic dancer named Scarlett.

HOODS
Director: Maja Aro
Country: Canada, Running Time: 20:14min
Upon finding her beloved Grams dead, Scarlet must unravel truths about Grams torrid past in order to carry on her legacy.

IF YOU ONLY KNEW
Director: Allison Unger
Country: USA, Running Time: 8:40min
An accomplished law student must endure her graduation party as she struggles to hide her obsessive compulsions that threaten to expose her.

IRON
Director: L. Gabriel Gonda
Country: USA, Running Time: 16:59min
During the First World War an unflinching young woman determined to defy traditional roles, travels west to pursue a job working the rails.

MAMA KIM
Director: Jaime Wilken
Country: South Korea, Running Time: 11:48min
MAMA KIM is a short film based on the life of a 77-year-old Korean woman who owns one of the oldest standing bars in Seoul. Mama is a tough, funny and charismatic woman who has lived through the Korean War and has dealt with insurmountable hardships. However, her silver lining has been her husband and the happiness he has brought her. The film briefly takes you through Mama Kim’s ups and downs and eventually highlights the unique coping mechanisms humans develop and adhere to.

SEARCH PARTY
Director: Tesia Joy Walker
Country: USA, Running Time: 7:39min
SEARCH PARTY is a short film about a lower middle class mother living in the projects, hosting a surprise party that is interrupted by an uninvited guest—the police. The police are on a manhunt looking for an unidentified suspect in the area, but she fights hard to keep them from ruining her son’s special day.


VIRTUAL REALITY (VR) PROJECTS

FAMILY PORTRAIT
Director: Kelsey Sante
Country: USA, Running Time: 4:53min
A family falls victim to the vicious cycle of addiction in a children's drawing brought to life. This virtual reality experience depicts history repeating itself through the lens of a young child. Featuring the live art of GSN SkinWars winner Natalie Fletcher and the choreography of Los Angeles dance duo The Psylence. FAMILY PORTRAIT is a collaboration between young filmmaker Kelsey Sante and We Are Famous.

HOMELESSNESS 360
Director: Susana Gibb
Country: USA, Running Time: 6min
In 360 seconds and 360 degrees, homelessness is explored in Dallas, TX.

VAIN: THIS PARTY SUCKS
Director: Maggie F. Levin
Country: USA, Running Time:
A warehouse rave makes a colorful snack for a coven of hungry vampires.



ABOUT THE WOMEN TEXAS FILM FESTIVAL
The Women Texas Film Festival (WTxFF) promotes established and emerging female storytellers in film, TV, and VR, celebrating the grit and range of women's voices. WTxFF screens qualified films that have women in at least one key creative role: Writer, Producer, Director, Cinematographer, Editor, Composer. The WTxFF also organizes a host of activities for the festival and year-round focused on the craft and artistry of filmmaking, including moderated Q&As with filmmakers, panel discussions, networking events, and a gala night with filmmaker red carpet. For more information about Women Texas Film Festival, visit www.WomenTxFF.org.
 

Gotta Light?, A Film Series Inspired by Episode 8 of Twin Peaks: The Return, Begins September 1

A Film Series Inspired by Episode 8 of Twin Peaks: The Return 
Works by Kubrick, Brakhage, Pat O'Neill, Bruce Conner, Robert Aldrich, and more!
David Lynch is that rare artist who unites traditions, often apart or at odds with what is thought to be traditional narrative and avant-garde film. Lynch’s fine arts background, attending art school in Philadelphia as an aspiring painter, spurred him into filmmaking by a desire to see his paintings move, and his first efforts were distinctly in the experimental vein. As proven by Twin Peaks: The Return, the same spirit remains alive in Lynch—for proof, look no further than Episode 8, a tangled, visceral multi-megaton blast of invention that brought together personal cosmology and postwar history in a single bravura performance. While The Return continues to unfold, Metrograph selected a program of Lynch’s more far out productions, alongside a collection of films—many non-narrative—that complement or inform his work.
 
2001: A Space Odyssey (Stanley Kubrick/1968/149 mins/35mm)
A mind-bending, epoch-hopping opus that set the bar for philosophical, historical, and cinematic ambition. Without Kubrick’s masterpiece, it’s impossible to imagine the grand design of Twin Peaks: The Return, situating their human-scale stories within a framework as large as the universe itself. A campus circuit phenomenon which motivated multiple viewings, and considered best enjoyed with chemical assistance (“The Ultimate Trip”), 2001 laid the foundation for the soon-to-be-named Midnight Movie, which Eraserhead would come to define.

Twin Peaks: Fire Walk with Me (David Lynch/1992/135 mins/DCP)
Scorned on initial release, Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me is widely pointed to as the dark, beating heart of Lynch’s art. Set in the week before the events depicted in the original television series, this prequel follows the doomed Laura Palmer, the familiar denizens of Twin Peaks, Washington, and a beefed-up cast that includes David Bowie, Harry Dean Stanton, and Heather Graham. Both an expansion and a distillation of the series, which burrows into its core of implacable sadness and pain.

Eraserhead (David Lynch/1977/89 mins/35mm)
The ne plus ultra of midnight movies, at once enormously influential and inimitable. A pompadoured Jack Nance plays henpecked Henry, a miserable, furtive figure traversing a clangorous industrial landscape whose nights are made interminable by the incessant squalling of his mutant baby. Funny, frightening, and unforgettable, Lynch’s years-in-the-making first feature is like a volcanic eruption of dormant creative energy. “Not a movie I would drop acid for, although I would consider it a revolutionary act if someone dropped a reel of it into the middle of Star Wars.” - J. Hoberman

Stalker (Andrei Tarkovsky/1979/163 mins/DCP)
When reference is made in Twin Peaks: The Return to “The Zone,” it seems an awful lot like a homage to Tarkovsky’s stunning, haunted sepia-toned sci-fi masterpiece, in which a scientist and a writer living in a broken-down totalitarian dystopia recruit the help of a “Stalker”—a kind of post-apocalyptic Sherpa—to guide them on a voyage of self-discovery, passing through the bleak, otherworldly Zone, hoping to discover therein a haven that will fulfill their secret desires.

Kiss Me Deadly (Robert Aldrich/1955/106 mins/DCP)
Lynch most overtly paid his respects to Aldrich’s va-va-voom hard-boiled doomsday noir with the burning beach bungalow of Lost Highway, but its influence can also be found in Twin Peaks: The Return, another mystery on the trail of “The great whatsit” firmly situated under the cloud of nuclear paranoia. With Ralph Meeker playing Mickey Spillane’s he-man gumshoe Mike Hammer as an unprincipled thug, rampaging through Los Angeles on the trail of a device that threatens Armageddon. Restored version with original ending preferred by Aldrich.


Radio Bikini (Robert Stone/1988/60 mins/DCP)
Through archival footage (much of it never before seen by civilians), fragments of an incomplete government propaganda film, and the testimony of firsthand witnesses, Stone’s Oscar-nominated documentary tells the story of Operation Crossroads, the first nuclear weapons test by the United States, conducted at Bikini Atoll in the summer of 1946—an event which would lend its name to a women’s two-piece swimsuit, and incontestably secure us in the Atomic Age.

Shorts Program #1
Serene Velocity (Ernie Gehr/1970/23 mins/16mm)
Water and Power (Pat O’Neill/1967/57 mins/35mm)
Garden of Earthly Delights (Stan Brakhage/1981/3 mins/16mm)
Infinite Doors (Takeshi Murata/2010/2 mins/DCP)
Cosmic Ray (Bruce Conner/1962/4 mins/16mm)
As Lynch revels in doorways to other dimensions, this program is linked, literally, by passageways and entrances—the game show prize reveals of Murata’s Infinite Doors; the burrow through tortured vegetation in Brakhage’s The Garden of Earthly Delights; the diagetic ruptures of Conner’s Cosmic Ray; the strange traversing of the basement corridor of SUNY Binghamton in Gehr’s Serene Velocity; or the complex optical prints that make up O’Neill’s Water and Power, which charts the rise of the Los Angeles metropolis from the barren desert wastes.


Shorts Program 2
History (Ernie Gehr/1970/25 mins/16mm)
Trouble in the Image (Pat O’Neill/1996/38 mins/35mm)
World Shadow (Stan Brakhage/1972/3 mins/16mm)
Pink Dot (Takeshi Murata/2007/5 mins/DCP)
Mothlight (Stan Brakhage/1963/4 mins/16mm)
A sense of secret history runs through Lynch’s work, and this collection prods the scars of a turbulent past through images of tumult and chaos. Brakhage’s decoupages roil and rumble; Gehr’s History works without a camera lens, exposing film through black cheesecloth, achieving simmering visuals; O’Neill uses found footage and an optical printer to discover Trouble in the Image; while Murata digitally manipulates Rambo: First Blood (1982) into a hypnotic abstraction.

Shorts Program 3
Untitled (Silver) (Takeshi Murata/2007/11 mins/DCP)
Krypton Is Doomed (Ken Jacobs/2005/34 mins/DCP)
Epileptic Seizure Comparison (Paul Sharits/1976/30 mins/16mm)
Owl Gets in Your Eyes (Chris Marker/1994/1 min/DCP)
Breakaway (Bruce Conner/1996/5 mins/35mm)
A headlong plunge into the woods—both the mystery and majesty of nature, and the thickets of a frame choked in overgrowth. The owls are not what they seem for Marker; Murata uses digital processing to create a forest of black-and-white from Mario Bava’s Black Sunday (1960); Jacobs matches audio from the first Superman radio broadcast to visuals from one of his “Nervous Magic Lantern” performances; Sharits attempts to mimic the conditions of epilepsy through convulsive light and sound; and Conner singlehandedly invents the music video in Breakaway (Starring Toni Basil!)

Shorts Program 4
Outer Space (Peter Tscherkassky/1999/10 mins/35mm)
Bi-Temporal Vision of the Sea (Ken Jacobs/1994/20 mins/DCP)
Arnulf Rainer (Peter Kubelka/1960/7 mins/35mm)
Mongoloid (Bruce Conner/1978/4 mins/16mm)
Crossroads (Bruce Conner/1976/36 mins/35mm)
The mythology of Twin Peaks now stretches all the way back to Los Alamos, and this assembly of films explore, overtly or otherwise, the terrible beauty of the Atomic Age and hostile, even apocalyptic landscapes. Conner devolves with Devo and gazes upon blossoming mushroom clouds at humanity’s Crossroads; Tscherkassky’s Outer Space designs a seething, hostile environment from a Barbara Hershey movie; Jacobs sets sail on a strobing Bi-Temporal Vision of the Sea; a two-tone film that looks positively colorful next to Kubelka’s stark, suttering Arnulf Rainer

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Steve's take on Fabricated City (2017) New York Asian Film Festival 2017 Fantasia 2017

One of the best films at both of this year's NYAFF and Fantasia FABRICATED CITY is a rip roaring action film of the highest order.

The film is the story of a video gamer who is suddenly arrest for the rape and murder of a high school girl. Framed, convicted and thrown into jail he has to find a way to escape and then find the real person who did it and the reason for his being set up.

FABRICATED CITY is full of an unending chain of white knuckle set pieces. While normally the plot in a film like this could run the danger of being overwhelmed by the motion, that doesn't happen here thanks to a great cast who create and sell you on their characters. We believe because we not only like the action but we love the characters.

Adding a level to the film is the wicked social commentary and satire that runs through the film. Questions of violence,the government, corruption, patriarchy, and the place of women run through the film. One of the gang helping our hero is a woman who is light years a head of all the men, that is not a typical place for a woman to be. Its a heady mix of themes on display,most of which you'd mix unless you paused for a second to see them.

Mostly you'll remember the killer set pieces. From the opening, not to be topped mega assault in the video game on through the fights, chases and armed standoffs FABRICATED CITY is one of the best action films in several years. a beautiful blending of story character and motion this is one film you can't afford to miss.

Highly recommended

FABRICATED CITY has played NYAFF and will play the 29th at Fantasia. FOr tickets and more information go here

Monday, July 24, 2017

Turn it Around:The Story of East Bay Punk (2017)

TURN IT AROUND overwhelmed me. Its nearly three hour long recounting of the punk scene in the East Bay near San Francisco is so chock full of information I thought my brain was going to explode. A film that touches the head, the heart and the ear the film nicely lays out the movement that gave us Green Day and other bands.

Striving to tell us everything there is to know about the East Bay punk scene Turn It Around gives us the whole story from the 1970s when the music of the Ramones shook up everyone’s idea of what music could be. The film then tears through decades of history to bring us to the present day. It is a film full of music and images from the time as we hear the stories from those who survived the march of time and listen to the music of bands who shaped the music we listen to today despite only lasting, in many cases for a very brief time.

This is a film that beautifully lays out the punk movement in Northern California. It’s a film that kept me up until 2 am watching it’s tale spin out as crazy stories were being told and some glorious music was playing. For those who are interested this is a super film that will fill in all sorts of holes in your education.

But as good as it is it is not without problems.

The first problem is the films length is a tad unwieldy. Clocking in at two hours and thirty seven minutes the film makes a game try to tell you everything that you wanted to know about the punk scene in one sitting. It’s a one stop shop approach is commendable but as we close in to two hours it becomes almost too much without a break. In a weird way had this gone a tad longer this could have been a great PBS 2 night event.

The next issue is the film doesn’t completely give us a context for what we are seeing. There is a lot of discussion of the places of the East Bay but there isn’t enough of an attempt to explain it to people who have never been there. Yes they roughly give us city or neighborhood locations but actual club venues not so muc. Additionally people and events are mentioned as if they would mean something, but it always isn't clear who they are what things were. The lack of context makes this a tough film to recommend to anyone who doesn’t know the East Bay.

The probably my biggest problem is the scene is made to seem as though it is happening in a vacuum. There is only fleeting mentions of outside influences or the outside world. Where did the drive to make this music come from? What were they listening to before? The Ramones are named checked but other than a reference to the European punk scene, the only reference is to punk fashion. What were these kids listening to? We don’t know. As far as we know the music spontaneously appeared in the ears of the musicians.

Reservations aside this is a killer film. I am nit picking becase this film is so damn close to being perfect I'm annoyed it isn't. In all honesty despite making notes about my uncertainty with parts, as soon as the film was done (and even before) I was emailing and texting my friends to tell them they had to either see TURN IT AROUND and/or if possible cover it. There is something about the emotion and wealth of information contained within it that trumps any quibbles that I have.

Recommended for anyone with interest in punk or the history of rock and roll.

TURN IT AROUND opens Friday in theaters

Website: https://eastbaypunk.com/
Facebook: @eastbaypunxmovie
Twitter: @ebpunxmovie
Instagram: @eastbaypunk