film review: SENNA

In the popular media Ayrton Senna has often been portrayed as arrogant, a womanizer or driven (pun intended) despite all else.  Asif Kapadia’s new documentary, “Senna”, looks to alter that perception, or if not alter it, at least broaden it. The movie successfully introduces a far more rounded-out and sympathetic personality for the mainstream, many of whom may not be terribly familiar with either Senna or the sport of high-speed auto racing.  That’s certainly the case here in the United States where Formula One is probably sandwiched somewhere between rugby and Jai-alai in terms of its popularity.

There’s no doubt that Senna was a man of great ambition but his humanity seeps through most every frame in which he has been captured.  And there are ostensibly thousands of hours of which 106 minutes have been impressively edited by Chris King and Gregers Sall, and presented in Kapadia’s emotionally satisfying documentary.

While the film shows his personal scuffles, most notably with his McLaren teammate Alain Prost and the late Formula One FISA president Jean-Marie Balestre, we are also privy to Senna’s ceaseless fight to introduce more safety measures to the sport and his rather Zen approach to the grid.  The film, to some degree, dispels the criticism that he was too aggressive, though there were numerous occasions he collided with other racers. Kapadia’s neglect to criticize Senna with any significance might be one of the film’s minor pitfalls.  Yet one can’t deny that the man brought a combination of athleticism and spirituality to the sport that previously didn’t exist and is largely responsible for modernizing it.  And while he was not always particularly popular in the clubhouse he was beloved to millions of fans and remains a national hero in Brazil to this day. Read more

Bellflower… Yes, Another Pre-Post-Apocalyptic Love Story

Yikes!  I can’t say I wasn’t warned.  “Bellflower” gets under your skin and, like some sort of viral infection, it stays.  It’s a lot like “Another Earth” in that way, only “Another Earth” creates a second planet Earth while “Bellflower” sets to destruct the one we’re stuck with.  I’ve heard it compared to Gaspar Noé’s “Enter The Void” in that way; and it’s true, Noé’s films are disturbing and gut wrenching, and stay with you long after closing credits.  You feel, initially, somewhat assaulted by the disturbing images and violence but there is also something emotionally authentic about the experience so you can’t just dismiss it either.

“Bellflower”, the first feature by Evan Glodell in which he also plays the lead role of Woodrow, who along with his best friend Aiden (Tyler Dawson) are two Wisconsin transplants living in Los Angeles.  In anticipation of some remote prediction of an apocalypse, Woodrow and Aiden build a flamethrower which they expect to use for protection against who knows what.  One evening, early in the film, they go to a local bar where Woodrow meets the fetching Milly (Jessy Wiseman) and love is in the air.  They ride off spontaneously to Texas for a prolonged first date and come back as a couple, despite Milly’s warnings of being romantically destructive.

The look of “Bellflower” which is largely a product of Glodell’s camera, the Coatwolf Modell II, the homemade product of much mechanical noodling, which let’s you know right away that the film is not likely to have a happy ending.  There are many such clues most of which are found in the visual and aural design of the movie.  Joel Hodge shot the film while the crew boasts a crowded sound department.  “Mad Max” and its sequel “Road Warrior” have been widely mentioned as an influence on the film, and it shows most obviously in its references to ‘Lord Humongous’.  It should also be noted that one of the other stars of the film is ‘Medusa’, an indestructible tank of car which shoots flames out its ass.  Aiden builds it for Woodrow as part of their nihilistic fantasy.  It’s nothing to smirk at since by the movie’s end, you’re caught up in the fantasy as well.

“Bellflower” opens Friday, August 5th at The Angelika in NYC.

film review: TRUST

[Article originally appeared: http://ondemandweekly.com/blog/article/do_you_trust_david_schwimmer/]

What would you do if you found out your daughter had fallen prey to an online sex predator? “Trust” is David Schwimmer’s second feature wearing the director’s cap. His first, “Run, Fatboy, Run” (2007) was an amusing enough romantic comedy starring Simon Pegg and Thandie Newton.

Given his past work (mostly comedy) the thematic 180 degree turn with “Trust” may come as something of a surprise to Schwimmer’s fans but it turns out that the film holds up pretty well. This might be in part due to its strong cast which includes A-list actors Clive Owns and Catherine Keener as Will and Lynne, the parents of pretty adolescent Annie (newcomer Liana Liberato).

Annie is 14 and develops a relationship with Charlie, someone she believes to be a high school boy, roughly her peer. At a stage considered to be at risk —her father works too many hours, her older brother is on the cusp of leaving home for college, she has trouble fitting in at school— Annie is largely left to herself. As much as her parents clearly love her, they don’t seem terribly concerned with just how much time she is spending chatting on line and on her cell phone. Read more

film review: TRUE ADOLESCENTS

An indie film fan’s wet dream, “True Adolescents” directed by Craig Johnson and which stars Mark Duplass in a role that might’ve once gone to Jack Black.  When his girlfriend (Laura Kai Chen) tosses him to the curb and after a very short career as a couch surfer, Sam Bryant winds up at the home of his divorced aunt Sharon (Melissa Leo in the role that normally goes to Patricia Clarkson).  Sharon is the single mom of adolescent Oliver (Bret Loehr) who, with best friend Jake (Carr Thompson), is scheduled to go on a camping weekend with Oliver’s Dad in Washington’s Cascade Mountains.  When Dad flakes out, it falls to Sam to take the boys on the weekend camping trip.  In that Sam is barely able to take care of himself, we can predict that not only will the trip be a potential disaster —albeit a funny one— but that his own worn-out sense of adolescence will be put to the test.

Mark Duplass in TRUE ADOLESCENTS

What’s so entirely likeable about Duplass’ Sam is that he is just a few pounds and a shave from being a really good looking guy.  Instead, he intentionally maintains the slacker persona in protest to growing up.  And unlike a few other guys that might fall under the same description —Seth Rogan and Jason Segel come to mind— Sam doesn’t get the girl.  In fact, “True Adolescents” is not about ‘getting the girl’ and doesn’t attempt to shoehorn in that subplot.  Rather than meeting a gorgeous blonde on the trail, the only people Sam meets is a blissed-out hippie couple (Linas Phillips and Davie-Blue, both of the marvelous “Bass Ackwards”) who he meets while hunting for a lost Jake.  I won’t give up too much more of the plot, unlike Stephen Holder of The New York Times who went a bit spoiler happy in his review last Friday.

It would be unfair not to also mention the terrific Melissa Leo who, by the way, never looked lovelier than she does in “True Adolescents”.  The film was made just before her Oscar-winning performance in “Frozen River” came out and so filmmaker, Craig Johnson got lucky with his first feature.  He might not have gotten quite so lucky had he been casting a few months later.  That’s not a reflection on his ability to snag a great character actress like Ms. Leo or suggesting that she wouldn’t take a small role in an unknown like Mr. Johnson, it’s just that it would have likely been a far more crowded playing field once “Frozen River” came out.  It should also be noted that the movie was produced by Thomas Woodrow, beautifully photographed by Kat Westergaard, with music composed by Peter Golub.

Melissa Leo in TRUE ADOLESCENTS

“True Adolescence” defies the Hollywood man-boy slob comedy by not delivering a pat ending (a la “Forgetting Sarah Marshall” or “Knocked Up”) or going all saccharine sentimental which it so easily could have.

I was fortunate to be at reRun Gastropub for the movie’s opening night.  In attendance were Mr. Roberts, Mr. Duplass and other assorted cast and crew.  The house was packed with a supportive and gregarious bunch of locals, thanks to the host of the evening, Aaron Hillis.  If that wasn’t enough everyone got a copy of the DVD for their troubles.

“True Adolescents” will be at the reRun Gastropub, 147 Front Street in DUMBO through Thursday, August 4th.  Use this link to purchase advance tickets.  If not, call ahead as the movie has been getting strong word of mouth.

film review: ANOTHER EARTH

Directed by Mike Cahill
Produced by Hunter Gray, Cahill, Brit Marling & Nicholas Shumaker
Written by Cahill & Marling
Released by Fox Searchlight
USA. 92 min. Rated PG-13
With William Mapother, Brit Marling, Jordan Baker, Robin Lord Taylor & Flint Beverage

[Article originally appears: http://film-forward.com/anoearth.html]

“Another Earth”, the first feature film from Mike Cahill, is not science fiction, strictly speaking. The plot does include interplanetary space travel and alien beings, but the film contains virtually no special effects, except for the few that are already apparent in the film’s trailer and other promotional material, so I am not dropping any spoilers by saying that one includes the distant image of a second planet Earth.

Press photo courtesy of Fox Searchlight

“Another Earth” is one among a crop of recent films that uses science fiction as metaphor. I suppose one could argue that it’s a return to form in that way. It’s closer in feel to Stanley Kubrick’s “2001: A Space Odyssey”, Ridley Scott’s “Blade Runner”, and Steven Spielberg’s “AI Artificial Intelligence” in that it emphasizes story and character above all else. It’s a touching, wistful, and poetically executed movie, and feels old-fashioned and contemporary all at once.

The film starts in prologue mode with Rhoda Williams (Brit Marling, who also shares co-writer credit with the director), a capricious young woman fresh out of high school soon to attend MIT. Driving along the New England coastal town where she lives, Rhoda becomes distracted by a radio report about the discovery of a new planet that resembles Earth that has been hiding behind the sun and is only just beginning to appear. While driving, she cranes her neck out the window to get a glimpse, causing an unfortunate trajectory, both for her as well as for the film’s other main character, family man John Burroughs (William Mapother of “Lost”). The aftermath of their convergence involves a prison sentence for Rhoda and far more tragic results for John. Read more

film review: TABLOID

Directed by Errol Morris
Produced by Julie Bilson Ahlberg & Mark Lipson
Released by Sundance Selects
USA. 87 min. Rated R

[Article originally appeared: http://film-forward.com/tabloid.html]

Newspapers recently published the obituary of Randall Dale Adams. The name might not ring a bell for many, but Adams was the subject of Errol Morris’s earlier film “The Thin Blue Line”. Adams had been serving time in prison, mistakenly, for the murder of a Dallas police officer. Morris was working on another film project in Dallas at the time and only gotten wind of Adams’s story and some of its dubious facts just by chance. His investigation would lead to the making of the 1988 seminal documentary, and subsequently to Adams’s release.

Now, some 22 years later, Adams has succumbed to a brain tumor, dying last October. It turns out that Morris had found out about the death through a friend, and the press only picked up the story after the filmmaker tweeted about the fact. This event bring up the question, what happens to Morris’s subjects after the cameras have been turned off. The answer in the case of his new film, “Tabloid”, is much more readily available. Not that anyone could have foreseen it.

The movie has not even been released yet (as this is being written anyway) and already its subject, former beauty queen Joyce McKinney, has been witnessed acting bizarrely at several advanced screenings. Sadly, this reviewer was not privy to any of those events. But reports have her condemning the movie and its filmmaker during an impromptu question and answer session following a screening, and at least once in the presence of Morris. To his credit, he let her have her say and rarely interrupted. He seemed to be enjoying himself. Read more

film review: TERRI

Directed by Azazel Jacobs
Produced by Alison Dickey, Alex Orlovsky, Lynette Howell & Hunter Gray
Written by Patrick Dewitt
Released by ATO Pictures
USA. 105 min. Rated R
With Jacob Wysocki, John C. Reilly, Bridger Zadina, Creed Bratton & Olivia Crocicchia

[this article originally appears: http://film-forward.com/terri.html]

Living in what appears to be on the border of suburbia but perhaps just across the tracks, overweight teenager Terri Thompson (Jacob Wysocki) shuffles along a sylvan path to high school in his pajamas and flip flops. Is he having one of those anxiety dreams of which we all suffer from time to time? Well, yes and no. Terri is not dreaming. As he later explains to his vice principal, Mr. Fitzgerald (John C. Reilly), who sees the student’s wardrobe choice as a red flag, the PJs are comfortable. Bullied for his size by his classmates, Terri’s counseling sessions with the principal are a welcome escape. The friendship that ensues sneaks up on the parentless and withdrawn Jacob, who feels, perhaps, that he is finally the focus of someone’s positive attention.

Filmmaker Azazel Jacobs with castmembers; photo still courtesy of IFC.

“Terri”, directed by Azazel Jacobs (“Momma’s Man”), is one in a recent series of films, including Mike Mills’ “Beginners” and Miranda July’s “The Future”, to name just two, which are less hung up on traditional narratives, but haven’t abandoned cinematic aesthetics or storyline in the process. Not as dark as your typical Todd Solondz film but equally as funny, “Terri” is chock full of strongly shaped and believable characters. Mr. Fitzgerald is one example. Reilly takes what might have been a one-note character and gives the befuddled principal some actual dimension. Creed Bratton (from the American version of the series “The Office”) is another example, playing Terri’s often sedated and mentally ill Uncle James, with whom he shares a book-filled ramshackle home. Who takes care of whom is another question. Their scenes together are filled with so many realistic touches it’s easy to take the movie for granted. One early scene presents Uncle James enjoying a rare evening of clarity. As he sits at the piano playing some music, we get the sense that there once was a vibrant life inside the man.

film review: PAGE ONE — INSIDE THE NY TIMES

Directed by Andrew Rossi
Written & Produced by Kate Novack & Andrew Rossi
Released by Magnolia Pictures
USA. 88 min. Rated R.

[Article originally appeared: http://film-forward.com/pageone.html]

Did The New York Times sound a death knell when they began charging subscriptions for online readers a few months ago? The jury is still out on that one, and it’s one of the many issues that Andrew Rossi highlights in this fascinating documentary. Given unprecedented access to the venerable paper (established in 1851), Rossi had the opportunity to film inside “The Gray Lady” during arguably one of the newspaper’s most crucial periods. As other major metropolitan newspapers have claimed bankruptcy and folded, The New York Times struggles to keep sales up while seeing ad revenue dwindle. The decrease in advertising was so swift and abrupt as to have caused a whiplash effect for the company. Not to say the publication wasn’t already taking necessary measures to remain both fluid and relevant. Reaching out across all media platforms was one method, encouraging 100 employees to take early retirement packages was another.

Rossi follows several journalists but mainly, and wisely, focuses on two. Both work for the relatively new media desk. The first is David Carr, former crack addict and welfare dad. His history is well noted in both his memoir, The Night of the Gun, and also in his candid openness about his past. Somehow, even amidst all his personal drama, he was able to function as a journalist, and after he cleaned up, he impressively snagged a job at the Times. Since then he has become the paper’s staunchest advocate, fiercely defending the institution at various media conventions and panels. Carr, at first a reluctant blogger and Twitter user, has become an unleashed attack dog, fiercely defending his home turf and his masters. And while he proves most effective in this role, it is not at the cost of his role as a journalist. During the course of filming “Page One”, Carr covers the financial fall of the Tribune Company. Just surreptitiously watching Carr questioning a source from the organization makes for a riveting moment. Read more

film review: BUCK

Directed by Cindy Meehl
Produced by Julie Goldman
Released by Sundance Selects
USA. 88 min. Not Rated

[Originally article appeared: http://www.film-forward.com/buck.html]

By the time Buck Brannaman’s mother died at the age of 11, his already abusive father ramped up the level of physical and emotional abuse on Buck and his brother. Fortunately for the boys, they were placed with a foster family who gave them lots of love, and over time, young Buck was able to overcome his broken spirit and gain back his confidence.

From as far back as Buck can remember he had been a performer. His Dad, despite or as a direct result of his harsh ways, turned both of his sons into circus cowboys. Much like the Jackson 5 story, the overbearing father bullied his kin into becoming top-level talent. While Brannaman has long since left the world of performing, his relationship to horses has evolved into something many people liken to a Zen experience. Buck Brannaman is also the model on which Robert Redford based his performance on in his movie “The Horse Whisperer”. Not so surprisingly, Mr. Redford makes an appearance in this documentary, a first-time feature directed by Cindy Meehl.

Thom Powers with filmmaker Cindy Meehl;photo credit: Adam Schartoff (c) 2011

Wisely, Ms. Meehl chooses to just set the camera on her subject and let him do most of the talking. Buck, it turns out, has the charisma, humor, and intelligence to fill up the movie and probably one or two others. Part of his charm is his openness about his childhood abuse. While no longer shocking—not in the age of Oprah—it is still unusual to hear New Age wisdom spoken by someone in a Stetson and cowboy boots. But the confessional tone is also necessarily for him to successfully explain his approach to healing troubled horses. During one of his horse clinics, an enterprise he has been running for a few decades now, Brannaman describes the moment of clarity early on when he realized that disturbed horses just needed the same opportunity that he was given by his foster parents, to know that he was safe. As he also explains, “A lot of times, rather than helping people with horse problems, I’m helping horses with people problems.” Coming from someone else that might sound highhanded. Read more

film review: THE TRIP

Directed by Michael Winterbottom
Produced by Andrew Eaton & Melissa Parmenter
Released by IFC Films
UK. 109 min. Not Rated
With Steve Coogan & Rob Brydon

[Article originally appeared: http://www.film-forward.com/thetrip.html]

“She was… only… 16… years old.” These words are spoken over lunch by Steve Coogan and Rob Brydon during a duel of dead-on Michael Caine impersonations. Dueling is the operative word here. Michael Winterbottom’s new trifle of a film is the very unlikely follow-up to his 2006 comedy “Tristram Shandy: A Cock and Bull Story”, which was a meta-adaptation of Laurence Sterne’s 18th century novel. Continuing to play variations of themselves, Coogan and Brydon reprise their roles from that earlier film in “The Trip”.

The new film takes the two British actors out on the open road for little more than a series of skits that involve the aforementioned Michael Caine impressions among others, including Sylvester Stallone, Al Pacino, and Woody Allen, each funnier than the last. Oh, there’s some backstory about Coogan being sent on the excursion by a newspaper, ostensibly to write reviews of Lake District eateries. Since Coogan is currently experiencing a rough patch with both his American girlfriend and his career, he invites his old pal, Brydon, to join him. Brydon, happy to be asked, comes along despite having to leave his wife and toddler behind. The competitive tension between the two friends is what elevates this movie from your average cable TV series, which is exactly its genesis. The six-part mini-series, a recent BBC hit, has been edited, rather successfully so, to a 100-plus breezy minutes. Read more

film review: LIMBO

Written & directed by Maria Sødahl
Cinematography by Manuel Alberto Claro
Edited by Jens Christian Fodstad
Cast: Bryan Brown, Lena Endre & Line Verndal

[Article originally appeared: http://ondemandweekly.com/blog/article/limbo_-_from_eurocinemas_on_demand_scandinavian_film_festival]

“Limbo” tells the story of Sonia a Swedish wife and mother who joins her husband Jo, an oil engineer, stationed in 1970’s Trinidad. When she arrives with their two kids in tow it’s not long before Sonia discovers that Jo has stepped outside their marriage. Jo’s transgression puts their marriage into a tailspin. That, plus the utter lack of anything productive to do, plunges Sonia into an ever-increasing sense of despair.

While it’s plain that Jo loves her and is terrified of losing his family, he is ultimately an emotionally limited individual and doesn’t know how to help his wife. When he suggests she join him on a business trip to Chicago, she declines and ends up taking the kids for a weekend away exploring the other side of the island with one of their servants.

“Limbo”, one of the selections from Eurocinema’s On Demand Scandinavian Film Festival, benefits from some strong casting. In addition to Line Verndal and Henrik Rafaelsen who play the less than happily married couple, there is also Jo’s friend and business partner, Daniel, an aging Australian played by Bryan Brown and the Swedish Lena Endre (“The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo”) who plays his wife Charlotte.

Ms. Endre, in particular, is a welcome presence. She plays Charlotte as a tragic Shakespearean character without the melodrama. Unlike the Lars Stieg Larsson adaptations, LIMBO gives the theatrically trained Endre a chance to really dig into a role far more substantial. Mr. Brown is also a welcome and familiar presence. He’s obviously years beyond those roles he played in “F/X” or “Cocktail”, but that may be a good thing. For those familiar with his work in “Breaker Morant”, it’s no surprise that he solidly delivers in “Limbo”. Read more

film review: SUBMARINE

Written & directed by Richard Ayoade
Edited by Chris Dickens & Nick Fenton
Cinematography by Erik Wilson
Executive Produced by Ben Stiller
The Weinstein Company
127 minutes. 2011. Rated R.

Why the film is called “Submarine” is anybody’s guess. It belongs to a genre of quirky coming-of-age dramedies, a genre of which there has been no shortage of entries. Some that come to mind include “Rushmore”, “Harold and Maude”, “Juno”, “The Squid and the Whale”, and “Napoleon Dynamite”.

This one is set in Wales in what I gather, by one of the main character’s hybrid spiked/mulleted hairstyle, is the 1980s.

The primary issue with “Submarine”, is that while the film launches, it never quite gathers any velocity or momentum. In more capable hands, this might not have prevented it from being a cult classic, but that’s not the case here.

SUBMARINE director, Richard Ayoade; photo credit: Adam Schartoff (c) 2011

Whether it was a result of direction or otherwise, the lead young actor playing Oliver Tate—a likeable enough Craig Roberts—doesn’t do anything to transcend the role. He remains expressionless throughout, never so much as cracking a smile.

The same can be said of his young love interest, Jordana, played by Yasmin Paige. While she does at least play coy, flirtatious, happy, and sad among other classic feelings, there’s just not enough meat on the bones.

What “Submarine” does have going for it, however, is a number of first-rate British actors among its supporting cast. Sally Hawkins plays Jill Tate, Oliver’s loving but confused mom, and Paddy Considine plays Graham Purvis, a former-actor turned cheesy spiritual guru. Read more

film review: LOST BOHEMIA

Directed by Josef Astor
Produced by Jody Shields & Jonathan Ferrantelli
Released by Impact Partners/This Is That
USA. 77 min. Not Rated

The list of occupants at the Carnegie Hall Studios, right above the historic concert hall, reads like a who’s who from yesteryear: Marlon Brando, Isadora Duncan, Leonard Bernstein, and the Actors Studio, to name just a few. Living there since 1985, photographer Josef Astor—a relative youngster compared to most of his neighbors—roams the halls of the 160-unit building videotaping his elders to record the studios’ legacy. The visual quality might not always be as slick as other contemporary documentaries, but Mr. Astor captures the irresistible charm of many of these eccentrics. However, his original objective morphs into a different project entirely once eviction notices are plastered on doors in 2007. In a typical move, the landlord, the Carnegie Hall Corporation, decides to demolish these late-19th century individually designed spaces to make way for offices.

Filmmaker Josef Astor with one of his film's subjects, Editta Sherman, aka “the Duchess of Carnegie Hall"; photo credit: Adam Schartoff (c) 2010

Among the artists being sent into exile are acting coach Robert X. Modica, pianist Donald Shirley, New York Times fashion photographer Bill Cunningham (the subject of Richard Press’s recent documentary “Bill Cunningham New York”, a film which also crosses paths with Mr. Astor), and, perhaps most memorable of all, photographer Editta Sherman, aka The Duchess of Carnegie Hall. When this reviewer caught a screening of “Lost Bohemia” at the DOC NYC festival last November, Ms. Sherman made an appearance during the Q&A that followed. At 96 years old, she’s still funny and in reasonably good shape. It’s her recollections and her ability to effortlessly connect to her friends and neighbors that gives “Lost Bohemia” so much heart. Read more

film review: THE HIGH COST OF LIVING

Written & directed by Deborah Chow
Edited by Jonathan Alberts & Benjamin Duffield
Cinematography by Claudine Sauvé
Cast: Zach Braff, Isabelle Blaise & Patrick Labbé 

With his latest feature Zach Braff has made a pointed decision to reinvent himself.  Gone is the cuddly or quirky Zach Braff of “Scrubs” or “Garden State”.

In “The High Cost of Living”, Braff plays Henry Welles, a drug dealing American expat living in Montreal. The story really begins when Henry runs into Nathalie Beauchamp.  I mean he literally runs into her with this car, as he is driving the wrong way one wintry night looking for a client’s building.

Zach Braff who stars in THE HIGH COST OF LIVING; photo credit: Adam Schartoff (c) 2011

Believing she is in labor, she steps out of her apartment building to hail a cab. The movie has already established that her husband, a workaholic, is not emotionally available to Natalie.  Nor does he step up to the plate after it is determined that the baby is still born.  More tragically, because Natalie has sustained a concussion and other injuries when hit by the car, the doctors cannot perform the abortion to remove the dead fetus.

Tormented with guilt, Henry —who drove off from the scene of the accident in a panic— attempts to find and make contact with Nathalie, something made easier after she walks out of her marriage.  Carrying around 8 1/2 months of a pregnancy in her belly, Henry first makes contact with her at a bar where she is drinking away her problems.

When she is castigated by a couple of patrons who are ignorant to her circumstances, Henry intervenes and a friendship begins, not completely dissimilar to the plot device used in last year’s Ben Affleck film, “The Town”.  Like the relationship developed in that film, Henry and Nathalie’s is based on lies and misfortune, Nathalie being none the wiser. Read more

film review: HELLO LONESOME

Directed by Adam Reid
Written by Adam Reid
Edited by Adam Reid
Cinematography by Adam Reid
With James Urbaniak, Lynn Cohen, Harry Chase & Nate Smith

Three stories about isolation and the desire to connect; provocative, funny and painful all at the same time. These stories are woven together to create “Hello Lonesome”, Adam Reid’s debut feature film.

In one storyline, shallow on-line gambler Gordon (Nate Smith) meets pretty Debby (Sabrina Lloyd) through an Internet dating service. Whether its Debby’s charm or her wide screen television —one’s never sure initially— it isn’t long before Gordon has moved in. When Debby discovers that she is ill, will Gordon rise to the occasion or make a dash for the door?

HELLO LONESOME director Adam Reid; Photo credit: Adam Schartoff (c) 2011

In a second storyline, widow Eleanor (Lynn Cohen, Magda from “Sex in the City”) has lost her driver’s license due to her failing vision. She ends up relying on her young single next-door neighbor, Gary (James Urbaniak) for more than just trips to the supermarket.

Lastly, aging voice over actor Bill (Harry Chase) has to talk his postal deliveryman Omar (Kamel Boutros) for social time and an overnight play date from his black book to fill the void of actual family relationships. Recording out of his built-in studio doesn’t help his sense of claustrophobia, even though he lives in the middle of the woods.

“Hello Lonesome” may remind some of a couple of other multi-strand films: Rodrigo Garcia’s “Mother and Child” and Eric Mendelsohn’s “3 Backyards”; Both of those films are emotionally evocative as well. In those two films lives spill over from one storyline to another while those in “Hello Lonesome” remain isolated both in their circumstances but also within their own vignettes. Read more