Turnabout (2012 Movie Trailer)

Billy Cain needs help. Perry Hayes can help him.
The fifteen years of silence between them abruptly ends when a phone rings in the middle of the night. In no time, these former best friends finally connect. What ensues is a hazy night of excessive indulgence that ultimately turns tragic and by daybreak their lives will have changed forever.

Turnabout (2012 Movie Trailer). Trailer Debut at The 2012 Sundance Independent Film Festival. Starring Waylon Payne, George Katt, Rosebud Baker and Sayra Player. Featuring Peter Greene. Written and Directed by E.B. Hughes. Produced by Jon McGrath. Original Music by Jeff Bowron. Turnabout (2012 Movie Trailer) Designed and Edited by Jeff Bowron for Eggshell Films.

Posted in Filmmaker Profiles

Green, written and directed by Sophia Takal

Green, written and directed by Sophia Takal

Film review by Shirley Rodriguez

I love being pleasantly surprised. I especially love a surprise when it involves creativity and passion. This was the case when I was invited to a screening of Sophia Takal’s film Green at the Museum of Modern Art. The focus of the film is the jealous nature of Genevieve, played by Kate Lyn Sheil, whose jealousy steadily begins to consume her. I attended the screening knowing very little of the film, but left wanting to know everything. It is one thing to leave a film only questioning the film and another thing to question yourself. Green is both, it grips you while you watch it and haunts you long afterward.

Genevieve and her fiancé Sebastian played by Lawrence Michael Levine, Takal’s fiance in real life, are a young couple who move from the city to the country. The move is Sebastian’s decision and it’s clear that he is the one calling the shots. The change of environment brings at first subtle changes and subsequently role reversals. It feels as if the introduction of nature brings out the primitive and not so prim and discreet behaviors witnessed in their city life. Genevieve and Sebastian meet a young local named Robin, played by Takal herself. Robin both wittingly and unwittingly shakes up the couple’s relationship. The presence of Robin as the imagined rival to Genevieve becomes integral to Genevieve’s awakening. Genevieve’s previous passive aggressive personality now has Robin as a catalyst to express what before was hidden. The effect of the film is strong even when it is being subtle; the simmering frustration of a look or seemingly simple scene that speaks volumes with its body language and symbolism.

The subject of jealousy has been visited many times before in other films, but Takal makes it personal, intimate and awkward. Those who do not or have ever felt jealousy on the level of Genevieve’s character, cannot know how painful it is. Personally, I can attest to the pain, and thus could easily empathize. I admire Ms. Takal’s bravery in addressing the issue of jealousy because she is taking something so personal and sharing it with us. For those outside looking in on a jealous woman’s behavior, it can be easy to label it as “crazy.” It may be simple to label what you cannot comprehend, but upon closer investigation there are many layers and subtleties. Full blame in this case placed entirely on the jealous woman is not the entire story. In our real lives it also deserves a respectful and compassionate understanding. I have always known jealousy to be a highly controversial topic from it’s minimal to full blown expression. Some people may defend it and some may be against it, but none of us have escaped feeling it. The motivations may vary greatly, but the emotion is universal. Jealousy does not “just appear” out of nowhere and it is important to know where it stems from. Jealousy is defined by being fearful of losing something or someone you value to a rival. It can be trivialized, hidden, shameful or denied among other things, but cannot be eliminated. It can take hold of you at your best moments and when you least expect it. Sometimes the object of your affection can benignly or purposely trigger it by doing or not doing something.

After the screening in a Q&A session with Ms. Takal that also included her fiancé Mr. Levine, she spoke candidly and at times humorously of her personal experience with jealousy. They both shared how they have worked through it and continue to, putting a welcome positive spin on it. Green causes you to examine how jealousy plays a role in your relationships. It will push your buttons without hitting you over the head. Jealousy may be uncomfortable and taboo to some, but Ms. Takal confronts it with courage in the face of uncertainty. She serves as a medium to uncover this powerful emotion in an effort to find freedom in its expression. We may not get every answer we are looking for, but sometimes just being able to ask the questions is what we need.

Thank you again, Ms. Takal.

Posted in Film Reviews, etc.

Brendan Rose’s Top 2011 Film List


Brendan Rose’s Top 2011 Film List

2011 has shaped up as quite the year in film, as the roster of released movies was, throughout the year, replete with strong offerings. The year was buoyed by especially provocative, original work from the international art-house cinema sector, while also including some excellent documentaries, American Indies, and even a few very stellar Hollywood productions.

In short, the embarrassment of riches made for some tough decisions when it came to winnowing down the list. As a result, I have expanded the ‘Honorable Mention’ section to account for this overabundance of quality. Even still, plenty of solid movies didn’t make my list.

And as it is now awards season—when the hype and chatter surrounding mediocre films being pawned off as masterpieces reaches nausea-inducing levels—I have added a ‘Biggest Disappointment’ list to call out a few of these underwhelming, overrated films.

With apologies to a few of the promising films I have not yet seen from 2011—amongst others, Margaret, Margin Call, My Peristroika, Mysteries of Lisbon and Silent Souls come to mind—here is the 2011 list:

TOP 10
1. A Separation (Asghar Farhadi) – Tragic drama at its best: a tight, complex tour-de-force propelled by exceptional performances, a sharp script and pitch-perfect direction from Farhadi.
2. The Interrupters (Steve James) – A moving documentary about street violence in Chicago and those who struggle relentlessly to end it.
3. Certified Copy (Abbas Kiarostami) – A clever, pensive, elusive encounter film of the Before Sunset-In the Mood for Love-L’Avventura variety.
4. Melancholia (Lars Von Trier) – Von Trier captures deep, authentic, at times terrifying emotion by employing a literally enormous, fast-approaching conceit. Dunst is at her best.
5. Meek’s Cutoff (Kelly Reichardt) – A formally rigorous, gritty yet metaphorical Western. Reichardt continues to define and dominate the American indie landscape.
6. Midnight in Paris (Woody Allen) – Sheer exuberant storytelling by Allen; and oddly inspiring to all of us Paris-enchanted dreamers out there.
7. Le Quattro Volte (Michelangelo Frammartino) – Depicting the folk practices and everyday oddities of a Southern Italian village, Frammartino’s little hamlet contains worlds of beauty and novelty. Plus, an outstanding canine performance!
8. Poetry (Lee Chang-dong) – A biting, quiet drama with a delicately captured lyrical bent.
9. The Skin I Live In (Pedro Almodóvar) – A gothic, (seemingly) absurd premise that only Almodóvar could pull off by imbuing it with his own special blend of matter-of-fact realism, rococo melodrama and humanistic intensity.
10. The Tree of Life (Terrence Malick) – The nuclear family, Waco, Texas sequences in this film are perfectly realized gems that expand the boundaries of cinematic possibility.

HONORABLE MENTION: Beats, Rhymes and Life (Michael Rapaport); Cave of Forgotten Dreams (Werner Herzog); Hugo (Martin Scorsese); Moneyball (Bennett Miller); Of Gods and Men (Xavier Beauvois); A Screaming Man (Mahamat-Saleh Haroun); Shame (Steve McQueen); Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy (Tomas Alfredson)

BIGGEST DISAPPOINTMENTS
1. The Descendants (Alexander Payne) – By far the #1 most overrated film of 2011; the insipid first 30 minutes of this movie prove it dead on arrival.
2. A Dangerous Method (David Cronenberg) – Expert lead performances, sure, but Cronenberg’s Jung-Freud film is surprisingly dull and uninspired.
3. The Tree of Life (Terrence Malick) – On both lists. The fatal flaw of this film is not the Big Bang-to-Humans (by way of Dinosaurs) sequence, but rather the gratuitous, unnecessary framing story of the protagonist as adult (played by Sean Penn), especially those pseudo-philosophical scenes of endless beach meandering.
4. Take Shelter (Jeff Nichols) – Yes, there’s a metaphor here, but no, it does not resonate, instead smacking the viewer over the head with pomp.
5. Super Eight (JJ Abrams) – Of course, this is no awards film, but it nonetheless received a good deal of hype upon release. The first 45 minutes were promising, but then it all fell apart with the first look at the silly aliens.
6. The Future (Miranda July) – Another cutesy, overly ironic, slacker fest from July. Is she interrogating the ethos of her drifting class or 30-somethings or merely reinforcing their excuses to inaction? I fear the latter.
7. Girl With the Dragon Tattoo (David Fincher) – Fincher’s version is certainly an improvement on the stolid Swedish original, and Rooney Mara admittedly gives a brave, striking performance, but in the end, an overblown disappointment by a usually solid director.
8. The Artist (Michel Hazanavicius) – I enjoyed this film, but best picture consideration?? Come on!! Much of the second act drags and the nod to the silent era is often little more than superficial.

2011 Top Films List by Brendan Rose.

Posted in Film Reviews, etc.

Donna Wheeler (Filmmaker Donna)

Death of a Saleswoman
Written and directed by Donna Wheeler (Filmmaker Donna)
6 housewives. One dead body. A trunk full of plastic storageware.
Nominated for Best Feature and Best Comedy awards at more than seven U.S. and Canadian film festivals, and winner of Best Feature and Best Director awards at two festivals, this “quirky new twist on the whodunit genre” (withoutabox.com) combines a comedic, Emmy nominated** cast with an intricately woven plot about devious housewives – who kill for plastic storageware fame and fortune.
When star RubberTubber saleswoman, Agatha Ruby is shot down in cold blood during her morning jog (and $6500 worth of her storageware is stolen!), the police hone in on the suspects – all 200 of them. Everyone in Aggie’s hometome of Mametville, WA knew her personally. And nearly all had reasons to kill her. See if you can figure it out.
**Ursula Burton (The Office, 2007)

Website: http://www.deathofasaleswoman.com


Isabella and Lucy (working title)
Isabella is a burnt-out, sarcastic, 20-something social worker who has cynically given up her dreams for real love and makes a living attempting to help broken families reunite. Isabella’s estranged and loose canon younger sister, Rachel, arrives to stay at Isabella’s house after a debilitating car accident. Isabella and Rachel parted ways many years ago because of the untimely death of their mother, from an accidental overdose, that happened in front of a 10 yr old Isabella while she was home sick from school.

Jim is Isabella’s fiance, an overly ambitious and needy attorney working in the child care system. Despite having to take time off to care for the troublesome Rachel, and deal with her teetering relationship with Jim, Isabella becomes the case worker for the equally feisty Lucy. Lucy is a 10 yr old orphan whose younger brother, Joshua, accidentally drowned in a swimming accident while Lucy was playing with him. Lucy’s grieving and detached mother, Helen, is unable to effectively deal with the loss since she was watching the kids when the accident happened. Helen has placed Lucy into the foster care system and wants some time away from mothering, to sort out her feelings and her life – and to possibly give Lucy up for adoption.

Lucy wants only to reunite with her broken family. But her father, Ben, left to fight in the Iraq war while Lucy was growing up, and wants nothing to do with the family’s recent problems, especially after Joshua’s tragic accident. Ben and Helen are at odds about how to handle Joshua’s death and Lucy’s life.

Posted in Filmmaker Profiles

Matt Glasson

Love Stalker, a feature film written and directed by Matt Glasson.

Synopsis – Love Stalker is the story of a 30-something bar-hopping player named Pete (writer/director Matt Glasson) who lives to “play the game” and bed as many women as possible. Things change for him once he meets Stephanie (Rachel Chapman), a web-savvy relationship blogger, and the two begin to get romantic. However, when she discovers the extent of his player ways, she ends the relationship, driving Pete to stalker-like lengths in his rom-com inspired efforts to win her back.

Love Stalker premiered at the St. Louis Int’l Film Fest last year. We currently are selling the DVD off of our website and have screenings coming up next month in Chicago and ST. Louis.

Official website – www.lovestalker.com
Press/reviews – http://www.lovestalker.com/press.html
Facebook – facebook.com/lovestalker
IndieGoGo (used to raise money during production)- indiegogo.com/lovestalker
Trailer – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ImqF-mAYeqM
Images and artwork from the film – www.lovestalker.com/press/photos/

Bio – Matt Glasson (co-director/co-producer/co-writer/actor) has been into movies since his mother first took him to see Bambi as a kid. Born and raised in the Northwestern suburbs of Chicago, he was drawn to the arts as a musician, performer and later photographer and video-maker. His passion for cinema compelled him to attend Columbia College’s acclaimed film program where he further honed his skills as a filmmaker and writer. In 1998, Glasson moved to New York City where he started the performance art rock band God The Band, which went onto cult status in Brooklyn’s underground music scene before disbanding in 2002. In the years since, he has worked as a freelance video editor, photographer and director for various music videos and short films. In 2010, along with his partners B. Bowls MacLean and David P. Ohligher, Glasson co-wrote/co-produced and co-directed the feature film Love Stalker, in which he also acts as the principal character Pete. Love Stalker marks his debut feature as a filmmaker.

Posted in Filmmaker Profiles

Lev Polyakov


Above still from the animated music video My Heart Belongs to You, directed By Lev Polyakov.
Synopsis: A hamster in love with an elementary school teacher dreams about rescuing her from evil demons.
Watch My Heart Belongs to You:

Lev Polyakov – Animation Director
www.levpolyakov.com

Film trailers:
Only Love : http://goo.gl/wkyRk
Fantastic Plastic : http://goo.gl/M0Ib3

Posted in Filmmaker Profiles

Whitney Hamilton


A Rogue in Londinium, a feature film written and directed by Whitney Hamilton.

Websites: www.arogueinlondiniummovie.com ; www.union-movie.com
Blog: www.arogueinlondiniummovie.blogspot.com

Synopsis of A Rogue in Londinium: London 1888. It is the winter before the infamous Jack the Ripper murders. Richard Rhys is a painter and a womanizer. One evening while rendezvousing with a prostitute in a back alley Richard is shadowed by a man, Jules Whitby, who has invented a prototype of the first motion picture camera. Richard has a row with the whore and later wakes up to find the woman dead with her throat cut. Victoria Thornton, a wealthy philanthropist in an arranged marriage with one of the richest men in London, encounters Richard in a chance meeting in the rough East End and tends to his wounds in the street. Moved by her compassion Richard cannot forget her. Piqued by his charisma she cannot forget him.

However, when Richard is commissioned by Mr. Thornton to paint a portrait of his wife he realizes who she is. Victoria is startled and pleased to find the man she helped in the street and so begins their afternoons of art. With each appointment Victoria and Richard find themselves falling for each other. And so begins their great love affair. When Victoria realizes she is pregnant she sails for New York to avoid a scandal that could jeopardize her husband’s social standing and her own reputation. Broken-hearted, Richard, unable to let the love of his life slip away, scrapes up the money to book passage and reunite with Victoria. A Rogue in Londinium is a passionate love story about redemption, the strength of spirit and the conviction of the soul.

Posted in Filmmaker Profiles

Filmmaker Kim Cummings

Kim Cummings: Writer/Director/Producer

Kim Cummings is the writer/director of Weeki Wachee Girls, a 20-minute short, which played in over seventy festivals around the world. It picked up three “best of” awards and was a finalist at Taos in 2000. It aired on San Francisco’s PBS station and NY Metro Channels and was distributed by Atomfilms. Previous writing credits include a one-act play, Lunch At Tom’s Ham & Eggery, which was a finalist at New York’s Strawberry One-Act Festival in 2004. Her last film, a 5-minute experimental piece, Flower Of A Girl,played in festivals throughout the Northeast. She recently directed That’s What She Told Me, a short film about one woman’s journey to find the father she never knew. In Montauk is her first feature.

Logline for In Montauk

A pregnant photographer on the cusp of success has an affair which leads her to a life-changing decision.

Synopsis of In Montauk

In Montauk is a drama about an artist on the cusp of success, who has an affair which leads her to a life-changing decision. Photographer Julie Wagner is taking photos in Montauk in the off-season for her first solo show. Pregnant, alone and under pressure to create new work for the impending show, she becomes involved with Christian, a composer, who becomes her muse and lover. Complicating matters is Julie’s husband Josh. Who will she choose? And who will pay the consequences?

Website: http://inmontauk.sirenstalefilms.com

Fundraising Site: http://rkthb.com/4344

 

Synopsis of That’s What She Told Me

Nashville meets Little Miss Sunshine in this short film about a NYC painter, Carly North, whose love affair with a wanna-be singing Cowboy and creative life have ground to a halt. After a visit from the Ghost of Johnny Cash, she is propelled on a surreal trip throughout the wilds of Upstate New York to find the father she has never met . . .That’s What She Told Me explores fantasy infringing on reality, and the struggle to decipher what is real and what isn’t. Using music, an American icon, and the lure of the road; this story speaks to anyone who has ever wondered where they really come from and whether we like it or not: the indelible mark of family on our lives.
Kim Cummings
Posted in Filmmaker Profiles

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