Big Trouble in Seattle by David Fowler
Furthermore, his use of cast, characters, and multilateral dialogue scenes is quite skilled… Almost evidence of his potential for great TV. Though, might I add – I prefer film, and Fowler does a great job in this medium here.
Knowing his age doesn’t help. Mr. Fowler is still a young director, and the project is a great bit of work… What I mean regarding this is really simple – I’m somewhat jealous (in a healthy way) that I didn’t make this film at Fowler’s age. I wish I’d had the intuition, knowledge and resources to do this kind of film.
If distribution has not been secured, then an introduction must be made. This film is a distributor’s delight – its genre is clear, distinct and the cast all seems to be having a swell time playing with the appropriate archetypes.
Highly recommended, this indie endeavour welcomes one simple regard – where is the next film due? And is it even bigger?
Geneva Jacuzzi’s Casket by Chris Friend
One of the things I’ve really enjoyed in the last few years is the digital playfulness that music videos have grasped – especially those that have encountered the fantasy and fantastical opportunities that digital filmmaking provides. One such examples is the work of Grimes – her music, her persona and especially her videos inhabit worlds and characters entirely unique to her work… And so, it comes with great excitement to say that Chris Friend’s work on this particular whacky music video is no different.
Heads buzz, the digital atmosphere engrosess, hypnotises and we are victim to its wonders – both as consumer and users, as we are… After all… Watching this digital video on a variety of digital screens. The world is alight with colour, music and character – the use of close up is especially rewarding, even unusually so for a music video (it’s quite cinematic).
All in all, this is a perfect little trick of digital editing and performance. The world, though artificial, appears real. Real. Or is it reel? 😉
CHAMP 5 by Paul Gatto, David Jester and Kathleen Strouse
From the small communities to the grand victories, Champ 5 has a fantastically ‘old school’ tale to tell. Now, to be clear – by ‘old school’ I am not actually referring to the charming gang of golden age interviewees… but rather, the style of the film. It is rare these days to find documentaries on bygone subjects that take great care in finding the character within the landscape from which it comes from, but also framing it within the context of the ‘personal’. At least, to me – it feels as if we have entered a new age of consumption when it comes to documentary-style video… those Facebook scroll videos of ‘famous person do this, or quaint person does that… someone has a hobby you will find interesting…’ – rarely do these videos contain the individual really… they instead, in the worst way possible, have a simplified individual framed within a sort of quirky space. That is not what CHAMP 5 provides, and that is why CHAMP 5 is eh champion!
Humanist elements aside, the film carries a great understanding of the key technical elements of filmmaking. The pace is never compromised, and the photography is well balanced with a tight edit. If anything – CHAMP 5 could be expanded to a feature…. but that’s a tale for another day.
Overall, the intimate tales of these individuals, framed within the carefully designed documentary, which captures the bygone era mostly through memorabilia and the ‘persons’ telling the tales, helps solidify the film as almost a kind of time capsule. Not a capsule of the past, but rather of these individuals’ recollections of the past.
Ultimately the film is intimate, personal and above all memorable.
MAGDA by Dimitris Galatas, Fragkiskos Arapai
There’s one flaw to this project really: it isn’t a feature. It could be one, it could be built bigger: think Chernobyl Diaries – the film could introduce us to the team, how they came about this journey and how they all met… then the horror, then a survivor and how they escaped or failed to do so. There’s plenty of room here to bulk it all up.
Space is greatly used as well. Framing often positions at a smart angle to highlight the natural beauty of the locale, and furthermore – the film’s plot includes this as part of its narrative device, which further enhances the impact of this plot element (the journey).
The downsides: the opening credits are indulgent. The closing credits could do with a bit more detail – a better font, less large. Overall though, the film is really quite nicely stylized, and a great offering during these strange times.
There is a grand location for which the cinematography awes and sweeps around. It is a heartful backdrop to our lead character, Peter, an elderly man taken with a dog. The lead performance here is key – he is a rough man aware of his delivery, and does so with a kind of ballet strike – the physical and sounds are real and part of the dance of life.
The film itself is a well-polished endeavor. some of the grading at times is a bit indulgent, but this is also overall forgiven by the film’s own subject nature – it is a tale of a man in the final bloom of his being, and it is here that of course roses would smell more like strong roses than just a plain flower. Likewise, and perhaps by the time we reach the final sweeping camera angle, the film has reached a kind of Douglas Sirk height of melodrama: the world is beautiful, a playground only loved and devoured by those who can find love and an appetite in life for themselves.