LOVE IS STRANGE
As an older colove-is-strange2uple prepares for their wedding day, you can see the nervousness exhibited by each of themin their own unique way.  One silently turns in circles getting dressed, the other whispers hopes of no meltdowns from the other.  They know each other well.  As they finally reach their destination, family and friends alike support their words of love, caring, and vows to be there for one another.  After the beautiful ceremony, an intimate reception follows where brothers and sisters share personal stories of the couple’s courtship and what it has meant to them.  The couple is creative and artistic and the ambiance with piano playing and singing envelopes the guests.  It’s a simply wonderful love story taking place in a cozy apartment in NYC.

LOVE IS STRANGE TRAILER

You might think this is just a typical story, but it’s not.  George is a choir teacher at a Catholic school.  As he is called into the parish priest’s office,  in a matter of moments, George finds himself unemployed and is asked leave immediately.  Stunned, he acquiesces after a brief discussion regarding the grounds for his dismissal.  The reason is simple.  He got married.  Does this sound weirdly appalling?  How could that happen?  You see, this marriage isn’t recognized by the Catholic Church—it’s a gay marriage.  Suddenly, Ben who is an older and unemployed artist,  and George find themselves with no income and no ability to pay their rent.  Together they reach out to family and friends to help them through this tough time as they must give up their apartment.

loveis LOVE IS STRANGE really isn’t so strange.  It’s really quite familiar.  It’s a story of love and compassion as well as the difficulties in which relationships try to endure.  George and Ben find themselves living in separate households in less than ideal conditions.  With Ben living with his nephew and his wife and son in a cramped apartment, Ben quickly finds himself to be an imposition.  The relationships become strained with this newcomer as he becomes privy to others’ relationship issues.  George, living with friends, finds himself pushed to the limit as he attempts to be a gracious guest.  The two long for the comfort and familiarity of one another.

Jon Lithgow and Alfred Molina portray a typical couple—not just a gay couple, but a couple.  The story truly shows that love is love whether it is between a man and a woman or two men.  And there is love, not just romantic love, but love of family and friends.  This emotion is pushed to the limits with each of the characters.  Tomei’s character is exceptionally strong as she struggles with having this unexpected guest.  As a mother she wants to help and to heal, but as a career woman, she longs and needs her space.  Balancing this with raising a son who is troubled makes the household even more tense.  Tomei brings a true sense of reality to the role of Kate.  Charlie Tahan is the troubled son, Joey.  His performance is nothing short of sensational.  Typical emotions of anger and resentment from a teen are evident, but his depth of feeling toward his Uncle Ben completes the richness of the story.    Lithgow and Molina have stellar performances, creating real people who are struggling, yet in love. The  depth of each of the characters as they evolve gives you insight to their thoughts and emotions.  Anyone can find a character they can identify with in this film.  This rare quality enables anyone, straight or gay, young or old, to enjoy and appreciate this film.  

lovemar“Love Is Strange” is a touching and artistically told story capitalizing upon the creative backgrounds of the two main characters.  Music and art are at the heart of the the story giving emotion and depth to an already complex film.  The primary story is always overlapping with the secondary stories of relationships between other friends and family members as it delicately intertwines.  It is also a moving film with not only a beautiful story, but a stunning vision utilizing cinematic creativity.  The orchestral music aptly fits the feeling of the scene, moving the story along, but not before you properly feel the emotion of the moment.

Is love strange?  No.  But love is everything.  It is what motivates and drives  us all.  When we find love, it gives us a reason to be.   The obstacles we encounter and the hurdles we jump in order to maintain and sometimes regain that love is typified in this movie.  What truly is strange is how we judge others and the impact these judgements can have.  “Love Is Strange” shows us this in a brilliantly creative and thought-provoking way.

Director Kate Logan discusses ‘Kidnapped for Christ,’ documentary that says Christian camp abused gay youth

Filmmaker Kate S. Logan seen shooting footage for her documentary  "Kidnapped For Christ."  Photo: Alan Natale/SHOWTIME

Filmmaker Kate S. Logan seen shooting footage for her documentary “Kidnapped For Christ.” Photo: Alan Natale/SHOWTIME

By Pamela Powell, Special to Out in the 562

Child abuse, if done in the name of the Lord, is perfectly acceptable.

That’s the message conveyed by officials at Escuela Caribe, a Dominican Republic-based “Christian reform school” and the focus of the documentary “Kidnapped For Christ.”

Escuela Caribe has an enrollment policy that includes workers getting parental permission to take their kids by force to the island, where they use a twisted interpretation of religion to justify their barbaric treatment of the teenagers – all in the name of “helping” the youth work out their problems.

Many of these children really need help: Some of them had been in trouble with the law, some had emotional disturbances such as anxiety disorders. For others, such as David, a 17-year-old honors student featured in “Kidnapped For Christ,” their only crime is being gay.

To continue reading this article, go to Out in the 562

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The James Bond Film Festival is set to take place in Kankakee, Illinois on September 5-6, 2014.  Stars will be in attendance, signing autographs and participating in question and answer sessions following the screenings.  Area resident Doug Redekielnius, an avid fan and collector of all things Bond, is the driving force behind what he hopes to be an annual event.  In a recent radio interview on Reel Honest Reviews’ show, The Reel Focus, Doug shared his passion and knowledge of actors, authors, and every detail possible about the Bond franchise.  His energy andMangolden enthusiasm was infectious, encouraging the Chicago and Kankakee areas to take advantage of this unique film festival.

As “Goldfinger” turns 50 this year, it’s the perfect time to showcase this James Bond movie as the opening film of the festival.  Doug has magically pulled together recognizable stars who will introduce the films and answer audience questions following the showing of 3 different Bond movies.  The beautiful Bond Girl, Maud Adams and the epitome of bad guys, Richard Kiel, aka “Jaws,” will share their thoughts and stories about “The Man with the Golden Gun” and “Thspye Spy Who Loved Me.”  In addition, there will be a “meet and greet” at the Majestic Theater located in downtown Kankakee on Saturday from 10 am – 2 pm.  

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A nominal fee for autographs is requested and items will be available for purchase.  Patrons can also bring their own Bond paraphernalia to be inscribed.  

The movies will be screened at the Paramount Theatre on Schuyler Ave. in Kankakee.  ”Goldfinger” with its golden birthday this year,  will be the opening film on Friday evening at 7:15 pm.  On Saturday, September 6, at 4:15 pm, “The Man with the Golden Gun”  will kick off the second and final day followed by “The Spy Who Loved Me” at 7:15 pm.

Tickets are only $5 in advance or at the door for each movie.  For further ticket information, go to  BOND FILM FESTIVAL TICKET INFO

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“The November Man” is about a former CIA agent brought back into action in order to save a woman.  He fights against all odds as well as friend and foe to right the personal wrong that has been done.  Whether it’s his own kind or the Russians or some other foreign operative, Peter Devereaux (Pierce Brosnan) will stop at nothing to save the day.  Does this sound familiar?  Perhaps a bit like Kevin Costner in “3 Days to Kill?”  3 Days to Kill Trailer Or maybe Jason Statham in “Killer Elite?” Killer Elite Trailer Or maybe a bit like Bruce Willis in “Red” or one of The Bourne movies?  I could go on and on with similar films because this story-line has been done to death…pun intended.  But what makes “The November Man” different from all of these movies?  Nothing.  Absolutely nothing.

The November Man Trailer

 

nov3“The November Man” is your typical spy-shoot-’em-up movie with constant impending doom for the hero.  The slow-motion blood spurting and bullets firing with the accuracy of Federer’s serve (yes, tennis is much more interesting than this film), continue for the entire 108 long, drawn out minutes of the film.  The film drones on with explanations of politicians’ and criminals’ past as the wearisome audience had to follow along to make sense out of all the characters and their motivations.  By the half-way point in the film, the outcome is already determined, but you still have to remain in your seat, painfully watching as the characters catch up to what you already know.  nov6

 

Brosnan still has it, though.  He is still ruggedly handsome and at the age of 61, can still captivate an audience with his blue eyes and decent physique.  The film must also have the counterpart to Brosnan and she is played by the beautiful Olga Kurylenko.  She is drop-dead gorgeous and wears the clothes to show it all off.  Luke Bracey plays Mason, Devereaux’s nemesis, who balances Olga’s scenes with his own shower and bare chest scenes.  Let’s face it, this isn’t Shakespeare.  It’s a spy movie, complete with the requisite strip club scenes, a bit of sex, and use of gorgeous actors whose acting skills are not deemed crucial for the part.  If you doze off, no worries as the bad guys wear black and the good guys go for a bit of color here and there which helps you keep everyone in check.nov4

 

“The November Man” feels as if December and the end would never come.  It is a non-stop shooting, chasing via cell-phone banter, and slow motion gymnastics while shooting along with lots of blood pouring from legs and mouths kind of movie.  We then have the implied sexual assault of young girls just to make “the bad guy” even worse.nov  The fight scenes are cartoonish with Brosnan’s character bouncing back from several severe blows to the head and spine, resulting in nary a scratch.  With all the constant killing, you soon become desensitized to the death and horrific bloody explosions.  This is a tired story-line with missing pieces of information as well as missed opportunities to turn events into something striking or interesting.   And the repetitive camera angle panning from the bottom up was so obvious that it pulled by attention to that aspect of movie making versus paying attention to the story.

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“The November Man” is a story of international espionage with lots of blood, slow motion shooting and stunts that capitalize on completely outrageous situations.  You must be able to suspend all belief to enjoy this film.  The characters are all stereotypical and the story-line is tired.  If you like any depth whatsoever to a film, skip this one.  It’s repetitive.  It’s been done before.  You’ve already seen it.  The only thing I’d like to compliment is Olga’s eye make up.  Her eyes looked simply gorgeous.  Oh, and the final 2.2 seconds of the film is good.

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JAKE SQUARED

Written and Directed by: Howard Goldberg

Starring:  Elias Koteas, Virginia Madsen, Gia Mantegna, and Jane Seymour

If you could have a chat with your younger self, what would that younger version say?  Would he/she be disappointed or proud?  What words of wisdom would you give yourself now?  That’s exactly what happens in the new comedy “Jake Squared.”   Jake Klein is a 50 year old filmmaker who decides to throw a party while making a film about himself when he was young.  He hires a drop dead gorgeous and chiseled young man to play this role and two begin to film the movie at Jake’s home.  (Now, don’t hold that against Jake.  Who would YOU hire to play your younger version? I’d pick Kiera Knightley)  As the filming begins, confusion ensues, but in a completely entertaining way.  Jake appears to have many forms of his younger self appearing at different times, interacting with everyone and yielding many different reactions!  Are these people real?  Is Jake having a nervous breakdown?  Or is he just trying to sort through his complicated love life and past decisions?  

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JAKE SQUARED MOVIE TRAILER

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“Jake Squared” is absolutely hilarious while it still asks very important questions about life and how this character has chosen to live it.  Jake’s teenage daughter seems to have it more together than he does.  Many of their interactions are that of a typical father-daughter, but sprinkled into the mix is great maturity and knowledge on the part of  Sarah (Gia Mantegna).  There’s not a moment in the film that doesn’t entertain or enlighten you.  This is a smart comedy, happily pulling the viewer along, requiring you to pay close attention so you don’t miss any key elements.  Jake and his best girl friend, Beth (Virginia Madsen) frequently talk to the camera to break into the viewers’ world, helping you to dejakeyuoucipher what is happening to Jake and why he has such a complicated love life.  

Elias Koteas has the arduous task of  playing Jake.  He’s also Jake at 40 and Jake at 30.  Having a conversation with these other versions in the same room was sheer perfection.  You truly believed that these other Jakes were there to question and at times antagonize Jake (50).  Throw in another version of himself at 17 (played by Kevin Railsback), a deceased father and grandfather as well as a young version of his mother to help him figure out why he can’t commit to love, and you have glorious chaos.  The conversations that these characters have with the Jake at 50 are really quite amazing.  He finds out information about his parents’ relationship as well as his own foibles.  He is unlucky in love, but maybe with a bit of “neurotic introspection” as Howard Goldberg, writer and director of the film termed it, he’ll figure it all out perfectly.

Jakesssss(Howard Goldberg Interview on The Reel Focus)

The entire cast in “Jake Squared” harmonizes together perfectly, never hitting a sour note.  The timing and interactions enable this film to be more than funny; it strikes a chord in your own life.  Jane Seymour resonates beauty, grace, and love in her role as Joanne.  It is Madsen’s character of Beth, Jake’s best friend with whom he shares his true thoughts and feelings, that completes the complicated circle of friends and family.  She is the epitome of a best friend of the opposite sex.  We can easily read her feelings as she and Jake talk, but Jake is so consumed by the strange events occurring that he is blind to what’s right in front of him.  Madsen portrays that inner struggle perfectly. And I must admit that I thoroughly enjoyed watching the hot tub scenes focusing upon Mike Vogel as the young hired actor Jake.

“Jake Squared” is a fast paced, comedically intense film which capitalizes on the energy and talent of not only the cast but also the succinctly written script.  This is a very complicated story, but at the heart of it all it is really quite simple.  It’s about a high energy and confused man trying to find love and not make any more mistakes that he might regret.  Following the story-line feels a little difficult, but rest assured the loose ends are all neatly tied up for a completely satisfying film.  ”Jake Squared” is one of the most creative and unique films I’ve seen in a long time.  How many films have you seen that can make you laugh, sigh with empathy for a situation, nod your head in understanding, feel like the actors are addressing you from the screen, and make you think about your own life and decisions?  My guess is, not many.  Check out “Jake Squared” and enjoy the roller coaster ride of life.  Then ask yourself, “What would my younger self say to me?”JAkesvirginia

You can see JAKE SQUARED on VOD as well as across the country in theaters!

9 REELS

It’s the future.  The world is not a familiar one.  There is no war, famine, pain or suffering.  There is no snow, cold, anger or jealousy.  And there is no color.  There is only sameness in shades of grey.  No one is unhappy, but no one is happy either.  It is a community of dullness which is run by a small group of “Elders.” When the children reach a certain age (a concept similar to “Divergent”), they are assigned a job or position in life.  In this futuristic world, seldom is a child identified as having special gifts.  Jonas, however, is this special child and it becomes his duty to see history or the memories of generations long past in order to guide the Elders.

 

“The Giver” is a concept that is reminiscent of the 1998 film “Pleasantville.”  Both films depict an era when everyone does their job without question and every day is sunny and pleasant.  No one questions who they are and what lies beyond the boundaries of the town or community.  That is, until someone let’s them take a bite of the forbidden fruit, eliciting emotions, feelings, and quite literally, color.  In both films, emotion dictates change and without emotion, everything is the same—there is no point to life.  However, in “The Giver” there is one difference—there an evil component.  We now have a story about good versus evil.   When one of the first colors seen is a bright red apple which changes lives, this is reminiscent of an even older story—Adam and Eve.  And with Big Brother always watching via camera drones, the film also has a mix of Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty-Four.

 

giver1Placed in the future, this familiar, yet entertaining story is updated as it is told from a young adult’s perspective.  What a bland and quiet world this would be without human emotion and compassion. The oversaturated, vibrant colors and increase in decibel levels contrast perfectly with the mundane and quiet lifestyle as the film bounces back and forth between the current day and the past.  The Giver allows Jonas to feel and experience all of this, but with this comes a heavy price to pay.

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Jeff Bridges is an Elder called The Giver.  With Bridges’ speech and mannerisms remaining the same from film to film, it takes some time to not think of him as The Big Lebowski or Rooster Cogburn, but he eventually succeeds.  He actually brings heart and soul to a film filled with characters who have none of that.  Meryl Streep takes her role to her typical high level as the unfeeling, powerful matriarch of the society.  Only she knows what emotions can do, yet she chooses to keep her “community” blind to the possibilities.  Although her outward appearance is harsh, bordering on ugly, he flat affect is actually quite rich.  Beneath that intimidating and intelligent facade, is hatred, anger and the ability to manipulate.  Not surprisingly, Streep takes what could have been a pedestrian role and gives is such depth.

 

Along with the shining stars of Streep and Bridges, comes a new star named Brenton Thwaites.  He is our knight in shining armor or “The Reciever.”  His personality unfolds to reveal a caring, charming, and powerful young man, set on doing what is right. With knowledge comes power. Thwaites agivertwollows the viewer to experience his gifts from The Giver.  We feel what he feels as he jumps from a cliff or dances at a party from Medieval times.  Balancing his reactions with the vivid and stimulating past, Thwaites makes the viewer a believer.  Alexander Skarsgard is a man of many faces:  unrecognizable from film to film, but able to become whomever he desires.  This time, Skarsgard is the father figure to Jonas.  Katie Holmes is the rule-following, emotionless mother figure who stops at nothing in order to follow the rules.  The roles for Holmes and Skarsgard are relatively benign, not allowing them to stand out and shine, but their performances are adequate.  One of the most lovable stars, however, is the very young Gabriel played by a set of twins, Alexander and James Jillings.  To protect and love a baby is at the core of human emotion and these little guys help you to understand that.

 

“The Giver” is a very familiar story, blending many old stories and films into a futuristic setting.  The concept is creatively portrayed allowing the viewer to become a part of this world.  Streep and Bridges bring credibility to the film which may not have been nearly as good with lesser actors.  The young love story that strives to survive will capture everyone’s heart even with its predictability.  “The Giver” succeeds in entertaining in the way it reminds us what makes the human race so special…the ability to love.

 

“The Giver” is a film for young teens or a young couple.  Many will enjoy the familiar story as it is entertaining, but given the repetitive themes, you may want to wait for the DVD.

 

Hundred-Foot-JourneyWhat happens when you combine Lasse Hallstrom, known for such cinematic treasures as “Chocolat,” “The Cider House Rules,” “What’s Eating Gilbert Grape,” and “My Life As a Dog” with Steven Wright who wrote the intense  drama “Locke?”  You create a deliciously rich and vibrant film called “The Hundred-Foot Journey.”  Spice it up with the talents of relative new-comer, Manish Dayal, Charlotthundredfamilye Le Bon, and the seasoned Helen Mirren and you produce a scrumptious and satisfying film.
“The Hundred-Foot Journey” shows us what happens when you mix two cultures together.  Papa (Om Puri), now widowed, takes hisfamily from a battle-ridden and unstable Mumbai to the pristine countryside in France.  The family leaves their home, possessions, and livelihood, a successful restaurant, behind.  Hassan, the eldest son,  has his mother’s passion for cooking as he finds food to be more than sustenance—it is his heart and soul.  Settling in a quaint, picture-perfect town in France at first seems like mixing oil and water, but with a little emulsifier of compassion, the two foods and cultures seem to blend delectably.
“The Hundred-Foot Journey” pits two restaurants against each other: one, a prestigious restaurant in possession of a Michelin Star and run by the cut-throat,hundredmirren no nonsense owner, Madame Mallory (Mirren);  the other a effervescent and luminous creation just a mere hundred feet across the street run by the Kadam family. But these restaurants could be on each side of the Atlantic Ocean, their differences are so great. The Kadam family prepares traditional Indian food, in dazzling form complete with zesty spices and spirited ambience.  The real star, however, doesn’t have the name Michelin—it’s Hassan.  The two families and restaurants are at war, but where there is war there is also love and this is most certainly a love story.  
Food is at the very core of “The Hundred-Food Journey,”  This is food that makes your mouth water as you can almost smell the aromas and feel the freshness of every ingredient used in making these decadent dishes.  As the camera creates clear and vibrant shots while the chefs shop at  outdoor markets, toss and chop ingredients, then paint each plate using food as the palate, the viewer becomes ever more hungry.  The blending of food and the backdrop of a quaint French village along with several touching stories, creates a savory film.  All of the characters in this film are essential to moving the story along, providing levity and humor as well as angst and anger.
Helen Mirren brings credibility to any film and this is no exception to the rule.  She pulls off the pretentious, cold, and condescending restaurant owner with ease.  Om Puri who is an Indian actor, finds success with this American film.  As the patriarch of the family, Om creates a character that is familiar and relatabhundredchefle in any culture.  He is multi-layered and complex, yet still portrays the simplest of characteristics such as wanting his children to be safe and happy.  Manish Dayal is a pure pleasure to see on the silver screen.  He is gorgeous with big brown eyes, and the innocence of a lamb.  Charlotte Le Bon, his on-screen love interest, is equally beautiful and real.  Both capture your heart with their smiles, their feelings, and their ability to make you believe they are focused, love-struck, and conflicted chefs.

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“The Hundred-Foot Journey” is a delicious love story portraying the melting and blending of two opposing cultures.  With this mixing of cultures, there is also the delicate marriage of two types of food.  The journey that each character takes, sometimes together and with the unlikely help of a neighbor, enables each to find their destiny.  Sometimes a hunhundredboydred-foot walk can feel like a million mile journey.  Although the story is somewhat predictable and at times a bit sappy, it still is a completely entertaining film that will satisfy your craving for a decent movie.  “The Hundred-Foot Journey” is a delectable cinematic delight with its writing, acting, and directing as well as its captivating and enticing cinematography.  
As Reel Honest Reviews is a consumer advocate, it is with great pleasure that this film is deemed appropriate and enjoyable for ages over 15.  If you’re a foodie, you will love this film even more. Take my advice and make dinner reservations for after the film!
8 REELS

ALIVE INSIDE Interview on WKCC

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Be sure to tune in to WKCC’s The Reel Focus today, Thursday, August 7 at 4:30 pm CST to hear Dan Cohen and Michael Rossato-Bennett talk about their film ALIVE INSIDE.  You can see this film at the Music Box Theater in Chicago starting tomorrow.  If you go, be sure to bring an old iPod to donate.  This simple donation can change a life!

Tune in at WKCC Public Radio

For showtimes at The Music Box Theater in Chicago go to:  Showtimes and Ticket Info

For additional venues go to:  Alive Inside Official Website

IF YOU MISSED THE SHOW, check out the archived recording right here!  ALIVE INSIDE INTERVIEW ON WKCC

 

 

AND THE WINNER IS…

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Kankakee, Illinois continues to grow exponentially in the arts and entertainment category thanks to the efforts of our Artist In Residence, Brandi Burgess.  With the coordination of area leaders in art, the “Made In Kankakee Film Festival” was a success.  Hopeful filmmakers were challenged to produce a film in just 48 hours.  Each group randomly drew a genre and various items or phrases to use in their film.  The filmmakers then scrambled to use their smart phones to produce a quality film to be judged.  The top films will be shown at the FEED Arts Center in Kankakee on Sunday at 7 pm.

 

The 12 groups of filmmakers began the process, but quickly dwindled to 6 as the grueling pace and other commitments like a paying job, did get in the way.  But for those who handled the pressure, time commitment, and lack of sleep, the payoff was well worth it.  With a bit of ingenuity, logistical problems seemed to disappear which enabled these filmmakers  to produce an amazing array of films.  In any competition there must be a winner, but unlike other competitions, there were no losers.  The calibre of films that were produced demonstrated that fact.

 

The winner of this year’s “Made In Kankakee Film Festival” goes to ALWAYS THERE.  The group of filmmakers included Cody Gindy, Carl Maronich, Pete Worth, Rhonda Stenzinger, Bailey Testerman, and Michael Keigher.  The group took on various roles to produce an amazingly professional and high quality film.  The background and age of each of these talented people varied tremendously.  From DePaul, ONU, and high school students, to seasoned public relations professionals, this team combined flawlessly to produce a standout film.

 

A father-daughter relationship is almost always a strong and special one and ALWAYS THERE portrays that in perfect form.  From the moment we see the old pressed red rose fall out of the novel and the long-lost look on Amanda’s face, the story becomes not just intriguing, but captivating.  This young woman has an interesting past and the viewer is pulled in to her world—we not only want to learn more, but we need to learn more. As she packs her belongings, moving on to another chapter in her life, she needs some sage advice.  Who better to ask than her father?  The interactions between Amanda and her father, Henry, are sincere and thoughtful.  A father’s advice to his daughter is obviously valued and cherished by Amanda.  The film cuts back and forth from present day to relevant memories.  It is apparent that Amanda and her father have had a strong bond since she was a little girl.  Nothing can break that trust and bond and the story solidifies that notion.

 

ALWAYS THERE is an emotionally loaded short film illustrating the love and bond between a father and daughter.  The writing is powerful and succinct while giving life to the characters. But even with this emotional story, there is still humor sprinkled in to show the levity in all situations.  The character of Sue the Waitress with her constant dating issues is quite humorous.  The use of off-camera lines just adds to the comedic aspect of the situation.  The cinematography augments the overall feeling using wonderful depth of field and unique camera angles.  The color and lighting coordinated beautifully to accent each scene as well.  Each and every aspect of this movie, from acting, writing, directing, filming, and editing, amplified the basic message giving us a meaningful and heartfelt film.

 

And the winner is…Kankakee!  With films like ALWAYS THERE and all of the other films that were entered into this grueling contest, the Kankakee area and residents are the winners.  Congratulations to the ALWAYS THERE team and all of the filmmakers who participated in this creative event.  Be sure to check out and support these talented filmmakers on Sunday, August 10 at 7 pm at the FEED Arts Center in Kankakee.  I promise you will be amazed.

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“Eat Spirit Eat” is about an orphaned boy, Oliver, who wants nothing more than for his father to come back for him.  Oliver’s father had promised that when he became a movie star, he would come back for him.  That promise was made before Oliver’s mother died and was held on to until he had become an adult.  With the help of his foster siblings that came and went in his early life, Oliver set out to see if his father would keep his promise.

Trailer for EAT SPIRIT EAT

The movie starts at the end as Oliver narrates his current dire circumstances.  The situation looks tense with police surrounding him as he gets out of a car with what appears to be war paint on his face.  As the movie goes back in time to explain how Oliver got to this place, the pace and overall feel of the movie take on an entirely different characteristic.  It becomes lighthearted and whimsical.  We watch Oliver grow up.  We are introduced to the his foster mother and foster siblings who are all very unique individuals.  Oliver makes a pact with each of them, promising that they would help him make his father a movie star so that he could come back to Oliver. This sweet, charming, and eccentric movie incorporates an eclectic group actors to portray these orphans.  From the Indian-Mexican kid to the pompous, pretentious brat and every character in between, these now grown “kids” help Oliver, the sweet and lovable glass-is-half-full kind of guy find his father and help him fulfill his promise.  The film weaves in and out of various situations as if following a treasure map to the big red “X.”

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Oliver now needs to find a producer to help him set up a film for his father to star in; therefore making Oliver’s dad a success.  Vera and her twin sister Vill are just the two coffee shop owners/dog walkers to do this.  Having “seen over 250 movies,”  this automatically makes them experts in the field!  Each aspect of Movie-Making 101 is covered with each foster sibling having just the right skill to help.  With the whole gang in collaboration of making this movie, “hiring” Oliver’s dad to play this strange role in this bizarre pseudo-movie begins.  With a Zombot invading the area, hilaesezombot1rious chaos ensues.  (You don’t know what a Zombot is?  You’ll have to rent the movie to find out!)

The entire cast of “Eat Spirit Eat,” delivering their quick-witted lines, is superb.  The story is sweet yet unpredictable which was engaging.  Utilizing vibrant colors, exaggerations in every category, yet keeping to a touching story, enables the film to be a success.  “Eat Spirit Eat” is a truly sweet story about belonging, family, and a search for a father.  The sincerity of the feelings one might have in search of one’s father are interspersed in this otherwise lighthearted, feel-good, humorous film.  The pace of the film is quick and the colors of the clothing and backgrounds are striking and almost cartoonish.  The style of speech from Vera is staccato and overarticulated which makes it so fun to listen to!  All of the characters are an over-exaggeration, but this just adds to the fun of the film.  The story takes time to develop so that we care about Oliver and all the other characters; even the father.  The ridiculousness of many of the situations just endear you to Oliver and his circumstances even more.  This story has heart as well as humor; a wonderful combination.

This film is available on VOD on August 5, 2014.  Check out the interview with the filmmakers, James Bird, Anya Remizova, and Adriana Mather from RHR’s radio show on WKCC’s The Reel Focus:  WKCC Interview

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