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Dances with Films 2017: The Meaning of Life, by David Bax

11 Jun

First things first. Who the hell names their movie The Meaning of Life in earnest? Even more than 30 years ago, the Monty Python crew knew that such a grandiose title could only be accompanied by absurdity. This time around, director Cat Hostick has opted instead for aggressive mediocrity.


Dances with Films 2016: Creedmoria, by Rita Cannon

2 Jun


Alicia Slimmer’s coming-of-age comedy Creedmoria was inspired by her actual experiences growing up in Queens in the 1980s and it definitely feels like a film based on someone’s memories, for better and for worse. It has an emotional urgency and a clever eye for detail that keeps its formulaic plot from dragging too much, but it also has a disjointed quality that starts out intriguing, but eventually hobbles its own attempt at a triumphant ending.


Dances with Films Review: Echo Lake, by Sarah Brinks

2 Jun


Echo Lake is a solid entrant in the: “hipster deals with his problems by exiling himself and meeting strangers and gaining perspective” genre. I don’t mean to sound dismissive, Echo Lake is well-made and well-acted but it suffers from feeling very familiar. It reminded me a lot of the mumble-core movies made in the mid 2000’s. The plot for Echo Lake will be familiar. Will, played by Sam Zviblman) is a functioning alcoholic living with his girlfriend Erin and their dog Chewbacca. Will messes up one time too many and Erin and she kicks him out. Will’s father died the week prior and left him a cottage in Echo Lake, CA. Will’s relationship with his dad was bad and he wants to sell the cottage. He goes up there to scope it out for the realtor, inherits his dad’s dog Otis, meets a hippie brother and sister and manages to sort his life out.


Dances with Films Review: Actor for Hire, by Chase Beck

1 Jun


Androgenic alopecia, or male pattern baldness, affects up 70% of men, and, according to Actor For Hire, exactly one down-on-his-luck, struggling-to-make-it-in-Hollywood actor. For Jesse (Jesse O’Neill), life is just one casting call disappointment after another, that is, until he pawns his laptop for enough money to buy a wig. Soon, Jesse  finds that a full head of hair opens doors to him that he had never imagined before. If all of this sounds familiar to you, it is because The Simpsons did an episode on it back in 1990 titled “Simpson and Delilah”, but then again, with a series run of 26 seasons, I would imagine that just about every story ever told has been an episode of The Simpsons by now so, Actor For Hire has plenty of room to walk without retreading old ground.


Dances with Films Review: Fools, by Rita Cannon

31 May


Benjamin Meyer’s feature debut Fools is a deeply felt, delicate little portrait of two very troubled people who should absolutely be in therapy, but instead choose to weave their discrete threads of dysfunction into a weird tapestry of lies and denial. It has a profound level of sympathy for its characters that’s mostly admirable, even it occasionally strains credulity and lapses into cutesy inconsequence; but even the script’s weakest moments are buoyed by two excellent lead performances.