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On this page: AKIHABARA MAJOKKO PRINCESS
Boys on Film 3: AREA X | ASTORIA, QUEENS
DARE | DISH | IN THE CLOSET | THE YOUNG & EVIL
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last update 10.Jan.10
See also: SHADOWS FILM FESTIVAL
|R E V I E W S B Y R I C H C L I N E
|Akihabara Majokko Princess
prd Takashi Murakami
with Kirsten Dunst
Part of the Pop Life exhibition at the Tate Modern in London, this offbeat collaboration between filmmaker McG and artist Murakami uses the Vapors' iconic song Turning Japanese with cheeky, often very funny images of Kirsten Dunst dressed as a magical princess dancing around Tokyo's Akihabara district. Outrageously colourful and resolutely goofy, the short film captures a real sense of energy and life, and keeps us smiling both at the absurdity of it all and at the rather clever juxtaposition of anime-like images with real street life. Not to mention the brazen mixture of childishness with sexuality and commerce.
3.Jan.10 Tate Modern
R E V I E W S B Y R I C H C L I N E
Boys on Film 3: American Boy
With the exception of the final sitcom-pilot short, the films in this third Peccadillo collection are much lustier than the previous two. Which is fairly surprising since they all come from America, a country usually terrified of sex that's actually sexy, especially if there's any hint of homosexuality.
release UK 9.Nov.09 dvd • 09/UK Peccadillo 2h13 • 18 themes, language, sexuality, violence, drugs • 26-27.Oct.09
dir-scr Dennis Shinners
with Matt Schuneman, Antony Raymond, Joseph DeSantis, Tom Gibson, Anthony Galluccio
This warm and gentle drama traces an encounter between two very different guys in New York. Paul (Schuneman) meets fast-talker Marco (Raymond) in a seedy bar. He clearly wants to be left alone, but Marco doesn't give up easily. Finally Paul starts telling stories about his father, shown in home movie-style footage, who picked up a hooker for him to prove that he was straight. Marco, meanwhile, turns out to be a dancer who works as an escort to pay his bills. The connection between them is quite intriguing, as they subvert each others' expectations. But the plot plays out in a way that's a little too tidy.
dir Adam Salky
scr David Brind
with Adam Fleming, Michael Cassidy, Marla Burkholder, Carly Haines, Terry Guerin, Matt Lundy, Steve Sweigard
|Moody and introspective, the film is a teen fantasy as school theatre crewmember Ben (Fleming) offers to help the leading man Johnny (Cassidy) run his lines. A bottle of champagne and a swimming pool lead to a blurring of boundaries. The whole film bursts with desire and implications, as Ben challenges Johnny's machismo in surprising ways. And when their friends turn up at an inopportune moment, things get even more confusing. The actors are terrific, although they're a little too picture-perfect to be realistic. Insightful and extremely well-filmed, it's not surprising that director Salky has expanded this into a feature: DARE (2009)
dir-scr Brian Harris Krinsky
with Matthew Monge, Jeff Martin, Octavio Altamirano, Lainnie Contreras, Gabriel Romero, Yolanda Rubio-Soto
|In East Los Angeles, skinny emo boy Israel (Monge) is obsessed with his stringy mop of hair--and also with the hunky butcher (Romero) in the corner shop.teens. He spends all day texting his pal Louie (Martin) with gossip and innuendo, talking about little other than sex. As they talk, Israel begins to think he's the only one who's never had any experience, so he decides to spend some time with his sexy friend Ricky (Altamirano). The film has a gentle authenticity, really capturing the attitude of 15-year-old boys whose fantasy lives are a lot more vivid than reality. The relaxed, meandering vibe is captured with skill and subtlety by filmmaker Krinsky, although the ending feels like a slightly moralistic cop-out.
|In the Closet
dir-scr Jody Wheeler
with Brent Corrigan, JT Tepnapa
|There's a level of dramatic mystery to this film from the start, as Press (Corrigan) picks up Griffin (Tepnapa) in a bar and brings him home. But there's something making quiet noises in the bedroom, and although Press seems like a nervous, nice young guy, Griffin is clearly in for a surprise. Skillfully shot and edited, with solid acting from the two leads, this film draws us in simply because we know that there's a secret lurking here. But before we find out, there's a rather cheesy soft-porn interlude. And at least it redeems itself with some intriguing plot twists, conversations and acting afterwards. And before things get too strange, it even touches on some bigger issues along the way.
|The Young & Evil
dir-scr Julian Breece
with Vaughn Lowery, Mark Berry, Diana Jordan, Eric Pumphrey, Heather Hally, Reggie Watkins, Les Eljay Jennings, Raja
|There's a suggestive, provocative tone to this short, which unusually deals with both dangerous sex and the black gay subculture. At the centre is Karel (Lowery), a young guy who lives with his falling-down-drunk mother (Jordan) while engaging in activities that anger the homophobic neighbourhood thugs. His death wish extends to a desire to contract HIV, and when he spots a famed Aids activist (Berry) in an underground club, he stalks him aggressively, which leads to an intense confrontation that rattles both of them. Filmmaker Breece really pushes the boundaries here, tackling a taboo in a way that's honest and challenging, while getting beneath the surface to thoughtfully and emotionally examine some of the underlying issues. It's a pretty full-on film, and while it feels a bit preachy at times, the message couldn't be much more important.
dir-scr Kyle Thomas Coker
with Aaron Michael Davies, James Heffron, Sangeeta Parekh, Hayley Thompson-King, Adrian Armas, Lauren Fortgang, Chris Kies, Amanda Moore, Thomas Rowen
This comedy centres on four flatmates from Kansas now living in the big, shiny city. Thom (Davies) is the Slutty McSlutterson, and everyone seems to live vicariously through his experiences. The annoying Jimboy (Heffron) thinks he's Mr Cool, Callie (Thompson-King) is the blonde actress wannabe and Anisha (Parekh) is the hard-working self-doubter. Apparently, filmmaker Coker based these characters on the central foursome from The Wizard of Oz, but the plot spirals into sitcom territory (this feels like a pilot both in structure and running time) as we follow them into the workplace where they compete and bicker over men. Despite a rather cheesy tone and some corny conversations, it's sharp, sassy and well-performed by the bright young cast.
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© 2010 by Rich Cline, Shadows
on the Wall