Thursday, April 21, 2016

Inertia

In this discomforting adaptation of Franz Kafka's Before the Law, a man stumbles upon a strange gate while hiking in the woods. The sentry standing guard won't let him through, forcing the traveler to stay the night while waiting for permission to pass. The longer he waits, the harder the uncertainty weighs on his psyche, which gets more fragile by the second. And minute. And hour.

How many days will he have to stay here? How many weeks? Months?

Years.

Will he ever, or never, be allowed to go? When the sameness of a barrier and a mental block is this acute—when a simple word of permission would be enough to change a man's mental state—a feeling of suspended animation begins to creep in.

Director Brian Lederman leads you to the brink in this modern interpretation of a classic. You can watch the trailer here: Inertia Trailer

Thursday, April 14, 2016

Apparition


If you're ready for a real scare, check out this unnerving, supernatural thriller by Bucks County filmmaker Guy Quigley.

The story takes place in an old farmhouse. Doug, a young man with a bright future ahead of him, suffers a terrible loss when his fiancé, Lori, is killed in an automobile accident. And it's entirely Doug's fault. Wracked with guilt, he retreats to the house, only to find he is far from alone.

Or is he? What is happening to his mind? With intelligence and masterful tension, Quigley unlocks one door after another, revealing through a horrifying labyrinth something profoundly disordered about Doug, who's still a tragic character in his own right because he so very much does not want to be insane.

Yet he is. You can watch the trailer here: Apparition Trailer

Saturday, April 9, 2016

Dan Rather: Courage Under Fire

This galvanizing short documentary by award-winning director Manuel Ceniceros celebrates free speech and one of its ardent proponents, former CBS Evening News anchor Dan Rather. A resourceful blend of interview, biography, and personal testimony, this provocative film serves multiple purposes while working toward a single end: making the world a better place. Throughout his long journalism career, Dan Rather gave the phrase "courage under fire" a combination of literal and figurative meaning. Witness the footage of Rather in a Vietnam combat zone, calm and seemingly in his element, to gain insight into the type of man who would dare speak truth to power—a trait he asserts is lacking in his profession today.

The film also touches on his spectacular exit from CBS. In an interview clip, Rather points out that despite the accusations surrounding the Killian documents controversy, no one ever proved that the documents weren't real. And would-be deniers of the story's veracity were damagingly mute. One could ask whether the world became a better place when a storied and sometimes confrontational career ended over such murkiness, especially when the context of the backlash against him was so political.

But Rather's television career did end, and online news and commentary exploded, and in this lightning fast, increasingly decentralized and interconnected world, journalists and ordinary citizens alike are charged with answering the questions raised by Rather, his interviewer Laurie Nadel, and Ceniceros. Who will speak truth to power? And what, exactly, is the truth?

You can watch the trailer here: Dan Rather: Courage Under Fire Trailer

Sunday, April 3, 2016

America is Still the Place

San Francisco, 1971. When two oil tankers collide at the epicenter of America's counterculture revolution, far more than two ships will clash. Leading the fight against environmental pollution and Big Oil power is an underdog hero, a black man with ambition who isn't going to let a little racism, or even a lot of it, stop him from building an empire. In a world where nothing is fair, everything is fair game.

Director Patrick Gilles, who earned his high school diploma at New Hope-Solebury High School, is refreshingly candid and insightful in this timely production. And the casting is superb. Lead actor Mike Colter delivers a powerful performance, playing the business savvy and aggression of waste king Charlie Walker with piercing yet melancholy eyes, while supporting actor Dylan Baker, the oil CEO, maintains just enough nervous edginess to make you question who is really playing whom. They square off well: amidst the manifest power imbalance and conflict, they are strangely, even addictively, interdependent.

America is Still the Place is a charged treatment of a politically sensitive topic, but it doesn't shrink from opportunities for humor, allowing just the measure of distance one needs for observation and reflection. You can watch the trailer here: America is Still the Place Trailer

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

The Goodbye

In this delightfully eccentric dramedy, a strange world of characters exists within a screenwriter's mind including, to his amazement, his lost love. She's bent on creating a story of her own, even if it means breaking up his epic ninja fight—all within a script, yet in real life. Things get even more weird from there, but amidst all this mayhem and with events spinning out of the writer's control, there is hope for peace, if only his peace of mind.

Directed by Mike P. Nelson and produced by Brett Andres, Colin Markowitz and Lynn Blumenthal, The Goodbye is a clever flight of fancy that jars the structure of things in a completely askew but relatable way. After watching this film, you might wonder what else an imaginative screenwriter could concoct, and you might even see your own story take shape.

You can watch the trailer here: The Goodbye Trailer

Friday, March 25, 2016

Figs for Italo

In this magnific drama, award-winning director Bob Celli draws from his own family's stories to paint a delicate portrait of Dora, a woman who's present-day memories of 1943 Italy remain barely suppressed. As American bombers pound the hills around a picturesque Italian village, one can feel the tremors rumbling today through the elderly survivor, whose fear is immediate and shared.

Celli achieves this effect through masterful art direction and cinematography, most notably in the flashback sequences, and through the intimacy he employs in his modern-day scenes. Although the emphasis is on what is felt as opposed to the spoken word, little is left unsaid in this highly touted, award-winning piece.

You can watch the trailer here: Figs for Italo Trailer

Sunday, March 20, 2016

The Ballad of the Dreadnought

Rosanne Cash
Founded by German immigrant Christian Frederick Martin Sr. in 1833, when Andrew Jackson was President of the United States, C. F. Martin & Co. enjoys a fine reputation for making handcrafted acoustic instruments and strings. The legendary list of Martin players includes such luminaries as Elvis Presley, Paul McCartney, Eric Clapton and John Mayer, and some such artists are present in this richly historic documentary. 

The genesis for The Ballad of the Dreadnought was the 100th anniversary of the Martin Dreadnought, a revolutionary instrument that sold in small numbers for 20 years before exploding onto the music scene. David CrosbyRosanne Cash and Jason Isbell join other artists in singing the Dreadnought's praises in this film, and sixth-generation company chairman Christian Frederick Martin IV adds his own insights, fusing a fresh blend of celebrity and history with the good, old-fashioned American plug.

Here in America, we love our artists and entrepreneurs, and we appreciate a great pitch—especially when it's so involving you hardly notice it. You can watch the trailer here: The Ballad of the Dreadnought Trailer