Tuesday, August 31, 2010

"Nacho Mountain" Review

For being a film without one single likable character, and about fifty genuinely despicable jerks, "Nacho Mountain" was pretty darn fun.

Keefer (Jay Larson), is fired from his job for gross miss-use of the Internet. When he gets home, he finds his girlfriend in bed with a manly transvestite. Now Keefer has nothing, no home, no job, no girl, just a few dozen awful friends and a talent for shoving mountains of food down his throat in greasy fistfuls. One of his terrible friends, Meegosh (Kevin Interdonato), convinces Keefer to complete in underground eating contests for quick cash, until the town mayor-an obese health food nut-busts up their illegal food competitions. To keep the mayor from forcing the whole town to go organic, Keefer has to beat him at the town's 8th Annual Nacho Mountain eating competition.

No one ever said the plot was genius, but it sure was fun. Writer/director Mitch Csanadi employs all the most lowbrow, gratuitous humor, taking every gag to a highly functional new low. Just when we thought the world had enough stupid humor, Csanadi shows us we're wrong with yet another hilarious, "why the hell am I watching this?" moment. Drugs, sloth, racism, sexism (lots of sexism), bodily functions (lots of bodily functions), mental and physical handicaps, God, sexual orientation, puppets, authority; this film is downright mean, but never mean-spirited. The characters use cruel humor as a form of entertainment, a brief and amusing distraction from how pointless their lives are, not that any character in that film is deep enough to be even remotely aware of it.

Some of the acting could have been better, particularly from the girls, who are much better seen and not heard, but Larson and Interdonato were actually quite talented. Speaking for the South Park fans out there, hopefully Csanadi has a few more ideas where "Nacho Mountain" came from because he truly has a gift for all things boneheaded.

"Lilium" Film Review

“Lilium” is a short American film done entirely in French. Based on an animated short, this live action version of “Lilium” tells the story of a girl who becomes friends with a shadow. Lilium (Sydney Pierick) and The Shadow (Valentine Mathieu) build an odd relationship of mutual admiration until The Shadow asks Lilium to retrieve for him something very important from her parents. The request sours, however, when The Shadow offers Lilium a favor in return for her cooperation, but is unable to fulfill her request.

The film’s screenwriter/director, Derek Page, creates an effective silent movie feel in this piece. Moonlight Sonata is a constant companion and, though there is audible French dialogue, rather than employing subtitles the film uses decorative intertitles done in black and white.

The staccato movement from spoken to written word, color to black and white, and even from Lilium to The Shadow, enhance the poetic qualities of the dialogue. The plot seems almost Greek, mortals interacting with non-mortals, gruesome tasks undertaken as a matter of course, themes of family lineage, duty, and fate. Even the way the characters don’t so much speak to each other (reacting back and forth) as they do take turns making soliloquies harkens back to the earliest Greek drama.

Cause and effect, reason and rhyme, are casualties in this stylized and strange world of blood, purple skies, and unexplained desires. A twisted, goth, must see.

"Yoga Man" Review

With their millions of dollars, perfect bodies, and absent hubbies, one has to wonder who is out there protecting the MILFs of L.A.? “Yogaman” dares to ask that question, and many more, like: can something as lame as yoga be real? and is Detroit a third world country? The answer to both of those is, of course, yes. But that’s only a fraction of what one can learn when an undercover reporter (JohnMark Triplett) goes deep to expose the dark side of spiritual enlightenment.

Every indie film starts with a good idea. That’s a given. Where the film succeeds or fails is in the execution. “Yogaman” could have easily rested on its laurels, spending the whole film inventing new ways to make fun of yoga, but it didn’t. The film’s writers, Rob Lambert and JohnMark Triplett, pack more jokes into a short than most indies have in a whole feature. Every line is funny in itself, but also sets up a spike for the line that follows.

The film also understands it’s own limitations, making simple moments ridiculous through the fearless use of ridiculous characters. In this way, the audience can trust the filmmakers to keep the funny coming. A high quality, 100% entertaining film that rewrites cliché with comedy that’s both fresh and comfortable.