Frank and Cora in 1946’s THE POSTMAN ALWAYS RINGS TWICE
Bill Plympton Animation Available on iTunes as of April 2015
CHEATIN’ is Bill Plimpton’s seventh full-length animated feature. It is for adults who like an All-American gritty noir story and fans of great storytelling from such greats at Terry Gilliam and Federico Fellini. Read my review here. On April 3, CHEATIN’ opens in New York and then to selected cities throughout the month. It is also available online! You can see it on Vimeo. And you can see other Plympton features on iTunes starting in April. Yes, if you’re a loyal fan or are new to his work, Bill Plympton is here! For details, and to see the movie, just go to the CHEATIN’ THE MOVIE website right here.
A Gritty Tale and a Sexual Odyssey
CHEATIN’ is visually stunning and immersive. It features the journey one woman must take in order to find what she wants. In the tradition of noir, characters must go through the yin and yang to find their true selves. Light into dark. And then dark into light. Truly, a perpetual swirl of desire and searching. And you throw into the bargain a magical soul-transfer machine, and you’ve got yourself a Bill Plympton animated feature.
Disney Can Give Bill Plympton A Call
It is always a pleasure to chat with Bill Plympton. For this interview, we cover a lot of ground on the storytelling process. We chat about how CHEATIN’ and THE POSTMAN ALWAYS RINGS TWICE would make for a perfect double bill. And I asked Bill, the king of independent animation, if he’d ever consider working with Disney if the right project came along. Yes. Bill would take the call.
What if Hitler Opened a Theme Park Called, “Naziland”?
And we discuss some upcoming projects. You’ll want to listen to that.
Below is the podcast interview. Enjoy:
Be sure to visit the CHEATIN’ website right here. And, if you’re in the New York metro area, be sure to go to Village East Cinema on Friday, April 3, and you’ll see Bill Plympton in person! He will create a drawing for anyone who asks for one.
Matthew Johnson is the director, co-writer, and starring actor in a film not without its controversy, “The Dirties.” It is a film about a school shooting which makes it vulnerable from the start. However, it navigates its subject with a level of self-awareness that gives it a sense of honesty. In other words, this is not a movie out to make a fast buck. What keeps it real is Matthew Johnson.
It is Columbine that springs to mind when Johnson is asked about what compelled the making of this movie. It is the issue that he had to confront when he was in high school. How do you address that horror, and all the others before and since, and avoid preaching in favor of making of art? What this movie does is use the dynamic of a documentary for all its worth.
Instead of the old traditional Hollywood route, and its hyperreality, “The Dirties” uses the found footage genre to tell a simple and direct story about bullying and school violence. A balance is struck between incorporating actual high school students and schools with the actors. The result is understated, down-to-earth, and very believable.
Matt (Matthew Johnson) and Owen (Owen Williams) are two misfits struggling to survive high school. Maybe they will find satisfying revenge from their bullies through their film project. Early on, we peg Matt as the overzealous one and Owen as the passive follower. We already know that this will not end well and that it is most likely going to focus on Matt. What will be Matt’s breaking point? As Johnson points out, “The Dirties” begins where most stories like this end. We actually get to learn something about the Matt character.
The following interview took place October 11, 2013. Matthew talks about the complex issue of bullies, the sweet pursuit of obscure references, Lena Dunham, mumblecore, Quentin Tarantino, Sacha Baron Cohen, and a glimpse of what lies ahead. As for what lies ahead, that seems a quite proper place for a young talent in search of the truth.
Click below for the podcast interview:
Phase 4 and the Kevin Smith Movie Club are proud to present THE DIRTIES. Winner of the 2013 Slamdance Grand Jury Prize for Best Narrative Film.
Director Roger Sewhcomar, with Devon Talbott and Charlie Floyd, on set of DO YOU LIKE MY BASEMENT?
Roger Sewhcomar has crafted a devilishly good horror movie, both chilling and satirical. If you’re in New York City, be sure to catch it at the NewFilmmakers Short Film program on May 29. You can find details here. And, of course, there’s more to come as the film moves on to other venues and branches out into new web content.
Karlheinz Böhm, as Mark Lewis, in PEEPING TOM
If you’re a film buff, you may find yourself comparing “Do You Like My Basement?” to classic horror, especially, “Peeping Tom,” considering both main characters, Stanley Farmer, and Mark Lewis, respectively, are deranged filmmakers. They are up to their gills in toxic psychosis. “Peeping Tom,” although now considered a masterpiece, did not go over so well in 1960 and its director, Michael Powell, paid a heavy price as he was thoroughly drummed out of the business by harsh critics. “Do You Like My Basement?” has a much brighter future ahead of it, not only by comparison, but for being quite a gem. Director Roger Sewhcomar provides just the sort of horror that goes beyond expectations, and meets the contemporary taste for suspense.
Charlie Floyd on set of DO YOU LIKE MY BASEMENT?
A production such as this has its share of unsung heroes, those that go the extra mile but may go unseen. Ironically, the main character to this film, Stanley Farmer, is never quite seen. However, there is no mistaking the presence of actor Charlie Floyd. In fact, he’s always there. Once you hear his voice, you won’t mistake it. Mr. Floyd leads a strong cast in this remarkable mix of horror, satire, and dark comedy.
It was a pleasure to get to chat with director Roger Sewhcomar. We go over his influences, what it takes to make a movie, and what lies ahead for “Do You like My Basement?” Click below. Enjoy.
Visit the “Do You Like My Basement?” website here.
“Red Flag” is a significant film for its writer/director, Alex Karpovsky (HBO’s “Girls”). It shows us a talent with a personality we gravitate to. It’s not his “Annie Hall” but it’s a step in the right direction. There’s a scene with him concluding that all his problems stem from his fear of death which his a nice tip of the hat to the master. Karpovsky might not be begging for comparisons to Woody Allen but they are there and he seems to be up to the challenge. He gives us an honest take on being a self-absorbed rising comic/filmmaker with no time for anyone else but himself.
We begin with a break-up scene. Karpovsky’s exit is fairly cut and dry. He is literally rushing out the door of the house he shared demonstrating all the emotion one would have at being late for work. He’s supposed to take the dog with him but, in his haste, he can’t motivate the dog to join him so he promises to come back for him later. His lover, Rachel (Caroline White), can only stare out into the distance and fight back her tears.
Karpovsky’s alter-ego, Alex, knows how to keep a chilly distance. But, even for his character, that drive away finally gets to him and he cries. That is what Karpovsky does very well. He gives us a guy who knows how to keep his cool a little too well but, when emotions rise to the surface, can be as vulnerable as a little lamb.
Every true artist desires most to follow through, to evolve, to fulfill their destiny. In the course of this film, Alex claims he has gone from seeing just a few little stars in the sky to seeing whole constellations. He gets it. He knows what he wants. Or is he just saying that to get back into the good graces of his beautiful and charming girlfriend that he mistreated? Could it be that he was a jerk afraid of commitment and now he’ll say anything? This is more borrowing from the master, the character dealing with his idea that marriage equals death.
In order to cope with his break-up, Alex decides he should throw himself into his work. In his case, that just means not reneging on his two week tour to promote his independent film. It will take him through the South which might help jolt his East Coast perspective. But even this minor tour seems too much for him as he does his best to enlist anyone to join him. His frantic search for any form of companionship leads him to someone at the bottom of his list. Henry (Onur Tukel) is likable enough but seems to be a complete mess. When Alex greets him at the airport, his first reaction is to take him to the men’s room and shear off the long hairstyle he was experimenting with.
He listens to his half-baked concept for a children’s book and it’s enough to keep him amused. What we see of the film Alex is promoting is enough to keep us amused. Both stories within the bigger story help the characters in unexpected ways. This comes in handy once a third member is added to this madcap road trip. River (Jennifer Prediger) is delightful as the lonely groupie in search of love. And to put things over the top in complication, we have not heard the last from Rachel, the woman that Alex recently broke up with.
What will definitely add to the interest in this film is the fact that Karpovsky was actually committed to do a tour in the South to promote his film, “Woodpecker.” He didn’t like the prospect of being alone on the road, especially after his real life break-up, so he managed to turn what would have been a very depressing experience for him into this film. You would never have known there was a real “Woodpecker” tour simply from viewing this film as everything is very seamlessly put together to the credit of everyone involved.
Those little stars that Alex claims turn into whole constellations for him represent more than just figuring out a relationship. With any luck, Alex could figure it all out.
“Red Flag” is a laugh-out-loud road trip comedy worthy of your consideration. It becomes available on VOD starting Februrary 19 and goes into select theatrical release on February 22. You can also refer back to this previous post.