Take one part True Romance, one part No Country for Old Men, and one part U Turn, and you’ll have the basic plot of Rushlights. As crime thrillers go, the plot is fairly standard. But, more important in this type of movie is the execution. And, all-in-all, Rushlights manages to hold its own.
Problem of Evil provides an interesting look at religion and faith from a number of different perspectives. The film follows Jason (Ethan Kogan, who also co-wrote and co-directed the film with Jessica Silvetti), a documentary filmmaker who’s struggling to deal with the loss of his wife. While doing a piece on a community garden, the woman who runs it—whom he’s never met—shocks Jason by relating to him some of the intimate, personal details of his life. She tells him that she’s part of a religious group, and that their spiritual leader told her years ago that Jason would be the one to carry the group’s message to the world.
The Third Date, now playing at the Hollywood Fringe Festival, is a one-act play about that awkward stage in dating, after you’ve gotten past the initial “getting to know you” small talk, but before you’re entirely comfortable letting the other person past the barriers that that small talk is meant to maintain. During the early period when you’re still mainly trying to make a good impression, but past the point where you can convincingly keep that impression going.
The plot thickens as Abbey Chase and the two Savage sisters each become further embroiled in their respective predicaments in Danger Girl: Trinity #3. This issue sees Abbey forced into recovering a mysterious royal heirloom for a nefarious ruler, while Sydney Savage follows close behind in an attempt to rescue her, and Sonya Savage continues trying to get out of the Congo with her bounty in tow. Describing the plot is kind of pointless at this point, not because the plot itself is incidental (as can sometimes be the case with this kind of action/adventure story), but simply because we’re three quarters of the way through the story now. If you’re not caught up, you really should just start from the beginning.
When you read The Condimental Op by Andrez Bergen, have a Google tab open nearby. Over the course of the anthology, you’ll undoubtedly want to look a few things up. This is not to imply that the book is somehow vague or hard to understand, or that you’ll need to research a lot of obscure references in order to follow along. There ARE a lot of references in this book—famous film scenes he makes reference to, book characters he says inspired him, music he discusses, and an eclectic array of other things—but many of them are familiar, and the ones that aren’t, he explains adeptly.
She Loves Me Not, which premiered Sunday on the closing night of “Dances With Films,” tells three separate stories of a man in crisis. Or is it one story, in three parts? Either way, it features Cary Elwes as an alcoholic writer, so it’s hard to go wrong.
Mutual Friends, which had its Los Angeles premiere at the Dances With Films festival in Hollywood on Friday night, is an ensemble cast romantic movie, with separate stories all intertwining, similar to, say, Love Actually. However, unlike Love Actually, which was entirely the work of writer/director Richard Curtis, Mutual Friends has a different writer for each story. They all blend seamlessly together, but, at the same time, it provides a variety of different perspectives on different types of relationships in different stages and situations.
Forever’s End is a small, quiet movie about the end of the world. Sarah (Charity Farrell) is a teenage girl who has spent the last six years completely alone, after everyone around her—and for all she knows, everyone on the planet—was killed by some great, unnamed cataclysm. Then, out of nowhere, her sister Lily (Lili Reinhart) shows up on her doorstep, without a word as to where she’s been all this time, or what’s happened to her. A few days later, a young man calling himself Ryan (Warren Bryson) shows up as well. And, slowly, it becomes apparent that maybe the world isn’t as empty and desolate as they thought.
One of the hallmarks of a really good drama is that it doesn’t take itself too seriously. From the Q&A session after How to Follow Strangers at the Dances With Films independent film festival on Monday night, it’s clear that writer/director Chioke Nassor doesn’t take himself too seriously. Not only did he come up wearing a tiara with colored flashing lights, but nearly every question was met with a silly answer before he gave the real one. He invited the audience to come and buy him drinks at the Roosevelt Hotel after the screening, and generally seemed to be a fun, down-to-earth guy. At the same time, it was also clear from the Q&A session that Mr. Nassor loves what he does and really cares about this film and the team that helped him put it together, which is a hallmark, not just of dramas, but of any really good film.
ReCalculating, which was screened at the Dances With Films independent film festival in Hollywood on Sunday, is a funny, lighthearted short film that provides a wry look at our society’s addiction to technology. It centers around Paul (Yuri Lowenthal, Ben 10), a young professional who's looking for love, and lunch, with the help of his smartphone. His phone, however, seems to know better than he does what it is he actually needs. Think Siri with a sarcastic streak. She sends him on a quest through the streets of Los Angeles to find the perfect girl, Anna (Tara Platt, Lowenthal’s real-life wife). All the while, Paul remains exasperatingly oblivious.