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Film Columns

Anthem FilmFest: Plato, Revolting, and Mendocino – All in a Cave

Ancient Greek philosopher Plato put in a couple of appearances at the Anthem Film Festival in Las Vegas, July 8-11. Two of the short films showed influence, if not direct inspiration, by Plato's tale of the cave, written 2,500 years ago. The films, 'The Cage' and 'Helio' both deserve praise for supporting the human quest for freedom and individualism. Cinematically, 'Helio' was a winner and 'The Cage' was not.

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LA Film Fest:  ‘Seoul Searching’ – an Homage to John Hughes and the 1980s

The LA Film Festival chose to make 'Seoul Searching' one of its Gala Presentations. After the red carpet arrivals, the film was introduced by its director-screenwriter Benson Lee, and had its LA debut in Regal Cinemas’ Premier House. The entire event and the film itself gave that evening at the festival an old-time Hollywood feel. 'Seoul Searching' takes viewers on a nostalgia trip. Its theme, its style and its presentation are all retro in a good way. Prior to the screening, the audience did a stadium-style wave for the director. That’s getting into the 80s!

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LA Film Fest: Talking to Morgan Spurlock about Ice Cream

Morgan Spurlock made a name for himself eating burgers. His film 'Supersize Me' was an indictment of the fast food industry. Now he's moved on to ice cream, and Häagen-Dazs in particular, but, not to convince you not to eat it. Spurlock's new film 'Crafted' debuted at the Los Angeles Film Fest, June 10-18. 'Crafted' aims to take us into the mindset of modern craftsmen who choose quality and personal involvement over mass production.

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LA Film Fest: Dude, It’s a Dude-omongus Fest

Two films at the Los Angeles Film Festival, June 10-18, explored the Dude weltanschauung to bring us all closer to a profound understanding of the essence of dudeness. (Dude, that was heavy.) 'Flock of Dudes' looks at what happens when you put off becoming your father for too long. 'Dude Bro Party Massacre III' suggests that maybe dudeness could be a topic for satire.

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LA Film Fest: Kiernan Shipka of ‘Mad Men’ and Meg Ryan make ‘Fan Girl’ Fun

'Fan Girl', by director Paul Jarrett and screenwriter Gina O'Brien, was a total trip when it premiered at the LA Film Festival. A “trip”? Dude, that’s so last century. If there is anything this movie isn’t, it’s last century. Fan Girl is a winner of a movie because of the writing, the casting, and the acting. If all that works together, the director deserves credit as well. On the surface Fan Girl is a story of teenager Telulah Farrow, played by Kiernan Shipka (Mad Men, Flowers in the Attic), who adulates the punk band All Time Low. She thinks she needs to connect with the band and create a music video for her filmmaking class to launch her movie career. What she really needs, and the story beneath the surface, is to learn what is really important in human relationships.

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LA Film Fest: Tying People Up for Laughs and Revenge

I’m making sure the windows are locked tonight. Three consecutive films I viewed at the Los Angeles Film Festival, June 10-18, dealt with tying people up. Not in a nice way, but at least in two cases, a funny way. 'Caught' tells the tale of a teen having an affair with a married man who is kidnapped by the man’s wife and, among other things, tied up. In 'Shevenge', three BFFs fantasize about how to punish men, which involves tying them up. In 'Old Tricks', a burglar learns that you should never try to steal from a retired magician and escape artist. They’re kind of hard to tie up.

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DWF: Three Shorts – Fantasy, Love and Our Fragile Grasp on Reality

Why do filmmakers create short films? Sometimes they are truly motivated to tell a story which only fits in a short format. Other times, it is to show off their skills in order to establish their credentials. Once in a while, they may make a short version of a film that they ultimately want to turn into a feature length production. At this year’s Dances With Films (DWF) festival, held in Hollywood in June, the selection of short films was impressive and contained examples which both fit into and transcended the above reasons. Three films I found impressive all dealt with our perception of what is real: 'Funny Love,' 'Waste Paper,' and 'Waiting for You.'

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