Slamdance Film Festival Review: ‘A Great Lamp’ shines bright.

SYNOPSIS

Set in a small riverside town in North Carolina, two sad vandals and an unemployed loner long await for a fabled rocket launch.

A Great Lamp isn’t about what you think it’s about. Although, I’m not sure what I really thought it was about until the final 30 minutes. This film is like no other. Shot in black and white, at intrusive angles, with rudimentary line animation scattered over narratives, it’s whacky and wonderful and slightly reminiscent of MTV’s Liquid Television. Three men, each unique and yet totally suited to be friends await a mysterious rocket launch. But, as I said, that’s not really what the film is about. Underneath the twisty dialogue that may or may not be completely ad-libbed, there is a dark sadness. Each man has lost a parental figure, whether literally or emotionally. Dealing with depression and emptiness among surrounding quirkiness is just another aspect that makes A Great Lamp so intriguing. It is perfect for festival goers and cinephiles alike seeking something off the beaten path.

Showings – select to order tickets:
Fri, Jan 25th, 3:00 PM @ Ballroom
  • Runtime:
    77 minutes
  • Language:
    English
  • Country:
    USA
  • Premiere:
    World Premiere
  • Director:
    Saad Qureshi
  • Screenwriter:
    Saad Qureshi, Donald R. Monroe, Max Wilde, Spencer Bang, Steven Maier
  • Producer:
    Saad Qureshi, Donald R. Monroe, Alison Donohue
  • Cast:
    Max Wilde, Spencer Bang, Steven Maier, Julian Semilian, Laura Ingram Semilian, Netta Green, Connie Stewart, Smokey, Spaz
  • Cinematographer:
    Donald R. Monroe
  • Editor:
    Max Wilde

Liz’s Review: The big screen breathes new life into musical farce ‘Lucky Stiff’

Lucky Stiff poster
LUCKY STIFF is a musical comedy with a romantic heart. A young down and out British shoe salesman named Harry Witherspoon (Dominic Marsh) takes his dead American uncle (Don Amendolia) (a murdered casino manager) to Monte Carlo for the best time of his life a week of fun, dancing, making money with the awesome casino games, gambling and sun. If the young man fulfills his uncle’s request to the letter, he will inherit the $6 million left to him. If he doesn’t, the money will go to the Universal Dog Home of Brooklyn. As Harry races from casino to nightclub to beach to bedroom with his dead uncle, he is chased by a desperate put upon optometrist (Jason Alexander), his controlling, myopic, trigger happy sister (Pamela Shaw), an avaricious French chanteuse (Kate Shindle), a mysterious Italian playboy (Dennis Farina), as well as a young woman from Brooklyn (Nikki M. James) dead set on getting that money for the dogs. Guns go off, disguises go on, champagne corks pop, nightmares come to life, romance blossoms, dogs bark, and everyone sings! lucky-stiff nikki dom dennis
Dominic Marsh is a genuine star with an innocence you most certainly route for. Tony Award winner, Nikki James‘, wide eyed optimism and pure-hearted determination is a refreshing take on what could be an easily overshadowed character in a film filled to the brim with colorful performances. Jason Alexander is hilarious as always and it was nice to hear his very distinct singing voiced matched with his comic timing. Pamela Shaw‘s Rita is a beautifully cartoon version of a hustler and boy, can she still shake it with the best of them. This film happened also to be Dennis Farina‘s last. His boisterous, man about town is the perfect marriage of quirky and theatrical. This is truly an ode to an ensemble cast done right. No one outshines the next. There is something to be said about using true theatre people. Theatre people experience true camaraderie; they naturally become family to each other, which only lends to an enhanced end result. (But, that may just be the musical theatre nerd in me speaking.) Jason Lucky Stiff still
The sets are great and the costumes, a late 60’s-70’s vibe are fabulous. Lucky Stiff is what you might get if you mashed up A Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World and Weekend At Bernie’s and set it to a musical score. There a fantastic dream sequence in the film that features some of the lesser utilized yet fully recognizable faces in the film. This particular scene is actually the most theatrical in the entire movie, being set on an actual stage. One of the most darling aspects of Lucky Stiff is the frequent use of short animated clips that move the films pace and highlight some of the musical numbers. It’s a great substitute for a full scale broadway esque number. Lucky Stiff is a fun entry into the musical theatre world via film.

LUCKY STIFF opens in theaters and is available on VOD today, Friday, July 24th.

Liz’s Review: ‘THE KING AND THE MOCKINGBIRD’ is a classic brought back to life

The King and the Mockingbird Poster_Rialto

When I was a child I revelled in my mother and father reading bedtime stories.  I grew up on classic Disney fairytales and Tom & Jerry reruns. As an adult, nothing makes me happier than reliving those moments and sharing that joy with the next generation. At this year’s New York Film Festival, I was treated to a film that has been around for ages, but for me was a brand new tale to pass down. Read More →

Michael’s Review: ‘The Boxtrolls’- Don’t Be Afraid of These Monsters!

Boxtrolls poster (2)

Over the past several years, studios have moved into a new realm of stop animation by incorporating 3D technology into the filming with Laika studios creating some of the most interesting subjects. From Coraline to Paranorman, these unconventional children’s movies have found their audience among a wide range of age groups and have helped ring in a new age of animation. Laika hopes to carry on the tradition of making high quality stop animation films with this years The Boxtrolls, their most ambitious film to date. Read More →

Liz’s Review: ‘Rocks In My Pockets’ – The extraordinary weight of sadness and madness.

rocks in my pockets poster

Mental illness is a hot button issue these days. We pretend to address it but if we’re being honest,  we continue to sweep it under the rug. In a brand new film by writer/director Signe Baumane, we follow the true story of her familial heritage, specifically with undiagnosed bouts of severe depression. Read More →