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30 YEARS TO LIFE
The pending arrival of their 30th birthdays prompts six life-long friends living in New York City to re-evaluate their lives, loves, hopes and dreams. As the realities of growing old set in, each confronts the future in their own unique way. Stars Tracey Morgan, Erika Alexander, Allen Payne, Melissa De Sousa, Kadeem Hardison, Paula Jai Parker, and T.E. Russell. Winner of the Best Director and Best First Film awards at the Pan African Film Festival. "A smart, entertaining romantic comedy full of telling belly laughs that come from both the brain and the heart (
The Hollywood Reporter
Vanessa Middleton---USA---2001---110 mins.
Gina (Victoria Foyt) questions the merits of her current safe and secure boyfriend when her dynamic ex returns with an interesting proposition. Thinking she could be pregnant, Gina attends the baby shower of a friend where the women present debate the pros and cons of love, relationships and parenthood in the 1990s. With Eric Roberts, Matt Salinger and Frances Fisher.
Henry Jaglom---USA---1994---110 mins.
Morgan Spurlock presents this witty and effective ensemble mockumentary about high school teachers--namely rookie history teach Mr. Lowrey (Troy Schremmer)--all trying to connect with their slovenly, disaffected students. Sadly, most of the faculty are just as unfit and immature as their pupils. "A bracing antidote to Hollywood's inspirational coach-athlete, teacher-student sob fests, this view of American high school life from a teacher's perspective feels painfully accurate" (Stephen Holden,
New York Times
). Nominated for an Independent Spirit Award.
Mike Akel---USA---2006---84 mins.
When Sonny (Timothy Olyphant,
) returns to his Florida home after serving his prison sentence, things are not as he left them. He longed for Ann (Sarah Wynter) for years, but now she's happily married to his best friend, Dave (Josh Brolin), who just so happens to be the town sheriff. Spiraling out of control, it becomes harder and harder for Sonny to resist the local power broker, who wants Sonny back in the game. Usually associated with a striking visual style, director Victor Nunez (
) also "keeps the action driving forward: dangerous, sexy, and conflicted" (
). With Josh Lucas and William Forsythe.
Victor Nunez---USA---2001---110 mins.
CONFESSIONS OF AN AMERICAN GIRL
Confessions of an American Girl
is a smart teen comedy with an acute sensitivity for the emotional realities of being a teenager. Rena (Jenna Malone), who lives with her family in a trailer park, becomes pregnant as a result of an affair with a schoolmate. The film follows her efforts to deal with this startling new development, including how to explain it to her incarcerated father. With Michelle Forbes, Chris Mulkey, and Brad Renfro.
Jordan Brady---USA---2002---88 mins.
DAY NIGHT DAY NIGHT
A teenage girl (Luisa Williams) of unknown origin and unknown affiliation is wandering through Times Square waiting to detonate a bomb on her person. This is
Day Night Day Night
, an intense, conceptual and, at times, eerily mundane vision of a nameless suicide bomber on the verge of fulfilling her role for some absolute cause. "Terror is existential in this highly intelligent, somewhat sadistic, totally fascinating movie" (J. Hoberman,
). Winner of the Prix Regards Jeune at Cannes and the FIPRESC I Prize at the Chicago International Film Festival.
Julia Loktev---USA/Germany/France---2006---94 mins.
DOWN & OUT WITH THE DOLLS
An all-girl band sets out to conquer the indie-rock world in this down and dirty, yet surprisingly believable, look at the lives of struggling musicians. The members of The Paper Dolls (played by real musicians) toil at endless day jobs hoping to make it out of Portland, Oregon and hit the big time. They seem poised for success when a new singer joins the fold, but the updated commercial direction that she brings with her threatens to tear the band apart. Features cameos by Lemmy Kilmister of Motorhead, Janice Tanaka of L7, and Inger Lorre, formerly of the Nymphs.
Kurt Voss---USA---2001---87 mins.
Scotty Pelk (Melik Malkasian) is an obsessive cinephile whose encyclopedic knowledge has allowed him to hold down a job at a video store despite his grating personality. However, when customer complaints pile up, the socially inept clerk is cut loose, causing him to spiral into a deep depression. Enter Niko (Tylser Gannon), a sexy free spirit who might just be Scotty's ticket out of terminal geekdom. "The perfect film for anyone who loves movies" (Bill Plympton).
James Westby---USA---2005---72 mins.
FOUR LETTER WORDS
This coming-of-age film in the vein of
looks at a group of former high school friends as they face growing up and away from each other. Set at a late-night party after the keg's gone dry and the inhibitions are dropped,
Four Letters Words
is a funny and realistic look at guys being guys with believable dialogue and characters.
Sean Baker---USA---2001---82 mins.
Calling himself "a drinker with a writing problem", the alcoholic Tulley (Anthony LaPaglia) labors to transition from a respected short story writer to a famous novelist while working a dead-end job. Accustomed to spinning his wheels, the would-be writer meets the beautiful, jaded schoolteacher Natalie (Caroleen Feeney) one evening at a bar. As their one-night stand blossoms into romance, Tulley discovers that Natalie offers the spark he needs to realize his dreams--until a dramatic revelation puts his ambition into a new perspective. Eric Stoltz co-stars.
Mike Bencivenga---USA---2003---93 mins.
HAWK IS DYING
Paul Giamatti stars alongside Michelle Williams and Michael Pitt in writer-director Julian Goldberger's independent adaptation of Harry Crews' novel about a man who refuses the traditional grieving process when his family is struck by tragedy. Instead, he vows to tame a wild, red-tail hawk, even if it pushes him beyond the point of emotional obsession.
describes the picture's "affected rawness and technical austerity," due in part to cinematographer Bobby Bukowski (
Julian Goldberger---USA---2006---106 mins.
HOTTEST STATE, THE
This indie drama earns Ethan Hawke triple threat status. The actor-writer-director carves his semi-autobiographical 1997 novel into an authentic and accomplished depiction of youthful angst and painful first loves. Mark Webber plays an aspiring actor from Texas trying to make it in Manhattan and
with a wary Latina singer (Catalina Sandino Moreno) on a trip to Mexico. Their romance is short lived, though, and his emotional turmoil is vast. With Sonia Braga, Laura Linney and Michelle Williams. Features music performed by Bright Eyes, Cat Power, Feist, Norah Jones.
Ethan Hawke---USA---2006---117 mins.
IT WAS A WONDERFUL LIFE
Award-winning filmmaker Michele Ohayon (
Colors Straight Up
) looks at six formerly successful, middle-class women who found themselves plunged into poverty and homelessness after abrupt misfortunes. Ohayon provides a very human portrait of the homeless, focusing on the newfound strength and perseverance the women found in the face of tragedy. Narrated by Jodie Foster, with music by Melissa Etheridge.
Michele Ohayon---USA---1993---82 mins.
Damien Lewis delivers a riveting performance in this stormy portrait of a middle-aged man who wanders through New York's Port Authority, teetering on the brink of insanity. Unable to locate his lost 6-year-old daughter, William Keane (Lewis) tries to disappear into a fog of drugs and alcohol, picking fights and pleading for help with the strangers he encounters. With Amy Ryan and Abigail Breslin. "Mr. Lewis, a highly talented British actor, displays a flawless American accent in what amounts to a hyper-Wellesian monopolization of screen time and screen space" (Andrew Sarris,
New York Observer
Lodge Kerrigan---USA---2004---90 mins.
This unique indie comedy chronicles the romance that develops between an aspiring actor (Michael Gilio) and an aimless young woman (Lara Phillips) who meet by chance at a corner store. "[The film] blindsides us with unexpected humor and sadness, and is one of the unsung treasures of recent independent filmmaking" (Roger Ebert,
Michael Gilio---USA---2001---111 mins.
Ashley Judd, Vince Vaughn, Kate Capshaw and Jeremy Davies (
Spanking the Monkey
) star in a story of dark family secrets set in Kansas of the early 1960s. The affair between a sultry widow and a troubled ranch hand sets the stage for explosive emotional revelations. "...one of the great guilty pleasures of your movie-going year, the cinematic equivalent to a slug of iced bourbon late on a sticky summer night" (Andrew O'Hehir,
John Patrick Kelley---USA---1997---125 mins.
On the final day Fred spends in the small town of Midlothia, he misses his own going away party, finding himself dazed and in a middle of a field. This causes friction among the three friends who hosted the party, but events become even more tense as all four uncover unpleasant secrets threatening their friendships. This character drama became a favorite in indie festivals, winning eight awards and critical praise, among them the Audience Award for the Lake County Film Festival and Microcinema Fest's "Best of the Fest."
Bill Sebastian---USA---2007---89 mins.
MILK AND HONEY
At a New York City cocktail party, an emotionally troubled stockbroker re-proposes to his wife of ten years and is rejected and humiliated in front of friends and colleagues. So begins this tense, unpredictable, and superbly acted film by Joe Maggio. The
director reveals the connections we make and those that are made for us in his story of a search for meaning in a disconnected world. Featuring the original music of indie filmmaker Hal Hartley, Fischerspooner, and Yo La Tengo.
Joe Maggio---USA---2003---90 mins.
Troy Garity earned critical accolades for his portrayal of Albert, a mentally challenged man who's forced to fend for himself when his overbearing mother is unexpectedly killed. When con men begin homing in on Albert's ice fishing prize winnings, it becomes apparent that the man's sleepy Milwaukee suburb is rife with extortion, blackmail, and murder. "(Director) Allan Mindel nails the snowbound rhythms of upper Midwestern life and orchestrates a near perfect ending, a fade-to-white over an unlikely promised land" (
). With Debra Monk, Randy Quaid, and Bruce Dern.
Allan Mindel---USA---2005---95 mins.
This award-winning independent feature film follows a hipster film student and former high school nerd, Dens, who returns to his rural hometown to make a scathing documentary about his former tormentors, focusing on the annual "kick-ass bash" at his cousin's trailer. He learns the hard way that revenge rarely goes as planned, especially when generic beer and big hair are involved. Instead of gaining revenge, Dens is forced to relive his most humiliating high school experience again in front of his former crush. While he retreats to the confines of his van, his classmates continue filming as things take a turn for the worse all around. With Cynthia Geary.
Tony Leahy---USA---2003---90 mins.
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