LA Film Fest 2016

laff 2016

LA Film Festival 2016 has taken a final bow and our coverage will as well with a final farewell.  After six articles including three interviews (with fabulous females of note mind you!), a feature-length review of the opening night film “Lowriders” and a ton of encapsulated reviews we’re ending out fest coverage on a ‘been busy’ note for sure. But we want to keep the movies flowing, so below are seven more encapsulated reviews to give our coverage the proper send off – enjoy and via la LA Film Fest 2016!

 

 

US FICTION COMPETITION

laff 2016

“The View From Tall” – The edgy material here dealing with illegal high school teacher/student relationships could have been merely salacious but in the hands of female co-directors Caitlin Parrish and Erica Weiss “The View From The Tall” is instead utterly thought provoking.  Taking the subject from both negative and positive aspects, the film doesn’t shy away from the consequences of taboos and how they affect everyone within earshot.  Plus their leading lady Amanda Drinkall has equal parts sass and sensitivity beyond her years to aid any uneasy.  4/5 stars

 

BUZZ 

laff 2016

“Kicks” – “Boyz in the Hood” mixed with the more somber moments of “Three O’Clock High” sees a kid from Oakland getting his new Air Jordan’s taken by an unruly gang and making a dangerous journey to get them back.  The film is definitely notable given the authentic settings and characters, but it’s also quite heavy-handed at times.  In its desire to complete young Brandon’s journey from boy to man it tends to tread thickly through tropes we’ve seen before and as a result, the outcome feels less like a kick and more like a body slam.  2.5/5 stars  

Life Animated 

“Life, Animated” – A wonderful journey featuring an autistic boy who stopped speaking and then learned to communicate through watching various Disney animated films.  Not only does the doc have uplifting and inspirational moments (plus some real and somber ones too!), but the added element of the elevation of life due to the power of cinema definitely makes any inner movie geek cry.  For years, cinefiles have been saying there’s magic in the movies – “Life, Animated” is proof positive.  4/5 stars

 

DOCUMENTARY COMPETITION

laff 2016

“Company Town” – One of those well-made docs that makes you talk back to the screen, “Company Town” is exhibit A that injustice in small towns is alive and well.  Seeing everyone from the uncaring local government politicians to even FEMA stand by and watch as big money company Georgia-Pacific (and shameless owners the Koch brothers) poison the local community in Crossett, Arkansas shouldn’t just be a shame – it should be a crime.  4/5 stars

laff 2016

“They Call Us Monsters” – While the filmmakers of this one try not to pass judgment on the violent juvenile offenders they are documenting, “They Call Us Monsters” still nevertheless suffers from not having an opinion.  Presenting these terror teens as children railroaded by the system and then seeing some of their obvious apathy makes for a film that’s lacking a point – fly on the wall doesn’t always equal a good doc.  2/5 stars

 

LA MUSE

laff 2016 

“Girl Flu” – While the subjects within “Girl Flu” are either stuff we’ve seen before (adults who don’t want to grow up and have commitment issues!) or done for comic relief (our lead gal gets her period and freaks out!), it’s nevertheless the chemistry between mother/daughter Katee Sackhoff (who’s never been better!) and Jade Pettyjohn as the ultimate odd couple that gives the film it’s healing booster shot.  3.5/5 stars

 

NIGHTFALL

laff 2016

“Villisca” – Interesting in premise, but deeply flawed in the execution this ‘kids in a haunted house’ tale that quickly turns to a possession flick gets old fast.  Plus anything remotely good – the quirky tour guide played by Jon Gries, the interesting relationship between unlikely lovers Robert Adamson and Alex Frnka and weirdo priest Sean Whalen – gets little play and nothing is ever fully fleshed out.  This house is clear…of being an actually scary movie. 1.5/5 stars



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