Local filmmakers showcased in February’s Filmadelphia at the Roxy Series

Written by Alex Gibson on . Posted in Blogs

By Avery Maehrer

Joe Lee was horrified to make the call.

An idea had sprung in his head for a documentary about Sue and Ron Witman, whose family made headlines after their son was found guilty of brutally killing his younger brother. But for Lee’s vision to come to fruition, he had to pick up the phone and convince the married couple to tell him their story. After Lee overcame his nerves and reached out to the Witmans, they met in person. The rest is history.

“They kind of fell in love with us,” Lee said. “And we fell in love with them.”

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The result of what followed Lee’s phone call is “The Witmans” – one of three short films by local filmmakers showcased on Feb. 18 in the

Philadelphia Film Society’s Filmadelphia at the Roxy program. In addition to Lee’s work, Doris ChiaChing Lin’s “Maquette 1:1000” and Hilary Brashear’s “Triptych” were also screened in front of a packed theater.

So Bad It’s Good – My Best Friend is a Vampire

My BF is a Vampire

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By Alexander Goodlive

With all the hate that The Twilight Saga gets (and rightfully so) for destroying the image of what a vampire is and should be, few realize that vampire movies have always existed outside of household Anne Rice fetish material. While it is tempting to blame the downfall of modern vampires on Stephanie Meyer, a movie came out in the 80s that, if held to the same standards, would be equally as blasphemous in the eyes of many a Hot Topic shopper.

PFS Rapid Review – Like Father, Like Son

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By Davis Rivera

Hirokazu Koreeda may not be a household name in the United States but, film-by-film, he has made a case for himself being the best Japanese chronicler of everyday life since Ozu.  His newest film Like Father, Like Son further cements his reputation by taking what sounds like a contrived idea for a film and turning it into a tear-inducing family drama as relatable to those with children as it is to those without. If you missed it during PFF22, you can see Like Father, Like Son at the Ritz at the Bourse.

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Davis Rivera is the recipient of the Marguerite & Otis Walter Scholarship for Excellence in Art History, founded the UArts Literary Society, recently completed a book on the last American auteur, and is working on two films to be released this spring.  He lives and works in Philadelphia, PA.

And You Call Yourself a Film Buff?! – Videodrome

Videodrome Image

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By John Smith

Videodrome. How can a title as mysterious as that not get you curious as to what this movie is about. I’m not here to talk about the title, of course. I’m here to talk about the movie behind that title. David Cronenberg is a name that resonates throughout modern film with movies like Scanners, The Fly, and Eastern Promises. This 1983 film, however, is what has stood the test of time and has quite possibly become even more relevant in this modern day and age. This is Videodrome.

PFS Rapid Reviews – The LEGO Movie

The LEGO Movie

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By Caroline Meuser

The LEGO Movie offers more than some cool effects and an opportunity for childhood regression. With Will Ferrell as the voice of a maniacal ruler threatening to end utopian Legoland as its plastic population knows it, the audience faces a unique fusion of two facets of modern cinema: the underdog’s mission to save the world and a thought-provoking statement on corporate America. This, plus an underlying sheath of mature comedy, is surely a recipe for a Lego-cy of greatness.

 

By Ian Abell

This film is one of those rare popular hits that seems to do everything right. The story is both simple and reflective, with the support of popping jokes and solid casting. Using the established universe of Lego, the movie reminds us about the importance of play and imagination throughout our lives.

So Bad It’s Good – Poultrygeist: Night of the Chicken Dead

Poultrygeist

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By Ian Abell

Have you ever wondered what would happen if a fast food restaurant was built on a sacred Indian burial ground? Probably not, but don’t worry — the good people of Troma Entertainment have already thought of it for you, and they even put it in musical form! The providers of countless oh-so-badly-good classics, most famously The Toxic Avenger series, Troma delivers a film that fits in with all of its malformed brothers and sisters while providing a leap forward in terms of quality.

Beyond its ‘zombified Native American chickens’ logline, the film revolves around Arbie (Jason Yachanin) and Wendy (Kate Graham), two high school sweethearts who are forced apart when Wendy goes off to college. When Arbie goes back, months later, to the ‘Tromahawk’ tribe burial ground where he and Wendy shared their last night, he finds that 1) a giant corporate chicken joint has built over the burial ground and 2) a group of protesters is boycotting the restaurant, led by a dirty college hippie and her new lesbian lover, Wendy (oh my!). Angry over the perceived betrayal by Wendy, Arbie gets a job as a counter girl (yes girl) at the restaurant and suffers the brutality and gag-inducing uncleanliness of coworkers and customers alike.

Yet it’s not long before the ghosts of the disturbed burial ground and the billions of chickens slaughtered by the company seek revenge on the hapless hero and his crew and begin killing customers and staff. Concerned that any mention of the deaths will hurt publicity for the grand opening, the Colonel Sanders-esque owner of the restaurant keeps the deaths under wraps until soon protesters and customers alike are turned into zombie chickens. But not before Arbie meets his future self and a man has sex with an uncooked chicken, because why not?

This is not a film of subtlety. This is a film that floats messages, themes, and parallels about as well as anvils. One minute there is a mocking of false corporate patriotism and protester hypocrisy, the next minute blood geysers and naked breasts. Doing away with inhibition and restraint, the film delights in poking fun at anything and everything political, social, racial, gendered, and polite. It appears that writer/director Lloyd Kaufman (who also makes an appearance as a mysterious chicken mascot) had a rule that as long as someone found it funny it got in the movie.

This drive to include everything funny is also the film’s greatest weakness. When the chicken zombies take over the restaurant, the humor outlasts its welcome as the chickens find ways to dismember and fry up humans like your favorite fast food items. Rather than find creative methods to kill off characters ad nauseam, the film could have used an extra musical number or two to help compensate for the song-heavy first half.

One has to appreciate though, that with so many great gags and lines crammed into a movie, that some of these might naturally miss the mark. Don’t let a few bad jokes dissuade you, this is a very solid film from people who have shaped cult movies for 30 years. Whether you’re a hardcore Troma fan or just want a silly and direct movie, Poultrygeist satisfies that bad movie craving.

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Ian Abell is a junior Film & Media Arts and English major at Temple University. Whether it’s an old Scorsese or that cool movie your best friend filmed at a gas station, Ian wants to see it, discuss it, write about it, and put up a blog post about it.

PFS Rapid Review – The Great Beauty

The Great Beauty

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By Davis Rivera

Oscar Wilde once said, “The greatest men fail, or seem to have failed.”  Paolo Sorrentino‘s film The Great Beauty shows us such a man. In a film so extravagantly shot, the profound sadness buried beneath the haughty exterior of 65-year-old protagonist Jep Gambardella can easily be overlooked.  However, the film itself cannot be and its onslaught of dazzling images, running the gamut from nuns to giraffes to dwarves, begs to be seen in a theatre.

PFS Rapid Review – Ride Along

Ride Along

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By Davis Rivera

Teaming up one of America’s greatest living comedians with one of America’s greatest living wordsmiths may sound like a good idea on paper but, as seen in Tim Story’s Ride Along, sometimes things get lost in the transition from page to screen.  The film does not carry the emotional weight of a Cube classic like Friday or the laugh-a-second hilarity of Hart’s stand-up specials but does feature performances good enough to hide most of the film’s flaws.

And You Call Yourself a Film Buff?! – Alice Doesn’t Live Here Anymore

Alice Doesn't Live Here Anymore Picture - Film Buff

Written by Alex Gibson on . Posted in Blogs

By Kim Scott

For the past few months, Alice Doesn’t Live Here Anymore had been highly recommended to me by a fellow film buff. “Ah, you’re interested in feminist movies?” the film buff would ask me. And like any sleep deprived college student who says very unfunny things because they’re tired, I settled into a low, manic chuckle before I answered, “Uh, have you read my blog?” (Just kidding, I didn’t say that. I replied with the tasteful, yet simple “Yup.”)