Four Eyed Monsters (2005) is a truly original and artistic narrative film; part drama, part documentary. As part of the project there are also thirteen webisodes that make this experience more than a movie. It is a story of a relationship at its core but turned into so much more. The title refers to a couple, the oneness of two people, and how that oneness can often turn into a monster.
Arin Crumley and Susan Buice have created an emotionally powerful film about their relationship and sexuality. The collection of music is intoxicating when mixed with the unique, often abstract, videography. In the beginning of the film we are introduced to Arin and Susan's past; they are both introverted struggling artists. After meeting online they start a very eccentric relationship in which they do not talk. They decided talking is usually the most uncomfortable part of a relationship and that they would only "speak" through writing, video, and artistic means. During this time they also decide to make the film that you are watching. Regret, love, empathy, jealousy, and all the emotions that come with a relationship are touched on.
7 out of 10 (webisodes 9 out of 10) - It takes us deep into the mind and feelings of today's relationships, albeit from two very artistic and erratic people. I recommend watching the movie first then all the webisodes (all are on the DVD). I found the webisodes to be more interesting than the film and they give important insight about Arin and Susan and the film. They are also very powerful from a filmmaking stance about the ups and downs of creating an independent film. The movie did run a bit slow and lost its direction a few times and although beautiful and compelling, some of the imagery didn't add value to the film. Once I saw the webisodes I felt they could have done better with the feature film. Overall the project (film and episodes) was interesting and entertaining; I found myself wanting more. You can order the DVD from the film's website.
For My Father/Shabat Shalom Maradona (2008) is an absorbing and complex quest of unyielding emotion, choice, and discovery. Given the choice of regaining your father's honor and cementing your legacy or alienating your family for a person you just met that rekindles your spirit, which would you choose? What if the action for your father would hurt this other person, but not hurting the other person would result in your father's death? All the while your life is on the line! This is Terek (Shredi Jabarin), a young handsome caring man that has found himself in an impossible situation.
Terek arrives in Tel Aviv, Israel and goes to a crowded market where he closes his eyes and prays as he slightly pulls up his sleeve to expose a trigger. He is a Palestinian suicide bomber. Click, click, click - the trigger is broken. He briskly walks away and around a corner to call the mission planner who wants to activate the vest of explosives via a cell phone link but is convinced to wait for him to fix the device and properly use it.
Under the cover of a construction worker needing a new trigger for a nearby work site he visits an electrician named Katz (Shlomo Vishinsky). Katz does not have the part and orders it for delivery in two days. With reports of a terrorist crossing into Israel coming over the radio and police cars driving by, he offers to fix Katz' leaky roof in exchange for the part to keep himself hidden.
Across the street is Keren (Hili Yalon) who runs a small shop after being disowned from her family. They immediately hit it off when he goes over for coffee and we see his human side for the first time as his face lights up when talking to her. Terek has diner with Katz where he feels compassion and sorrow for him after hearing of his son's death. Later that night Terek comes to Karen's aid when she is being harassed by some men for how her life doesn't conform to societies expectations. Tarek is more alive than ever as their feelings continue flourish.
He is being shown life by the people he came to kill - he must decide what he is going to do.
9.5 out of 10 - This independent film dares to reveal the human side of both sides. There is no political message, no taking sides, and little history of the conflict in the region - it is a story of people. I was kept engaged as the characters interacted and the story unfolded all the way to the ending credits. Perceptually riveting! For My Father was directed by Dror Zahavi and written by Ido Dror and Jonatan Dror; Hebrew and Arabic with English subtitles.
The End of Poverty? (2008) is a startling documentary that brings comprehension to the origin of global poverty. The opening question by narrator Martin Sheen sets the direction of the film; "In a world where there is so much wealth, with modern cities and plentiful resources, how can we still have so much poverty where so many people must live on less than one dollar per day?"
Philippe Diaz (director) has managed to teach us about the current state of world poverty through understandable facts, interviews, and history. The people impacted by poverty are interviewed in their home countries of Kenya, Bolivia, Brazil, Venezuela, and Tanzania. Their lives and stories are heart-wrenching; they don't want handouts, just the ability to make a fair wage and to live with respect while being treated properly. Economists, professors, authors, historians, and government officials from the UK, USA, India, France, and the above countries provide deeply insightful information and commentary.
It will amaze you at how we have arrived at the current situation around the globe. The complex reasons are presented so that we can understand. Major drivers of world poverty are economic and money policies, governments, capitalism, and colonization dating back to the 15th century. Attempting to give you a brief history would not do the film justice; instead I will offer some powerful facts that were presented in the film.
- 70 million people live in modern day slavery
- The gap between the richest and poorest country was 3 to 1 in 1820 and 74 to 1 in 1997
- Germany is the largest coffee exporter...but doesnâ€™t grow coffee
- 1/3 of global population has no access to clean water
- 1 billion people live on less than a dollar a day
10 out of 10 - A potent look at poverty from the comfort of the theater! Yes, that was intended make you ask, why? After viewing this documentary you will know.
Ink (2009) is a climax of audio and visual stimulation that takes you on a journey of the subconsciousness. The dark and light forces fight over the soul in a thrilling and thought provoking metaphysical world that is linked to the physical one. This science fiction fantasy is packed with action between mesmerizing sequences of relaxation and happiness that offset the dark and uneasy world of the Incubi.
The Incubi give nightmares while the Storytellers offer dreams of hope. These two groups battle for Emma (Quinn Hunchar) in this alternate realm, where time runs differently, as she lays in a coma in the real world after Ink took her essence to prove his worthiness to become an Incubi. Her only hope is for the Storytellers to change the path of her father, John (Chris Kelly). A series of events changed John from a loving and caring person to a deeply hurt and broken man. With the quest to change John underway another Storyteller, Liev (Jessica Duffy), attempts to adjust Ink's thinking to not continue following the path he is on.
8 out of 10 - A strait forward and simple tale this is not; it is open to some interpretation making the film difficult to follow at times. It does come together more as the film advances, but in the end it may take some nonlinear thinking to understand. Still, this is a very interesting and mind blowing film that intrigues your senses and perception. The acting was fitting for the film, but was a little one-dimensional at times. Jamin Winans, Kiowa K. Winans, and Jeff Pointer created this unique and intriguing story.