Wednesday, August 26, 2015

The Diary of a Teenage Girl

Review by Pamela Zoslov

I had a strange feeling while watching THE DIARY OF A TEENAGE GIRL that someone had, in fact, read my diary and put parts of it onscreen. No, I did not have an affair with my mother's boyfriend, nor did I do most of the things Minnie Goetze, the 15-year-old heroine of the movie, did in 1970s San Francisco. But I did once write a letter to Aline Kominsky-Crumb, the talented cartoonist who is married to the famous Robert Crumb, telling her how much I admired and identified with her hilarious confessional comics.

Aline wrote back to me too, a friendly and encouraging letter, just as she wrote to Minnie, and apparently to Minnie's creator, writer and artist Phoebe Gloeckner, whose 2002 confessional graphic novel is the basis of this film. Clearly Kominsky-Crumb's work is captivating, and she is really nice to her fans.

Listen to Me Marlon (opens in Cleveland August 28th at the Cedar Lee Theatre)

[LISTEN TO ME MARLON opens in Cleveland on Friday August 28th exclusively at the Cedar Lee Theatre.]

Review by Charles Cassady, Jr.

Hearing the premise of the new documentary LISTEN TO ME MARLON, thrilling though it was, still brought to my jaded mind the sideshow come-ons when someone announces they've got exclusive cine footage of a crashed-UFO retrieval at Roswell in 1947, or long-lost Bigfoot celluloid.

The pitch: it turns out that the legendary Marlon Brando, before his 2004 death, had squirreled away hundreds of hours of secret audio narration. Everything from psychotherapy sessions to phone-answering machine messages to what I might imagine were dry runs to the autobiography he published in 1994 (that critics found somewhat unilluminating, if my memory serves). There was even some attempt at DIY sleep-hypnosis - poignantly urging him to shed the obesity that had made him a distorted caricature of himself.

Canopy Collective raises the awning on a local film-night event, August 28

[Event preview by Charles Cassady, Jr.]

The Canopy Collective is a group of local artists in various disciplines, from photography to poetry to sculpting to embroidery, who maintain a gallery and performance space at 3910 Lorain Avenue. On August 28 the site will host the first-ever Canopy Movie Night, in which a collection of locally wrought shorts, music-videos and clips from features-in-progress will be screened.

Among those taking part are Turnstyle Films, a production company best known for DRAW HARD, a portrait of maverick Cleveland cartoonist and comic-strip supporter John G. Sickening Pictures is Zach Shildwatchter’s outfit specializing in grindhouse-horror style shorts riffing on serial killers and other unspeakable topics. University of Akron graduate (oh, is the University of Akron still in business? We thought it had sold on Craigslist) Mike Wendt, when not working as a location manager on visiting film shoots, has embarked on projects of his own, such as the documentary short feature about Cleveland rock radio THE END OF THE WORLD AS WE KNOW IT.

Expect a few local premieres, refreshments, raffle prizes and Q&A sessions. Admission is $5, and the show lasts from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. For more information, go online to

Phoenix (opens August 28th at the Cedar Lee Theatre)

[PHOENIX opens in Cleveland on Friday August 28th exclusively at the Cedar Lee]

Review by Milan Paurich

Post-WW II Berlin. Nelly (Nina Hoss), a concentration camp surviver, returns home after having suffered a gunshot wound to the face. (No explanation is given as to how it happened.) After reconstructive surgery that leaves her looking like her old self (but, y'know, different), she embarks upon a mission to locate the husband who may--or may not have; she's not really certain--have denounced her to the Nazis. Does she still carry a torch for him, or is revenge in the offing? PHOENIX, the latest triumph by critics' darling Christian (BARBARA) Petzold, keeps us guessing, and the suspense is both unnerving and delicious.

No Escape

Review by Joseph Anthony

Enjoying the film NO ESCAPE depends on what you go to the movies for. The beauty of film is that each one offers a unique experience for each audience member. Like any form of art, it speaks to you or it doesn’t. NO ESCAPE is a unique experience, it just depends if it’s the one you want to have.

When the film opens, we are in the midst of a coup in an unnamed Southeastern Asian country (we know we’re near Vietnam, so it’s probable we’re in either Laos or Cambodia). A rebel group has risen up and removed the government in power. As the coup unfolds, a family of four from Austin, Texas is mid-flight, permanently relocating to our country in turmoil.

Repost: Samsara (August 29th and 30th at the Cleveland Cinematheque)

[SAMSARA screens Saturday August 29th at 9:40 pm and Sunday August 30th at 8:50 pm at the Cleveland Cinematheque.]

Review by Charles Cassady, Jr.

Yes, the held-over-from-2012 G.I. JOE sequel may be drawing all the mouth-breather audiences this week, but for cineastes with loftier concerns than whether Sgt. Slaughter will show up, there are the movies of director-cinematographer Ron Fricke and producer Mark Magidson. Alumni of the team who made the original art-house sensation KOYAANISQATSI under director Godfrey Reggio, they specialize in similar head-tripping, non-narrative visionary features that are more like guided meditations for the eye.

Their BARAKA (1992) was a keeper, a transcendental tour of forms of religious worship internationally. Ultimately, it seems, all the movies in this genre default to the mystical, along with a practically grandfathered-in KOYAANISQATSI theme of ultra-synthetic, modern, high-speed, high-tech life being madness compared to the vanishing village ways and tranquil traditions of old. Their 2011 companion piece (it shares a website URL with BARAKA), SAMSARA - a Sanskrit word translating as "wheel of life," or so I'm informed - falls in line with that. And, yes, it is perhaps a fair, if ultimately small-minded criticism to say that without that same awful high-tech society, the ability to make films such as this, let alone their websites, wouldn't exist.

Monday, August 24, 2015

'Finding Amelia' wins screenwriting award at the 2015 Indie Gathering

[Press release from Todd Selleck.]

Amelia Earhart.
One of the most recognizeable names in aviation history. Her love of flying created one of the most perplexing mysteries that still tugs at our hearts and minds.
"Finding Amelia" - written in a poetic manner as a tribute to one of America's most beloved aviators.
"Finding Amelia."
2015 Honorable Mention The Indie Gathering, Hudson Ohio.
*Official Selection at Oaxaca 2015 Global Screenplay Competition
*First Round Qualifier in the Adapted Screenplay Competition, Los Angeles 2015

'The Life and Death of an Unhappily Married Man' to Screen at Indie Gathering Film Festival, Star and Cleveland Native Tommy Beardmore Attending

[Press release from Mickey Wallace.]

Indie film writer-director Josh Hope continues his successful festival run with The Life and Death of an Unhappily Married Man this month at Cleveland’s Indie Gathering Film Festival August 27-30th. The dark comedy stars Tommy Beardmore (Chicago PD, Shameless), Rusty Schwimmer (The Perfect Storm, North Country), D’Arcy Fellona (Gossip Girl), and Robyn Coffin (Chicago Fire).

The film follows a man disillusioned with his failing marriage and dead-end career who abruptly decides to visit his past to figure out where it all went wrong. The Indie Gathering Film Festival will host the award-winning picture where it’s nominated for “Best US Comedy-Drama Feature Film”. Cleveland-native and star of the movie, Tommy Beardmore, will be in attendance to promote the picture. Beardmore recently won Twister Alley Film Festival's Actor of the Year for his work on the movie and is up for Best Actor at Austin Revolution Film Festival where it is featured as the closing film on September 26th.

Completely Normal Screens at Indie Gathering on August 29th

[Press release.]

Completely Normal, a dark romantic comedy helmed by first-time feature film director Robert Vornkahl, has continued its successful festival run with a pair of accolades at Ohio’s Indie Gathering Film Festival, and selections at The Chain NYC Film Festival, New York’s Kingston Film Festival, and Vermont’s Middlebury Film Festival. The film was awarded Best Romantic Comedy at Ohio’s Indie Gathering, where Vornkahl also picked up a Best Director nomination, and leads Seth Kirschner and Jenny Grace have been nominated for Best Actor and Best Actress. Completely Normal screened at the Chain NYC Film Festival on August 12th, at the Kingston Film Festival on August 15th, at The Indie Gathering on August 29th; and on August 28th at the Middlebury Film Festival.

Akron’s Time Cat awarded again for "Taste My Lightning” music video

[Press release from Cassandra Harner.]

Time Cat’s music video “Taste My Lightning,” wins 2nd place at Indie Gathering Film Festival. The video was made by only two people, shot in two days, and with a budget of less than $20. It was produced, directed, shot, and edited by Cassandra Harner, and stars Jeri Sapronetti, the lead singer and songwriter of Time Cat.

The screening will take place during the Music Video Block on Sunday, August 30th at 2PM in the Clarion Inn & Conference Center, Hudson Ohio, in Screening Room A. Festival passes are available on

The song “Taste My Lightning” is part of their album Your City, and they will be having their double release show for their singles “Boozled” and “Victory" on October 9th at the Rialto Theater in Akron, Ohio. Find out more on