Louisa Krause

Bluebird

Comparisons to Atom Egoyan’s The Sweet Hereafter will likely plague Lance Edmands’ Bluebird, thanks to the films’ similar subject matter – both are set in snowy small towns, both center on a tragedy that occurs on a school bus, both find their drama in the aftermath – but Edmands’ new feature quickly finds its own footing and announces the arrival of a talented new independent filmmaker. Bluebird approaches its seemingly familiar plotline with a tighter focus than Egoyan’s, as Edmands spends the majority of his film with school bus driver Lesley (Amy Morton), a kind and well-intentioned woman whose life is destroyed by a minor moment of distraction. During an end-of-shift bus check, a trilling bluebird draws Lesley’s attention away from the task at hand, with the hautning consequences of her bird-watching not revealed until late the next morning. Lesley is, however, not the only person at fault in Bluebird (the accident at the center of the film is a unique and jarring one, and is best revealed within the film), though she is the one most obviously culpable. While Lesley is absorbed with the titular bluebird, across town young Marla (Louisa Krause) is similarly engaged, but with depression, drugs, and drinks. As with Lesley, we do not know the full extent of Marla’s negligence until many hours later. Lesley and Marla’s small, twin mistakes bloom outward, and Bluebird maps the fallout from common missteps in an unforgiving world. It is, simply put, deeply heartbreaking.

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King Kelly

King Kelly is a divisive movie, and it has an uphill battle to fight in order to win viewers. Why? Two reasons… first, it’s shot (almost) entirely on iPhones. And second, the title character is the most unlikeable creature to hit the screen since Honey Boo-boo. That uphill battle is one worth fighting though because it’s a movie worth seeing. Louisa Krause plays Kelly, a selfish, narcissistic, oblivious young woman who earns her money by way of a webcam sex show. She treats those around her as tools toward making it big with no thought given to their feelings or situations, she rarely shuts up and she’s a magnet for trouble involving missing drugs, threatening dealers and one highly unstable fan. Thankfully she’s also funny and more than a little sexy. It’s an admittedly tough sell that needs some nuance to persuade viewers to spare their time and money for the privilege of giving attention to a truly obnoxious character whose only desire is for more attention. And while the characters may appear blatantly and deceptively dumb the movie itself is actually a pretty smart critique of modern day America’s tastes. I found a lot to love when I reviewed it at this year’s SXSW, but unfortunately the latest trailer doesn’t quite get any of that across. Check it out after the jump. But please note that it’s very Not Safe for Work (NSFW).

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King Kelly Trailer

If modern technologies like video upload sites and HD video cameras small enough to fit into phones are scaring you because of the new possibilities they bring to narcissistic vanity goblins like Internet porn stars and reality TV actors, then King Kelly might be the scariest horror movie you see all year. But, if teenage-aimed movies like Project X, which glorify the most vapid and soulless aspects of party-obsessed youth culture, really get under your skin and make you mad, then King Kelly might be the funniest piece of satire you see all year. Shot entirely on iPhones and telling the story of a teenage girl who makes amateur strip videos (Louisa Krause) looking to get into the world of indie filmmaking (you know, so she can be famous), King Kelly appears to be a brutal skewering of the self-obsession and celebrity worship that’s running rampant in today’s culture. Thanks to advances in modern technology, nearly anyone can now take a shot at becoming famous (as long as they’re willing to humiliate themselves), and the effects of that seem to be a gradual poisoning of our society that’s not looking like it’s going to end anytime soon.

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It’s back to the Big Apple with another batch of some of the most compelling titles that this year’s Tribeca Film Festival has to offer. This time around, we’re zinging over to Thailand for an eye-opening spin on the crime noir (no other film this year will make you want to invest in a helmet more), before zipping back to the U S of A and over to the left coast for two films about life in Los Angeles, relationships on the rocks, and cinematic twists that both surprise and sustain. Which one of these films marks the voice of an exciting new independent director and which will leave audiences begging for more, of all things, gimmicky behavior? As is the best part of all film festivals, let’s discover something new. Check out our latest batch of mini-reviews for Headshot, Caroline and Jackie, and Double or Nothing after the break.

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The so-called YouTube generation, aka the ‘Me’ generation, doesn’t get a lot of respect. To be sure, that’s 100% their own doing thanks to their decision to live in an egotistical video bubble. Technology has reached a point where anyone and everyone can get themselves onscreen regardless of talent or worth, and society does the rest. The American public eats up all manner of reality television in multiple forms from actual TV shows to nut-shot video clips to online porn sites to cell phone captures of self-important nonsense. It’s those last two mediums, the internet porn and cell phone video, that meet in the new film King Kelly to tell a story about one specific member of this vapid, selfish and ultimately lost section of the population. We follow Kelly through a one day period in July and witness nothing short of the decline of Western civilization. Well, maybe it’s a little short of that, but we do watch as Kelly finds herself caught up in a search for stolen drugs, threats against her life and the arrival of her number one (and highly unstable) fan. She quickly and consistently proves herself to be exactly the kind of brat to star in her own TV show on the E! Network. The film is shot almost entirely on iPhones, and you’d be forgiven for thinking that sounds like an immediate recipe for disaster. An obnoxious young woman who rarely shuts up as the lead in a film comprised exclusively of cell […]

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