Red Flag

Alex Karpovsky

Editor’s Note: This review originally ran during the 2012 LAFF, but we’re re-running it now as the film opens in limited theatrical release. There are few things that navel-gazing filmmakers like gazing at more than, well, their own navels, which is why independent cinema is flooded with vaguely veiled stories that are obviously about their makers and little else. In Red Flag, writer/director/producer/star Alex Karpovsky embraces this mini-genre (to the point that his character is named “Alex Karpovsky” and he’s on the road showing his film Woodpecker, a film Karpovsky actually made and a trip he really did take) to characteristically witty and dry effect. But it’s Karpovsky’s willingness to make his own character not look like a sensitive genius (or “a charismatic mega-fauna” as a deranged fan calls him or even “an adroit filmmaker” as he eventually tries to tout himself as) that frees the film from ego and opens it up to actual humor and significant proficiency. For the sake of clarity, this review will refer to the character of “Alex Karpovksy” as “Alex” and Alex Karpovksy the filmmaker as “Karpovsky,” because this could get a bit confusing (fortunately for Karpovsky, his final film is not).

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Alex Karpovsky

You guys are fans of Alex Karpovsky, right? Oh, good, because we’ve got a double feature of exclusive clips from the writer/director/actor’s latest two films, the very funny Red Flag and the very unsettling Rubberneck, both of which are hitting the big screen in New York City today as part of a special engagement at the Film Society of Lincoln Center. What’s most impressive about these two features is how very different they are. In Red Flag, Karpovsky plays a familiar version of himself – no, really, the film is loosely based on his own experiences as a struggling filmmaker – as his character embarks on an ill-fated road trip to promote one of his films at some of the most random (and tiny) venues in America. When an old pal tags along, it seems like a good idea, until a big fan of Karpovsky’s (read: she’s a stalker) starts popping up everywhere, ultimately leading to one of the most awkwardly hilarious love triangles in recent memory. And if you like your love triangles slightly more dangerous, Rubberneck is the Karpovsky joint for you. In it, the multi-hyphenate plays the sort of guy we’re not used to seeing him as: an obsessive creep who cannot take a hint. After a one night stand with a co-worker, Karpovsky’s Paul can’t seem to let go of his desire, which causes some major problems when the object of his infatuation strikes up with yet another co-worker. No, really major. After the break, enjoy twice the Karpovsky bang for your post-reading buck, including the dry […]

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Austin Cinematic Limits

For those of you who reside in the Big Apple and want to see one of Austin’s finest films of the last few years, Clay Liford‘s Wuss will be screening at the reRun Theater in Brooklyn on September 17 courtesy of Filmwax. Wuss is a masterful work of sound and vision, clearly exceeding the production values of most independent cinema. Liford’s uniquely desaturated, nearly monochromatic aesthetic visually binds this feature with his debut feature (Earthling), while clearly separating himself from most other filmmakers. If Wuss was produced in Hollywood, it would certainly include bright, cheery and over-saturated cinematography and a Billboard Top 40 soundtrack, but that is clearly not how Liford sees (or hears) the world. Lastly, Nate Rubin‘s lead performance as Mitch – a meek and measly twerp of a high school English teacher (technically, a substitute with a long-term assignment) who is otherwise known as “Little Bitch” — is nothing short of masterful. Speaking of Rubin, have you seen this Papa John’s commercial?

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Fans of indie darling (dudeling?) Alex Karpovsky and his brand of wry, dry humor are probably going to flip the hell out over the multi-hyphenate’s latest feature. Karpovsky wrote, directed, and produced the feature, which he also starred in as a loose-ish version of himself. Red Flag centers on a filmmaker named, err, Alex Karpovsky, who sets out on a mini tour to pimp his latest film while in the midst of a total emotional breakdown, thanks to his unfeeling now-ex-girlfriend. The film’s new trailer is Karpovsky through and through, and Red Flag looks to be unflaggingly (tee hee) hilarious and creative. Check out the first trailer from Red Flag after the break, along with screening information for the film, which will have its World Premiere at LAFF this week.

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