We’re keeping the capsulated review train going with more insight into the films at this years LA Film Fest 2013 via Jason and Michael. Today’s crop sees good and bad in doc land along with some Beyond fare to boot. Honest in film critique – here’s the skinny!
"The New Black" – A startling multi-layered documentary. Born out of the repossession of gay rights thru Prop-8 in California, Yoruba Richen, the film’s director, has created a complex portrait of the fight for gay rights in America as exemplified by the Prop-6 in Maryland. It also touches on religion, the culpability of the Black community in the success of Prop-8, civil rights and the fascinating fight from both sides trying to gain favor in Maryland for or against gay marriage. It’s riveting to watch as Richen guides the viewer thru the complex quagmire that is gay rights. My biggest surprise was the extent to which black gays are still fighting for acceptance with their own community - eye opening stuff. Hands down a thought provoking film with equal parts energy and pathos. - 5 stars
"The Women and the Passenger" – As a documentary, this one missed the mark. It tells the story of the maids in a ‘sex hotel’ who clean up after the ‘Passengers’ (the couples that come to the hotel to exercise their passion). After seeing the cleaning of one room after another things became boring. The maids talking were the most interesting things, as at least they shared a modicum of personal thoughts. But for those looking for titillation from the moans and groans climaxes of the passengers think again - his racy subject doc is presented in a seriously sterile way. If only we could have seen more of the maid’s private lives, their work would have been an interesting juxtaposition. - 1 star
"You’re Next" – Far from the fun it seems to be projecting, "You’re Next" sucks all the horror lifeblood out of the room by not knowing what it wants to be. Is it a home invasion flick? A women empowerment movie? Or simply an excuse to come up with new and clever ways to kill people? I’d go with all the above, but it doesn’t deliver on any. We’ve seen the whole bad guys in the house thing done much better (see "The Strangers" and Michael Cimino’s "Desperate Hours!") and frankly this family we just don’t care a lot about. (Even my favorite AJ Bowen seems to be phoning this one in!) The ass-kicking gal aspect happens way too late to make an improvement (for better hidden assassin stuff see "The Aggression Scale!") and the kills here just aren’t all that smart or fun. Stunt casting aside (look mom, it’s Director Ti West) anyone who can take the legendary Barbara Crampton and make her dull deserves distain – better luck next time. - 1 star