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JoBlo does Tribeca #2


by Jenny Karakaya

It has been another action packed adrenaline driven week at the Tribeca Film Festival (read part 1 of my coverage HERE). Although very exhausting, it has been an exciting rush to attend screenings, check out premiere red carpet arrivals and rub shoulders with actors at the after-parties. This has been an eye-opening experience indeed. The press-screening scheduling conflicts among other hearsay ‘issues,’ have continued to fuel the media frenzy as they have assumed their positions day after day, to continue fighting the losing battle in scoring tickets for public screenings.

Personally, the disorganization has tested my limited patience, replacing it with frustration after every failed attempt. Despite the ‘small stuff’ though, I did manage to catch some flicks, get the bejesus scared out of me, attend the Spidey 3 premiere (video coverage to come), and hang out with hot celebs at trendy parties. For now though, some reviews from the festival...

Rise: Blood Hunter
Directed by: Sebastian Gutierrez
Starring: Lucy Liu, Michael Chiklis, Carla Gugino

For all you devil worshipping, blood-sucking, human gorging, sadistic, cannibalistic gore whores and horror gurus out there, get ready to feed your hunger with this supernatural graphic thriller. RISE: BLOOD HUNTER is impressively executive produced by Spidey master Sam Raimi, starring Lucy Liu, Michael Chiklis, Carla Gugino, James D’Arcy, with a small freak serving of Marilyn Manson to boot. Liu plays reporter Sadie, who vows to hunt down and kill every vampire after having been converted into one. Possessing an insatiable appetite for sex, murder and blood, may well qualify these atypically beautiful vampires as horny cannibals.

In all honesty, I was oblivious and unprepared to be paralyzed with the kind of fear that would instigate flashbacks of disturbing images. The rush had me hanging on to the edge of my seat with a mild anxiety attack, which should indicate its efficiency. The plot is interesting, riveting, and comical at times, but the driving force is the musical score. Stimulating and frightening, the music intensifies a climactic high almost through its entirety. The use of vibrant color, style of shooting and editing propagate fear in every disturbing scene. However, the ending of the film is stretched out a little too long giving the adrenaline a slight buzz kill. Although this is another platform for Liu to reaffirm her illustrious butt-kicking skills, her performance is enthralling. RISE may be somewhat formulaic, but it is interesting and gripping nonetheless. If this nauseating and revolting bloody feast doesn’t satisfy your horror cravings, I recommend professional help. -- 7/10

Directed by: Jieho Lee
Starring: Brendan Fraser, Sarah Michelle Gellar, Andy Garcia

The key ingredients in Jieho Lee’s THE AIR I BREATHE are the talented A-listers who embody distinguished characters in an intersecting plot. Based on an Asian proverb, the film dissects life into four emotions in overlapping stories of love, happiness, pleasure, and sorrow. Brendan Fraser plays a psychic gangster, Sarah Michelle Gellar an unhappy pop star, Andy Garcia embodies a ruthless crime boss named Fingers, Kevin Bacon a passionate doc and Forest Whitaker as a bored banker looking for an escape from an unfulfilled life. Emile Hirsch also makes an extremely entertaining appearance displaying his artistic range. Each character meets a separate fate dramatizing the emotion it represents.

Like all other films with interlaced vignettes, THE AIR I BREATHE is very character driven and multi-dimensional. The dramatic events within the plot are interesting, but not extraordinary. The film is suspenseful, inspiring and entertaining at times, but other than the remarkable acting, the story is not especially unique. Complicated and overlapping plots have built a new Hollywood trend thanks to CRASH and BABEL . The photography is stimulating with use of accentuated, vivid colors for dramatic effects. Fast cutaways and creative editing also accelerate the intense action sequences. Even if lacking in originality, the film’s powerful performances by its ensemble cast are worth witnessing. -- 6/10

Directed by: Edward Burns
Starring: Selma Blair, Ed Burns, Debra Messing

Any film written, directed, and conceived by Ed Burns is engaging, hilarious and relatable to me. To add to a long list of credits including GROOMSMEN, SIDEWALKS OF NEW YORK and THE BROTHERS MCMULLEN, Burns scripts another interesting contemporary story set in the streets of NYC. PURPLE VIOLETS is a comedy-drama in which two women played by Selma Blair and Debra Messing run into their old college boyfriends played by Patrick Wilson and Ed Burns, triggering old memories of their first love. As their paths continue to cross, they are faced with the gift of improbable yet hopeful second chances.

This is exactly the kind of film I truly enjoy and am inspired by. Appealing to a wider female audience, the film is romantic, promising, funny and real. The way in which Burns directs and highlights his love affair of NYC is intoxicating and mesmerizing. While the script is engaging, the cast of actors must be commended for delivering their lines with such fluidity and perfect comedic timing. To seal the deal is the accompaniment of a wonderful soundtrack, which makes PURPLE VIOLETS one of my favs. -- 8/10




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