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2016 | 2015 | 2014 | 2013 | 2012 | 2011 | 2010

6 items from 2016


Review: ‘Blood Stripe’

14 June 2016 2:10 AM, PDT | Variety - Film News | See recent Variety - Film News news »

After U.S. participation in the 20th century’s “Great Wars” turned to participation in some not-so-great, still-debated wars, Hollywood tended to take a few years before offering critical fictive input on those conflicts. But American deployment in Iraq and Afghanistan continues to drag on, whatever happy-face scenarios are offered to the media. While we await the big W.-era propaganda critique of Ang Lee’s literary adaptation “Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk” this fall, “Blood Stripe” delivers a smaller-scale weighing of the “War on Terror’s” toll on average grunts. Veteran actor Remy Auberjonois’ polished feature debut provides an impressive showcase for co-scenarist Kate Nowlin as a career Marine derailed by Ptsd upon return to civilian life. This ambitious drama won the Laff prize for homegrown narrative fiction feature, though its somewhat awkward vacillation between serious character study and under-realized thriller elements will limit commercial exposure.

A thirtysomething Marine Corps sergeant never actually named here, but half-jokingly, half-respectfully referred to as “Our Sergeant” (Nowlin), arrives back from her latest — and perhaps, it seems, last — deployment to a minimal welcome. She’s picked up late at from the airport by an in-law. At home, burly husband Rusty (Chris Sullivan) does not make a display of conspicuous enthusiasm. They seem to have a somewhat prickly, not particularly affectionate relationship, suggestive of pre-existing tensions that go unspecified.

Whatever preceded, however, “Sarge” is clearly barely holding it together in this particular return to civilian life: Pounding beers without effect, compulsively jogging, mowing the lawn at midnight and other borderline-manic actions that seem to be keeping some kind of breakdown thinly at bay. At a welcome-home party, a guest’s playful hug triggers drastic over-reaction from her. After that, there’s no further denying she needs help. But she’s sadly aware that appropriate services at a Va Hospital wouldn’t be available for months, sighing, “There’s a wait.”

One day at the tedious municipal road-work job she’s gotten, something in Our Sergeant snaps. She gets in her car and drives hours to the site of a childhood summer camp. It’s the beginning of the off-season, with seemingly sole remaining employee Dot (Rusty Schwimmer) packing things up for the winter. Having no plan, and not having told anyone where she is, Sarge gets a room-and-board gig that’s just what her anxious mind and coiled Marine body needs: Endless, heavy-lifting grunt work.

The two women’s quiet camaraderie, the tranquil setting, and the hard physical labor do seem to make Sarge better, relaxing such that she answers admiring Dot’s questions about her several Iraq and Afghanistan deployments, in terse but revealing terms. But she’s still in a highly fragile state, agitated further by a mixed bag of interlopers to the camp. They include a visiting group of church elders led by gregarious Art (the writer-helmer’s father René Auberjonois, still a theatrically flamboyant presence in his mid-70s); his adoptive-son-of-sorts (Tom Lipinski as another nameless figure, dubbed only “The Fisherman”), a fellow moody loner; and some local louts whose lewd menace Sarge’s addled mindset may or may not be exaggerating.

It’s when these additional characters arrive at midpoint that real-life spouses Nowlin and Auberjonois’ script begins to stumble, after a strong buildup. While the director has cited such deliberately dislocating films about various forms of mental illness and Ptsd as “Repulsion” and “Martha Marcy May Marlene” as models here, “Blood Stripe” grows more tonally muddled than those singular portraits of escalating trauma. The warm-and-fuzzy church group, Lipinski’s conventional Heathcliff-like romantic figure, the poorly integrated thriller elements (a more congruent film would’ve made those local yokels a constant phantom menace) and a vague, unconvincing climactic catharsis all weaken what had initially seems a tougher-minded film. Then there’s the contrivance necessary to keep Sarge from being “rescued” by Rusty, even after she’s made a couple panicked calls back home.

On the plus side, “Blood Stripe” is cryptic in interesting ways, most notably in that we never actually find out what “happened to” Sarge: The film forgoes convention in omitting a flashback, or even a monologue, wherein a specific traumatic combat incident “explains all.” (At one point, however, we do glimpse dramatic scars on her back, and her automatic-recoil reaction to most physical contact raises the possibility of assault or torture.) That’s a refreshing change from formula, not least because it leaves open the possibility that her Ptsd springs from cumulative experience rather than the typical fictive Big Event — a more realistic approach.

Nowlin fully invests in her role, credibly creating a born career-military type nonetheless pushed over the brink — a fully-combat-participatory female soldier relatively new to both U.S. policy and to movies, if you discount the likes of the ludicrous “G.I. Jane.” Schwimmer, Sullivan and Lipinsky are solid in support, even if the latter’s role feels less organic. While its storytelling wavers, there’s nothing unsteady about the movie’s overall packaging craftsmanship, most notably Radium Cheung’s widescreen photography of the gorgeous northern-Minnesota lake country.

»

- Dennis Harvey

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‘Blood Stripe,’ ‘Political Animals’ Win Top Prizes at La Film Festival

9 June 2016 1:46 PM, PDT | The Wrap | See recent The Wrap news »

Remy Auberjonois’ “Blood Stripe,” a feature about a female U.S. Marine sergeant struggling after returning from her third tour of duty in Afghanistan, won the top prize at the Los Angeles Film Festival. The documentary feature award, also announced Thursday, went to “Political Animals,” Jonah Markowitz and Tracy Wares’ account of the first openly gay members of the California House of Representatives. “With all the talk about diversifying Hollywood, the La Film Festival provides proof that talented filmmakers with new voices are out there, they just need a platform and that’s what we’re providing,” said Stephanie Allain, »

- Beatrice Verhoeven

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Kate Nowlin’s ‘Blood Stripe’ Wins U.S. Fiction Award at La Film Festival

9 June 2016 1:44 PM, PDT | Variety - Film News | See recent Variety - Film News news »

Kate Nowlin’s thriller “Blood Stripe,” directed by Remy Auberjonois, has won the U.S. Fiction Award at the La Film Festival.

The movie, which marks Auberjonois’ feature debut, centers on a Marine sergeant returning home to find herself hemorrhaging anxiety and paranoia from unseen wounds. Auberjonois directed from a script he co-wrote with Nowlin.

Producers are Schuyler Weiss, Julie Christeas, Auberjonois and Nowlin. Tom Lipinski, Chris Sullivan, Rusty Schwimmer and Auberjonois’ father Rene also star.

The nine-day festival, now in its 22nd year, closes Thursday night with a screening of “Desierto,” starring Gael Garcia Bernal. “Lowriders” was the opening night film.

The U.S. Fiction Jury also awarded a special mention for comedy for “Chee and T,” directed by Tanuj Chopra; and a special mention for visual accomplishment for Amber Tamblyn’s drama “Paint it Black.” Tamblyn co-wrote the script with Ed Dougherty and produced with Wren Arthur, Amy Hobby and Anne Hubbell. »

- Dave McNary

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'Political Animals' triumphs in Laff awards

9 June 2016 1:55 AM, PDT | ScreenDaily | See recent ScreenDaily news »

The film from Jonah Markowitz and Tracy Wares eatned the documentary award and the audience documentary award.

In other prizes handed out at the end of the festival on Thursday, the U.S. Fiction Award went to Remy Auberjonois for Blood Stripe, while the World Fiction Award was presented to Anaïs Volpé for Heis (chronicles).

As previously stated, the Documentary Award went to Markowitz and Wares for Political Animals, and the La Muse Award was presented to Heidi Saman for Namour.

The Nightfall Award went to Jackson Stewart for Beyond The Gates, while the Audience Award for Fiction Feature Film went to Green / is / Gold, directed by Ryon Baxter.

Markowitz and Wares also collected the Audience Award for Documentary Feature Film for Political Animals.

“With all the talk about diversifying Hollywood, the La Film Festival provides proof that talented film-makers with new voices are out there; they just need a platform and that’s what we’re providing »

- jeremykay67@gmail.com (Jeremy Kay)

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Blood Stripe Photos Show a Different Side of Ptsd | Exclusive

2 June 2016 1:39 PM, PDT | MovieWeb | See recent MovieWeb news »

Today, we have a set of exclusive photos from the exciting new drama Blood Stripe. The movie is making it's World Premiere&#160at the&#160Los Angeles&#160Film Festival today, Thursday, June 2nd. Though the screening has already sold out, you can get a first look here!&#160And we've been told that a second screening has been added by popular demand on June 7th.

Blood Stripe&#160is&#160filmmaker&#160Remy&#160Auberjonois'&#160directorial debut. His father,&#160award winning&#160Tv actor&#160Ren&#233 Auberjonois&#160(Boston Legal, The Practice, Benson)&#160stars in the film alongside lead actress&#160Kate Nowlin&#160(Wgn's Outsiders,&#160Young Adult) in what is being called a tour de force performance. The film shines a spotlight on Ptsd in a way we rarely see. It is told from the perspective of a female combat veteran&#160(Nowlin).

Blood Stripe&#160vividly illustrates that the fight comes home with the soldier, regardless of gender.&#160And we get »

- MovieWeb

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LA Film Festival Unveils 42 World Premieres

26 April 2016 10:53 AM, PDT | Variety - Film News | See recent Variety - Film News news »

The LA Film Festival has announced its competition lineup of 42 world premieres with 43% of the films directed by women and 38% of the films by people of color.

“Curating films for La audiences is so special because Angelenos have a uniquely homegrown love of cinema,” said Creative Director Jennifer Cochis. “It’s with true film lovers in mind that we program: from political theater to musical theater, we’re highlighting storytelling in all its forms.”

Festival director Stephanie Allain said the diversity numbers have risen from the 2015 festival. “It’s very much our mission to discover new voices and support diversity,” she added.

Among the notable titles unveiled Tuesday was Amber Tamblyn’s debut feature film “Paint It Black” in the U.S. fiction lineup and Ben Lear’s documentary “They Call Us Monsters.”

Director of programming Roya Rastegar told Variety, “We were looking above all for stories with a sense of urgency to them. »

- Dave McNary

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2016 | 2015 | 2014 | 2013 | 2012 | 2011 | 2010

6 items from 2016


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