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I came across this short film directed by Joseph Gordon-Levitt and
starring Carla Gugino and Eric Stoltz (and other well-known actors) on
a DVD of short films called Wholphin DVD magazine. Not only was it the
best of the bunch, but had it been longer, it would have been
indistinguishable from a pro film and good enough to be released.
Totally professional look and feel. Also it gave an excuse for Carla to
sing rock and roll and Joseph to play drums (as he did on Saturday
Night Live) as well as direct.
The film is based on a short story by Elmore Leonard, and Stoltz is an insurance investigator looking into the suspicious circumstances surrounding Carla's mansion burning down. Scenarios and theories go back and forth in a battle of wits in a modern-day film noir. As I said in the summary, it's a strange but fun film.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
And with this title I am referring to Joseph Gordon-Levitt as a filmmaker. Sure he has made it among the most known of his generation in terms of acting, but directing and writing movies is an entirely different beast. Then again, 7 years have already passed and he has worked in both areas on some occasions since he made this one here, his first film. "Sparks" actually has a pretty decent cast, so some were clearly lured in here through the famous name of JGL. My favorite is probably Xander Berkeley, always nice to see movies with the charismatic actor, even if it just a supporting performance. Carla Gugino plays a rock singer her and she is the only lead. The literary work that JGL adapted is by the late Elmore Leonard (then still alive), who is mostly known for "Justified". Anyway, I must say Gordon-Levitt's direction looked pretty amateurish at times and the story also was not as interesting as I hoped being a big Justified fan. I do not recommend the 24-minute long "Sparks". Thumbs down.
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