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Quirky Comedy Hits Home!
I was lucky enough to catch "Chance" when it played at Birmingham's Sidewalk Film Festival. Being a "Buffy" fan I was very familiar with Amber Benson, James Marsters, and Andy Hallet's work for Mutant Enemy. I was hoping for the best, but not sure what to expect.
I came away very satisfied. Chance is a very quirky, very funny movie that is only too accurate in its description of the modern dating scene. Amber's acting ability is easily able to carry as the star of a feature length film. She has great chemistry with James Marsters, who can change from hilarious to poignant at the drop of a hat. Seeing them together in this film makes me wish Joss Whedon had made more use of these two together when both were on "Buffy".
I was startled at the difference between the character Chance with her frank sexuality and all things "alpha", and the sweet, somewhat demure personality that Benson displays on Internet forums and in public appearances. It's good to see Amber playing against type to great effect.
The script is a little on the short side, but this just keeps the film from getting bogged down. There is a lot of shifting of time and space, story within a story, flashbacks, etc., which the brevity of the film keeps from becoming too confusing. The script is very witty and it is readily apparent that the actress is also an accomplished writer.
Now all that we can do is hope that the film secures a distribution deal so that everyone can get the CHANCE to see it (sorry for the bad pun!)
The Birth of a Nation (1915)
The first true American Cinematic Masterpiece
Perhaps it is fitting that the first American Masterpiece, is also one of the most controversial films ever made.
D. W. Griffith may not have invented every single technique used in Birth of a Nation (that is a hotly debated topic, since other filmmakers were also experimenting with similar techniques at around the same time), but he nonetheless provided a seemless use of closeups,panning shots, cross cutting and other devices we now take for granted, and put them in a package that made it seem like it was *the* natural way for a director to tell a story in film. And in fact it has been the natural way directors have told stories for the last 87 years.
It's unfortunate that the visionary scope of this picture has been overshadowed of late by the rising tide of Political Correctness in America. There is no doubt that bad racial stereotyping occurs throughout the movie. And our vantage point from the present can easily see that the Ku Klux Klan are not the right people to set up as "saviors" of the ways of the Old South.
But to appreciate this movie, one must watch with the hindsight of history. Griffith was the son of a confederate solder, the War Between the States was still within living memory for many Americans in 1915. And let's face it... Reconstruction was deliberately demeaning and punishing to the South. This was not Lincoln's fault at the film clearly states, but it was the policy of the Union towards the South after his death. The resentment of this treatment was still alive in Griffith and many others living in the early 20th century.
If one can put the subject matter into the context of the times the film was made, they will find a stirring melodrama with tremendous scope, and the Birth of modern movie making.