6.8/10
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Ivory Tower (2010)

Not Rated | | Comedy, Drama | 11 August 2010 (Switzerland)
Hershell & Thadeus, two chess-playing brothers and their unhealthy rivalry over both the chessboard and a woman. Hershell is a chess purist, the prodigal son, Thadeus a disciplined, ... See full summary »

Director:

Adam Traynor

Writers:

William Carney, Gonzales (as Jason 'Chilly Gonzales' Beck) | 4 more credits »
Reviews
1 win & 1 nomination. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Gonzales Gonzales ... Hershell Graves (as Chilly Gonzales)
Tiga Sontag Tiga Sontag ... Thadeus Graves (as Tiga)
Peaches ... Marsha Thirteen
George Anthony ... Nick the Coach
Angie Beck Angie Beck ... Mother Graves
Lil' Hamm Lil' Hamm ... CCC Host
Leslie Feist ... CCC Cameraperson (as Feist)
John Beck John Beck ... Executive
Joséphine Draï Joséphine Draï ... Waitress (as Joséphine Drai)
Gera Mellis Gera Mellis ... Girl in the Park
Malcolm Nichols Malcolm Nichols ... Boy in the Park #1
Benjamin Orrego Benjamin Orrego ... Boy in the Park #2
Jessamyn Horsman Jessamyn Horsman ... Manicure / Pedicure Girl
Gina D'Orio Gina D'Orio ... Hershell's Girlfriend Berlin
Pilo Adrian Ilea Pilo Adrian Ilea ... Bookstore Owner Berlin
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Storyline

Hershell & Thadeus, two chess-playing brothers and their unhealthy rivalry over both the chessboard and a woman. Hershell is a chess purist, the prodigal son, Thadeus a disciplined, ruthless competitor. After 4 nomadic years in Europe, in quixotic pursuit of 'Jazz Chess' (chess for chess' sake, no winner, no loser, only beautiful positions), Hershell returns home. Thadeus is a successful but arrogant Canadian Chess Champion engaged to marry Marsha, Hershell's former sweetheart. Hershell challenges Thaddeus in the next Canadian Chess Championship. During the final match,Thadeus is flustered by Hershell's Zen-like demeanor, and sets himself up for certain defeat. But instead, Hershell uses the principle of Jazz Chess to force a draw. Marsha admires Hershell's selfless move, but leaves - she won't be either brothers' trophy. Written by Anonymous

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Comedy | Drama

Certificate:

Not Rated

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

Canada | France

Language:

English

Release Date:

11 August 2010 (Switzerland) See more »

Also Known As:

Elefántcsonttorony See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Première Heure,Schmooze See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Color:

Color
See full technical specs »

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User Reviews

 
It's Syncopated! It's Radical! A Movie with an Offbeat Rhythm and Full of Dubious Moves
28 July 2014 | by jafonte01See all my reviews

First and foremost, the star of this independent film is Chilly Gonzales. If you do not know who he is or what he does, I implore you to look him up first. His piano pop elevated the atmosphere of the film to an incredible level, and even if you have no care for the substance of the film itself, watch this film for the music alone.

And that substance is a Canadian Napoleon Dynamite-esque romp. Two brothers - Thaddeus and Herschel, compete in a battle of ideologies ("Chess is hate" and "Chess is love") over a mutually loved woman, Marsha. The spoils of the war known as chess are won by Herschel originally, which soon drives him into a spiral and causes him to lose his girlfriend, Marsha. The unrelenting rules of the game are then adopted by Thaddeus, who also succumbs to the game.

The film marries Gonzales's two apparent loves: music and chess. Specifically, "jazz chess" is a bright allusion to jazz itself, as a musical genre bending the well-defined structures of previous musical paradigms. The new style of how to play the game is seen as blasphemous, and Gonzales reminds us of the success associated with seeing things in a new light.

The quirky character of the film lends itself well; however, the execution was subpar. One must be cautious viewing any low-budget independent film, as the direction and film editing are off-putting. Likewise, Gonzales has moments of acting clarity...and other moments not. However, overall, Ivory Tower freely makes fun of itself and has fun doing so. If the viewers can appreciate the quirkiness, then they too might just be able to join in on the fun.

Checkmate. Checkmate. Checkmate.


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