In the south of Laos, an American volunteer doctor becomes a fugitive after he intervenes in the sexual assault of a young woman. When the assailant's body is pulled from the Mekong River, things quickly spiral out of control.
Jamie M. Dagg
Longing for reunion with the dead and seduced by the chaotic allure of possession, a young woman struggles to find meaning in a barren, apocalyptic landscape, while those around her succumb to despair and madness.
Robert Hillyer Barnett
Kate Lyn Sheil,
In the elevator a man touches Mary's shoulder and talks to her telepathically. From that day everything changes in Mary's life, she starts reading people's mind becoming a sort of living radio and soon is pushed toward a bloody path.
A wisecracking gunfighter is seemingly hurled through time and space as he escorts a Spanish Princess back to her homeland while contending with barbarians, Moors, evil spirits, a raging bull, and a maniacal Shakespeare-quoting hunchback.
In Paris, a young American who works as a Michael Jackson look-alike meets Marilyn Monroe, who invites him to her commune in Scotland, where she lives with Charlie Chaplin and her daughter, Shirley Temple.
On the heels of a bitter breakup, 30 year old Dylan travels home to Minnesota for a family reunion where he runs into his childhood sweetheart. Having not seen each other for 18 years, ... See full summary »
T. Arthur Cottam,
Kate Lyn Sheil,
Kentucky, 1861. Francis and Henry Mellon depend on each other to keep their unkempt estate afloat as winter encroaches. After Francis takes a casual fight too far, Henry ventures off in the night, leaving each of them to struggle through the wartime on their own.Written by
Director and co-writer Zachary Treitz based the story on his own family history. His ancestors settled an area of Kentucky similar to the community portrayed in the movie. He and co-writer Kate Lynn Scheil (who also plays Josephine Small) extensively researched local history from the period and read actual letters and diaries to get ideas. See more »
"Men Go to Battle" (a somewhat misleading title) has its charms. The party at the Smalls' house vividly displays the similarities and differences between life then and now. (The research into detail will appeal to the history buff; although, this is not to say that every single detail is perfect because you can't expect perfection.) The plot points involving the Mellon brothers' competing ideas about how to run the farm and their sub-textual rivalry over Betsy Small (Rachel Korine) are compelling when reviewed in the end. Everything that happens leads up to a resolution of the brothers' relationship. We do not know what becomes of them after the movie ends, but we know that some things must be permanent.
Apparently, the movie achieved its economical budget ($500K) by using Civil War re-enactors to make the several military scenes. (They have their own costumes and gear, after all.) The war is far from glamorized. It is boring much of the time and parasitic on the civilians – except when it isn't, and you never know which it is going to be – and then, suddenly, there is death.
The story-telling is slow paced. The camera work is detached, static, ponderous, and often disorienting. When there are long shots – often starkly beautiful establishing shots – they are so static that they might as well have been taken with a still camera, but there are too many close ups and it is often too dark. The lighting appears to be entirely natural or at least imitates natural lighting. This is not a problem in daylight, but there are many scenes at night in which the actors seem to disappear into and reappear out of an inky blackness. What is going on? A second viewing does not clear matters up in every case. (Were the filmmakers too pure to use day-for-night filter technique to control lighting in night scenes?)
The dialogue is an odd mixture of the boringly pedestrian with sudden bursts of spontaneity. Consider a scene between Henry Mellon (Timothy Morton) and Betsy Small on her porch. There hasn't been a real conversation between a man and a woman up to this point. (Arguably, there still hasn't been afterward.) There is a party going on in the house, but, as it happens, Henry and Betsy both feel alienated from the frivolity, albeit for different reasons. There is a very long dialogue between them about the weather. It definitely has a subtext, which is interesting, but the bare text of the exchange is numbingly boring. (I am reminded of the late Judith Christ's observation that a movie that is about boredom is inevitably going to be boring.) The subtext almost earns this movie its mischaracterization as a comedy, but only if you do not fall asleep or gnaw your own leg off before the payoff.
A scene that illustrates the detachment of the camera and sound work occurs about halfway through the movie. Francis Mellon (David Maloney), Henry's brother, is in the general store buying supplies. There is a conversation between a clerk, whose counter is near the front window, and some Union soldiers who keep demanding tobacco even after the clerk has explained that he has no tobacco to sell them and knows no one else who has any. (The soldiers overhear Francis ask for some tobacco seed, and one of the soldiers comments, "You can't smoke that.") Francis then walks out of the store, but the camera remains inside, only showing Francis through the window. In the foreground, we continue to focus on the long-since pointless dialogue between the tobacco-jonesing soldiers and their dried up source. Suddenly, we become aware that Francis has said something to two soldiers passing on the street and one of them punches Francis, sending him to the ground. Only on second viewing do we hear the faint dialogue: Francis addressed the soldiers as "ladies", they took offense, and he got hit. Why is this in the background instead of in the fore?
I am glad I saw this movie, but I would not recommend it if you just want an enjoyable adventure that won't make work.
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