Friday, August 24, 2012


Let's just get straight to the point:  Bart Layton's The Imposter is among a handful of must-see documentary features this year.  Relating the details of the 1994 disappearance of a child in San Antonio, Texas and, as the title indicates, the emergence some three years later of an individual claiming to be that missing person, the film winds in and around competing versions of the truth, employing dramatic re-creations, a clever editing scheme that delays reveals and heightens suspense, and intimate interviews with some of the most unreliable subjects this side of the Watergate hearings.  In The Imposter, the truth is never certain.

This is a maddening, fascinating watch, demanding an immediate post-screening breakdown with fellow viewers.  And, like the best mysteries, (much) more than a little ambiguity remains after the final shot hits the screen.  A mind-boggling treat of a film.  Do not miss it.

Highly recommended.

The Imposter begins its run at Cinema 21 on Friday, August 24th.  More info available here.

Bart (David Anders) hasn't been the same since he returned from Iraq.  You see, he didn't quite make it back alive but, then, he's not exactly dead, either.  The Revenant is a low-budget, horror comedy that embraces the campier side of Bart's unique problem.  Rather than adopting a gothic-inspired tone for this vampire-zombie hybrid, director D. Kelly Prior and crew play the situation for laughs, sending Bart and his best friend Joey (Chris Wylde) on nocturnal missions that revel in the more ridiculous end of blood-sucking pool.

The Revenant is at its best when it remains focused on Bart and Joey's adventures, which are generally cast as two guys up to no good during an endless series of nights on the town.  Whenever it moves away from this dynamic, the subplots that emerge (be they the one about the bereaved girlfriend or the expertise on the occult offered up by her Wiccan friend) end up feeling like needless filler.

To be perfectly honest, there's no reason why this film (or the majority of low-budget indie fare) needs to be two hours long.  There's enough good stuff going on here that one can imagine a much stronger version of The Revenant would exist if as much as a half an hour were excised from the overstuffed plot.  Still, fans of campy horror along the lines of Fido or Near Dark will find plenty to love here.

The Revenant begins its run at the Hollywood Theatre on Friday, August 24th.  More info available here.

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