Skip to main content

An American in Hollywood


2014
Directed By Sai Varadan
Starring J.D. Williams, Hassan Johnson, Samantha Esteban and Azur-De 



An American in Hollywood is the story of young minority artists trying to “make it” in Hollywood. While the story in a broad sense is something we may have seen before Sai Varadan’s execution of the material is what makes it stand out. This is a film made with a sense of urgency.  It feels like Varadan is trying to say everything he can possibly say with this film, like he may never get the chance to make another movie.  This is not restrained filmmaking. The camera is constantly moving and transitions are punctuated with comic book style-panels. Most of his stylistic choices add to the overall quality of the movie and in the hands of a lesser director the film could have been muddled or worse jarring, Varadan stuck a nice balance throughout.



J.D. Williams (the Wire) gives an absolutely grounded performance that plays a nice counter-balance to the visual aesthetic. Most of the characters in the film are fully realized, two dimensional beings whose motivations are complex but stand with both feet planted firmly in reality. 



It's not often that films take as many chances as this one. It could come across as preachy at times or like I was having my hand held through certain scenes but that is mostly due to my (admittedly I have a bias)  hatred of voice-over. When a film feels the need to tell you something it should be showing you. If you watch City of God or The Constant Gardner we learn more about our characters in those films through silent discovery. This is not a steadfast rule because I love plenty of films that use voice-over but vo its often a tool that misused and takes away from what could have been a far better film. Look at Blade Runner for example. Ok, tangent over. Back to An American in Hollywood. 


Sai Varadan has created a film that is worth watching. Its at times rough around the edges but overall a well made film. He is a talented young filmmaker with a unique voice that I hope to hear more from. His take on the young struggling artists story was interesting. I was reminded of Marc Webb’s 500 days of Summer when I was watching An American in Hollywood , both are elevated beyond their fairly conventional narrative with innovative camera work, editing and solid performances.


An American In Hollywood will be available on VOD soon.

Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog

Richard Armitage interview on SLEEPWALKER

SLEEPWALKER is the latest film from director Elliott Lester. Troubled by bouts of sleepwalking and disturbing nightmares, graduate student Sarah Foster goes to her university's sleep research center for help. When she wakes up after her first night of being monitored, the world she lives in seems to have changed in subtle, Twilight-Zone-esque ways. In fact, every time she goes to sleep now, she wakes up in a slightly different version of her world. With the help of sleep researcher Dr. Scott White, she tries to work her way back to the reality she started in. But when they finally succeed, it’s revealed that Sarah’s world is not what she thought at all.

Today my guest is one of the stars SLEEPWALKER, Richard Armitage. Tonight we talk about his work on that film as well as his work as Thorin Oakenshiled in The Hobbit Films, as John Proctor in The Crucible, and his upcoming films Ocens 8 and the Julie Delpy directed film My Zoe.

Sleepwalker is Now Available on Digital HD and On Dem…

LAFF Review AND THEN THERE WAS EVE

2017
Directed By: Savannah Bloch
Starring: Tania Nolan, Rachel Crowl, Mary Holland, Karan Soni, John Kassir, and Anne Gee Byrd



Alyssa (Nolan) wakes up to find her home pillaged and her husband missing. The burglars have taken everything, down to the photos of her husband. The police offer little help so she turns to a friend of the family Eve (Crowl) for assistance. The film is less of a "who done it" and more of a "what happened."

The prolonged second act of the film focuses on the relationship between Eve and Alyssa. The suspense of the film lingers in the background while their relationship grows. In fact, clues of what is to come are clearly laid out in a way that allows the viewer to see where the film is headed before it gets there. I'm not sure if this is by design but the effect of having the stories trajectory clearly laid out gives the audience permission to accept this blossoming relationship.

Nolan and Crowl both give stunning performances that anc…

BFF review SWEET PARENTS

SWEET PARENTS review 2017
Directed By: David Bly
Starring: David Bly and Leah Rudick
Written By: David Bly and Leah Rudick

Moving to New York City with ambitions of making it as an artist is an uphill battle. Hell, moving to New York with ambitions of breaking into fast food is an uphill battle. Exorbitant rent makes it difficult if not impossible to get a temp job while you audition, paint, write, or sculpt. And paying $28 for an artisan PB&J not only has a heavy tax on your pocketbook, over time it can carry a greater burden on your soul. Spending tons of money to only feel like you are barely keeping your head above water is a crushing way to exist.

SWEET PARENTS is the story of a young couple who have been living the artists struggle in NYC for close to 8 years. Will has dreams of making it as a Chef and Gabby wants to become a professional sculptor. Both start side relationships, as last ditch efforts to support their careers, in what becomes a choice between ambition and lo…