Reviews written by mattchin
Love, Loss, and LaminarialesJul 20th, 2011
The story is one we've seen before: man loves woman, man loses woman, man finds new romance. Not necessarily in that order. The charm of Kelp is that the film changes only one aspect of the genre. Substitute "woman" with "plant". The story now plays exactly the same. Even so, Kelp never departs from its serious tone. The result is a mounting sense of absurdity that gives Kelp a unique, quirky flavor, and makes the journey into infidelity all the more delightful.
Portrait of a Tattoo MasterSep 29th, 2010
Sailor Jerry was a pioneer of the tattoo industry, beginning from his service in the Navy, until his death over forty years later. Infusing Japanese tattoo art into his American designs, he revolutionized how the world saw tattoos, and made a mark on the industry as indelible as his work. Hori Smoku presents a look at Jerry's legacy through his peers and colleagues that knew him best.
The film is a look at the obscure world of tattoos, chronicling Jerry's initiation into the industry, and his decades-long impact and innovations that put him at the top of the pyramid. Colleagues and friends, each highly respected tattooists themselves, recount Jerry's history and his no-apologies approach to a small, closed community of body artists. Hori Smoku is a look not at tattooing as an art craft, but on Jerry's work and how it changed the course of the art forever. The film plays well to those unfamiliar with Jerry and his colleagues' work; a knowledge of tattoo history and lore is not a prerequisite. It is the story of an utterly fascinating man that can be enjoyed by anyone willing to peer into the seedy underworld of tattoos.
A Spiral of DespairSep 29th, 2010
At the rock bottom of desperation, how far would you go to escape? Vegas is a heart wrenching tale of Eddie, a man battling addiction to smoking and gambling, all while trying to provide for his family. Times are hard, but when a stranger puts the idea into his head that there is treasure buried underneath his home, Eddie sees salvation. He focuses on finding the treasure, but at great cost to his home and his family. More and more sacrifices are made to dig for the buried money. Eventually, Eddie reaches the point of no return, where there is nothing else for him but the search.
Vegas is a very somber look into financial hardship and sacrifice. Eddie's desperation and his frustration with his life lead him to latch onto any hope of escape, no matter how far fetched. The story speaks true to the current economic hardships suffered by many Americans, and presents a sober warning of how greed can destroy even the most well-intentioned of us.
Fantasy in the real worldSep 29th, 2010
Zel, a psychic, lives with a group of spirits, who assist with her readings and provide her with companionship. They live together, like a family, but when the next realm beckons, Zel's relationship with her companions, and her dependence on them, is put to the test.
The tone of the film is slightly surreal. The fantastic and supernatural aspects of the psychic world are represented by the mundane. The simplistic quality of presentation serves to highlight the fact that these phenomena are an everyday part of Zel's life.
The story is fantasy, but in a homey, comfortable way. It presents fantasy without necessitating a suspension of disbelief, great for anyone who lives just outside of normal.