Film Fests Archive for January, 2014

Sundance 2014 Review: Hellion

Hellion

Kat Candler’s feature Hellion, based on her 2012 short film of the same name, was one of the titles at this year’s Sundance that I was most looking forward to. The short, about three young boys being raised by a single father who’s not around or emotionally engaged enough to keep them from getting into trouble, had a naturalistic honesty to it that I found very intriguing; it left me wanting to know more about these people and their lives. Given a lot more room to explore this through a feature-length film, she tells this story from the perspective of her troubled 13-year-old protagonist, played by newcomer Josh Wiggins in a powerful breakout performance.

Wiggins plays Jacob, a kid growing up in a refinery town in Southeast Texas, struggling to overcome both his mother’s death in a tragic car accident a year earlier, and the emotional absence of his father, Hollis (Aaron Paul, who’s simply terrific here), who’s still reeling from the loss of his wife. Jacob acts out his own anger and grief through a series of delinquent shenanigans around town with his “crew” of buddies that kicks off with a stellar, heavy-metal infused opening sequence that kicks us straight into Jacob’s rage. When he ropes in his sweetly trusting younger brother Wes (Deke Garner) into the action, CPS gets involved and removes Wes to place him with the boys’ Aunt Pam (Juliette Lewis), Hollis and Jacob are forced to take a long, hard look at their own choices to find a way to move on despite the gaping hole tragedy has ripped out of their lives.

Read the full article »

1 Comment »

Quote Unquotesee all »

“This is momentous. I think it is the true beginning of the crumble of the patriarchy. We’ve been living under it for centuries, and I don’t think this would’ve been possible in any earlier period in history. I think all of the baby steps that we’ve taken toward getting more women in positions of power — cinematographers that are women, and actresses who develop their own projects, and studio heads that are women — I mean, it was always one at a time, but it’s been slowly building. I think what’s happened now, it’s like, “Okay, the jig’s up, folks. You’re not going to get away with it. I’m not going to protect you if you treat me badly or disrespectfully.” We now have a woman cinematographer nominated for an Oscar, finally, in 2018. Finally. We’ve had a woman director win an Oscar. So it’s baby steps, but now I think it’s going to change drastically. Plus, I mean, look at Wonder Woman. Wonder Woman was a great movie. It was beautiful and it made a lot of money, which is what talks, of course, in this industry. So I think we’ll be seeing more women in positions of power.”
~ Ellen Burstyn

“I read an amazing thing online recently, from the poet e. e. cummings. I really like him as a poet and there was this great quote at the top of the page: “To be nobody but yourself in a world which is doing its best night and day to make you everybody else means to fight the hardest battle which any human being can fight.” That’s given me a lot of inspiration, those words and those ideas… Because we are constantly told to not be what we actually, in fact, naturally are.”
~ Andrew Garfield