TCFF 2015 Indies Reviews: Touched With Fire + All the Time in the World + Band of Robbers

With just one day left in Twin Cities Film Fest, and I’m still playing catch up on reviewing the films I’ve seen so far! There’s still a few reviews I haven’t got around to, believe it or not. But I think I’ve done double the amount of posts I had last year, and definitely the most in my six years covering TCFF!

TCFF15reviews

Touched With Fire

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This film seems to be made as a love letter to the artists and creative people with bipolar disorder. The opening scenes introduced us to Carla and Marco in their manic state and how they ended up in the psychiatric hospital. Though they didn’t get off on the right foot initially, the two ended up bonding over a series of sleepless nights, and it’s inevitable they fall in love.

Touched With Fire is based on a book by clinical psychologist Kay Redfield JamisonTouched with Fire: Manic-Depressive Illness and the Artistic Temperament, which is her exploration of how bipolar disorder can run in artistic or high-achieving families. Jamison herself suffered from bipolar and was put into lithium medication. She had a cameo in the film sharing about her illness to the characters.
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The film follow the journey of the two protagonists in the hospital, being separated by force and transitioning into living in the outside world. Naturally, their families have objections about the two starting a relationship, let alone living together. They think they’re a bad influence to each other, especially since one of them refuse to take their medication. I think it’s a moving portrait of a love story between two people suffering from manic depressive illness. The film is beautifully-shot and peppered with humor throughout. Kudos to writer/director Paul Dalio that depite the subject matter, the film never descend into sullen or depressing territory. Ultimately the two have to choose between sanity and love, and the bittersweet finale that tugs my heartstrings.

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I have to admit I didn’t think of Katie Holmes when I saw the role of Carla, but to her credit she did a terrific job in the role. I was equally impressed with Luke Kirby as I don’t remember seeing him in anything before. The two didn’t have the strongest chemistry together, but the direction somehow made it work to sell that they share such extreme passion. I also think the actors portray their characters’ bipolar condition with such sensitivity and credibility.

There are some slow moments and perhaps the film could’ve been tightly edited, but overall it’s wonderfully-acted and the script is quite engaging. This is another compelling directorial debut from Paul Dalio. Fans of many artists that the film is dedicated to, especially Vincent Van Gogh, will especially appreciate this film. I was surprised how many famous artists are listed before the end credits.

TCFF_reviewer_Ruth


All the Time in the World

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All the Time in the World,” having its world premiere at the Twin Cities Film Fest, is a locally-produced film. One of the goals of this film festival is to give local artists a voice. In that vein, this film succeeds. Unfortunately, as a movie it does not. Produced at Crown College in St. Bonifacius, it was written and directed by Nickolaus Swedlund and stars Drew Zoromski as Drew and Katie Thies as Katie. Perhaps the lack of creativity with the character’s names should have been my first clue.
The movie focuses on Drew, a college senior lost after a serious knee injury ends his football career followed closely by his girlfriend breaking up with him. (“Well, that’s cold,” I remember thinking about the girlfriend.) It starts slowly with endless scenes of Drew and Katie studying in the library and walking through fields having inane conversations. (“I don’t even like good macaroni and cheese…” is one of the most, or should I say, least memorable lines.)
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And then it gets even slower, showing Drew and his buddies hanging out and driving around. “I hear you talking but it’s just…noise,” Drew says at one point to his friends. Well said, Drew. I think most people can remember being in college and having that giant question hanging over them. (“Do something with your life,” one of Drew’s professors implores.)
I get that college is often more abstract in the academic world, and in that way this movie works. But for the most part, people’s everyday lives just aren’t that interesting.  Zoromski does an admirable job with what he has to work with in this film and he definitely gets a lot of experience giving the camera long, pensive looks. In the director’s notes Swedlund writes that “film is also about the process not the product.” Gosh I hope so.

TCFF_reviewer_Sarah


Band of Robbers

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Band of Robbers promises to give moviegoers a chance to hang out with Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn as adults. Will it be a show like “Wicked,” which adds a surprising layer of depth to an already well-known story and provides a fresh take on a classic tale, or will it ruin some of Mark Twain’s most iconic literary characters? I’m happy to say the film that recently had its world premiere at the Los Angeles Film Festival is definitely the former.
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This absurdly funny crime caper stars Kyle Gallner as Huck Finn and Adam Nee as Tom Sawyer and was written and directed by brothers Aaron and Adam Nee. We pick up the story with the characters on opposite sides of the law: Huck Finn has recently been released from prison, while Tom Sawyer is on the police force…but now that Huck is free, Tom hatches a new plan for mayhem and mischief involving a hidden treasure.

The story is well-written, with numerous plot twists to keep the audience guessing, and the pacing of the film is superb – during the 95-minute film I never felt as though the plot was dragging. Fans of the books will also appreciate some of the subtle references – for example, in one scene Huck is laying on the grass smoking what looks like a corn cob pipe.

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But what really makes this movie shine is the deadpan delivery of the film’s shenanigans – Adam Nee is so mischievously endearing as Tom Sawyer you can’t help but root for him – and it makes me wonder if the Nee brothers watched a lot of the “Naked Gun” movies growing up. One thing to note about “Band of Robbers” though is that it is not a movie for kids as there is a fair amount of violence and foul language. As Tom Sawyer says in the middle of the movie, “This is typical classic pirate bull****.”

TCFF_reviewer_Sarah


Here’s what’s coming up on the final day of TCFF! 


What do you think about either one of these films?

 

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10 thoughts on “TCFF 2015 Indies Reviews: Touched With Fire + All the Time in the World + Band of Robbers

  1. Tom

    Sorry if this comment comes off overly harsh, but can we please do away with these movie posters that try to be all artsy-fartsy with their letter kerning that shuffles all the letters into awkward lines? I refer obviously to ‘All the Time in the World.’ All I see is: Allt Heti Mein Thew Orld. (Obviously this is just a creative decision by whoever came up with the poster and is in no way meant to be a complaint at the review here, I’m just so tired of these kinds of posters. They don’t work!)

    1. Tom

      That said, i was relieved to read the review afterwards that wasn’t so positive for the film, so I felt better about nitpicking the artistic design haha

    2. Ahah, I totally agree Tom!! I didn’t see the film but based on my friend’s review, sounds like the poster is much more artistic than the movie. Touched With Fire is pretty intriguing though.

      1. Tom

        Yeah I don’t know why I went off on a tangent about that poster. I just have seen those things a lot lately and sometimes the design works, sometimes they don’t. In this case it was hard to read. Of course that bears no weight on the content itself or the review. 🙂

        1. Ahah that’s ok, Tom, I think poster designs are tricky as they can look artsy or beautiful but it may not convey the message of the film itself.

  2. abbiosbiston

    I definitely want to see Touched by Fire. My husband has bipolar disorder and I am always interested in learning more/

    1. Hi Abbi, I like that movie, I think the director did a good job in portraying a love story between two bipolar people. I’m curious what you and your hubby Mr O think about it!

  3. Pingback: My Top 10 Picks from Twin Cities Film Fest |

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