Review: Saints & Soldiers — The Void (B)

ss_voidRyan Little’s Saints & Soldiers “trilogy” of World War II films — loosely defined as there’s no common characters or stories between them — continues with The Void, released on August 15th and now playing in local theaters.

Following the original Saints & Soldiers in 2003 and the lesser 2012 sequel Airborne Creed (which Little directed but didn’t write), Little has approached this WWII story from a new angle: racial bigotry and segregation within the US army.  (Plus, a lot more tanks!)

This is a weightier theme to bite off obviously (the racism, not the tanks) and one that shows Ryan Little has more significant and ambitious objectives with his third Saints & Soldiers film than merely “Hey, we still have a bunch of equipment and uniforms left over, might as well make another movie!”

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Coming Soon: Saints & Soldiers — The Void

ss_voidComing soon: Saints & Soldiers: The Void, the third film in the Saints & Soldiers series, written and directed by Ryan Little.

Plot information is sparse, but the trailer and official synopsis promise more tank action than the first or second film, plus a nuanced look at racial conflicts among US troops in World War II.

Saints & Soldiers: The Void is scheduled for release in theaters August 15th, 2014.

More information about the film can be found at the official site and the Saints & Soldiers 3 Facebook page.

 

 

Review: Posterized (Documentary Short)

posterized-290x166Shawn Bradley’s NBA career is largely judged as a “failure”, although anyone who persists at the highest professional level of basketball for 12 years (and still ranks 16th all-time in blocked shots) cannot reasonably earn that label without being graded on a huge curve. (Wouldn’t Michael Olowakandi and Hasheem Thabeet love to have had Bradley’s career?)

ESPN/Grantland has a short 13-minute film about Bradley entitled “Posterized”, which is available for free viewing as part of the 30-for-30 documentary series.  Directed by Andrew Jenks and named after the popular colloquialism for being dunked on and having the dunker (and ‘victim’) forever immortalized on a poster (of which Bradley has been the latter quite often) “Posterized” provides a brief look at Bradley’s decent-but-disappointing pro career and some glimpses of his post-basketball life.
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LDS Film Festival 2014: Feature Film Report (Part 2)

Notes from other feature films from the 2014 LDS Film Festival

cripta

Cripta

Written / Directed by Marco Lui

Visionary Italian director Marco Lui (The Book of Life, Dr Smith & The Fantastic Castle) returns with Cripta, a new feature film that’s also available on Lui’s website for download.  Cripta — Italian for ‘encrypt’ — is a tale of six students who work together online to solve a ‘mystery’ related to their missing archaeology professor.
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LDS Film Festival 2014: LGBT Short Film Report

As noted in the festival preview, this year’s film festival featured a session devoted to Gay/Lesbian/Transgender issues.  Kudos for Christian Vuissa and other LDSFF leaders for allowing this type of session to facilitate honest and open discussion of “sensitive” issues that are obviously a hot topic in the Church today.

This session contained five individual film segments from 9 to 17 minutes on a range of topics, sponsored and led by members of Mormons Building Bridges, a support group for LGBT Mormons.  While it was convenient to have them all presented on a big screen at once, all of the short films are available online for other interested viewers without needing to attend the festival.
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LDS Film Festival 2014 Feature Film Report (Part 1)

Some notes from Day 1 and 2 at the 2014 LDS Film Festival:

Wayward: The Prodigal Son

waywardRobert McMillan has a loving family and a successful business, although he’s secretly dying of leukemia.  After a dispute between his older son Will and his younger son Tyler, Tyler requests “his inheritance” and runs away to Las Vegas.  Things spiral out of control when Tyler gets himself deep in debt to a ruthless gangster.  Can Robert find his son and reconcile his family before either he or his son dies?
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Review: An Ordinary Hero

4665_AnOrdinaryHeroUpdate_lg“My mother never told me the stories…all I knew were the pictures.”

So says director Loki Mulholland (Believe!) at the beginning of An Ordinary Hero, a tribute to his mother Joan Trumpauer Mulholland.

The pictures almost speak for themselves:  a mug shot before her three month stint in prison at age 20, walking alongside Rev. Martin Luther King at age 21, and sitting at a counter surrounded by a raging crowd at age 23.  Joan describes herself as “as ordinary as they come” but when she does decide to tell her story she shows she’s anything but.

An Ordinary Hero is available on DVD through the official site, and also through Amazon Instant Video.
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Review: Mitt

mitt“Who is Mitt Romney?”

This question was asked after a “Today” show appearance early in the 2008 primary season after the largely unknown Mitt Romney had thrown his hat into the presidential race.  Many are still asking it six years later, even after Romney won the Republican nomination in 2012 and lost in the general election.

Director Greg Whiteley (New York Doll) attempts to answer that question through Mitt, a new documentary created from footage following the Romneys on the campaign trail in 2008 and 2012.  Mitt is available now for instant streaming through Netflix.
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Review: Inspired Guns (B-)

inspiredgunsTwo LDS missionaries get caught up in mob activity after a case of mistaken identity in Inspired Guns, a new film releasing in theaters January 24th, 2014.

Inspired Guns (IMDB, official site) is the brainchild of writer/director Adam White, a newcomer to the LDS cinema scene.  Described as The Best Two Years meets Dumb and Dumber“, Inspired Guns shares DNA with other LDS films as well — most obviously, Mobsters and Mormons with some Suits on the Loose mixed in.
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Reviews, News, and Analysis About LDS (Mormon) Film