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THURsday, august 25, 2011

“Bellflower” introduces a strange mix of romance and apocalyptic violence

Barry Falls

b fa l l s @ u n c c . e d u

Take a dark buddy comedy and add an unexpected romance and some apocolyptic violence, and what you have is the explosive indie flick Bellflower, soon to be featured by Back Alley Film Series this Friday. Last month, Back Alley Film Series screened the Canadian horror comedy Tucker and Dale Vs Evil, a film about two friendly hillbillies whose vacation turns violent after a long string of tragic misunderstandings. The first film screened by the series Trollhunter, documentary-style film about college students uncovering a Norwegian government conspiracy- was just released on Blu Ray and DVD last week. This month’s feature film, Bellflower, follows best friends Woodrow and Aiden who spend all of their free time building Mad Max-inspired flamethrowers and muscle cars in preparation for a global apocalypse. But when Woodrow meets a charismatic young woman and falls hard in love, he and Aiden quickly integrate into a new group of friends, setting off a series of extreme violence. Evan Glodell is the mastermind behind Bellflower, writing the story and screenplay as well as directing, producing and starring in the film. Originally from Wisconsin, Glodell moved to California in his early 20s with a group of close friends to pursue his dream of becoming a filmmaker. Evan has directed many music videos, most notably Cursive’s “Let Me Up.” Working as a cinematographer, Evan shot the featurelength horror movie PLACEBO and the

short film SAVANNA, which screened at the Beverly Hills Film Festival and won an Accolade Competition, ‘Excellence in Film’ award. While Glodell had directed several short films and music videos, Bellflower is his full-length directoral debut. Unfortunately for Glodell, directing short films is not the best paying job. Glodell, determined to make Bellflower a reality in 2008, resorted to selling off all of his personal belongings and living in an abandoned wing of an office building to fund the movie. On a shoestring budget of $17,000, Glodell managed to turn the idea behind Bellflower into a criticallyaclaimed, multi-genre indie adventure, which was released to a satisfied audience last August. According to James Rocchi of MSN Movies, Bellflower is “a weird mix of John Hughes and Mad Max. One of the most strong and stylish critiques of the idiocy and confusion in young manhood since Fight Club. Handmade and heartfelt, Bellflower is intense and darkly gorgeous, with the sunburned intensity of a high-summer fever dream.” While the film’s style seems to be in the same vein as the critically acclaimed cult classic Fight Club, Glodell assured the movie-going audience that Bellflower does not promote violence. “I am a strong believer that stories on film should be told in an exciting way – whatever that means,” Glodell said in a press release. “To me I suppose it translates into tons of fire, violence and insanity, but if I thought I was putting something negative into the world, I would most likely burn it before I would let anyone see it.” The indie flick is also receiving praise for cinematographer Joel Hodge’s

shooting style. Hodges utilizes a camera built by Evan Glodell, who combined vintage camera parts, bellows and Russian lenses, around a Silicon Imaging SI-2K Mini Digital Cinema camera. The most notable camera, the Coatwolf Model II, was created exclusively for Bellflower.

“ I am a strong believer that stories on film should be told in an exciting way – whatever that means. -Evan Glodell

The mixture of one-of-a-kind camera work and the unique story has made Bellflower an official selection by both the Sundance Film Festival as well as the South By Southwest Film Festival. Bellflowers ultimately earned a 72% on Rotten Tomatoes, receiving praise for Evan Glodell as “a true talent to watch.” Bellflower will be screened Thursday, Nov. 10 at 7:30 p.m. at Crownpoint Stadium 12. Tickets are five dollars for Charlotte Film Society members and eight dollars for general admission. Bellflower is also available to preorder on Blu Ray and DVD on the film’s website.

Above are scenes from the move “Bellflower, a dark buddy comedy with some unexpected romance and apocolyptic. Courtesy of Coatwolf Productions

Movie serves as eulogy for late author Ryan Pitkin

For fans of Hunter S. Thompson’s novel “The Rum Diary”, the news of a 2011 film adaptation starring Johnny Depp might have arrived to mixed reactions. On one hand, there is experience. Depp did an outstanding job portraying the late journalist in 1998’s “Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas.” On the other, some have questioned how the 48-year-old actor could pull off the role of Paul Kemp, a 20-something journalist who leaves New York to write for a failing newspaper in Puerto Rico. As usual, Depp does not fail. He doesn’t exactly come off as being in his mid-twenties but the movie makes no statement about the age of any charachters. They’ve all lived long enough to be worn out. As for the movie, Bruce Robinson’s first directorial effort in 19 years, it does the book justice. Some people might find it a bit anticlimactic, but the rum-soaked story is told well and entertains to a tee. The adaptation feels a bit like pressing fast-forward on the book. Certain parts are very condensed and this takes from the visceral messages one might take away from the novel. In the book, the reader experiences the Puerto Rican festival Kemp attends with the smoothtalking Sanderson (Aaron Eckhart) and his beautiful girlfriend Chenault (Amber Heard). The entire festival goes by in a blur and it’s hard to tell what truly happened there, the viewer just knows it wasn’t good. This effectively translates the feeling of drunkenness that this story revolves around. The strength of this movie lies in the oddball characters. The show is just about stolen by Giovani Ribisi’s role as the disgusting Moberg, a reporter with an enthusiasm for Hitler and a voice that sounds like he’s been violently choked. Ribisi plays the part so well that by the end of the film you might not mind hanging out with the guy. As a whole, the movie is a great dedication to the journalist that wrote the book, with Depp playing a role that is half Kemp and half Thompson. Pieces of Thompson’s political writings about Nixon and other issues are subtly mixed with Kemp’s dialogue and the afterword about Kemp’s life after the movie ends is undeniably Hunter S. Thompson’s life. Throughout all the chaos emerges a well-played diary that might leave you longing for a trip to the beach and a tall glass of rum.


THURsday, aUgUsT 25, 2011 shooting style. Hodges utilizes a camera built by Evan Glodell, who combined vintage camera parts, bellows and Rus...


THURsday, aUgUsT 25, 2011 shooting style. Hodges utilizes a camera built by Evan Glodell, who combined vintage camera parts, bellows and Rus...