Tuesday, August 20, 2013


It's been a few weeks since I last went to a Gathr Preview screening - but, hey, Montreal was awesome - and although I can joke about there not being any point of running them if I can't make it, they actually did wind up skipping a couple weeks, as the local children's theater had booked the stage. There were a couple of regular screenings, I think, but the staff didn't mention any empty houses. Still, it was weird seeing that I was outnumbered three to one.

They're expecting something closer to a decent crowd tomorrow (well, tonight, 20 August 2013) for Papadopoulos & Sons; it's co-presented by Belmont World Cinema and there's apparently been some interest from the local Greek community. On top of that, the movie for the 27th, Breath of the Gods is about the origins of yoga, and there's a big yoga studio practically next door. Still, I don't know how that does anything for the Gathr Preview Series, much less Gathr's main business of booking movies on screens for a single night.

A shame; despite the disappointment that Savannah turned out to be despite a cast that raised my eyebrows with "hey, that's another pretty good actor" throughout the opening credits, $19 for four movies is generally a pretty good deal, and the Regent's a nice theater, even if it is out of the way. Here's hoping there are more folks over the next couple of weeks.


* * (out of four)
Seen 13 August 2013 in the Regent Theatre (Gathr Preview Series, digital)

As with many movies based on true stories, Savannah ends with a few screens of text summing up the lives and accomplishments of its subjects, and for Ward Allen it states that he was an eloquent advocate of common-sense hunting restrictions. And while that's true enough and certainly a thread that the filmmakers give plenty of time... That's it? The filmmakers have spent the last hour and a half telling the audience how fascinating this guy is, and that's all they've got? It's a whopping anticlimax, although it does sum up the film.

It certainly seems like there might be a good movie in Allen's story; though born as the heir to a Georgia plantation and educated at Oxford, Ward Allen (Jim Caviezel) chose to spend his life as a market hunter, shooting ducks on the river to supply local markets and restaurants along with his partner Christmas Moultrie (Chiwetel Ejiofor), who had been born a slave. They occasionally exceed their quota, requiring Allen to make impassioned pleas in front of Judge Harden (Hal Holbrook), and occasionally work as river guides, though which leads to Allen winning the hand of local belle Lucy Stubbs (Jaimie Alexander) in 1918. The world is changing, though - both between then and 1924, and even more so by 1954, when a nonagenarian Christmas is living on land owned by the family of Jack Cay (Bradley Whitford), who tries to look after the man who taught him to hunt while his brother plans to develop the area.

Look at those dates, and those actors, and see if it quite adds up. Sure, Ejiofor is done up in old-age makeup in the mid-century scenes to be a believable ninety-two, and maybe it's not unreasonable to suppose that if Christmas lived that long, the man we see in the earlier segments could be in his mid-fifties to early-sixties. But Ward Allen was born in 1859, and there is no way Caviezel looks sixty-five for the bulk of his scenes. Sure, it makes Allen's courting and marrying Lucy - who, as played by Alexander, does not exactly come across as a spinster - palatable for a twenty-first century audience, but in doing so it means the whole movie feels slightly off, even if the exact years Ward and Christmas are born aren't made explicit until the end.

Full review at EFC.

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