“I been one poor correspondent. I been too, too hard to find. But it doesn’t mean you aint been on my mind.” – America
Vault has been away. Sunning himself and dropping pounds (Well, not really.) and coaching soccer and vacationing. Vault has not been at the theater much. Vault has put few DVDs in the grinder. Vault has not been corresponding.
No apologies. I suppose you’ve been doing likewise and staying off the keyboard at your location too.
To begin again, though, we’ve got some exciting news from our favorite young filmmaker, Levi Abrino, about the film he shot in the summer of 2005, “The Lonely Bliss of Cannonball Luke.” We shall return to some chatback we had recently over the film “Ghost Rider” and we shall take a mid-year look at our 2007 year in preview to see how well our crystal ball was working six months ago.
I caught up with Abrino as he drove his rag-tag Jeep through my hometown on his way to the airport, from whence he was flying to an exotic Caribbean location to attend the wedding of a friend’s mother to a Danish sea captain. What can I say? I have interesting friends.
Levi dropped on me a number of cool independent flicks and a limited number of copies of his Cannonball movie for distribution to local video stores. The short film was made in and around Curwensville and Clearfield last year with the help of scads of local extras and local businesses. For a full listing of cast and credits including our generous local sponsors, see below. Without these folks’ kindness, the film would not have been possible.
During a chat last year, Abrino said he’d screened the rough cut along with his classmates’ projects in New York to a very positive reaction.
“There was this eruption of wondrous laughter and awe at the stunt,” said Abrino. “The super slow motion footage is really beautiful.”
The stunt, to which the director refers, was the filming of David Smith Sr., the world record holding human cannonball, as he performed his trademark stunt on the ridge along Ridge Avenue outside Curwensville.
“There are disappointments and pleasant surprises as always with any film,” said Abrino. “But I think we’ve got a good, enjoyable, funny and moving short.”
You can rent a copy of “Cannonball” for free at Adventure Video in Philipsburg, Silverscreen Video in Clearfield and Uptown Videos and More in Curwensville.
“Cannonball” has begun hitting the independent short circuit and has already garnered some honors, winning “Best of the Fest” in May at The Patriot News (Harrisburg) Artsfest Film Festival.
We’ll do a full take on “The Lonely Bliss of the Cannonball Luke” in our next get together.
A while back in the Vaultmail, we had a back and forth between Dan and Shawn, both of Clearfield, on “Ghost Rider,” now in plentiful supply on the new release racks.
“Piece of crap!” said Shawn.
“Nu-uh!” retorted Dan.
Vault has reviewed the evidence, and, fan-boy that I am, I have to side with Dan. I liked how the film didn’t over reach. And I liked Nicolas Cage’s almost nerdy portrayal of the circus stunt rider. Johnny’s flaming tricked-out chopper was bitchin’ and I also loved the sequence of Johnny and the original ghost rider, riding their old school and new school nightmares to Spiderbait’s rocked up version of “Ghost Riders In The Sky.”
And, hey, Peter Fonda, in his age, makes a pretty decent Mephistopheles.
And that’s all Forest has to say about that.
We’re just about halfway through 2007 and we’ve got to check in on our prognostications from January. So far the big winners are “Bridge to Terabithia” and “Pan’s Labyrinth” and “Ratatouille.” I do not understand how I failed to look ahead to the opening of “Sicko,” Michael Moore’s indictment of the American health care industry. My bad on that one. I’ve taken it in this past week and strongly recommend it. Many critics are saying it’s Moore’s best film. I disagree in part. It is his least partisan film and perhaps his most far-reaching film and, brother, it really makes you think.
Foreign movies that you’ve missed that look like very good bets including “The Italian,” made in 2005 and hitting the theaters here in 2007, “The Wind that Shakes the Barley” and “Other People’s Lives.”
For that certain set that loves impressionist art, David Lynch’s “Inland Empire” releases to DVD Aug. 14. The New York Times’ Manohla Dargis, who Vault reads with gusto, calls it “Extraordinary, savage … and one of the first films I’ve seen this year that deserves to be called art. Dark as pitch, as noir, as hate, by turns beautiful and ugly, funny and horrifying.” Sounds like a good bet to me, even if Lynch tends to operate at large stretches outside the realm of narrative. For wicked weirdness that you can actually follow, try Quentin Tarantino and Robert Rodriguez’s “Grindhouse.” Almost a natural result of “Sin City,” what’s not to like about hot chicks with automatic weapons for legs? The NRA never dreamed of anything like this. Nor did any civilized person.
On the documentary front, we proudly offer these: “Maxed Out” offers a funny and disturbing look at how the American financial industry works. “The Ground Truth” is a can’t miss look at the effects of the current war on our troops as they return home. It is a fair, riveting and emotional film that is highly recommended. “So Goes the Nation” might be the single most even-handed political film I’ve ever seen. It covers the battle for the state of Ohio in the last presidential election by interviewing insiders, volunteers and competing bands of supporters in the streets leading up to election day. For political junkies, it is a must.
Judging by trailers alone, “Becoming Jane,” the story of British novelist Jane Austen, looks very worthwhile. I know a movie about a long dead author sounds dull to some, but, having checked out and loved movies like “Marie Antoinette” and the recent PBS masterpiece, “Jane Eyre,” I’m thinking “Becoming Jane” is a good bet.
The spies have been telling me good things about Justin Timberlake in “Alpha Dog” and about the next step in the zombie comedy genre with “Fido,” where the undead become, well, pets and domestic servants. And while we’re on creep-outs, I’m still saying a director would have a hard time screwing up one of Steven King’s best stories, “The Mist.”
“300” was nominated for a handful of MTV Movie Awards and gets a mind-blowing 8.1 on IMDb on an equally mind-blowing 116,000 votes. Correspondingly, A.O. Scott, of the New York Times, called it “About as violent as ‘Apocalypto’ and twice as stupid.”
We’re dead in the middle of the summer blockbusters as “Transformers” has just opened to warm reviews and Harry Potter is casting his spell, of course.
Still and all the Vault crystal ball seems to be in good working fashion. The fallout from the first half seems to be that the myriad sequels have been middling but not fabulous and that the real treats lie in panning for lesser known gems. It is as it should be.
Until the Pittsburgh Pirates win the World Series … Enjoy!
The Lonely Bliss of the Cannonball Luke
D: Levi Abrino
Run Time: 10:22
Full Cast and Crew
Luke – Haskell King
Hannah – Megan Ofsowitz
Elise – Katelyn Rosselli
– world record holding human cannonball David Smith Sr.
assistant director: Stephen Dypiangco
director of photography: Kim Spurlock
first assistant camera: Clarissa De Los Reyes
second assistant camera: Sara Colangelo
gaffer: Randall Good
beat boy electric: Joe Hicks
key grip: Dan Mitchell
sound recordist: Daniel Garcia
boom operator: Luke Matheny
stunt: David Smith Sr.
costume designer: Megan Ofsowitz
edited by: Levi Abrino, Randall Good
adr: Robin Amott, Joey Abisso
sound design: Matt Lewkowicz
original score: Sasha Gordon
townspeople opening: Helen Abrino, John Appleton, Cathy Aughenbaugh, Keith Baronak, Kendra Baronak, Mark Ellen Berger, Cindy Ellen Berger, Twila Briskar, Dayna Campbell, Sandy Campbell, Nichole Coleman, Donna Daub, Abby Dugo, Ben Dugo, Danielle Francisco, Tammi Francisco, Alissa Gill, Ron Gill, Louise Harmon, Amy Hays, Crystal Ireland, Laurie Irwin, Shane Irwin, Viola Johnston, Patty Lanich, Brittany Maines, Joey Maines, Jackie Myers, Brad Nadzom, Allie the dog, John Passmore, Matt Ross, Nikki Ross, Carla Rosselli, Peggy Rosselli, Taylor Rosselli, Tony Rosselli, Cheryl Sarvis, Kenneth Sarvis, Brandon Sass, Ainsley Shedlock, Alyssa Shedlock, Roger Swatsworth
ballet class: Katelynn Abrino, Holly Fink, Abbigail Ledford, Sarah Simcox
townspeople closing: Donald Abrino, Helen Abrino, Jagbar Abrino, Katelynn Abrino, James Afton, Logan Afton, Mia Anderson, Cross Bloom, Marc Bloom, Shae Bloom, Shaun Bloom, Becky Baroni, Sharon Brubaker, Bonnie Burleigh, DJ Caldwell, Charlotte Elensky, Tanner Elensky, Stephanie Errigo, Avery Francisco, Lacey Francisco, Lois Francisco, Maralee Fye, Samuel Graham, Brenda Grice, Sierra Grice, Jean Harshberger, Cathy Howe, Benny Irwin, Laurie Irwin, Max Irwin, Shane Irwin, Ben Johnson, Bonnie Sue Kester, Mahlon Kester, Robert Kester, Sadie Kester, Justin Kline, Brian Lindgren, Dan Lindgren, Katie Lindgren, Joey Maines, Justin Maines Nancy McCracken, Richie Michael, Pamela Mohney, Shirley Morrison, Jessica Neeper, Sandra Neeper, Sandy Neeper, Alex Olson, Eric Olson, Madison Olson, Janet Osborn, Mark Osborn, Christina Poole, Nathan Poole, B. Riley Rauckhorst, Shelly Rauckhorst, Will Rauckhorst, Julie Rae Rickard, Lewis Rine, Marletta Tate Ross, Carla Rosselli, Tony Rosselli, Taylor Rosselli, Andrea Shanafelt, Daniel Shanafelt, JoAnn Smeal, Spencer Smeal, John Sobel, Johnna Sobel, Jordan Stephens, Tyler Test, Larkin Visnofsky, Vonda Visnofsky, Robert Weaver, Samantha Weaver, Beverly White
our kind sponsors: Aletta’s Farm Market, Amici’s Restaurant, Boy Scouts of America Troop 13, Brother’s Pizza of Curwensville, Denny’s Beer Barrel and Pub, DJ’s Pizza, Goodman’s Foodliner, Hyde Volunteer Fire Company, Kathy’s School of Dance, Kentucky Fried Chicken/Taco Bell/Pizza Hut, Mabel’s Pizza, Oh Suzanna’s Bed and Breakfast, Sheetz, The Smokehouse, Snack Shack / Blue Kow, Tech Imaging Services, Victorian Loft Bed and Breakfast, Weis Markets, West Branch Society of Friends
many, many, many thanks: Don, Helen, Katelynn, and Jagbar Abrino; Bruce & Ginny Bagget, Kathy and Jerry Bloom, Michael Burke, Vicki and Gary Casteel, Curwensville Borough, Curwensville Borough Fire Police, Curwensville Borough Police, Bob and Linda Dufour, Tim and Peggy Durant, Mark and Mona Gibbon, Laurie, Dan and Shane Irwin, Robert Kester, Dave McNaul, Suzanne Mosch, NYU Grad Faculty and Staff, Gene O’Connell, Bill Reilly, Jen Ruff, Tony, Carla, Carissa, and Taylor Rosselli; Jan and Denny Shanafelt; David and Stephanie Smith; John Tintori.
additional thanks: Rania Attich, Bruce Bennett, Andy Bouve, Nathan Caswell, Maria Helena Clark, Gigi Dement, Christopher Farley, Lara Gallagher, Lev and Tanya Gordon, Rich Hixon, Spike Lee, Doug Lenox, Gordon Minette, Mickey Moore, Joe Saito, Bobby Webster, ES Wochensky
thanks for the cake and cookies: Marietta Ross, Gene Harshbarger, Miriam Errigo, Annie Lynn, The Girls of the Curwensville Post Office
film stock and processing: Fuji Film USA, DuArt
produced at: New York University, Tisch School of the Arts, Maurice Kanbar Institute of Film and Television, Graduate Division
copywright Levi Abrino, 2007