American Yearbook

"Excellent"

American Yearbook Review


Brian Ging's indie feature American Yearbook is better than it has any right to be.

Shot on video with an all amateur cast, we get a flood of movies like this at filmcritic.com every week. Ging's is the serious exception to a well-heeled rule: His is the first film in a long while that doesn't suck. Not only does it not suck, it's damn good.

Yearbook is a drama about bullying, post-Columbine. Nick Tagas (looking like a young Simon Rex) plays the slightly off-kilter lead kid named Will; he's into photography and isn't exactly a ladies' man, yet he's not a hardcore geek. Unfortunately he finds himself on the wrong end of thug Ian (Chris Ratti), a violent bully who takes his aggressions out on Will, first with a light beating and eventually with more severe attacks.

With the aid of his friend Chance (Jon Carlo Alvarez), Will obtains a gun and decides something has to be done about Ian to end the cycle of violence. But as we all know, violence begets violence, and none of this will end well.

Ging has the usual problems of shooting on video, on a low budget, and on a first feature. The sound is problematic, the characters drift toward speeches, and a few of the performers are wholly inept. But on the whole, Ging's done as much right as anyone could. His script is natural and flows well, and he does a good job with the severe limitations of the video format (with impressive camerawork by DP Dan Coplan). He's even got a pretty good original score in the mix. And he has a handle on his material -- cold.

I see a ton of movies from a ton of wannabe directors every year, but Brian Ging is one to watch.

Full disclosure: My novel Half Mast covers high school bullying in a very similar fashion as American Yearbook. So perhaps I'm biased. You still oughtta buy my book.

Picture this.



American Yearbook

Facts and Figures

Run time: 90 mins

In Theaters: Tuesday 1st June 2004

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 4 / 5

IMDB: 7.0 / 10

Cast & Crew

Director:

Producer: Jason F. Brown,

Contactmusic


Links



Advertisement

New Movies

Get Back Movie Review

Get Back Movie Review

Roger Appleton's documentary 'Get Back' looks into the music scene that come out of Liverpool....

Imperium Movie Review

Imperium Movie Review

First-time filmmaker Daniel Ragussis takes an unusual approach to this thriller. Since it's based on...

The Girl With All the Gifts Movie Review

The Girl With All the Gifts Movie Review

Like a 10-years-later follow-up to 28 Days Later, this small British thriller takes a refreshingly...

The Magnificent Seven Movie Review

The Magnificent Seven Movie Review

Director Antoine Fuqua brings his usual fascination with violence to this remake of the iconic...

Bridget Jones's Baby Movie Review

Bridget Jones's Baby Movie Review

As it's been 12 years since the last Bridget Jones movie, expectations aren't too high...

The Beatles: Eight Days a Week - The Touring Years Movie Review

The Beatles: Eight Days a Week - The Touring Years Movie Review

A-list director Ron Howard worked with the surviving Beatles to assemble this engaging documentary, which...

Blair Witch Movie Review

Blair Witch Movie Review

It's been 17 years since The Blair Witch Project shook up the cinema and created...

Advertisement
Anthropoid Movie Review

Anthropoid Movie Review

Outside the Czech Republic, few people know about Operation Anthropoid, a spy mission in 1943...

Kubo and the Two Strings Movie Review

Kubo and the Two Strings Movie Review

From Laika (The Boxtrolls), this is one of the most beautiful, sophisticated animated films in...

Captain Fantastic Movie Review

Captain Fantastic Movie Review

An offbeat comedy-drama with a timely kick, this charming family road trip takes on some...

Hell or High Water Movie Review

Hell or High Water Movie Review

Sicario screenwriter Taylor Sheridan delivers another fiercely intelligent, engaging story that maintains high suspense while...

The 9th Life of Louis Drax Movie Review

The 9th Life of Louis Drax Movie Review

With heavy overtones of Hitchcockian mystery and intrigue, this stylish thriller is the enjoyably melodramatic...

Kickboxer: Vengeance Movie Review

Kickboxer: Vengeance Movie Review

The 1989 Muay Thai action movie Kickboxer starred a young Jean-Claude Van Damme, who pops...

Julieta Movie Review

Julieta Movie Review

Iconic Spanish filmmaker Pedro Almodovar is back with another powerfully complex female-centred drama, along the...

Advertisement
Artists
Actors
    Filmmakers
      Artists
      Bands
        Musicians
          Artists
          Celebrities
             
              Artists
              Interviews
                musicians & bands in the news
                  actors & filmmakers in the news
                    celebrities in the news

                      Go Back in Time using our News archive to see what happened on a particular day in the past.