Jeff Balis

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Kabluey Review


Good
Kabluey is an anthem for hard times.

Just look at the poster (or DVD cover). It's got a giant blue guy, his head hung low, standing in the middle of a highway in the middle of nowhere. Consider as well the title. No way is anything good going to happen to anyone in this film.

Continue reading: Kabluey Review

The Battle of Shaker Heights Review


OK
We're two movies into Matt Damon and Ben Affleck's Project Greenlight, and I'm ready to call the experiment a success. At what, I'm still not sure. The behind-the-scenes antics captured each week for the multi-part HBO series provide an unprecedented insight into a movie's arduous journey from script to screen. Week to week, it provides excellent reality television.

But the end results - from Stolen Summer to this year's The Battle of Shaker Heights - haven't proven strong enough to separate themselves from the series. They struggle to stand on their own two independent feet.

Continue reading: The Battle of Shaker Heights Review

Waiting Review


Grim
Those who have worked in food service know the challenges and difficulties the trade involves. They also know, as patrons, how to conduct themselves at a restaurant. More likely than not, they have observed a few incidences in which an employee at a restaurant -- quite possibly themselves -- has sought revenge on an especially difficult customer by tampering with the food in nasty, nauseating, stomach-churning ways, and they don't want something similar to happen to them.

I've never worked in food service myself. After watching Waiting, I thank my lucky stars for that. It does not appear to be an overly gratifying profession. Strenuous hours. Difficult bosses. Whining customers. Demanding environment. I have, however, been a difficult customer in the past. Waiting has woken me up to the reality of my nature, and the possible consequences I could receive. It goes without saying that my days as an obstinate customer are over.

Continue reading: Waiting Review

Speakeasy Review


Weak
Here's something I didn't know: Those Project Greenlight people not only made the awful Stolen Summer during that first season. They also made the runner up, a movie called Speakeasy. This one Miramax couldn't be coaxed into releasing in theaters: It arrives on DVD three years later.

Now that the Greenlight formula is well established, it comes as no surprise to find Speakeasy falling right in line with the films we've seen before. It's basically a family drama, it has elements of a period piece scattered throughout, it's got a disabled person or two, and its screenplay eventually wraps around to where things began. Simple, small, and manipulative, this is what Project Greenlight has become all about: It's the Lifetime Network of the indie cinema movement.

Continue reading: Speakeasy Review

Jeff Balis

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