Larry Fessenden

Larry Fessenden

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Picture - Jane Adams, Sophia Takal, Kent... , Saturday 3rd November 2012

Jane Adams, Sophia Takal, Kent Osborne, Larry Fessenden and David Siskind - Jane Adams, Sophia Takal, Kent Osborne, Larry Fessenden, David Siskind Saturday 3rd November 2012 AFI Fest - 'All The Light In The Sky' - Special Screening - Arrivals

The Innkeepers Review


OK
Like a late-1970s haunted house thriller, this film subdues its scares, filling the screen with red herrings and off-handed comedy while building a creepy atmosphere. Yet while there are several genuinely chilling moments, the story never quite comes to life, as it were.

Claire and Luke (Paxton and Healy) aren't taking their last weekend on the job seriously. The hotel they work in is closing, so they're trying to finally get proof of a legendary ghost. They only have two guests: an angry mother (Bartlett) and her young son (Schlueter). Then a former actress (McGillis) arrives, who turns out to have some psychic abilities. And an older man (Riddle) also checks in, asking for a specific room on the closed-off floor.

Meanwhile, Claire is starting to think that the ghost might be real.

Continue reading: The Innkeepers Review

Stake Land Review


Good
Pacey, confident and enjoyably grisly, this is a full-energy thriller with an emotional undercurrent. It's a little simplistic, and never quite defines why the stalking undead are called "vampires" rather than "zombies". But it's still hugely entertaining.

After his family is killed, teen Martin (Paolo) is taken under the wing of Mister (Damici), a gruff hunter who mercilessly stalks vampire/zombies. As they cross middle America in search of a rumoured safe zone called New Eden, they meet a friendly nun (McGillis), an ex-marine (Nelson) and a hot pregnant teen (Harris). They also run afoul of an extremist religious cult led by the vicious Jebedia (Cerveris), who believes the vampires are God's judgement on society.

And he starts hunting the hunters.

Continue reading: Stake Land Review

Wendy and Lucy Review


Excellent
A prime specimen of American independent cinema unencumbered by overbearing social commentary, Kelly Reichardt's serene Wendy and Lucy finds more startling emotional honesty in the relationship between a young woman, her lost dog, and a small cast of day-job regulars than most films dare ask of two humans. Securing Michelle Williams' place as one of the great young actresses currently working in the American cinema, Reichardt has miraculously cut down the lean metaphysics of her last work, 2006's majestic Old Joy, into something far more enrapturing, a sort of seasonal constellation.

Williams plays the distraught Wendy, who finds herself desperately searching for her dog Lucy in a small town in suburban Portland, Oregon. Her shabby clothing, ramshackle hygiene procedures and ruffled bob of emo-black hair designate her as part of a burgeoning class of nomadic neo-hippies and wanderers, but she has ambition, yearning for a job and a warm place to come home to. Early on, Wendy -- on the run from something, we never know exactly what -- encounters a pack of fellow drifters -- Joy's Will Oldham naturally plays the alpha named Icky -- who point her towards fishery jobs in Alaska. She begins to count her money and things look OK, but then she is busted for stealing dog food from a local supermarket, an act that sets off a set of relatively minor but nevertheless tragic happenings that keep Wendy from leaving Portland and drain her wallet.

Continue reading: Wendy and Lucy Review

Liberty Kid Review


Good
Many lives were thrown into tumult after the attacks of September 11, 2001. Liberty Kid tells the story of two of them, but they aren't soldiers, tragic widows, or prisoners. Instead, they're simply two high-school dropouts who lose their jobs flipping burgers at a Statue of Liberty snack bar when the monument is closed after 9/11. Soft-spoken Derrick (Al Thompson) and his more excitable best friend Tico (Kareem Savinon) are soon back in their South Williamsburg neighborhood with nothing to do but stand on line for Red Cross cash while they try to figure out what they're going to do next. As for the local employment situation: "Aint no jobs in the 'hood."

Derrick, who's the father of twin toddlers, calls himself a "visionary" and plans to get his GED to get the hell out of Brooklyn and go to college. (He's amused to find two army recruiters waiting to talk to all the test takers as they leave the exam room.) Tico sees a future in small-time drug dealing, and with bills to pay, Derrick reluctantly joins him. In one great scene, the two find themselves dealing at a quintessential Williamsburg hipster loft party. They clearly feel out of their element when surrounded by a bunch of overprivileged and overdressed white kids slumming on their streets.

Continue reading: Liberty Kid Review

Picture - Larry Fessenden, Kelly Reichardt and... New York City, USA, Saturday 27th September 2008

Larry Fessenden, Kelly Reichardt and Will Patton - Larry Fessenden, Kelly Reichardt and Will Patton New York City, USA - New York Film Festival 2008 - Premiere of 'Wendy and Lucy' - arrivals Saturday 27th September 2008

The Last Winter Review


Good
"This is the last winter. Total collapse. Hope dies." So writes an environmental researcher in a previously untouched part of Alaskan wilderness now being opened up for oil exploration in Larry Fessenden's The Last Winter. Using the doomsaying of climate change prognosticators as an effectively menacing backdrop, more so even than the bleak chill of the Alaskan tundra, Fessenden's film drops a knot of oil workers into an isolated research station and watches what happens as everyone realizes that something inexplicable is happening all around them. It's a horror film that sneaks up on you with an effectively unsettling and brooding atmosphere before unleashing an apocalyptic fury.

Clearly drawing heavily on films like John Carpenter's The Thing as inspiration, Fessenden builds his characters from the ground up before hurling them to the wolves. He's helped by a cast that's sharp as a tack, particularly the roaring and bear-like Ron Perlman as Ed Pollack, an oil company operative gung-ho on getting machinery up to their station as quick as possible, by any means necessary, and screw the environment. Facing him are a couple of "green flags" -- one of whom is the gloomy notebook scribbler, scientist James Hoffman, played close to the vest by the always reliable James LeGros -- environmental do-gooders hired by the company as sort of eco-fig leaves whom they want to pressure to sign off on impact statements so the drilling can begin. In between are Abby Sellers (Connie Britton), a tough-as-nails type caught in a love triangle, the dazed and confused mechanic Motor (Kevin Corrigan, nailing it), and their Native American cook Dawn Russell (singer Joanne Shenandoah).

Continue reading: The Last Winter Review

Habit Review


Terrible
Maybe the worst sin of vampire movies is to be boring. Habit is deadly sinful, with the tooth-missing Larry Fessenden casting himself as the hapless victim of a female vampire, who bites him during sex to drink his blood. The low budget shows, as does the lack of virtually any story to speak of.

Animal Factory Review


Good
Dear Ma,

After seeing Steve Buscemi's sophomore directorial effort, Animal Factory (following 1996's Trees Lounge), I nearly reconsidered choosing film criticism as a career path. For the first hour of this film, it seemed the way to go was to become a convict. (By the way, ma, they don't call 'em inmates in the pen, they call 'em convicts.)

Continue reading: Animal Factory Review

Margarita Happy Hour Review


Excellent
"I'm so exhausted all the time... Can't ask my mom for help... You wanna split some nachos?... So I spent my whole friggin' day at Medicaid... Drink up, ladies -- only 15 minutes left of happy hour!"

Five irresponsible late-twentysomething mommies meet at an El Cheapo Mexican restaurant to splurge on $2 Margaritas. What better way to hang on to their last vestige of rebellious slacker spirit? They drink to each other's health or bitch about the state of affairs while their two-year-old babies crawl around under the table having tea parties. It's pretty goddamned cute without being precious or sentimental.

Continue reading: Margarita Happy Hour Review

River of Grass Review


OK
Quirky and deadpan -- and I never thought I'd say this, but it's possible to be overly so.

River of Grass, set amidst the endless weeds of the Florida Everglades, features to go-nowhere losers, a bored mother named Cozy (Lisa Bowman) and a homeless loser named Lee (filmmaker Larry Fessenden). They happen upon one another and decide, almost by accident, to head off on a new life of adventure (and crime, thanks to a stolen gun and an accidental murder) on the open road. Alas, they don't get far: They don't even have a quarter for the toll road. (And they didn't even kill the guy, either.)

Continue reading: River of Grass Review

Wendigo Review


Extraordinary
An old friend took a weekend trip with me to Rhode Island, deep in the woods where I grew up. When night fell, she became instantly terrified by the silence, gripping my arm and asking me to go outside the house and check whether there was anyone out on the lawn.

The imagination is a powerful tool, untrustworthy but also oddly protective. When you're a child, sometimes it's all you have to shield you from the hard, cold facts of reality. Eight-year-old Miles (Erik Per Sullivan, The Cider House Rules) is our perceptive guide into the world of the unknown during a long weekend trip to snowy Vermont. Real danger comes into his path when his father, George (Jake Weber, The Cell), hits a deer, leading to an apprehensive confrontation with angry backwoods hunters. These men with guns want some retribution for losing their prize -- the antler has been cracked. As Kim (Patricia Clarkson, The Pledge) tells her son not to worry, we wonder whether writer-director Larry Fessenden is taking us into unsettling Flannery O'Connor territory.

Continue reading: Wendigo Review

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