Mike Schank

Mike Schank

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Storytelling Review


Excellent
Writer-director Todd Solondz has a knack for making us feel downright uncomfortable. He did it in his twisted debut, Welcome to the Dollhouse (1995), with a young Brendan Sexton III announcing his intentions to rape an even younger Heather Matarazzo. He did it in Happiness (1998), in nearly every scene. And he's providing more squirm-inducing moments in Storytelling, a film with less intensity than Happiness, but with a continuing streak of intellectually challenging dialogue and unforgiving subject matter.

Aside from Solondz's decidedly risky topics, his format in Storytelling takes chances. It presents two separate shorts, entitled "Fiction" and "Non-fiction," with no obvious connection between the two. The only true thread is that both comment on the telling of tales, the shifting of points of view, and the way most people in Solondz's suburban landscapes constantly paddle their painful lives upstream.

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American Movie Review


Excellent
Got a serious appetite for life? Prepare to gorge yourself on American Movie's all-u-can-eat buffet of reality. This documentary's menu: Destiny, Failure, Family, Friendship, and enough Humor to warrant bringing a pack of Rolaids for that warm feeling that will invariably creep up from your gut straight into your heart.

Menomonee Falls, Wisconsin - Mark Borchardt (himself) is a man possessed by a desire to make movies, budget black & white horror flicks, to be precise. After facing the reality that his current project won't get done before he gets funding, Mark shifts his focus to making money by finishing his previous film. Titled Coven, it's about a substance-abusing writer whose spiral leads him to a self-help group that is less than supportive. As Borchardt struggles through continuous and severe setbacks, the audience comes to understand and care deeply about his passion. He is so charismatic that there may be a temptation to attribute the power of this story to his charm. Greater than this, however, is his tenacious determination at what he says is the critical juncture in his voyage. With the financial backing of his 82 year-old Uncle, seemingly inexhaustible loyalty of his friends and mother, and (quite) a few beers, Mark's core of pure energy just might be enough to fuel a victorious journey - it's certainly sufficient to infuse the audience with inspiration.

Continue reading: American Movie Review

Mike Schank

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Mike Schank Movies

Storytelling Movie Review

Storytelling Movie Review

Writer-director Todd Solondz has a knack for making us feel downright uncomfortable. He did...

American Movie Movie Review

American Movie Movie Review

Got a serious appetite for life? Prepare to gorge yourself on American Movie's all-u-can-eat...

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