Loading...

The Method Fest 

Wednesday, Mar 29 2006
Comments

Now in its eighth year, the Method Fest (named for the Stanislavsky approach to acting) continues to hold to its goal of celebrating actors and their craft. That emphasis on performances instead of celebrity power or flashy filmmaking means a host of secondary bonuses for the viewer: films populated with bodies that bulge or sag like those of mere mortals; the occasional discovery of an offbeat cinematic voice that rings with unforced idiosyncrasy. But it also means too many films that are lazily executed in terms of screenwriting, directing, cinematography, etc., and which risk turning the festival’s mission statement into a loophole for mediocrity. Into this camp fall many of the films made available for preview this year. In director Eric Byler’s Tre, the spoiled, blunt (but deep-down sensitive and insightful) title character (Daniel Cariaga) moves into the mountaintop home shared by horse trainer Gabe (Erik McDowell) and Gabe’s girlfriend, Kakela (Kimberly-Rose Wolter), then proceeds to pull at the threads of the couple’s relationship until it unspools. It’s a mildly interesting character study of jealousy and deception that owes more to the casting agent’s eye (McDowell and Wolter are beautiful) than to the script or the merely competent lead performances. Slightly stronger is The Actress, in which the mysterious Emma (Caitlin Higgins) seduces the two geeky men and lovesick young lesbian who welcome her into their home, ultimately turning them against one another. Emma is a beguiling cypher whose agenda is never really made clear, but the feline, sexily smug Higgins almost makes the clichés in the screenplay seem bearable. Both the most interesting and most disappointing film previewed, Bangkok starts off as an unpredictably quirky psychological profile of its lead character, Paul (Abel Johnson), a disgraced soldier who discovers information that contradicts the official story on what happened to his father in Vietnam and heads east to see what he can learn for himself. Though Johnson’s performance is initially quite wonderful, impressively navigating the space between the character’s dimwit and smart-ass attributes, when Bangkok turns into a forced male-bonding dramedy between Paul and two misfits he encounters on the road, the film becomes a jarring clash of tones and conflicting purposes that throws Johnson off his game. Proof that even a talented actor is at a loss without a good script and a good director to guide him. (Louis B. Mayer Theater, 23388 Mulholland Drive, Woodland Hills & Viewpoint School, 23620 Mulholland Hwy., Calabasas; thru April 7; www.methodfest.com)

—Ernest Hardy

click to enlarge Bangkok
  • Bangkok

Related Stories

  • Discostan Features Music From "Beirut to Bangkok via Bombay"

    The strong smell of sandalwood-infused Indian Chandan Dhoop incense fills Arshia Haq's Echo Park apartment as she gets ready for the night. She has recently arrived back in the city after working on a music documentary in India and Pakistan, and the jet lag hasn't subsided - nor has that...
  • Khao Soi 4

    If America’s Thai food trend is heading toward the model set by Pok Pok, Andy Ricker’s famous Portland-based project, then the trend is heading northward, away from the familiar Bangkok street food that most Americans have grown accustomed to  – the likes of massaman curry, pad Thai and tom yum soup...
  • Proposition 41 Housing for Poor Veterans Wins Big 3

    Looks like California voters like the idea of helping out troubled vets with special new housing, as early returns show a strong 65.8 percent in favor of the Veterans Housing & Homeless Bond Act of 2014, with 34.2 percent of voters opposed. The proposition is being closely watched by angry...
  • Night + Market Song 2

    If you often find yourself dreaming of Kris Yenbamroong's plates of pork larb and curried noodles, his happily spicy nuoc mam chicken wings and catfish tamales, his - oh, you get the idea. It's not like you haven't memorized the menu. Because Yenbamroong's Night + Market serves the kind of stuff...
  • A Vietnamese Cookbook

    An emphasis on freshness isn't the sole domain of Vietnamese cuisine, but you could be persuaded that it's made quite the art of market-to-table cooking as you thumb through Luke Nguyen's The Food of Vietnam (Hardie Grant Books). It's a compendium of regional recipes across the Southeast Asian country in...

Related Content

Now Showing

  1. Thu 10
  2. Fri 11
  3. Sat 12
  4. Sun 13
  5. Mon 14
  6. Tue 15
  7. Wed 16

    Find capsule reviews, showtimes & tickets for all films in town.

    Sponsored by Fandor

Box Office

Scores provided by Rotten Tomatoes

Join My Voice Nation for free stuff, concert and dining info & more!

Around The Web

Slideshows

  • 10 Movies You Should See This Summer
    The phrase "summer movies" will never not mean broad, action-driven crowd-pleasers to me: I counted the days until Batman (June 23, 1989), Terminator 2: Judgment Day (July 3, 1991), and Jurassic Park (June 11, 1993) were released. For every Dark Knight there are 10 Prometheuses — and that's just among the films that are actually trying to be good — but the hype and anticipation of summer movies remains a fun spectator sport. (More fun than sports, anyway.) Here, 10 from Memorial Day weekend and after for which I have, as the song says, high hopes. By Chris Klimek
  • Doc Docs: 8 Powerful Medical Documentaries
    Code Black is the latest in a string of powerful documentaries examining the domestic health care system's flaws and profiling its physicians, caretakers and patients. In this film -- which will be released in select theaters on June 20 -- the cameras are pointed at the nation's busiest emergency room, that of L.A. County Hospital. Here are seven moving medical docs. Click on the film name to read the full review.

    See also:
    35 Music Documentaries Worth Seeing

    15 Documentaries That Help You Understand the World Right Now
  • Wes Anderson's Grand Budapest Hotel in Lego
    A Lego replica of The Grand Budapest Hotel was unveiled this past Saturday, June 14, by builder Ryan Ziegelbauer and star of the film Tony Revolori at The Grove in L.A. Ziegelbaur and his team built the 7-foot, 150-pound structure from over 50,000 Lego bricks. The celebration was held in honor of the Blu-Ray and DVD release of Wes Anderson's The Grand Budapest Hotel on June 17th by Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment. All photos by Mary Bove.

Movie Trailers

View all movie trailers >>

Now Trending