Tag Archives: independent

Official Selection – 2012 Twain Harte Film Festival

A loner car thief, becoming stranded on an empty backcountry road, listens to a strange, disquieting broadcast through the radio in his stolen vehicle.  But can he trust what he hears when no one else seems to acknowledge it?  As his paranoia and sense of isolation grow, the thief finds himself facing his dark past, as well as an uncertain, and possibly threatening, present… alone.

Written by Manuel Crosby and Ian Robertson.
Cinematography by Darren Knapp.
Assistant Directed and Produced by Brandon Towne.
Directed and Edited by Manuel Crosby.

Starring Anthony Dooley.
Also featuring Jake Fischer, Dave Reimer, and Jessica Belshe.







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In Phil Newsom’s 7 minute psychological thriller short Simple Mind, we delve into the mind of Bob (Timothy J. Cox) and as we quickly learn, it’s not a pleasant place to be.

Bob is visiting his therapist and his story for this session involves a new love in his life, Samantha (Kristi McCarson), but this is not a tale of romance, but instead it is tale of a killer and how and what makes a killer tick. Bob is a killer who enjoys what he does, relishes it even, but above all, he wants praise for his ”achievements”, as he thinks he’s the best there is and the best there ever will be. This guy gives new meaning to the term ”delusions of grandeur”.

Simple Mind was helmed by first time writer/director Phil Newsom, who along with the films’ director of photography, Paul Nameck, have crafted a chilling look into the human mind.

Nameck’s camera work is sharp and focused throughout, while Newsom’s script is on point and does feature a surprise or two, like all good thrillers.

There are some minor sound issues halfway through the film, but it doesn’t hamper one’s overall enjoyment of the piece.

Simple Mind soars because of the dynamic performance of Timothy J. Cox, as Bob. It’s the subtlely where Cox nails the character, as Bob looks harmless at first glance, even sweet natured, but make no mistake, this guy is all evil. Cox’s is complimented by Kristi McCarson’s quiet and convincing turn as Samantha.

Definitely worth a look!


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“Coffin” 2011 – Official Movie Trailer

Artist View Entertainment and Skyrocket Films presents “Coffin” starring Kevin Sorbo, Bruce Davison, Johnny Alonso, Patrick Barnitt and Sunny Doensch. A masked stranger reveals to Jack that his estranged wife and her lover are buried underground in a wooden box and their oxygen will run out in 75 minutes. He must engage in a dangerous game of cat and mouse with the masked stranger in order to save his wife…and himself.






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Small Town Saturday Night is a drama movie released on June1, 2010 by Lionsgate, starring Chris Pine as Rhett Ryan, Shawn Christian as Tommy Carson, John Hawkes as Donnie Carson, Bre Blair as Samantha Carson, Muse Watson as Charlie, and Robert Pine as John Ryan. It is movie by the first time writer-director, Ryan Craig who also stars in the movie as Wade Jefferies.

The movie has been shot in the location in the San Bernardino mountain villages of Crestline, Valley of Enchantment, Twin Peaks, Blue Jay, Lake Arrowhead and Running Springs, and California. The director, Craig said that he wanted the locations to be a character unto themselves, and he has achieved that, if not entirely, then definitely to a considerable extent. Just as there is not much that we know about the background stories of the characters, we only see few settings in the film throughout, as of course, it is a small town, called Prospect fictitiously and metaphorically fit for the script of the film whose characters are just as those sketches of people not hard to find, but with their very common life-stories, they are still larger than life for their attitudes.

Small Town Saturday Night had its opening premier at the American Film Market in November 2009, but it was later marketed at the European Film Market in February 2010 and it was also screened at the Cannes Film Market. Though the film had received fourth position in “Bottom 5 Movies” at the 2010 Vits Awards and was also nominated for “Worst Directing”, “Worst Script” and “Worst Photography”, it is not as bad as it had been negatively taken by the film critics. The movie has 5.2 rating at IMDb and has an R rating for its content.

But it is an independent film with a cast that has done justice to their roles in bringing them to life and making them relatable. Especially, the performance by Chris Pine is up to the mark, given the fact that there is not much he could have expressed with the circumstances his character is in, that of losing a lover suddenly when all seemed achievable with the dream of a prosperous and peaceful life being fulfilled. Both Shawn Christian and John Hawkes did a great job with their part of the performances, especially John’s delivery of a long time hopeless convict is believable to watch, who has now become an Academy Award nominee for his brilliant supporting role in Winter’s Bone. The movie is simple and easy to understand and presents what goes on in a day in a small town and its people.

Rhett Ryan (Chris Pine) is a mechanic with a big dream of becoming a successful country music singer in Nashville. He saves all he has to move there with his love of life, Samantha Carson (Bre Blair) and her daughter, Megan Carson (Kali Majors). The dilemma comes in when despite having decided along with Rhett that his dreams are their dreams, she does not want for her daughter to be away from her father, Tommy Carson (Shawn Christian). For this reason, she heartbreakingly refuses to move along with Rhett.

Tommy is also the town’s sheriff trying hard to keep peace in the town with a brother, Donnie Carson (John Hawkes) who is an ex-convict, who has a hard time keeping away from committing a felony. Rhett has a loving family and good friends in a small town where everybody knows each other and there is nothing much you could do in terms of activities. Rhett who has always lived in the town wants to change his life pursuing his passion for country music and melody for a better future for himself and have a family.

The movie is worth watching as it is short, so one does not has to take a lot of time to watch it. But you should be interested in watching movies with some truth to them and their characters without any fanfare and embellishment. It has a simple narration of a small town, which is much needed when there are other movies always taking us into a fictitious world of fantasies and out of body miracles that are almost never to happen in real life.

The movie is believable in its story, even though predictably there is a happy ending, but not without the message that if you pursue your dreams and prioritize what you think is important for your future, you will find a way not to regret your decisions and luck in life. This message is easier said than done, so it makes it a meaningful venture for all the more reasons.

Small Town Saturday Night movie did not receive a big release and went straight to DVD thanks to the Lionsgate who chose to release it. In fact, the movie has been negatively criticized by the critics, but they seem to have lost its basic purpose.

Though the direction by Craig should have been much better to bring life to the script and for empowering its characters’ motions, but given the kind of budget such independent movies have and this movie being the director’s first labor of love, it is nothing unusual that became the fate of this sweet and simple story.

It is a fresh reminder of continuing to hope and still trying to make out with life no matter how big a disappointment occurs. It is not only the lesson displayed through the character of Rhett but also through Tommy who has an elder con-man brother to handle his crimes so that he can dutifully keep the law and order situation for the town he so much loves. Yet, he wants to have a family life which becomes hard to maintain with his dedication to his uniform. The reason why he and Samantha split have never been mentioned, nor how she met Rhett. In fact, there is not much background story exploration into the lives of the characters, but just that one day where we witness how things change for Rhett, Tommy, Donnie and Samantha just with the new outlook each one of them discovers suddenly out of realizing what they have always wanted from deep inside.

The poster of the movie has Chris Pine’s name above the title to attract audiences and features his smiling picture all over, but there will be no need of such marketing strategy when such simple yet meaningful and artful scripts get a better exposure and a chance through better budgeting. The starring of Chris Pine and him choosing this role shows his commitment to the projects he believes in despite they are small.

Having an opportunity to be a country music singer and songwriter might have been one reason for him to have chosen to be on board this project, where he also gets to sing a country music song. But since there are no promotional interviews done for this film that only one could know later what attracted Chris to the project if ever asked about it. Not only him, but we can see his father, Robert Pine also star in this movie as his character’s father, John Ryan.

Chris plays a country music song at the end of the movie, which is again another testament to the range of talents this actor has. The song is Someday Came Today sung in a melodious deep voice by Chris, which comprehensively sums up what his character has gone through and where he dreams to go for a healthy prospective. Hence, the name of the town Prospect whose population is shown on the mark board as 1382, but at the end of the movie Chris marks it as 1381 when he leaves it in a very nostalgic manner. The film has a wonderful soundtrack with some great melodies which also features the song, We Rode in Trucks by Luke Bryan.

Though the movie was released mid last year, but it is never too late to watch it, especially for a performance in a slightly different role by Chris Pine and for the movie’s simple yet meaningful message of where a person’s dream can take him or her if he or she holds a better prospect for his or her dreams just by pursuing their heart’s passion. And that it is never too late to get rid of your incriminating habits when you have nothing else to look forward to in life and yet try to make an honest living of yourself by just being there for others. That if you keep your duty to your community and yet try your best to have a family life, you can get lucky to have your wish come true. It is worth having in collection, so go buy its DVD whenever possible.


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