Jazz, film, and improvised culture.
DWF ’13: Channeling
the very near future, about five minutes from now, people will become even more
exhibitionistic. Personal internet reality
shows are the thing, made possible by special contact lens cameras. Channelers broadcast themselves snowboarding,
booty calling, and navel gazing. Some
also broadcast criminal activity, such as an Army sergeant’s estranged brother. When the punk winds up dead, his avenging
sibling assumes control of his channel in Drew Thomas’s Channeling,
screens tomorrow during the 2013 edition of Dances With Films.
Maddox family was always pretty dysfunctional.
The death of Wyatt, the Fast &
Furious wannabe, does not help much.
Returning on a bereavement leave, Jonah soon starts nosing around with
the help of Tara, his brother’s on-camera co-host, sidekick, or whatever. Essentially, this leaves all the responsible
stuff to his younger sister, Ashleigh.
She broadcasts her life too, in hopes of finding validation from
voyeuristic netizens. That is really the
wrong place to be looking.
is always pretty obvious who the bad guys are, but it is never clear why they
had it in for the Brothers Maddox. Wyatt’s
ratings were always pretty good by channeling standards, unlike the late Howard
Beale in Network. Regardless, it offers Jonah an excuse to
boost some fast cars.
Channeling is a serviceable
enough b-movie, but it pales in comparison to Bertrand Tavernier’s thematically
similar Death Watch, which remains an
eerily prescient critique of the media-driven society over thirty years after
its initial release. It is also hard to
compete with Harvey Keitel, Harry Dean Stanton, and Romy Schneider.
as a leading man, Dominic De Vore seems to have graduated from the Caspar Van
Dien school of acting. He is adequately
square-jawed in the action scenes, but that’s about what you get. However, Kate French (probably best known
from The L Word and One Tree Hill) lends the film some style
and presence riding shotgun as Tara, while Taylor Handley does a presentable
James Dean impression as the ill-fated Wyatt.
Thomas and cinematographer Andrew Huebscher keep
things looking slick and cool throughout.
Cars will be wrecked and thugs will get their beatdowns. It is a cut above SyFy Channel original
movies, but those primarily intrigued by the premise should checkout Tavernier’s
underappreciated gem instead. For French’s
fans, Channeling screens tomorrow night (6/2) as part of this year’s Dances With Films
in Hollywood, CA.
Labels: DWF '13, Sci-Fi films