Tagged: Newport Beach Film Festival

This isnt funny 04This Isn’t Funny is the love story of Eliot Anderson (Katie Page) and Jaimie Thompson (Paul Ashton). It is also a testament to the power of the independent film. If you have a good story to tell; a small budget; and backers, who believe in you, the final product is funny, well-thought out story.

Newport Beach Film Festival
Running Time: 86 minutes
Writers: Paul Ashton, Katie Page
Director: Paul Ashton

Eliot is a young adult, who takes a healthy dose of psych medication in order to cope. She is a talented stand-up comedian by night and struggles to remain balanced during the day. Jaime runs a Juice Shop in Los Angeles.  Having achieved nothing in life, the perpetual traveler Jaime believes he is a failure in life. Elliot and Jaime meet when Jaime crashes his bike into Eliot’s parked car.

Under hostile circumstances, Eliot and Jaime fall in love and immediately clash. While their love is sweet, it’s clear they press each other’s button. Their problem is Eliot and Jaime are pressing the right buttons, but the expected result is emotionally disastrous.

This isnt funny 02This Isn’t Funny is a thoughtful story of love in the day of heightened anxiety and first world problems. The story of Eliot and Jaime is elevated even higher by the best supporting cast I’ve seen in a movie. Eliot’s parents, Joseph (David Pasquesi) and Elaine (Mimi Rogers) are sympathetic characters, who have learned to walk on eggshells around Eliot’s “moment.”

Eliot’s best friends are also stand-up comedians. Russ (Ahmed Bharoocha) and Hannah (Beth Sterling) not only serve as comedic foils to Eliot, but also produce the funniest stand-up moments in the movie. Be sure to stay during the credits and catch Ahmed’s stand-up routine. Trust me it’s worth the price of the movie.

Jaime’s employees offer no help to Jamie at all except for their friendship. Ryan (Edi Gathegi) wishes Jaime would stay in one place. Jaime’s other friend, Mike (Anthony LaPaglia) is all over the place. Mike is a semi-effeminate, always-high friend of Jamie, and you won’t recognize that it’s Anthony LaPaglia until late in the movie.

This Isn’t Funny is a movie of hope. By the end, you hope these two kids can get their “stuff” together and be happy together.

The Verdict

8Great

The Good: Well Told Story | Hilarious Stand-Up Routines

An_Honest_Liar_[James_Randi]_2An Honest Liar” is a documentary by filmmakers, Tyler Measom and Justin Weinstein, about the life of The Amazing Randi. The title refers to James Randi’s experience in the career of professional deception. The film examines his early career as a magician, whose act is about lying to the audience for the sake of entertainment. Then it focuses on his middle life as professional debunker exposing people who lie for the sake of fame and fortune. And finally, it’s about his entire life having to hide a personal secret, not publically accepted until recently. “An Honest Liar” follows James Randi’s life of professional deception from childhood to adulthood.

The opening credits starts hilariously featuring the Amazing Randi on “Your Hit Parade” escaping from a straightjacket, hanging upside-down as a singer sings “You Got that Magic Touch.” As a child, a socially awkward, James Randi attends his first Harry Blackstone show and immediately dedicates his life to the art of performing magic. His act soon follows the path of Harry Houdini and ends with an almost in tragedy.

Then the film focuses on Randi’s new career after magic, exposing the “Dishonest Liar.” Now a professional skeptic, he goes after those who choose to lie tell you the magic that they do is real. These people are the faith healers, psychics and channellers that take advantage of the poor and gullible to become rich. The movie targets professed psychic, Uri Geller (who agreed to be interviewed for the documentary) and faith healer, Peter Popoff.

An_Honest_Liar_[Justin_Weinstein]_1Personally, I’ve been a fan of the Amazing Randi, since the 80’s. Yes, I am a God-fearing Christian, but at the same time, I been a fierce opponent of the fake aspect of the Christian church including the work of televangelists and money-grubbing faith healers. We may disagree on religion, but we agree on being truthful to the public.

The documentary touches on every major milestone in the life of the Amazing Randi. If you have never heard of the Amazing Randi, especially his work in the 80’s and 90s, his appearances on the Tonight Show are classic and intriguing and worth watching. If you have followed Randi during the 80’s and 90’s, the first half of this movie is very familiar to you.

How do you disprove a phony? For Randi, it’s duplicating their powers and testing their powers under scientific conditions. One such instance was Project Alpha. For three years, Randi had two young magicians, Steve Shaw (Banachek) and Michael Edwards, pose as psychics for university research at Washington University. These two psychics would be given psychic tests and studied as passed with flying colors. To make matters worse, Randi would give the university researcher 11 caveats or controls that if they followed them they could prove whether what they were witnessing were cheap magic tricks or the real thing.

Rather than follow Randi’s advice, researchers would inevitably conclude subjects Shaw and Edwards were real psychics. To their embarrassment, Shaw, Edwards and Randi would ultimately reveal that they were, in fact, frauds.

James Randi has dedicated his life to disproving the psychics, healers and mystics. The film shows that the impact of Randi’s work has had almost no impact on shedding light on the truth. Today, people just want to believe even when the facts are clear.

James Randi, Jose Alvarez.

James Randi, Jose Alvarez.

The final act of the movie is the most fascinating when the filmmakers delve into the personal life of Randi, who had recently come out as being gay. We are introduced to his partner, Jose Alvarez. Alvarez and Randi met one another in the late 70’s. When they first met, Randi turned Jose into the spirit channeler Carlos in order to fool the nation of Austrailia for 60 Minutes Austrailia.

Jose Alvarez and James Randi are still together at the time of the filming of this documentary. Remarkably, while filming this section of the film, Randi and Alvarez would face one of the biggest challenges of their relationship.

“An Honest Liar” is a fascinating tale of a man who spent most of his life lying to your face, but being upfront about it in the first place. If you’re a fan of the Amazing Randi, you’ll recognize a lot of the footage in the documentary, but there’s more footage and interviews to make it worth watching.  As documentary, directors Tyler Measom and Justin Weinstein, tell a big story of one man’s life and manages to bring us real suspense and drama.

The Geek Lab was about to review “An Honest Liar” as part of the Newport Beach Film Festival. Thank you to the organizers of this high quality film festival.

The Verdict

8Great

The Good: Insightful about why people want to believe in psychics | Well told story of Randi’s Life

The Bad: If you believe in psychics and the paranormal, you will not like the results

Pierce Brosnan and Emma Thompson

Pierce Brosnan and Emma Thompson

“The Love Punch” is a lighthearted comedy starring Pierce Brosnan and Emma Thompson. They play a divorced couple, Richard and Kate, both dealing with an empty nest when their only daughter leaves home for university.

Richard is the CEO of a corporation that overnight is taken over by a corporate raider, Vincent (Laurent Lafitte) and the company is liquidated leaving both Richard and Kate broke. When an attempt to reason with the corporate raider fails, a wacky caper is needed instead. They decide to steal the diamond the Vincent gave to his fiance. Think of it as AARP presents James Bond.In order pull off this caper, Richard and Kate employ the help of their good friends and neighbors Jerry (Tim Sprall, Harry Potter) and Penelope (Celia Imrie).

“The Love Punch” is an OK movie. Its well acted and fun to watch. Not boring but there are just over-the-top wacky moments that will pull you out of any reality “The Love Punch is trying to hold on to.

One criticism I have about British movies is the way they portray Americans. In the middle of the film, our four leads swap placed with traveling Americans…from Texas. I’ve seen this in other movies and most notably on the television show, Fawlty Towers. Whenever you have Americans in your British movie, make sure they are from Texas and that they are also wearing a cowboy hat.

There is nothing wrong to say about this movie by Joel Hopkins, but by no means will this movie change the world or teach us something about ourselves. Nor will this movie have any consequence on the world of cinema and film making. It’s hard not to feel this way as I’m watching this movie at the Newport Beach Film Festival alongside other movies with a deeper message and struggling to find a distributor.

“The Love Punch” is a light-hearted love story void of anything profound and groundbreaking will find itself languishing on cable channels along with all the other loves stories the big international studios has to offer. You’ll have a good time watching this movie knowing that the rental price was the perfect amount to pay.

The Verdict

5Mediocre

The Good: Good Acting | Not Bad Story/Comedy

The Bad: Nothing special to stand out from other romantic comedies | The way Americans are portrayed

A117_C002_0418MH“The Obvious Child” starring SNL alumni, Jenny Slate, is the story of a stand-up comedian, Donna Stern, who is fired from her job, dumped by her boyfriend and find out she’s pregnant from a one-night-stand.

Based on a story by director/writer, Gillian Robespierre, Donna Stern is an up-and-coming brilliant comic. Her stand-up routine is very over-the-top sexual but incredibly funny. Donna has two divorced parents. Her father, Jacob, a puppeteer played by Richard Kind and her mother, the professor, Nancy, played by Polly Draper.

After being dumped by her boyfriend, Donna convinces herself to live for the moment and engages in a one-night-stand with Max, an admirer, who happens to see one of her sets at a local comedy club. The result of that one night is Donna finds herself pregnant.

It is at this point that the movie becomes about abortion. Donna decides that her only next step is to get an abortion and to make matters worse; the only opening for the abortion is on Valentine’s day. From this point on, it’s a story of the supportive nature of friends and family in a time of crisis. The struggle Donna faces regarding the subject of abortion and the sometimes self-destructive behavior a stand-up comedian goes through for the sake of being funny and provocative on stage.

Abortion continues to be a heated topic in the nation today and as a critic, there are certainly movies that exist that I do not necessarily agree with politically, morally and emotionally. “The Obvioius Child” is one of those movies. But at the same time, I choose the judge the merits of the movie about the story being told. Yes, the movie is about abortion, but at the same time, it’s not a heavy handed political story of the Right to Choose. Believe me, I’ve seen plenty of heavy-handed movies about subject I agree and they lay it on so thick, it becomes distasteful.

The Obvious Child” takes a different approach to the I’m-Pregnant plot as seen in movies like “Knocked Up” and “Juno.” In the latter films, the lead chooses to have the baby but in “The Obvious Child,” For Donna the decision is made that there will be an abortion and the events of the movie leads to that point.

That said, “The Obvious Child” is a funny movie with a good stand-up routine performed by Jenny Slate, albeit very highly sexual. As a tale of abortion, it’s a fair even portrayal of a woman who ultimately has to make a choice, and there’s a sweet love story that sneaks up on you in the end.

The Verdict

7Good

The Good: Funny stand-up routine from main character | A sweet love story that sneaks up on you at the end.

Reflections of the Newport Beach Film Festival

2014-04-30 22.37.23As a member of the media representing Secret City Geek Lab and KTST FM, I was privileged to attend the 2014 Newport Beach Film Festival. As the resident movie critic, the majority of my review center on the big budget, mainstream movies that you’d expect a popular culture website to review. Attending the Newport Beach Film Festival was a pleasant surprise and opened my world to what independent film-making has to offer the public.

The Difference Between Big Studio Films and the Independent Filmmaker

I’m in the same shoes as you. You have a limited budget, and if you’re going to spend $15-20 on a movie, you want to be entertained. The big studios, like Disney, Fox, Sony and Universal, understand that as they fight each other to capture that dollar. So they make movies that appeal to you, like comic book movies and existing franchises.

The big studios intentionally stay away from independent films, because they are unproven and require a great deal of money to publicize to the public. They could care less about the passion or message of the independent film. That’s the reason film festivals exist. An independent filmmaker pours his/her heart, sweat and money into making a movie and their only means of distribution is entering it in the festival in hopes that buzz from the audiences will spark interest in the filmmaker’s dream.

Lovesick 02Excellent Selection of Movies

During the Newport Beach Film Festival, I saw nine movies in 8 eight days. Each night, I would come home and tell my wife, that I saw two more excellent movies. She’ll ask, “are you saying that just because you’re working as press?” My response was always, “I know what you’re saying that, but the Film Festival programmers are choosing excellent movies.” While at the opening night screening of “Lovesick,” organizers of the festival discussed that fact that movies submitted for the festival are viewed at least five times by five different people.

Of the nine movies that I saw, I had a worst a tepid response to only one movie, which ironically was a big studio movie from England. The Newport Beach Film Festival went through a pain-staking process to make sure that the movie they screened where high quality movies. If you’re thinking about attending a film festival, look into the selection process. High scores to the Newport Beach Film Festival.

Exposure to New Types of Films

Don’t get me wrong. I’m not a film snob. I really like big studio movies with A-List celebrities and lots of the special effects and action. By going to a film festival, I was forced to watch new types of movies. My selection process was very superficial. First, look at what celebrities are starring in the movie. Second, read the description and see if it’s interesting. That process did not work out well for me.

The Newport Beach Film Festival took place in five different locations throughout Newport beach and Costa Mesa. That means I have to plan a location to see the first movie and consider if I could make it to the next movie location fast enough by car. For two days, I was without a car, so I wound up using Lyft to get me to the next showing on time. (Thanks Lyft for getting me to screenings on time) Also, I have a day job, so I’m limited to nights and weekends to watch movies. I missed some movie just because I could not make the time work out.

All this to say that, convenience and invitation, was the reason I chose certain movies. As a member of the press, I received about twenty invitations to see specific movies. I saw three movies, “Follow Friday the Film,” “Down River,” and “Taking My Parents to Burning Man” for the sole reason, I was invited by the filmmakers. I then saw three other movies, “Break Point,” “The Love Punch” and “An Honest Liar” because they were at same theater.

This method of selecting movies exposed me to movies, I would not normally see. “Follow Friday the Film” was a documentary about the potential of Twitter to meet people. The dramatic movie “Down River” was about three women on the version of greatness or breaking down and “Taking My Parents to Burning Man” exposed me to an annual festival that I never heard of but have had significant conversations about since seeing the movie. Film festivals are for filmmakers who want to make movies about subjects that on the outset would not be considered commercial successes.

More Thoughtful Films

One thing that all, but one, of the movies, I saw at a film festival, had in common was they were a labor of love by someone. Whether it was the writer, actors, director or producer, someone had a story that needed to be told. They got support, raised money (commonly on Kickstarter or Indiegogo) and cashed in favors from friends to make their movie.

From left to right: Actor Gabrielle Miller as 'Fawn', actor Nancy Sivak as 'Lili', real-life restaurateur Peter and actor Tahmoh Penikett as 'Chris'

From left to right: Actor Gabrielle Miller as ‘Fawn’, actor Nancy Sivak as ‘Lili’, real-life restaurateur Peter and actor Tahmoh Penikett as ‘Chris’

You could sense the love and passion needed to get the movie made, and it showed. I remember when “Down River” started, I had no idea what to expect. Initially, I thought it was going to be another chick-flick-of-the-traveling-pants-type movie. During the first third of the movie (know that I would have to review the movie), I kept thinking, “What in the world is this movie about? How can I write a review about this?” but then all-of-a-sudden the movie came together, and three separate plots converged into a single spectacular ending. I walked in a skeptic and walked out an admirer of Ben Ratner as a writer/director.

Helping the Independent Filmmaker

By attending a film festival, you’re helping amazing films find an audience that these movies desperately deserve. On the outset, I did not know what “Down River” was and in the end, I remember thinking that movies like this deserve a bigger audience than what it got. If I said more about the Independent Filmmaker, I would be repeating what I wrote earlier about my exposure to a wide variety of films and film subjects, films about the passions of a single person and movies that need to be made, instead of a movie made to make money.

I lucked out by having the Newport Beach Film Festival be my first film festival. It was a well run festival with an exceptional selection of movies. I will recommend that if a film festival opens up near you, take a risk and check out the new movie and try something new.

 

Li and Bryant Boesen

Li and Bryant Boesen

“Taking My Parents to Burning Man” is a documentary following filmmaker and part-time DJ, Bryant “Spry Bry” Boesen, as he takes his parents, Chuck and Li Boesen, to the Burning Man festival held every summer in Black Rock, Nevada.

For the uninitiated, like myself, Burning Man takes place the week leading up to Labor Day. Burning Man attendees dedicate themselves to the spirit of community, art, self-expression, and self-reliance. During this week long festival, one lives in a community of 60,000 people and growing. It is a cashless society. You survive on sharing and bartering. Every night is a dazzling display of dance, lighting effects and parties. The week ends with the ceremonial burning of a wooden structure with a wooden man, the Burning Man, set ablaze. I liken it to a hippie commune by day and a desert mardi gras at night.

Chuck and Bryant Boesen

Chuck and Bryant Boesen

Much, like the Burning Man, “Taking My Parents to Burning Man” is a documentary shot in the spirit of whatever happens happens. Behind the scenes, the movie’s genesis is Bryant’s parents deciding that they want to go to Burning Man to see why Bryant and their daughter, Mari, are so drawn to this festival. Upon hearing the news Bryant and his co-director Joel McCarthy, think that filming the adventure from the eyes of Chuck and Li would make a great movie. And they are right. “Taking My Parents to Burning Man” is a fantastic movie.

The movie first starts with the challenges the filmmakers faced when making the movie. The movie was made thanks in part to a $10,000 Kickstarter campaign. The problem is that Bryant is a resident of Canada, even though he has dual US/Canadian citizenship, so Kickstarter is unable to release the money to them. With just days to go, they make a plea to their Kickstarter contributor and ask them to re-donate to their IndieGoGo campaign.

That’s only the first problem. Then there’s wondering how they are going to take a crew of 17 people to Burning Man without any transportation. Bryant has always relied on the universe to get him a ride at the last minute, but he is now responsible for the entire crew. Then the challenged of having enough supplies to last an entire week in the middle of the desert where there is no running water or common amenities.

I saw this movie thanks to an invitation by co-director Joel McCarthy. I’ll admit I wavered on seeing this movie against a half dozen other movies playing at the same time. One reason for my indecision was thinking that the movie would be about a young free spirit taking his conservative set-in-their-ways elderly parents, and than comedy would ensue when they would complain about everything the young folk do. I was wrong. Chuck and Li were the perfect proxies for us, who have never heard of and would never go to anything like Burning Man.

Bryant’s parents were not complainers, but they were two people who loved their children and wanted to understand their children better. Rather than resist any of the weirdness or new experience of the trip, they embraced it and gave it a try, including odd face paints, outlandish costumes and meeting strange strangers.

Chuck and Li are the true stars of the movie. As mentioned before in this review, the movie is about seeing and experiencing the festival through their eyes. Both parents effectively communicate their experiences and their feelings. Chuck often marvels at the high level of engineering experience it took to build the Burning Man tower in the middle of deserts or the Buddist temple used to commemorate loved ones who have passed over the past year. Then there are the parties at night that turn the entire festival grounds into an electrical marvel of light and sound.

After seeing “Taking My Parents to Burning Man,” I have a richer understanding of those who attend this festival every year and why they attend every year. You may think that it’s just a week long party, but its more than that. It’s a community that sprouts out of the desert ground once a year. Burning Man is a gathering of young and old and for just a short moment they connect through giving to one another and sharing a common experience. It’s a chance to let down your guard and express who you are, without judgment.

I will say that even after watching the film, I never want to go to Burning Man, but I know why people do, and that’s cool.

“Taking My Parents to Burning Man” is a fantastic documentary. Co-directors Bryant Boesen and Joel McCarthy do an amazing job capturing moments, even in the middle of a sand storm, and editing them into a movie that tells a story and moves it along. They picked the right moments to include in the film, and they understood that its Bryant’s parents that the audience will connect with in the movie.

The Verdict

8Great

The Good: Great Introduction to Burning Man | Well Told Story Through the Eyes of the Filmmaker’s Parents

The Bad: I’m still not going to Burning Man, but I appreciate those who do.

Cold Eyes 2

“Cold Eyes” is the story of the Korean Police Force’s elite Special Crime Department that specializes in surveillance activities. The story centers around a series of perfect robberies committed by the unknown Shadow and his crew.

The movie begins by following the exceptional rookie agent Ha Yoon-Joo (Han Hyo Joo), who must prove her skills as a surveillance expert by following unnoticed a specific mark on the Korean subway and city streets. Her skills of following the mark and remembering specific relevant actions and people earn her a spot on the team.

Ultimately, the movie focuses on the primary case. There have been a series of perfect robberies. Perfect because there is no trace of the main villain and his crew, and they know all the blind spots of the city surveillance cameras. So no one knows what anyone looks like. It also doesn’t help that the villain, The Shadow (Jung Woo-sung), proves that he’s just as skilled as the Special Crimes Department in the area of surveillance, and he’s also a deadly assassin.

On the police end, the movie follows the rookie Ha Yoon-joo as she is mentored by Chief Hwang (Sol Kyng-gu). Ha Yoon-joo is the antsy member of the team. She’s good but at the same time she’s undisciplined. She’s a little too aggressive about following a target, which may compromise her ability to be unseen and unknown. She also has a perfect photographic memory and a “Rain Man”-like focus for details.

“Cold Eyes” is a police procedural comparable to any U.S. cop show. The action is fast paced with heavy doses of tension. The battle between the Shadow and Special Crimes is a crafty game of chess and will keep you guessing until the very end. The chemistry between He Yoon-joo and Chief Hwang is funny with “Karate-Kid”-like fun. It also helps that Han Hyo Joo is really, really cute and easy on the eyes.

“Cold Eyes” is smart, funny and action packed. It can stand up to any Van Damme, Schwartzenegger, Stallone type vehicle. Although the movie is in Korean and subtitled, the chunks of action provide ample breaks for reading.

“Cold Eyes” is part of the Pacific Rim showcase at the Newport Beach Film Festival this week. There is another showing tomorrow (Wednesday) at 4:45 pm at Fashion Island Cinemas. The leather seats are roomy, and they’ll serve you at your seat.

The Verdict

8Great

The Good: Excellent People Procedural | Good Comedic Elements

The Bad: Some Cliched Police Moments

Tide Lines Crew

Tide Lines Crew

Tide Lines‘ tells the parallel tales of environmentalist/adventurers Bryson and Ryan Robertson and Hugh Patterson. The first is the tale of three adventurers in the crossroads of life who set sail around the world on a 3 and a half year adventure looking for the world’s most amazing surf. The other is an environmental tale of the effects of plastic pollution on the world’s oceans.

The first story is the tale of three friends circumnavigating the earth on their sailboat, named “Khalula.” Their journey begins in Mexico, where the boat was purchased and ends in Vancouver. Their stories include outrunning a disastrous storm and finding the world’s best surfing locations, the journey also looks at the toll a three-and-a-half year trip can take on a person and their loved ones and family.

The Robertson brothers, Bryson and Ryan, both had girlfriends and just before the trip, Ryan proposed to his girlfriend. Up and leaving for a long trip has consequences, good and bad. Family and loved one knew they could not stop them from pursuing their once-in-a-lifetime dream, but being new engaged, how can a relationship survive when separated for an extreme amount of time.

Also consider that it’s three guys living in the space of smaller than most living rooms, and they are stuck there for 7-20 days without site of land. There are times, while watching the film, you think that it would be incredible to take a trip like this and than you like you’d be crazy to even consider it.

The movie is a testament to dreaming big and the sacrifices it takes to actually fulfill it.

The other tale is the impact that pollution has on the Earth’s oceans. I’ll admit that, as a conservative, I have real questions about what we’re being told about our carbon footprint and all that political stuff. But as a conservative you cannot question the impact of pollution on our beaches and lakes.

The crew of the Kahlula does an effective job showing the destructive impact of the everyday plastics we consume on a regular basis. Imagine going to a deserted island and seeing a beach shore littered with plastic bottles, caps and flip-flop shoes. In America, we have the luxury of having landfills, but for many underdeveloped countries. The ocean is literally their landfill. There’s no other place to dispose of waste.

Also, plastic does not degrade over time. What it does do is break up into small pieces and than these small pieces are mistaken as food and eaten by sealife.

OK, let me get off of my soapbox for a moment and tell you that the message of “Tide Lines” is a good one to hear.

As much as this trip is about traveling the world and surfing in as many places as possible, the boys also take opportunities to share their passion and concern about pollution with school children. After every talk, they take the children to the beach and pick up trash for “research.”

“Tide Lines” is an engaging documentary about the crew of the Khalula and their around-the-world adventure and also, their passion for cleaning up the world’s beaches. The actual footage of the trip is not high-definition quality but you’ll overlook that fact thanks to the tale being told by director, Andrew Naysmith.

The Verdict

7Good

The Good: Fascinating Human Story | Not Overly Preachy Environmental Lesson

The Bad: The quality of some of the actual high seas footage

Well now you're here, There's no way back

Well now you’re here, There’s no way back

Newport Beach Film Festival will play host to the World Premiere of the Quiet Riot documentary, “Well Now You’re Here, There’s No Way Back” on Tuesday, April 29 at 7:30 p.m. It will be at the Triangle Square Cinemas.

Well Now You’re Here, There’s No Way Back is an extremely personal journey of the rise, fall and resurrection of the 80’s metal band Quiet Riot through the eyes of drummer and band manager Frankie Banali.

Banali’s career took a major sideswipe in 2007 when his lead singer Kevin DuBrow suddenly died of a drug overdose. After several years of mourning his best friend, Banali sets out to make a new life for himself, his daughter, and the band by trying to fill the void left by Kevin and get the band back together one more time.

The 109-minute character-driven documentary goes beyond the guts and glory of the common getting the band back together tale. Well Now You’re Here, There’s No Way Back reveals an unforgettable man who uses ambition, adaptability, relentless determination and principle to navigate through a business, and a series of obstacles that are attempting to control his fate.

Great Voices Sing John DenverLegendary sixteen time Grammy nominated music producer Milton Okun, along with arranger and conductor Lee Holdridge, has crafted a new opera album dedicated to John Denver. Go behind the scenes of the new album’s creation and share in the music’s history as well as the personal stories behind the songs chosen to be performed. The album is comprised of an international group of opera singers, including Placido Domingo, who fully embody the music and spirit of John Denver.

WHERE:
Newport Beach Film Festival, Triangle Square Cinemas
1870 Harbor Blvd.
Costa Mesa, CA 92627

WHEN:
Monday, April 28, 5:15 p.m.

IN ATTENDANCE TONIGHT:
Kenneth Shapiro, the film’s director
John Denver’s brother, Ron Deutschendorf
Members of John Denver’s fan club
John Denver tribute artist Jim Curry