04 July 2016

STARRY EYES/2014

STARRY EYES/2014
DIRECTOR: Kevin Kolsch, Dennis Widmyer
WRITER: Keving Kolsch, Dennis Windmyer
CAST: Alex Essoe, Amanda Fuller, Noah Segan, Nick Simmons, Louis Dezsaran

Here is a sign of a film I tend to like. I live in China and have to download most of the films I watch, unless I can find them online here with one of the streaming apps on my iPad (I tend to watch all movies on my iPad these days) and then they always have Chinese subtitles hard coded into the image, which bums me out. But I tend to have a folder with my recently downloaded films. I may not even watch a lot of them. If I test out a flick for quality and it is looks poorly filmed or acted or is (the worst) a found footage movie it gets deleted before being seen. I may then watch a film and then delete it. But I know I liked a movie a lot if I do not delete it and save for a rewatch in the future, and such was the case with Starry Eyes, a well made Faustian/Satanic themed movie about how far we sometimes go to get the fame and power we crave. 

Sarah (Alex Essoe in a simply great performance and hopefully we will see more of her) is just another pretty face struggling to be an actress in LA. She pays the rent the way all aspiring actresses do by working at as a waitress, in this case at the “classy” Hooters styled eatery known as Big Taters. Sarah struggles with having what it really takes to be a Big Taters girl and her job is now standing in the way of her rise to overnight night stardom as the lad in the movie The Silver Scream. Sarah seemed to get through the auditions, but not because of her acting chops, but because of her high strung emotional peculiarities. Quickly the job requirements from the old and powerful, yet obscure, production company Astraeus Pictures become more demanding than her Big Taters gig. Sarah is soon having conflicts with her circle of friends who are all also aspiring actors or directors. The group are basically stoned slackers who do more dreaming and planning than doing and Sarah feels held down by their small visions and party life styles. But just as things begin to look up for Sarah she begins to fall apart. Emotionally and physically. The producer and staff of Astraeus Pictures are not letting Sarah have her stardom all that easily and there is a huge price to paid fro being offered the lead role in this new production. Does Sarah have what it takes to stop serving burgers and grace the big screen. Well, I felt she did. 

The movie has the feel in places of something the likes Roman Polanski or David Lynch may have thought up. While not near that level of filmmaking the movie works well enough in evoking a dark and oppressive atmosphere that does not let up until the end. The violence is held in check until the last part of the movie and when it happens it is intense and shockingly over the top. One death by barbell is so unnerving and disgusting I had to replay it at least three or four times. The acting is good but Alex Essoe is both fabulous and disturbing, as the determined to get what she wants at any cost Sarah. She struggles with herself but the darkness prevails in the end. Worth a mention is the effective electronic music score Jonathan Snipes and excellent cinematography by Adam Bricker. The practical effects are gory and ultra-violent. You have to wait for them but it is no problem since the film is not about those scenes and they are just a necessary part of a bigger and better and darker mythology the film creates. I will be checking it out again in a couple weeks. 











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