L.A. Weekly

(I took the liberty of correcting the spelling of my name.)

April 1 - 7, 2005


Now in its seventh year, this homespun, far-out (literally, all the way to Woodland Hills and Calabasas) festival dedicated to "celebrating breakout acting in independent film" manages this year to achieve its objective, and on a somewhat more impressive scale than hitherto, with 15 world premieres among its 28 features, plus a closing-night presentation of Open Hearts director Susan Beir's Sundance 2005 Audience Award winner, Brothers, just weeks prior to its theatrical opening. Among the festival's strongest offerings, in terms of performance and screenwriting, is Dan Sallitt's 65-minute chamber drama All the Ships at Sea, in which a pair of tormented siblings (Strawn Bovee and Edith Meeks) whose metaphysical storm shelters have begun to collapse about them attempt - in ways both spoken and unspoken, and in either case possibly futile - to ease each other through their respective crises of faith. Also not to be missed are the charming, if disastrously titled, Pee Stains and Other Disasters, from writer Mike Horelick and director Jon Cornoy, a bittersweet coming-of-age comedy set amid the troubled family lives of a couple of SoCal skateboard kids (Michael Soll and Steele Justiss, both good), and the intense drama Faithless Games, written by Tina Diosi and directed by Michaela Pavlátová, about violations of trust among a group of Czechs and Slovaks reluctantly cohabiting near the Hungarian border. (At the Edwards Grand Palace Stadium 6 Cinemas, on the Commons at Calabasas, 4767 Commons Way, Calabasas; and the Motion Picture and Television Fund's Louis B. Mayer Theater, 23388 Mulholland Dr., Woodland Hills; Fri., April 1-Fri., April 8. Call (800) 965-4827 for tickets; for information, visit www.methodfest.com.)

—Ron Stringer