Monday, June 20, 2011

Joy and the Apocalypse

A couple weeks back we interviewed Ryan Convery from Fat Foot Films and Dan Black from Rock Your Head Productions about their newest film, Joy and the Apocalypse, a film about the end of the world that has nothing to do with the survivors. Last week, myself, Sarah and Rumel watched the movie. Let's just say if the world really was ending that night, watching JATA isn't the worst way to go. You can check out the trailer here.

From the opening shots, you can tell this film is high quality. The camera work is first-rate, and the sound very crisp and clear. The story takes place with the end of the world right around the corner. Or a few months away, depending on which religious whack job you ask. Benjamin Dover (yep, take a second and get a good laugh from that one), played by Reza Breakstone, has been commissioned by his fiance Linda (Katie Dickinson) to design a church which will be built after the apocalypse. However, when he runs into his ex-girlfriend Joy (Vanessa Leigh), he finds himself questioning his goals, and more importantly, his decisions. Like his choice of a last name. Not the best idea he ever had.

This film takes a completely unexpected turn, while still keeping to the theme of our identity and the choices we make. To me, the film's all about how we define ourselves and the difficulty of breaking out of those roles, given the consequences.

The film takes place in Boston, and we get to see plenty of local landmarks, like the Charles River (home of the world's first six-eyed frog) and Boston Common.

The acting in this film was second-to-none. Breakstone comes across as a man torn by who he's made himself into. While he seems committed to his task of designing the first post-apocalyptic house of worship (as opposed to a house of pancakes, equally important for the survivors), we see how unsure he is. Hell, the guy spends all his free time sketching portraits of Joy. Kind of a sign he's got a few unresolved issues.

Leigh's a laugh riot as Joy, a woman whose oars are nowhere near the water. She's less than thrilled with how things ended between them, and starts stalking Ben as a result. Dickinson plays the role of the controlling, snot-nosed rich brat to perfection. She seems to be the antithesis of Joy, at least in part, and orders Ben around with impunity.

There were really no weaknesses from the remainder of the cast (Ed Gutierrez, Tom Wolfson and Fiore Leo. They all brought their A-game to the table, and big props to the crew for making this production look so damn good.

JATA is the kind of film you need to watch a few times to get all the different themes and story twists, but trust me when I say it's worth it. Even if the world ends.

For more on the film, visit www.joyandtheapocalypse.com.
Be sure to check out www.fatfootfilms.com and www.rockyourheadproductions.com for more on these amazing local filmmakers.

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