Yeah, I'm participating in "The Cinematic Katzenjammer"'s Secret Santa blogathon. I know, some of my longtime readers will find the irony in this, but you know what, I haven't been as participatory in the internet film blogger community as I should've been anyway, a lot of that's my fault, and I need to get more involved, and besides that, I can always use some new inspiration to write about, so, I'm participating in their blogathon. I figured what-the-hell, I give a movie to a blogger, he/she gives a movie to me to review, doesn't sound so bad. Let's get in the holiday spirit, and all that crap. Besides I like giving movies out, and whoever got "Dinner Rush", I hope you enjoy it as much as I do. Also, an interesting piece of irony, was the film I got, Amy Seimetz's "Sun Don't Shine", since my opinion on Shane Carruth's latest film "Upstream Color", has been one of constant debate and discussion on some Facebook film groups, (which shocked the hell out of me, I thought it was pretty clearly a piece of crap, but [shrugs]) and she played the lead in that film, so part of the conspiracy theorists in me, wonders exactly how random these secret Santa's are, exactly. Seems somewhat poetic to me, but that's the movie I got, and it was a little hard to find, btw; the link I've posted below is the website where I watched it, since I couldn't find it on Netflix or Hulu, or at my library or the video store.
You know, I'm just kidding right? There's no video stores around here anymore. (You're all booing that joke aren't ya? You know, so am I; I wish there were video stores around.) Anyway, I don't know who gave me "Sun Don't Shine", but here's my review, and for the first of many times, I shall say, Happy Holidays to Everyone!
SUN DON'T SHINE (2013) Director: Amy Seimetz
I was dubious at first to "Sun Don't Shine," seeing the opening sequence of a guy, throwing and pushing and choking a girl in the mud. After getting the film as apart of a Secret Santa blogathon that The Cinematic Katzenjammer is holding, I wasn't exactly looking forward to seeing a film by the person who starred in Shane Carruth's latest monstrosity "Upstream Color", and wasn't too familiar to me, else-wise. I wouldn't say I was completely won over however, but eventually I got drawn into the film. The two people playing a little two aggressively in the mud are Crystal and Leo (Kate Lyn Sheil and Kentucker Audley), a troubled young couple who are apparently on a runaway road trip to the swamps of Central Florida to live out their lives. She's a bit of a waif, who looks and acts around 18 or 19, but we learn has a husband, Greg (Gregory Gordon Schmidt) who we learn later, is in the trunk of the car they're driving down to Florida in. She's been having an affair with Leo, and she claims he hit her and abused her. There's also mention of a child, Marla that she had, which she talks about when Leo announces that they're going to see an old ex-girlfriend of his, whining and worrying about whether he's still faithful to her. (You'd think killing her husband and driving down to Florida to dump the body would be enough, but....) You know, there are a lot of girls like that, who fall so deeply in love, and become all too worried and confrontational with their lovers one second, and then submissive doormats to them the next. She has reason to worry by the way, when Terri (Kit Gwin) tries and succeeds at seducing Leo. They met each other in a similar way that he met Crystal. She's considerably older and sensual, and more dominant than him, indicating the kind of relationship evolution that Leo's been going through. Similar to Carruth, Seimetz is clearly inspired by Terence Malick's work, particularly "Badlands" which also is about a couple with a murderous man and a less-than-aware girl traveling across country, looking for a new home. The landscapes and the lighting is harrowing. The title is incredibly ironic, 'cause I don't think there's a single shot at night in the movie, not outside anyway. The sun is constantly shining. Some have referred to this as a film noir, and it's got some elements, but it doesn't have any shadows and dark corners to hide in. Seimetz clearly knows storytelling, although she does need to work a bit on some exposition dialogue. At a very brisk 79 minutes, the movie doesn't stay past it's welcome, but it comes close at times, and occasionally dwells on long passages that don't evolve the plot much. She's better at reveals through her dialogue, and the actors certainly are put through a lot, particularly Sheil, who's definitely a talent on the rise. She's been in quite a few indy films in recent years, probably "V/H/S" being the most notable, but checking her imdb page, she's got seven unreleased films that have either completed shooting and haven't been released yet, or are still in post-preduction, that's a lot. She might have one of those Jessica Chastain years where seven or eight of her films come out in the same year, and suddenly she's a household name. As for "Sun Don't Shine", it's not perfect, it's a little scattered, but it's a very clear vision, and a classic story, and good characters, told in, a better way than normal, so I'm recommending it. It's a good first feature from Seimetz, who's made some well-regarded shorts previously herself; I'm looking forward to seeing what she does next.