Cogill Reviews Two Indy Films at #DIFF2017 “Bomb City” & “The Big Spoon”

What I love about the Dallas International Film Festival, presented by the Dallas Film Society, is the chance to see films that are well made and significant, yet still flying a bit under the radar. Attending the premiere of, “Bomb City,” had me teary eyed and emotional towards this shocking true Texas story, and extremely grateful it ever got made. “The Big Spoon” made me swoon. More on both below. #DIFF2017 runs through April 9. See you at the movies.

The Film: “Bomb City”

“Bomb City” is based on the true story of Brian Deneke, a punk rocker in Amarillo, Texas in the 1990’s and the conservative side of the town that would have no part of such nonsense. This film goes far beyond, “punk rockers are people too.”

Eventually, the movie becomes a courtroom crime drama trying to put the pieces together after Brian’s violent death during a late-night confrontation between the local high school jocks and their “alternative” counterparts.

Director Jamison Brooks has created an unusual cinematic mix of more than just intolerance, anger, and anarchy, but makes the audience feel like it could have happened yesterday rather than in 1997.

“Bomb City” has a way of making sense of a story that makes no sense on either side of the social spectrum. It has tragedy written all over it’s well-acted screenplay and it’s an important film to digest no matter what your current day politics dictate or your personal taste in music.

This is why I love film festivals and it’s intimate access. Some of the cast and crew stood at the front of the theater to honor not just Brian Deneke and the project, but also Brian’s parents sitting in the audience.

If you tell the truth in cinema, there is often a higher purpose.

The Film: “The Big Spoon”

I am a fan of, “The Big Spoon,” a movie that celebrates a female-driven story with honesty and integrity, and was made on a micro-budget. A movie you will find at film festivals and be glad you did. I just saw this delightful little gem at The 2017 Dallas International Film Festival.

Mallory Culbert writes and stars as, “Mallory,” a thirty-something living in Austin and struggling in her current relationship with Ben, played as a self-important writer by, Zach Knighton (Believe Me, Happy Endings).

Things become complicated when her free-spirited friend Elise played by, Isabelle McNally, comes to visit with her hot-blooded boyfriend played with wide-eyed wonder by, Augustin Silva.

It’s a good mix of people if you want chaos under the same roof and that’s exactly what happens to Mallory, who is overly attentive, good natured, and a bit of a parent.  It would take a special guy to hold on to Mallory, and Ben appears to be going in the wrong direction. So, what does Mallory really want and what is taking her so long?

“The Big Spoon” has insights into human behavior that elevate the screenplay into something highly watchable and ultimately enjoyable. Director Carlyn Hudson has created a slice of life that is never desperate or severe, just cool, and honest. These are real people who say and do real things. You have to give them some space and time, and that’s what Mallory does.

It’s also a good little movie about hope. Hope that a film like this can get made and hope that women like Mallory can walk away and chase her own dreams.

Now more than ever we need to support the arts, in particular smart, elevated independent films and filmmakers. The Dallas Film Society celebrates the work of film artists from throughout the state, and around the world. The 2017 Dallas International Film Festival runs through April 9th, featuring more than 150 films. Additional details on their website.

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