Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Like Crazy (Rhoades)

Front Row at the Movies

“Like Crazy” is,Well, Like Crazy

Reviewed by Shirrel Rhoades

You’d think making a movie is about as simple as Judy Garland and Mickey Rooney saying, “Hey, my dad has a barn – let’s put on a show!” That is, if you’re director Drake Doremus.

The twentysomething filmmaker did something crazy. He produced a movie titled “Like Crazy” on only $250,000. He shot it with an inexpensive Canon EOS 7D DSLR camera. And most of the dialogue was improvised by the actors.

“I had this love story that was sort of nagging at me that sort of encompassed a lot of things I was feeling that I wanted to convey. I wrote it really quick,” say Doremus.

Doremus came up with a general outline that described what was going to happen. His Austrian-born wife Desiree Pappenscheller says the film is loosely based on their romance and her immigration problems.

“Like Crazy” tells us of two college kids in Los Angeles – a design student and a British exchange student – who fall for each other. She sticks around for the summer, overstaying her student visa. When she tries to return to the States after a family visit to London, she’s “detained, denied entry, turned away, and sent back to England” by hardnosed Immigration officials.

Needless to say, this forces the two crazy kids into a long distance situation that puts a strain on their relationship. And despite all the efforts of an immigration lawyer, the ban isn’t lifted.

Hmm, that happened to my friends Al and Colleen. They solved it by getting married.
But an easy solution doesn’t make for a good movie.

“Like Crazy” – currently playing at Tropic Cinema – stars Anton Yelchin and Felicity Jones as the distance-challenged couple. You’ve seen Soviet-born Anton in “Star Trek” and “Fright Night.” And British-born Felicity in TV’s “The Worst Witch” and “Cemetery Junction.”

Toss in Alex Kingston (TV’s “ER”), Charlie Bewley (“The Twilight Saga”), and Academy Award nominee Jennifer Lawrence (“Winter’s Bone”) to complete the cast.

This is Drake Doremus’s third film. “You know, I think I always wanted to make the harder romantic, more dramatic films, but I didn't really have the skill set to do it yet, so I was pursuing more, really, lighthearted movies. This was sort of like the first foray into doing it. But I always wanted to do this stuff. When I was a kid I was obsessed with, like, ‘Out of Africa,’ and ‘English Patient.’ My mom was like, ‘What is wrong with you? Why are you into these movies?' And I was like, ‘I really want to go see “The English Patient” again!’”
(Don’t panic. This 90-minute film is more than an hour shorter than “The English Patient.”)

Doremus’s romantic drama turned out to be a big hit at both Sundance and Toronto film festivals. “It has been the craziest ride,” he says. “I mean, this movie was so tiny. It was just basically like, ‘Maybe some people will see this movie. Maybe people will relate to it and maybe it will resonate.’ Then to have this reaction and for it to be now coming out is like a dream come true. This has been my dream my whole life. It is crazy. It still hasn’t sunk in yet – how special and grateful I am. It is amazing.”

Yeah, like crazy.
[from Solares Hill}

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