Alan Tracy is an independent film director and film producer currently based in Minnesota. He was a recent guest commentator on our MIDG Oscars Podcast.
He is releasing his latest short film, The Strike this week.
Alan Tracy is no new comer to film in Minnesota. He has been making films in the Twin Cities and Los Angeles for the past 11 years now. During this time he has completed 18 short films, 1 music video, and has helped on other various shorts, pilots, and web series. His latest film, The Strike, is being released this week and he is very excited to see the response of his latest work.
The Strike is a unique view of domestic violence that covers many women’s issues and relationship troubles. It follows a couple as they deal with complications from an unexpected pregnancy, separation, love, and violence. It is a solid story and production for a short film produced at this level and deserves a place on any short film must see list.
You can catch The Strike here: https://vimeo.com/ondemand/thestrike
You can see more of Alan’s work at CollidingPictures.com. You can also follow him on Twitter: @collidingpix Or Facebook: /collidingpictures
By Ezra Stead
This is one of the most persistent clichés of film criticism: that the book is always better than its film adaptation. More often than not, it’s true, as the novel is generally able to provide a richer, more nuanced character study, not limited to only two senses the way films are. However, in some cases, less is more. Here are seven films that I would argue are even better than the books on which they are based.
1. THE MALTESE FALCON (1941) – Dashiell Hammet’s original 1930 detective novel is a masterpiece of stylistic economy, so faithfully adapted by director John Huston that reading the novel is almost like reading an exceptionally detailed treatment for the film. However, eight simple words improvised by Humphrey Bogart as detective Sam Spade make all the difference. When asked what the titular bird sculpture is at the end of the film, Spade says, “It’s the stuff that dreams are made of.” This classic, oft-quoted line of dialogue has become the most memorable moment of the film, a subtle commentary on filmmaking itself, especially of the Hollywood “Dream Factory” variety, of which The Maltese Falcon was itself a part. The line is nowhere to be found in the book, and that alone is enough to warrant the film’s inclusion on this list. Read More
By Ezra Stead
I’ve been making these lists, in one form or another, for a dozen years now, and every year I’ve done my best to balance my own personal preferences with an objective and educated view of cinema in order to recommend not only my personal favorite films of any given year, but also those I believe to be the best. Well, no more! This year, and forever onward, I strive to give you only my own subjective favorites, the films that I have watched and am likely to watch over and over again throughout the years. When I look back over the last five years, for example, I have to admit that these have proven to be my actual favorite films, despite what I may have written at the time in an effort to recognize other worthy cinematic achievements to which I may or may not have returned even once in the years since: The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford (2007); The Dark Knight (2008); Inglourious Basterds (2009); Dogtooth (2010); and Drive (2011).
Of those five, only Dogtooth actually topped my list at the time. So, with this in mind, I present my favorite films of 2012, in all their highly subjective glory. Since ranking films in order of preference is often at least somewhat arbitrary, I should admit that some of these may have made it into the top 10, rather than the runner-up category, solely because they were more fun to write about. However, my top 5 is solidly made up of films I have already seen at least twice, and feel strongly that I would be more than happy to watch again at absolutely any time. Read More
By Scott Martin
Young Adult, USA, 2011
Directed by Jason Reitman
Meet Mavis Gary. Peculiar name, sure, but consider the woman: she’s an alcoholic, forever single, 40-year-old former beauty queen for Minnesota (Mercury, to be exact). Fitting that someone so alienating comes from a place named after a planet. It’s worth noting that Young Adult doesn’t follow any sort of conventional formula (even if that’s becoming a bit conventional these days). Diablo Cody, who won a well-deserved Oscar for writing Juno, and Jason Reitman, who received a well-deserved nomination for directing it, team up again to bring us this divisive film. That’s probably the best way of putting it. It seems to be something you either fall in love with or hate from the moment it starts. I’m happy to say that I fell in love with it, and its characters. Even Mavis. Read More
By Ezra Stead
Wasted on the Young, USA, 2010
Directed by Evan Drolet Cook
More than any other movie I can remember, Evan Drolet Cook’s Wasted on the Young is Minneapolis. It evoked nostalgic feelings in me that undoubtedly make it impossible for me to fairly and objectively review the film, but as producer Riley Lang told me, that was the film’s goal. It set out to be a slice of life in the Minneapolis of 2009, and at that it succeeds commendably, but I think it also manages to reach a little further than that, nicely exploring the sentiment behind the famous quote that lends the film its title.
Wasted follows several different characters through several days in their lives in what is essentially an ensemble comedy. The primary protagonist is Matt (Matt Franta), a sort of directionless guy who is not above lying about being a vegetarian in order to favorably impress Susan (Sara Marie Reinke), a rather neurotic woman with whom he has become infatuated. Matt’s best friend, Cody (Cody Sorensen), is basically the comic relief to Matt’s straight man, and he is having relationship troubles of his own, having recently told his girlfriend, Laura (Anna Reichert), that he loves her, though he isn’t really sure he meant it. Now he fears he’s going to have to say it over and over again until they break up, which is generally how these things go. A third player in this circle of friends is Rachel (Hannah Glaser), whose boyfriend, Ian (John Toycen), has increasingly begun to alienate her with his non-stop singer-songwriter-ing; he has become, much to her chagrin, that douchebag who brings his guitar to parties and plays his whiny emo songs whether anyone likes them or not. Read More
By Ezra Stead
Last Friday I attended a strange and exciting event within walking distance of my apartment in Crown Heights, Brooklyn; Kings County Cinema Society presented a showcase of short films made by filmmakers from Brooklyn and beyond, including several New York and Brooklyn premieres, at Littlefield NYC, a performance and art space with a well-stocked bar and a good-sized screening room. As is to be expected in a sort of punk rock/hipster gallery, seating for the show was folding chairs, which made the viewing experience a bit less than comfortable after a while, but the films were mostly quite good, and in addition to the usual popcorn and peanuts, there were delicious peanut butter chocolate chip cookies on hand at the bar, free of charge. I helped myself to one of these and a bottle of beer and settled in for an evening of mostly comedic shorts from the borough that is now my second home (Minneapolis will always be my first).Â Read More
By Colleen Powers
The City, USA, 2009
Directed by James Vogel
Shameless Plug Alert â€“ The following is a review originally published in The Wake magazine (http://www.wakemag.org/) of a film co-written by and starring Movies I Didn’t Get’s own head editor, Ezra Stead. We are republishing it as part of our continuing quest to provide information on lesser-known films, as well as mainstream and indie movies that are on the entire nation’s radar. While Ezra edited and posted the review, he had no hand at all in its writing, outside of the quoted interview segments below:
The City, first screened at Minneapolis’s Oak Street Cinema on November 19, 2009, may sound like any other violent, low-budget action flick trying to live up to Scorsese or Tarantino, but a clever premise laced with smart subtext and wicked humor makes this a film worth seeing.