Here is Always Somewhere Else: The Disappearance of Bas Jan Ader (NR)
Dutch artist Bas Jan Ader's conceptual short films are only really known in the artsiest of art circles. What made him a legend was his bizarre disappearance at sea more than 30 years ago. Wanting to create a piece of art that the world would remember him by, he took a tiny sailboat and was determined to cross the Atlantic in it. Nine months later, the sailboat turned up off the coast of Ireland, and Ader was nowhere to be found. In Here is Always Somewhere Else, fellow Dutch filmmaker Rene Daalder uses Ader's story and art to not only delve into the mystery, but also to pitch Ader, via his short films, as a precursor and inspiration to the YouTube generation. This is an under-the-radar film about an under-the-radar artist. Highly recommended. Louis Fowler
Lower Learning (R)
Anchor Bay Entertainment
Dark comedy is probably the hardest thing to pull off in a movie, treading that fine line between parody and pretension. And indie filmmakers seem to be the worst offenders. Too many seem to think that by creating the most reprehensible characters possible, they've found the easiest way to a laugh. The star-filled Lower Learning (with Jason Biggs, Eva Longoria Parker and Ron Corddry), which I had been looking forward to, is one of the best examples of this laziness. It's a day in the life of Geraldine Ferraro Elementary, where all the teachers are depressed drunks and coke-heads and the principal is taking huge bribes on the side. The idea should reap a few laughs, but this movie is so bitter and desperately trying to shock, that in the end, it's just pathetic. This one earns a big, fat "F." Louis Fowler
Hell Ride (R)
Sixties throwback Larry Bishop, who appeared in some of the best bikesploitation pics, returns in the Quentin Tarantino-produced Hell Ride, a sleazy biker flick that would have worked perfectly as part of Tarantino's co-directed Grindhouse. When a member of the Victors motorcycle gang is brutally cut down, the remaining members take to the road, hunting down the rival Six-Six-Sixers gang responsible for the crime. With the innocence of the '60s long dead thanks in part to the Hells Angels at Altamont, ironically enough the fun, "free spirit" go-go vibe of those earlier B-grade biker films has been replaced with a new-millennium metaphysical nihilism that's relentlessly bleak and stylish as hell. Hell Ride is much more than a tribute; it's the ultimate anti-hero, anti-action action film. Louis Fowler
The costumes were amazing and added to the brilliant production.
The striking colors and textures are reminiscent of Southern Colorado and New Mexico. Lovely work.