The Arriviste (2012)

Starring Eamon Speer, Mark Fernandes, Gary Devirgilio, Tom Morwick, Raymond Turturro, Paige Ambroziak, Sam Charny, P.J. Cross

Directed by Paschal Santschi

Most low-budget films go the horror route, and while the intro to The Arriviste features a dude getting his hand chopped off, it is quickly apparent that the goal is something other than gory trash. The Arriviste is a mystery crime film, and one that is perhaps more interesting for its backstory than its actual contents. The Arriviste is special in the realm of low-budget, independent filmmaking because Paschal Santschi, the man behind nearly everything in the film, chose to shoot the picture on 35mm film. But wait, isn’t that cost-prohibitive for an indie movie? Usually it is, but by shooting on leftover film from other productions (an old trick used by many budding filmmakers) and by cutting the film’s crew to basically just himself, he kept the total cost for the production just under $10,000. It’s a remarkable feat and is worthy of praise just for the fact that he did it. What’s impressive about The Arriviste though, is that it actually manages to be a good film too! This is an accomplishment in and of itself, as most truly independent productions (as this is) are amateurish at best. The Arriviste remains professional and the 35mm looks great throughout, making for an enjoyable, twisty little movie.

As I mentioned above, the film opens with a man, William, getting his hand chopped off. This sets into motion a cascading series of events involving William’s unfound dead body that doesn’t let up until the final frame. Our main character is Nick, the brother of William, a simple guy doing his best to live out a small existence in his minuscule apartment as he counts off the days of his probation. William left him a note and some keys to an apartment, leading Nick to start an informal investigation into finding his brother’s body. Along the way he comes into contact with a colorful cast of unsympathetic characters that seek to obstruct his way however they can.

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Guest Review: The Secret World of Arrietty (2010/2012)

Allow me to introduce my buddy, Stephen. He’s gonna chime in from time to time with an anime review, so give him a big welcome. First up, it’s the newest Studio Ghibli film to hit US shores!

The Borrower Arrietty [借りぐらしのアリエッティ, Kari Gurashi no Arietti] AKA Arrietty, Arrietty: Le Petit Monde des Chapardeurs
Original Release 2010 in Japan, US Theatrical Release 2012

Starring Bridget Mendler, David Henrie, Amy Poehler, Gracie Poletti, Moisés Arias, Will Arnett, Carol Burnett

Directed by Hiromasa Yonebayashi

Lately, Studio Ghibli has made quite a few adaptations of children’s fantasy stories.  This one is based upon The Borrowers by Mary Norton.  The book was written in 1952 and set in the English countryside, so the film’s setting of modern-day Japan is obviously a bit of a change.  To further muddy the waters, the character names were changed in the Disney release of the film to make them more familiar to Western audiences, or perhaps to match with the original book.  Since I have never read the source material, I can’t say how much the plot was altered for The Secret World of Arrietty, but anyone who read the book should go in expecting something a little different from the original.

The film starts off with a boy named Shawn, who has a heart condition, and he has been sent to an old house in the country to get some rest.  When he arrives, he catches sight of young Arrietty, a miniscule girl who is one of the Borrowers that live under the house.  Borrowers are only a few inches tall, and slink around the house at night, “borrowing” what they need from the humans.  They bear quite a few similarities to various creatures of English folklore, most notably Brownies.  Shawn has arrived on the eve of Arrietty’s first borrowing, and she is eager to prove herself, despite the new human who makes sneaking around the house riskier.

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