The real star of this year's Palm Beach International Film Festival (2013) is a film entitled Comedy Warriors: Healing Through Humor. The title of the movie is derived from the labeling of United States soldiers that are recovering from devastation injuries while in action in either Afghanistan or Iraq. These soldiers are referred to as "Wounded Warriors". This sobriquet of sorts has a double meaning because the brave men and women that have been injured are indeed wounded both physically and psychologically. This brings us to the raison d'être for the film Comedy Warriors. Five afflicted soldiers have brought not only their harrowing stories to life, but also their pain and anguish through comedy. Part of their mental healing process has involved learning to channel their pain into humor because of its therapeutic properties. Put laconically, sometimes life is too short to wallow when we can transfer our feelings of suffering into humor in order to fully share our stories. Comedy Warriors: Healing Through Humor is a one of a kind movie that will break out hearts and yet somehow we will continue laughing throughout the show.
"Sleeping with Siri" debuted today at the Palm Beach International Film Festival (PBIFF). "Sleeping with Siri" is for all intents and purposes the brainchild of Seattle based author Michael Stusser. Stusser looks risibly similar to Food Network personality Andrew Zimmern (except with a full head of hair), and he possesses the comedic talent that Jerry Seinfeld embodied during his heyday. Inspired by a recent phenomenon that has swept through the teenage world, Stusser performed an experiment on camera that became an instant success from the second filming began. Known aptly as the "digital blackout campaign", teenagers across the United States take a vow to remove all technology from their lives unless said digital communication is thrust upon them externally. Five years ago such a concept would have seemed laughably simple. Circa 2013, rejecting technology seems almost primitive and nonsensical. In "Sleeping with Siri", the perils of the overuse and the underutilization of digital technologies is put to the test via Michael Stusser, a.k.a. the one man comedy megamind.
The Frankenstein Theory movie is about a documentary film cast in search of the semi-immortal Frankenstein. This is not your Uncle's Sasquatch gang drinking beers and waxing poetic about a footprint in the snow in their backyard. Instead, this is a horror movie that avails itself of "found footage" from the film crew that died in the attempt to unveil Mary Shelley's apparently non-fictional monster to modern eyes. The Frankenstein Theory movie is not for the faint of heart, nor is it intended for stoners that will laugh at anything. The Frankenstein Theory movie's director Andrew Weiner takes his job seriously. Exposing the truth behind Mary Shelley's now non-mythical monster is what he plays at and his vehicle is the terrifying footage of the latest victims of the beast.
Bullying occurs ubiquitously. Almost every American, regardless of his/her age, has been either a victim or a victimizer, and in some cases both. It matters not whether someone is the offender or the offended because there is a root cause that first needs to be addressed before anything can begin to be solved. This cause is human instinct. The basest of all human instincts is to kill or be killed. Put laconically, the loudest animal more often than not reaps the greatest rewards. When a weak link is discovered in a herd or a tribe, the leaders work to immediately expurgate the isolated member. Kids are in the throes of developing a personality, an identity, and a moral compass. Without ironclad supervision and parenting, it is nearly impossible for all instances of bullying to be policed. On that grim note, writer/director Lee Hirsch's documentary movie Bully presents a brutal and ominous portrait of bullying across America. Over 13 million kids are reported to be bullied per annum and this does not cover the unreported victims or account for the millions of victimizers. The movie Bully zeroes in on several brutal and prominent examples of real life victims in order to illustrate the magnitude of this horrible problem that plagues our society.
Sholem Aleichem (born Solomon Rabinovitz) was the son of a merchant from a crammed, small, Jewish shtetl or settlement. There he enjoyed what one narrator labels an unparalleled "Jewish intimacy" during the mid to late nineteenth century. He became a humorist, satirist and a playwright (most recognizably his tales of Tevye 'the Milkman' that were later transformed into the epic musical "Fiddler on the Roof"). The narrator rightly illuminates the true historical genius of Aleichem in that he understood and perfectly characterized the shifting of the times for Jews living in the pale from all aspects (cultural, theologically, and economically). The Jewish writer composed the majority of his masterworks in Yiddish despite having begun his career writing in both Russian and Hebrew prose. Sholem Aleichem: Laughing in the Darkness is a narrated biography/documentary on one of the finest Jewish writers that happens to be one of the most acclaimed authors of all time.
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