McCarver and Stephanie Dunbar take a romantic independent movie
making feature and teach a vital lesson on how to be a director in
this Austin made movie by Director James Christopher.
News & Entertainment Magazine took the time to attend the
Houston screening of Director James Christopher’s feature comedy
motion picture, “Goin’ Guerrilla” at Houston’s newest
theater - the Alamo Drafthouse-Vintage Park on January 14th,
2014. WE met several people associated with the project including
Mr. Christopher, Cinematographer Chris Copple, Actress Terissa
Kelton and Associate Producer Michelle Mower.
typical of Houston, the support of independent projects did NOT fill
up the theater. This, in our opinion, was a treat for us to have a
small audience and the theater to ourselves. It made for a more
realistic viewing experience. Prior to the screening we spoke with
cinematographer Chris Copple who told us that he used a Canon D7 to
shoot this movie in its entirely. Quite an accomplishment for a
small hand held digital camera. His work on “Goin’ Guerrilla”
is noticeably inline with regard to blocking, composition and
lighting – photographic skills needed for making a movie.
Twitchy Dolphin Flix, out of Austin, “Goin’ Guerrilla” tells
the story of Jeff (played by Mark McCarver), a ball-less independent
screenwriter whose claim to fame comes from writing a series of T
and A college comedy-sex movies with his partner and brother Tony
(played by Luke Francis). Wanting to be more of a serious writer,
Jeff becomes weary of and dissatisfied with these exploitation films
after seeing that his movies are ending up in the five-dollar bin at
the store. When an opportunity to write and direct a no-budget
period romantic comedy called “Across the Sea of the Heart”
comes his way, and to prove to investors that he can make a serious
movie, Jeff, assembles a motley crew of filmmakers. One catch…he
has to give the lead role to the TV star of the longest running
sitcom in history, “My Girl Cindi”- child star, now grown up…Cindi
(played by Ashley Serrao) who is trying to break into films but has
no cinematic talent.
whipped but determined to make this movie, Jeff meets the girl of
his dreams Amanda (played by Stephanie Dunbar), an aspiring writer,
actress and, at one time, a doormat and personal assistant to the
diva Cindi. Conflict between the two women creates animosity on the
set and Jeff is caught in the middle of having to make his movie
with Cindi and the love for Amanda.
troubles between the two women and the reluctance of Jeff to step up
to the plate, the crew starts to lose respect and confidence in this
first time director. Jeff must now find the courage to determine who
will play the lead, how this movie will be made and lead the crew to
the making of his break-out movie.
Directed by James Christopher and with comedic flare, “Goin’
Guerrilla” is the 7th of a dozen feature movies by
Twitchy Dolphin Flix. Here,
the director takes the audience, somewhat loosely, behind the scenes
and on the set of movie-making with a not quite so professional but
dedicated crew of filmmakers. Believable? It’s a movie.
the story was a bit difficult to follow as there seemed to be a
montage of scenes over-laid by a narration that back-tracked the
history of the brothers Jeff and Tony as they rise and fall from
fame with their exploitation movies, AND, at the same time,
revealing the back-story leading the audience on the spiral down the
TV diva’s inevitable career move to film. Rack it up as scene and
character development, the opening sequence ran a little long as it
explains the two opponents.
feature movie seems to become focused after the opening sequence, as
there is a drastic drop in visual stimulation and fast cuts, giving
the audience time to soak in the back-story and then move them
forward to the plot and the substance of the story.
title of the movie reflects, “Goin’ Guerrilla”, the reference
is that the moviemakers are taking steps to catch their scenes in
public areas where permits and permission may be required. This is
typical of independent movie-making characterize by lo-no budgets,
simple crew and using whatever is available for props. The point is
to be innovative in the process.
One interesting scene that the director captures, quite
brilliantly, is the use of a US Battleship to enhance the making of
their period war piece. Mr. Christopher explains it rather well and
was able to visualize the “guerrilla” process.
comedy and a coming of “character” movie, the main characters,
Jeff and Amanda, play the straight men, while the rest of the cast
perform their idiocracies.
the movie is well made. The cinematographer’s use of the camera is
outstanding in movement, angles and innovative shots. Sound was
consistent throughout the entirety of the movie and the music
soundtrack moved the film nicely to create mood and atmosphere.
There wasn’t really anything jumping out at us with regard to its
production value considering it was an independent movie. Casting
was an ensemble of talented actors and deserve recognition for there
performances. Believable and in “character”, each of the actors
were easy to follow and identify with.
We feel the
director did an excellent job in visualizing his story to the big
screen. With more funding this director is well on his way to making
in my mind was the lack of tying up the story within the story.
Instead, Director James Christopher closes out the movie leaving the
audience wondering what happened to the movie within the movie.
a side note, there was a secondary story and the interjection of
Tony throughout the movie, Jeff’s outlandish brother and director
of the exploitation movie. Here, he is on his own to create a script
and gathering inspiration from unconventional means, mostly scantly
clad women. Yet, by the end of this movie the audience is lost as to
why Tony’s scenes were save from the editors blade as they
didn’t really contribute to the main plot of the movie - perhaps
it served as a diversion or just comic relief. But, it works to move
the primary story from one scene to the other – transitional
movie as funny as it was built up to be? WE don’t think so. It had
its moments and some of the dialogue was witty, but overall it was,
at best, entertaining and, at times, a bit slow.
This is the
type of movie that you stick into your DVD/BluRay player when you
want to watch something that doesn’t demand your time to think. If
you space out or leave the room you can pretty much pick up where
you left off and not have missed anything important. It’s not that
funny of a movie but it is a fun movie to watch. Funlarious? Hardly.
But, from a directing standpoint James Christopher did a fantastic
job in capturing and telling a story called “Goin’ Guerrilla”.
Check it out for yourself and support independent filmmaking.
WE give it
a 3.8 out of 5 on the TSIRS scale.
was at the screening and we took some pictures. You can see them at:
News & Entertainment Magazine was able to grab Director James
Christopher prior to the screening of his movie and he talked about
his new feature. You can see that video on our YouTube Channel at: http://youtu.be/aBDrWrIrJ3w
Production Studio: Twitchy Dolphin Flix
time: 96 Minutes
Premiere: October 19th, 2013 – Austin, TX
Premiere: January 14th, 2014
by: James Christopher
Producer: Nathan Bybee, Jessica Bybee-Dziedzic
Francis Casanova (Rodriquez), James Christopher, Terissa Kelton,
Lauren Shelton and Allison Wood
Producers: Michelle Mower, Marc Wasserman
McCarver, Stephanie Dunbar, Benjamin Jabe, Phillip Emanuel, Luke
Francis, Terissa Kelton, Christian Swacker, Heather Wallis, Natalie
Wilemon, Ashely Serrao, Daniel Cano, Allison Wood, Bobby Simpson II,
James Christopher, Carlo Rodriguez.