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Friday, May 27, 2011

TROLLHUNTERS

A TRIBECA FILM FESTIVAL SELECTION

By D.E.Levine

Perhaps it's because my Norwegian friends aren't overtly funny that I wasn't expecting a hilarious film. But, I was wrong. This is as black comedy if ever there was one and it will keep you laughing even after you leave the theater.

The hilarious tale centers around a trio of students who discover that the Norwegian government has been involved in a conspiracy to cover up the existence of of giant Trolls.

The students always thought Trolls were simply part of Norwegian folklore but once they learn that they're for real the students set out to capture some.

The premise behind the film is that the students, who set out to document trolls with handheld cameras, have mysteriously disappeared. There are so many trolls that Norway has a secret government agency, the Troll Security Service - TSS, to eliminate the trolls and anyone who stumbles upon the secret.

I'm sure the trolls are supposed to be frightening, and then latest CGI techniques have been used to create them, but they're absolutely hilarious. Most trolls look like overstuffed dolls and are kind of cuddly rather than scary.

We learn that trolls come in breeds and that the breeds all look different. Basically, since they can't stand exposure to UV light, Hans, a trollhunter from the TSS, runs around turning on large sun lamps and annihilating trolls.

The government covers up troll attacks by claiming they're due to bears and proceeds to dump bear carcases and make paw prints wherever an attack has taken place.

Of course, while I may not find the trolls scary, Hans certainly does and has to contend with all types of difficult situations created by the trolls. This film probably falls best into the category Dramedy combining drama/adventure with comedy.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

CAROL CHANNING: LARGER THAN LIFE

A TRIBECA FILM FESTIVAL SELECTION

By D.E.Levine

Director Dori Berntein once again gives us an exceptional documentary.

Carol Channing's fame as a performer is known around the globe. An exceptional looking woman with comedic timing and an easily identifiable singing voice, Channing has been a Broadway mainstay for over 60 years.

Now 91, there's nothing ordinary about Channing, who delights in childlike glee over life, love and her incredible show business career.

Reading her biography is interesting but hearing Channing tell her stories of life on the stage is funny, just like she is and evidently has always been. Bernstein has created a love letter of sorts, but it only skims the surface.

Even with out the artificial platinum wig and false eyelashes we never really get to know Carol herself. She tells delightful anecdotes, infuses humor into almost everything, and is now considered a grand old dame of the theater - but the Carol we see is very much the actress she invented.

The film is delightful to watch, upbeat in every way, but we never really get to know Carol Channing.