Among today’s highlights, look for the documentary Women He’s Undressed, a film about Australian costume designer Orry-Kelly, considered within the industry as a Hollywood legend. Plus, there’s festival favorite, Something Better To Come, a documentary of a young Russian girl called Yula who dreams of enjoying a normal life while living in the largest garbage dump in Europe.
Plus, this evening at the Sedona Performing Arts Center you can see actor Mike Farrell in his one-man show, Dr. Keeling’s Curve, a play by George Shea illustrating the findings of real-life scientist Dr. David Keeling whose research gave us our first, early warnings of climate change.
A film that had its first showing yesterday at the festival is the comedy Look Again. If you missed it, you can catch a repeat showing, Tuesday, February 23, 3:30pm at Harkins Sedona 6, Theatre 6. Here’s a full review:
Ask any writer and they’ll tell you; some of the best ideas come from asking themselves what if…? In the case of writer Daniel O’Connor, the question was what if you could tell at a glance who is good and who is bad?
In the amiable new Canadian comedy Look Again, writer O’Connor, who also produced and directed, presents Amit Gupta (Anand Rajaram), as a young man with a lot of problems. For one thing, Amit has never been a good judge of character with results that speak for themselves. His business partner cleaned out the bank account and stuck Amit with the lease of the office building, and to make matters worse, his girlfriend is secretly seeing someone else. Unable to take life’s disappointments, Amit lays on the train track ready to end it all and waits, only he keeps waiting and no train seems to be coming by.
“I think you should reconsider,” a voice suddenly tells him. When Amit looks up, he discovers he has not one but two unlikely looking guardian angels (Christian Potenza and Darryl Dinn) watching over him, and it’s their job to get Amit back on track. Like Clarence helping George Bailey and earning his wings in the process, these two casually dressed angels are looking to make it all the way up to Angel Level One and it’s by helping Amit that they’ll be helping themselves. And the way they do it? They give Amit a special pair of glasses that when worn enables the young man to accurately see who is a good person and who is bad. Those of good character glow with a rosy red aura; the bad look like TV white noise where the tuning needs adjusting.
With a voice and a delivery reminiscent of comic actor Charlie Day that sounds continually exasperated, Anand Rajaram’s Amit is, despite all flaws, an immediately likable guy who you hope will win. As he’ll later discover, he’s supposed to judge the character of those around him first, then put the glasses on later to see if his judgment was right. Unfortunately for Amit, he does what most of us would probably do given the same set of circumstances; he puts the glasses on first, sees who is of good character and of bad, then makes his choices. As his friend Brad (Joel Keller) tells him, “I don’t want to be slipped the answers to an exam. I wanna see how I do.’ But some things are just too addictive, and after awhile, Amit can’t quite operate without the help of those celestial specs.
Writer O’Connor’s script delivers a constant flow of quips throughout that keeps this good-natured comedy continually buoyant. There are no big laughs, but there’re plenty of funny asides. When Amit asks the angels if they have any special superpowers, one of them answers that he can see into the future, but only by three seconds. “That’s the most stupid skill ever,” Amit declares. “I knew you were gonna say that,” responds the angel. And when Amit is afforded a few minutes with the Big Guy above (Eugene Clark) in a heaven that looks uncannily like a workout gym, the young man announces with some disappointment, “You’re not Morgan Freeman!”
There’s also good support from fresh-faced Brittany Allen as Tanya, the woman Amit meets in a coffee shop. Many may recognize her from TV’s All My Children where in 2010 she played the on-going role of Marissa Chandler. In Look Again, among all the bad characters Amit encounters, Brittany is one of the nice ones possessing that perfect Kylie Minogue girl-next-door appeal who takes a shine to Amit. As seen through his glasses, knowing Tanya has the rosy red glow of goodness around her, Amit’s confidence grows, but there’s still reserve. When Amit hesitates as she’s about to leave the coffee shop, Tanya tells him, “I thought you were going to say something romantic.” “I was,” admits a shy Amit, “But I chickened out.” When Tanya responds with, “Never shy away from romance,” Amit is immediately smitten. And in the process, so are we. She’s a delight.
Running at a brisk 89 minutes, Look Again never overstays its welcome and concludes with a poignant ending and a poignant dedication. There’s also a quote used from Katherine Hepburn in The Philadelphia Story that sums the whole affair up, but to quote it here is a disservice and tantamount to a spoiler. You’ll have to see it for yourself.
Look Again will have a second showing on Tuesday, February 23, 3:30pm at Harkins Sedona 6.