When Chris Mason Johnson's first film, THE NEW TWENTY made its theatrical debut (in a very limited run) earlier this year, after playing several festivals and picking up awards in the process, it was greeted with better-than-faint-praise by the few critics who re-
viewed it. Now that it's out on DVD, it should easily find a larger audience -- and not just from the type of 30-
something crowd the movie covers (and very well) but from any audience on the look-
out for smart new work.
The New Twenty is a very smart film. Johnson -- who directed and co-wrote (with Ishmael Chawla) and won best first-time director at the Fort Lauderdale International Film Fest -- makes so many right choices and hits a symphony of right notes. He offers up his characters and story in swift, sharp strokes that define with subtlety and nuance. Here is a movie in which you consistently feel you understand all the characters -- and more important (and unusual) -- that they actually understand each other, if not themselves. It's surprisingly rare these days to find yourself watching a film in which you feel that the characters know and care for each other in a major way.
sive faces currently to be seen), and a tubby schlubby, Colin Fickes (shown below) who is very funny -- and so real it hurts. In suppor-
ting roles are some always-wonderful standby actors like Larry Pine and Bill Sage (shown above, right) plus another actor new to me, Terry Serpico, who becomes the very energetic and nasty fly-in-the-ointment. Yet, no one's a real villain here. Johnson, too smart to fall for that cliche, knows that we're involved in our own downfall, enabling the snakes we connive with to do their wont.
by Wolfe Video, a company that continues to
increase its range and raise its (and our) taste level.