Sunday, October 9, 2011

Matthew Avant's looney LUNOPOLIS takes conspiracy to the nth degree -- and beyond

Film buffs who double as conspiracy theorists may take a particular liking to the straight-to-DVD release LUNOPOLIS, which makes its debut this coming Tuesday, October 11. After playing at what seems like countless festivals -- Nashville , Orlando , Boston Sci-Fi, Buffalo Niagara, Roswell UFO, Shockerfest, Acadiana, Sci-Fi-London and Fantaspoa International Porto Alegre -- and even winning a few awards along the way (Best Director, 2010 Fantastic Planet Film Festival, Sydney; Best Feature Audience Award, 2010 Big Easy Film Fest; Best Sci-Fi Screenplay, 2010 International Horror & Sci-Fi Film Festival; Best Screenplay, 2009 Maverick Movie Awards; Future Vision Award, 2010 Glen Rose Neo-Relix Film Festival), the DVD release should at the very least turn a few heads in the direction of the film's writer/director, Matthew Avant (as in avant-garde?).

In what now seems like standard moc-doc fashion (since Blair Witch, at least), Mr. Avant, shown at right, gives us a crew of documentary filmmakers, including himself, suddenly turned on by and to a possible cover-up/ conspiracy involving everything from time travel and the space-time continuum to a race of people (an awfully lot like us) living on the moon but periodically visiting earth, to a certain Church of Lunology -- which, yes, will remind you of a certain other Church of ___ology and its brainwashed disciples, below, who look a lot like Mormons wearing sunglasses. Oh, yes -- and The Mayan Calendar and that very scary upcoming year 2012. There's more (this is a conspiracy movie, after all), but them's the basics.

Never uninteresting (not when it's covering such a lot of territory), the movie nonetheless proves too long at 98 minutes. Being no-to-very-low budget, it's generally pretty ugly to view, too, though it manages to come up with a few surprising special effects (one of these involving a car) that are fun. And for all of its comprehensive coverage, it's too repetitive. (How often must we see those threatening Church disciples -- who still mange to accomplish just about nothing?)

Yet by tackling so much -- and generally pretty intelligently -- then weaving it together with enough finesse to keep us hooked, the filmmaker and his cast/crew deliver at least half of their goods. The cast, which has evidently been cobbled together via relatives and friends, proves pretty good to so-so, with one standout: a fellow named David Potter, shown below, who plays the key character David James. This guy is a find. Oozing intelligence and senior charisma to spare, he's someone I think we'll be seeing more of -- and we'll certainly be hearing further from filmmaker Avant.

Lunopolis, via Walking Shadows and Virgil Films & Entertainment, will be available Tuesday October 11, for sale or rental.

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

Loved the film - David potter was a wonderfully cast actor - very very believable - talented

James van Maanen said...

Thanks for posting, Anonymous -- and glad to hear someone agrees with me regarding the talented Mr. Potter.