Saturday, May 10, 2014

Justin Owensby's CHAPMAN opens in New York City and Los Angeles; Colorado should be proud.

Movie scenery doesn't get much prettier than that of CHAPMAN, a new melodrama with occasional touches of romance, comedy and drug use. "Where was this filmed?" wondered my spouse aloud, as we watched. "Maybe Colorado, as one character was wearing a Colorado shirt..." According to the end credits, that would be exactly the state, and boy, does it look glorious. All by itself, too: none of this "added special effects" stuff. The scenery, with cinematography by Sean Stiegemeier, is one good reason to watch the movie.

Another is the remarkably smart visual casting in the younger/older selves of the two main male characters. Otherwise, it seems as though first-time, full-length filmmaker Justin Owensby, for whom I have given up trying to find a decent photo (not to mention any from the movie itself), had some issues from the past to work out and so handled them via this not uninteresting but finally too shallow and easily resolved movie. In fact, the more information that Mr. Owensby doles slowly out, the less interesting and believable things become. The story has to do with an approaching-middle-age man with a lot of issues from the past that now come back to corral him.

Soon he is flyng back to his former home, where old (sort-of) friends appear and try to engage him. Or not. There's a smart, sassy girl at the rent-a-car booth who used to know him -- which leads to some sex, deserved anger, and a bell-hop costume. Slowly, via flashbacks we discover who this guy was and now is and what events from the past seem to have unhinged him this thoroughly. That's it. At the end of it all, you'll feel that it's been certainly painless to view. But that is not the same thing as a recommendation to watch.

Chapman, by the way, refers to an evidently famous dam in the state's National Park area. Chapman, the movie, opened yesterday in New York City (the Quad Cinema) and Los Angeles (Laemmle's Music Hall 3).

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