Wednesday, February 5, 2014

LOVE AND AIR SEX: the rom-com meets Bryan Poyser; the result is transgressive and sweet

Crude beyond belief -- and in the most endearing manner -- the new film from the very oddly talented Bryan Poyser, LOVE AND AIR SEX, is something to see, hear and experience for yourself. It's hard to think of another movie at once so hugely transgressive and absolutely dedicated to the eternal verities like love and decency. What a trip this movie is! Mr. Poyser (shown below) is the fellow who, via his three full-length films so far, has given us quite a range of human activity -- all of it based around our need for love and acceptance. And sex. Of all sorts.

In his first of those films, Dear Pillow, which hit us just about one decade ago, Poyser explored everything from creativity and pornography to possible man-boy love while keeping you fascinated and off-base. In Lovers of Hate -- from 2010 and which, oddly enough received its theatrical run a full year after its VOD release -- Poyser plays around with love & desire, sex & jealousy, and has you alternately laughing and wincing. Now with this new one, by far his best, as well as his biggest-budget film, he tracks a young split-up couple (two of them actually) and via a kind of performance art (the love & air sex thing), he shows us how some things innate to us human beings simply refuse to roll over and die. Even in this age of irony.

The two couples are played by four lovely actors who beautifully nail their characters, while entertaining us grandly in the process. Ashley Bell (above) and Michael Stahl-David (below, right) play one set, with each one the shy and retiring type -- which the film, always threatening to go over the top, dearly needs.

The other twosome -- just about constantly in your (and their own) face -- is handled by Zach Cregger (above, left) and Sara Paxton (below), the latter in a ground-breaking turn that should turn a lot of heads as to the kind of versatility this young actress might possess.

The two pair are so different that they rather balance each other out, while keeping the movie rolling forward and forever on its toes. Love & Air Sex is also a kind of Valentine to the city of Austin, where most of the movie takes place. It makes this city look so wonderfully inviting and welcoming -- as well as cutting-edge -- that you'll probably want to move there forthwith. (Really: even though it's in Texas.)

Poyser has both directed and had a hand in the screenplay (along with David DeGrow Shotwell and Steven Walters), and while not knowing just who is responsible for what, I have to commend the team on creating some lovely subsidiary characters, too. If the two fellows played by Justin Arnold (above, right) and Marshall Allman (below, right) don't charm the pants off you (as they do our two heroines), then you must be in your underwear already.

The way in which the filmmaker has offered up his story, you really won't know just how he's going to end it. So just-possibly-right-for-each-other are several of these characters that we keep having our expectations upended. This is pleasurable and fairly unusual for a rom-com, which is what Love & Air Sex certainly is. But it's a rom-com with welcome smarts, style and a good deal of street cred. So go, giggle, gasp and enjoy.

From Tribeca Film and running just 91 minutes, the movie opens this Friday at the Cinema Village here in NYC, and elsewhere soon. There will also be a number of personal appearances made by filmmakers and cast. Check the list below to learn if any of them take place near you.

February 7 - New York, NY: Opening at Cinema Village Guests include stars Ashley Bell, Michael Stahl-David, Sara Paxton, director Bryan Poyser, producer Trace Sheehan, and Air Sex Emcee Chris Trew among others. February 14 – Austin, TX: Opening at Alamo Drafthouse Cinema – Slaughter Lane Guests include director Bryan Poyser and star Sara Paxton among others. February 20 - Dallas, TX: Opening at Texas Theater (one night only) Guests include director Bryan Poyser and writer Steven Walters among others. February 21- San Francisco, CA: Opening at Roxie Theater Guests include star Michael Stahl-David and director Bryan Poyser among others. March 1 -Los Angeles, CA: Opening at Crest Theater (one night only) Guests include stars Zach Cregger, Sara Paxton, Michael Stahl-David, director Bryan Poyser, and producer Trace Sheehan among others. April 19 –Seattle, WA: Opening at SIFF Cinema Uptown (one night only) Special guests TBA.

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