Griffin Dunne -- whom those of us of a certain generation probably best remember for An American Werewolf in London and After Hours. This actor has never stopped working in film and TV, though there was a period from around 1995 through 2000 that we saw very little of him. This year, already, he's back in spades, giving two terrific performances in one good film -- THE DISCOVERERS, under consideration here and in which he plays the lead -- and another absolutely splendid one: Rob the Mob, which opened this past March and in which Mr. Dunne, in a choice supporting role, plays one of the most memorable employers in film history to the two leading characters.
Justin Schwarz, the fellow pictured at right who both wrote and directed The Discoverers, had the weirdly amusing idea of conflating a typically broken American family with Americana of another bizarre kind -- the sort that recreates famous events from our country's history as though they were happening right now (you know: Civil War battles and the like). In this case, it's playing out a piece of the famed journey taken by explorers Lewis and Clark, which began outside of Pittsburgh and then continued westward.
Devon Graye, below, left, of the recent 13 Sins) and daughter (Madeleine Martin, below, right, of the recent Refuge) -- dad and children are about to take a planned vacation when life intrudes -- in the form of an unexpected phone call from a brother informing our hero of major problems with the family's mom and dad. (Yes, this sudden phone call is practically verbatim of what happens in yesterday's film -- A Short History of Decay.)
Stuart Margolin, below, right, he's both comic and sad, a figure of fun -- until he finally becomes an angry and very real person (and problem). The theme of "exploration" -- as done by history's famous duo, and now the rather silly re-creators of this event, against that of our Lewis Birch, who must do some real exploration of his own to discover who the hell his children are -- is handled pretty well, if stated a little obviously by the filmmaker. Fortunately, Schwarz is helped enormously by his talented cast.
Cara Buono (below, left), Becky Ann Baker (second left) and Ann Dowd provide ace support, while the always dependable David Rasche, as the near-lunatic in charge of the re-creation, provides plenty of laughs.
Dreama Walker, above, right, and below, left) helps bring things together.
Village East Cinema and in Los Angeles on May 30 at the Arclight Cinema, Hollywood. You can see other currently scheduled playdates, with cities and theaters, by clicking here.