Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Kyle Eaton's SHUT UP ANTHONY to screen at this year's Brooklyn Film Festival, June 2-11

If you're in the Brooklyn area and looking for a decent dark comedy about neurotics and their druthers, you could do a lot worse that a new movie from Oregon filmmaker Kyle Eaton entitled SHUT UP ANTHONY that makes it East Coast premiere this coming weekend as part of the 2017 Brooklyn Film Festival. In it, the filmmaker (Mr. Eaton is shown just below) tracks the tale of the titular Portland fellow, an unhappy-but-he-doesn't-seem-to-know-it guy who manages to lose his girlfriend, job and most of his little remaining dignity over the course of a very fraught weekend.

As acted by an unusual performer named Robert D'Esposito (shown below, left, and further below, right), Anthony could be properly described as your typical "big lug": a little overweight, nothing special in the looks department, alternately appealing and not so, and yet oddly sexy at times. Mr. D'Esposito makes sure this character stays just this side of nasty. He talks too much, and doesn't have a lot that's positive to say. Yet he is intelligent and sometimes darkly funny, so it's not all that difficult to sort of, kind of, just barely enjoy him. A little. This is quite a balancing act, and D'Esposito walks the tightrope well.

Mr. Eaton has also given his characters enough interesting things to say that we easily hang on. When Anthony hightails it out of town to head for the timeshare that his family has co-owned (with another family) for years, he runs into an old friend, Tim (Jon Titterington, above, right and below, left) whom he has not seen for maybe a decade.

The two prove to meld like the proverbial oil and water, and as hostilities escalate, the movie grows darker -- and funnier. The filmmaker relies a bit too heavily on the trope of the old-family-secrets-revealed, and so his film turns out not to be quite as original as we might have imagined going in.

But the performances are excellent, and when that girlfriend (the very good Katie Michels, above) turns up at the timeshare, things arrive at a nicely foaming climax involving photos important to both families and a very necessary detente.

Along the way we get a gem of a scene involving a perky, adorable motel clerk (Amy Miller, above) and another in a bar with an lanky and aggressive pool player.

What happens when our boy gives into alcohol and mushrooms -- involving finger-painting, photography and a couch -- provides the movie's funniest moments.

All in all, Shut Up Anthony amuses and entertains just well enough to make its 92 minutes move along in sprightly fashion. It will screen at the Brooklyn Film Festival this Saturday, June 3, at 4 pm and again the following Saturday, June 10 at 8 pm. Click here to view the entire Brooklyn Film Festival schedule.

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