Wednesday, October 10, 2018

Marc Fusco's THE SAMUEL PROJECT opens in South Florida theaters

The Holocaust meets an After-School Special, and the results are actually a bit better than you might expect in THE SAMUEL PROJECT, a new film co-written (with Chris Neighbors), directed and edited by Marc Fusco. Yes, this is what we like to call "Holocaust-lite," yet as easy-going, obvious and predictable as the movie often is, it is not insulting nor stupid.

And if the idea of a Holocaust survivor not wanting to share his story of family murder and Nazi genocide with his son, let alone his grandson, this kind of secrecy was certainly not that unusual amongst survivors.

Filmmaker Fusco, pictured at left, does a decent, if standard, job of bringing his story to life, helped along by some classy cinematography (Stephen Sheridan), good performances from his cast, and some nice animation/illustrations by Donald Wallace. The movie is a mix of melodrama, slight comedy, animation art and generation gap, as its tale of grandfather (Hal Linden, above and below, right) and grandson (Ryan Ochoa, above and below, left) get to know each other and help each other out.

The two actors, both long-time professionals (young Mr. Ochoa already has 26 imdb credits, Mr. Linden 74), bounce off each other pleasantly and charmingly, with good supporting work provided by Michael B. Silver (below) as the middle-generation dad,

and Mateo Arias (below, left) as Ochoa's bizarro school-chum musician. The plot involves grandson, a hopeful artist still in high school, who begins questioning his grandfather regarding the latter's life during World War II, which leads to a long-buried story unfolding -- which is slowly turned into "art" via the grandson's drawings and some accompanying music, courtesy of that best friend.

While the tale, as well as its telling is quite unsurprising, the finale -- which is the showing of the grandson's complete video -- is charming and worth the wait. And the pretty and not-so-oft-seen San Diego shooting locations are attractive, too.

From in8 Releasing and running a swift 92 minutes, The Samuel Project, opens this Friday, October 12, here in South Florida in the Miami area at the Regal Southland Mall, in Fort Lauderdale at the Tamarac Cinema 5 and Cinema Paradiso Hollywood, and in West Palm Beach at the Movies of Delray & Movies of Lake Worth.

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