Monday Morning Reviews
I do understand why studios are clinging on to bug CGI type action flicks. But they have to know that those kinds of movies will eventually run their course. And then we have to get back to story, characters, something powerfully meaningful. Not all of the time but to have a good variety of different types of movies.
Well, "Monday Morning" is one that is different, in that it clearly illuminates conditions in our perceived sub-culture within a compelling tale. The writer and director, Nat Christian, delivers an exceptionally well crafted portrait of a guy who finds his true nature and then must make a decision on what to do with it as it is pitted against all that he is accustomed to. Christian's passion guides his gifted talents.
The cast is superb, headed by Victor Browne, who gives his best performances in this movie. His range goes from superficial player to disturbed and emotionally affected survivor of the streets. Molly Kidder is perfect as an activist who falls in love. The homeless characters are very affecting (including Christian) - Jessica Spotts, Michael Cohen, Robert Axelrod. The muscal score supports the epic theme of this movie.
I agree that this kind of movie may turn off some people and critics, but thank goodness it was made, because there will be many who will cherish "Monday Morning"
Alright, this sounds like shock value stuff, but no, this movie, Monday Morning is something different altogether. At first a bit strange, then dark, then absolutely endearing and captivating.
A guy with very conservative values finds himself homeless in Los Angeles. The lady pooping? She is so very integrated into the story that the shock leaves you and you are pulled into a a very hard to imagine, yet real world. Director-writer Nat Christian has a devil may care attitude with a firm and confident hand on the directorial reins. If we indeed are going to lose our good stories to huge action epics on the big screen, then it is this kind of filmmaking that may bring audiences back - to experience a movie.
Actor Victor Browne extracts great empathy as he journeys through skid row. He is supported by an excellent cast of sophisticated actors. They all know the journey and their places within the journey.
So with me, who was not turned off by the explicit scenes, Monday Morning carried quite a punch. I was nearly knocked out by the imagery and the story. Writer-director, Nat Christian lays it right in front of us, literally (and I assume deliberately) so that we don't just walk away having seen the homeless experience, we see what they go through AFTER we pass them by. What they experience at night and in the bitter cold and rain. Also, I never realized that homeless women are raped so often. He is equally as good in the role of Damn, a homeless man who is befriended by Thomas Bach, played excellently and with much passion by Victor Browne.
The idea of a right wing guy who becomes homeless and learns a few things is good. The brutal depiction of his journey is great.
It is apparent that the cast was into this movie. Jessica Spotts, Molly Kidder, Robert Axelrod, Ken Melchior, Robert Pike Daniel, Cevin Middleton - all talented and real pros at this.
And as the credits rolled, I realized what a powerful movie Monday Morning is.
I also realized that the depictions that turned me off were deliberately meant to make me aware that this is going places that are unexpected but very real. Street real. At least, that is what I gleaned.
I realized that the writer-director (Nat Christian) of Monday Morning has an original voice that must be heard. And that the outstanding actors (headed by Victor Browne, Milly Kidder, Jessica Spotts, Nat Christian), composer (Rossano Galante), editors (Peter Srinivasan, Jonathan Fung and Nat Christian) and everyone else involved made this movie with great talents and a lot of passion.
The audacity of a filmmaker. That is how I would describe this this movie. Writer-director, Nat Christian paints a mural about a lover of life and women, Thomas Bach, who is about to run for the senate in Minneapolis, Minnesota, comes out to L.A. and knocked unconscious. Without a a trace of memory he wanders around with homeless people. An boy dies he. He see homeless people going to the bathroom on the streets (graphic). He does so as well. A homeless woman trades sex (graphic) for crack money and other hard to watch sequences. But this movie hit home in the right areas. Christian does not hold back as he portrays what goes on in the streets, while interlacing these images within the story of the Bach's journey. Bach is wonderfully played by actor, Victor Browne. He owns this character.
To coin a cliche - I laughed and I cried.
Yes, some of these scenes will definitely cause some viewers to be turned off to the point where it blocks the real beauty. But for me, it clicked, because it was truthful and raw.
It is a fictional story with a right leaning talk show skirt-chasing guy, Thomas Bach (played truthfully with guts, and compassion by Victor Browne), who is very popular and who is approached to run for the senate in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Seems par fo the course given today's political maneuverings. Bach has to go to Los Angeles to take care of some "personal business." But once in L.A., he falls victim to an attack and ends up homeless, mixing with the homeless population. Bach sees these people and their lives like he never would have imagined before, and develops much more sympathy towards them.
There are a lot of fascinating twists, which I can't give away because of spoilers. Written and directed by Nat Christian, Monday Morning is one of those movies that has elements of harsh street reality, some humor, poignancy and a dose of some kind of off-beat realism carrying some subliminal messaging that makes me want to see it again. I will wait a while, because there are strong graphic images and scenes in this movie that are not only moving but have a lasting effect. Credit this to the writing, directing and acting. Christian does what artists in this business should do. He aims high and takes risks. When artists, actors, directors, writers take these kinds of risks, often times they fall flat on their faces, but when they don't fall, they create brilliant and compelling experiences for the viewer. The latter is the case for Monday Morning. These are the kinds of risks that are needed if we want audiences to still pay the bucks to see a movie.
Along with Browne's wonderful portrayal, Christian also plays a supporting role with power, sensitivity and humor. Molly Kidder is a beautiful actress who brings a sophisticated intelligence to her role as Bach's girlfriend. An actress named Jessica Spotts is compelling as a homeless woman who bears all the harsh realities that many homeless woman receive every day in the big cities.
Monday Morning was filmed in Los Angeles, and whatever they did with the film stock or effects afterwards, it is an L.A. with a look unlike the city that is usually depicted in movies.
A special mention should be given to the explicit scenes in this movie, which will probably offend - highly offend some audiences and critics alike, but I found them necessary in order for me to get a true look at these people. Nevertheless, warning should be given if you intend to see this movie.
Wow, I was hit hard with a mix of socio-political-somewhat magical-uncompromising realism, within the story-line of an up and comer politician from Minneapolis who ends up homeless on the streets of Los Angeles.
The acting in this film is superb. Victor Browne, who plays the lead role fo Thomas Bach is very likable in the lead role. At the outset he's a guy and pretty much wants what all guys want. But as he journeys through the streets as homeless person, Browne calls up a variety of emotional moments that are both moving and engaging. Jessica Spotts is a powerhouse in one of those gritty female roles that come around one in a decade. As a hardened homeless mother, she maintains a little girl quality that oozes through her hardened exterior. Molly Kidder is perfect as the sophisticated yet passionate left Leaning senator's assistant. The film's writer-director, Nat Christian, plays a character named Damn. We all know the Damns on the streets. They are the guys who are constantly yelling at... well someone. Christian is an excellent actor who brings much empathy and humor to a tragic role.
The script by Christian integrates a ticking clock scenario, which has our hero fighting the clock, because he is a diabetic and without his insulin. Christian' movie is taut, emotional and provocative. This director pulls no punches whatsoever in depicting certain human behavior (can't give away because of spoilers), but I never felt that he was being exploitive. he shows it as it is.
Given that college students are getting more involved in activism these days, maybe films that make you think will be more commercially successful.