Friday, September 13, 2013

"The Power Inside": a "social film", keeps a lively pace with its characters; a premise about "sacrifice"

The Power Inside” is the first “social film (or social media movie) that I have viewed.  The concept is essentially like a television series, usually comedy, with short weekly episodes (often under ten minutes each), with heavy presence in social media (especially Facebook) and the opportunity for social media users to audition for parts in subsequent episodes.

The series was developed by Intel and Toshiba, and I watched the first five episodes (averaging about seven minutes each) on a Toshiba Satellite under Windows 8.  It is directed by Will Speck and Josh Gordon.

The “plot” concerns a young nerd Neil (played by British actor Craig Roberts) is confronted by a gang of mustached aliens who are chasing Neil around (starting on his birthday) who somehow need Neil (or some super power inside him) to help destroy Earth.  The antidote of choice is the barber and the straight razor, to remove the mustaches (which in the series  look obviously paste-on and fake) and perhaps bushy eyebrows.  One of the episodes has a nice black-and-white animated interlude showing the alien civilization and the hunt for the Queen. 
  
The Barber (Harvey Keitel) says to Neal “There’s nothing like a good shave to start the day.”  Later, Neil is confronted with the demand that he step-up for others, and says, “I hate sacrifice. I’m really selfish.”  Is this libertarian?  Not exactly.  What if we ever restored the military draft?  Every recruit passes through the barber at the Reception Station.  Oh, I;m getting serious about something that is supposed to be "tons of fun." Another veteran actor, Matt Walsh, plays the High Priest.
  
Analeigh Tipton plays Neil’s girlfriend Ashley, but the sleeper performance comes from Reid Ewing, who plays Devin, who starts out as one of the “aliens”.  When the “stache” is removed, he becomes the sweet character like Dylan from “Modern Family”, with just a little bit of the “Reid.ing” video cockiness thrown in.  There’s almost an allusion to the character Samson in the Bible.  Reid towers over the other characters in this show (he didn’t so much in “Crush” (Movies blog, Aug. 1, 2013), given the way camera angles were managed), looking rather like a potential MLB pitcher and strikeout artist.

Great line in Episode. 2 when Devin says to Neil, "I need you... come with me to the bathroom, NOW!"
     
The link for the show and the episodes is here

The show invites auditions through Facebook.  Contestants (male or female) are invited to show themselves shaving off or tearing off mustaches or possibly eyebrows.  At least, they’re not into chest or leg waxing (or laser to make it permanent), or maybe tattooing .  You wonder if that could be next.  After all, this supposed to be about sacrifice. 

The show is shot 2.35:1, which seem unnecessary for what is essentially a television series.  The outdoor scenery is all LA, complete with palm trees, smog, and distant traffic jams, and an emptied swimming pool in the Hollywood Hills.
  

Oh, I once (in my first apartment in Princeton NJ back in 1970) had a stray cat whom we called “Mustache”.  


Update: Sept 20:

Episode 6 was longer, almost 13 minutes (with a long end credits), and had a full alien invasion of London and LA.  Neil is placed on a sacrificial altar on Mt. Wilson in LA, protected by a shroud, and has to cut off a huge alien insect that tries to go down his throat.  A few months later, Neil is the barber himself.  A man comes in wanting his mustache removed, and, well, he's probably ready for a body shave, too (like in a short story in "The Advocate" in 1984).  Trouble is, his chest hair isn't human; it looks like it came from a giant spider.

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