Niagara Gazette

Night & Day

September 10, 2013

CALLERI: Two new films reveal when words are important, and why whales need love

Niagara Gazette — People often ask me: “Where are all the good movies? Why don’t they make better films?”

My reply is always the same, “good movies are being made, you’re just not going to see them.” Americans are overwhelmed with hype about studio features promoted with multi-million dollar publicity budgets. The purpose of all of that television advertising is to make you think you’re going to miss out on something if you don’t see the latest exploding fire rocket of a picture. More often than not, especially this summer, these over-blown entries in the march to cinematic madness are uninteresting, copycat dreck.

Audiences need to seek out smaller films, which are usually better than major Hollywood blockbusters. When they do, they realize that very fine works are being made and released on a regular basis.

“In A World” and “Blackfish” are little pictures that deliver the goods. They are as different as night and day, both movies telling clear-eyed stories with simplicity and strength. The former is about a group of voiceover artists and the latter is a searing documentary about whales kept in captivity in theme parks.

Lake Bell is an American actress who understands that there is strong bias against women working behind the camera in Hollywood, Kathryn Bigelow notwithstanding. Crews are still predominately male. Bell, who has acted in some television series and played sidekicks in lightweight Ashton Kutcher comedies, has taken the bull by the horns and has written, directed and produced “In A World,” in which she also stars.

Bell plays Carol, a voiceover talent for motion picture trailers (those previews of coming attractions that often give away too much of the plot). Carol’s problem is that she can’t find work in her field. How many female voices have you heard narrating a trailer? So, she earns some money as a vocal coach, helping actors and actresses work on their voices, learn lines, and develop foreign accents.

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