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Quickcard Review Kalamity

Directed by: James M. Hausler Cast: Nick Stahl, Beau Garrettt, Jonathan Jackson, Alona Tal, Robert Forster, Christopher M. Clark Running Time: 1 hr 40 mins Rating: R Release Date: January 25, 2011 (One-night only in Chicago)

PLOT: A recently heartbroken young man (Stahl) returns home to find out that his shifty friend Stan (Jackson) is not at all who he used to be.

WHO'S IT FOR? A younger, college-aged audience would probably enjoy this movie best, as those more experienced with heartbreak and life itself might find the film to be particularly juvenile.


Kalamity is a little movie with a couple surprises, until its tone makes an ultimate shift for the worst. Originally feeling like a dark comedy, it eventually morphs into a angry film with no sense of humor at all. Though it features an Apatow-like friend embarking on what murder is like, (asking about what the Columbine kids thought before their act, which is a big, unnecessary no-no) it stays strict on its frustrations, and slowly tackles them with occasionally OK acting and cinematography that works only periodically.

The movie tries to create a sense disorder with its events, but its relatively straightforward, however long it takes to meander towards the finishing line. Once the idea of murder becomes commonplace for the movie’s mentality, there is not much surprise left. It’s just heavy-handed darkness, by filmmakers out to prove nothing, or at least vent about something in the course of an entire movie. For those who really want to listen, it can be a bit of miserable, tedious experience.

Nick Stahl, whom you might remember from that other Terminator movie, (Terminator: Rise of the Machines) stands out as probably the most successful performance in a cast that stretches from acceptable to amateur. In fact, Stahl does a better job in selling my-girlfriend-broke-up-with-me misery than he does a cell phone conversation, of which there are a multitude throughout Kalamity.

His friend, Stanley Keller, (one letter away from "killer"), does not have the same chops, despite being handed the bigger plate. When he is meant to resemble a guy with a chip on his shoulder, he’s fine. But when he tries to sell uncomfortable, awkward menace, it only comes off as cheesy. His interactions with those that he is trying to weird out are relatively unspectacular.

Part of Kalamity’s aggressions can be felt in its redundant casting. though they are two different human beings, Ashley and Alice look exactly the same. Can female characters be written with an even duller pen? Probably not.

Filmmakers have their own private lives, and its never our business to directly assume their work has any connection to their real story. Though I believe this for many, many films, it’s hard not to think this for Kalamity. Though this could be very far off, and I’m not pointing fingers at any particular person, Kalamity indicates that someone's got some aggressions towards an ex-girlfriend ... who was probably blonde. And from the look of Kalamity, they probably met in film school.


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