A Beautiful Notion Partially Paralyzed by an Shaky Script
Grady Harp | Los Angeles, CA United States | 10/11/2009
(4 out of 5 stars)
"LOCAL COLOR is one of those films that move sensitive audience members despite its flaws. The story by George Gallo (also responsible for the script) is based on a true event - the coming together of a young student artist with a crusty alcoholic master painter and how one summer of cohabitation in the beauty of Pennsylvania's countryside sets the stage for the transformation of each. The idea is excellent and the story does indeed provide information about the importance of representational art in a world preferring the jolt of 'progressive art' for both the novice art appreciator and art students - among other values - but the dialogue at times is so repetitive and predictable that the mood frequently changes inappropriately.
Armin Mueller-Stahl lends his usual credibility to the tortured soul of Nicoli Seroff, a Russian landscape artist of advanced years who came to America after the Stalin purges murdered his family and his wife Anya and who now paints very little because of his disillusionment with the contemporary art scene and the tenor of the times. Down the street (the film begins in Port Chester, New York - the year is 1974) lives a lad named John Talia, Jr (Trevor Morgan) who is at odds with his inner need to create art and the world of 'normal boys' as viewed by his father (Ray Liotta). Through a series of instances John discovers Nicoli and after frustrated attempts to study art with the master, Nicoli begrudgingly invites John to his summer studio in the wilds of Pennsylvania. There the two grow into each other's worlds, in part due to the external influences of art critic Curtis Sunday (Ron Perlman) and the lonely Carla (Samantha Mathis) - a young girl whose only child is now dead and who lives for the closeness of caring for Nicoli. How the boy and the master mend fences and learn form each other is the story of a summer of enlightenment.
The acting is very fine, the photography matches the mood of the landscapes each of the two characters approach, and the story line is touching. Gallo somehow finds it necessary to pepper his dialogue with two expletives that grow boring and seem like laziness on the part of the script writing. But once over this bothersome hurdle the result of this film is a touching tribute to the concept of inspiration and the camaraderie of master and pupil. Especially fine for art students who are faced with the dilemma of representational versus non-representational expression in art. Grady Harp, October 09"
Inspired by a true story
Midwest Book Review | Oregon, WI USA | 09/29/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Inspired by a true story, Local Color is the award-winning movie of a young student who, in 1974, befriended an alcoholic yet brilliant master painter. The student longs to learn the master's wisdom, while the master struggles to find any meaning in his life or his work. Together, they learn from each other - the student comes to see the world as an artist sees it, while the master takes inspiration from the innocence and yen for life in his student. An enthralling saga about learning to recognize and remember the beauty in life, Local Color is highly recommended. 107 minutes, rated R."
A beautiful film that deserves recognition
Steve Kuehl | Ben Lomond, CA | 09/05/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Since the release dates are listed from 2006 and 2008, any Oscar recognition has been lost, which is too bad because performances like these deserve more widespread recognition. Cannot say enough about how beautiful and emotional this film is.
The Amazon trailer and editorials cover nicely this period art film's attempt at showing one young man's summer spent with an icon in the canvas painting industry. Trevor Morgan and Armin Mueller Stahl fill the lead roles wonderfully as student and mentor. Ron Perlman plays the gayishly flamboyant friend of the old man, and having just recently watched the Sons of Anarchy: Season One [Blu-ray] I think he deserves an Oscar nod for proving his diversity and believability here. The story unfolds over a summer of learning about life, love and the passion needed to paint successfully. A nice touch is the film's narrator having a Stand By Me feel (older man voice but teen character); I liked it.
The supplements include a 8:15 minute making of that contains a little too much from the film and not enough meat on the production, but it still contained some decent info. The interviews with the actors (Armin, Trevor and Samantha Mathis) supplement lasts 14:35 minutes and covers a thorough background regarding their characters and thoughts on the film. The George Gallo's studio piece is a two minute pan/scan of his painting studio; it looks like what you would expect a painter's room to appear if you toured it.
The film has a genuine feel of one learning about art and painting even if you are not a painter. The laugh out loud moments are punctuated with solid and heartfelt dramatic moments, and the scenery is used perfectly (like looking at a canvas). It will be on my recommendation list for customers, and I am glad to see it getting poster and ad placement. Enjoy."
One of my top 5 of all movies
David H. Norton | Gig Harbor, WA USA | 09/08/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I haven't seen this on DVD, since after 3 years since leaving the few art house theatres, it has finally come to DVD. I was one of the lucky few to actually see it in the theatre, and despite the relentlessly bad language, I thought it was a remarkable film. It rates up with "The Legend of 1900," "The World's Fastest Indian," "The Girl in the Cafe," "The Russia House," and "A Good Year" as far as a great story, solid acting from all principal characters, beautiful photography, and great music. If you agree with my choices of truly excellent films, please e-mail me at [...] and tell me your additional favorites. Thanks. Dave"