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Movie Review: Local Color

Alternate Title: A Tiepolo Sky

Story: I am sorry to report that another film about art and artists falls flat on its face. It might have been better served as one of those TV After School Specials. The semi-autobiographical film takes place in 1974 and is about an aspiring young artist who spends a summer with a curmudgeonly teacher who was once a well known artist. It was directed and written by George Gallo. So what went wrong?

The 40 year debate extolling the virtues of representational versus nonrepresentational art is old news. The film tries desperately to prove that representational art is the better art and the rest is crap. As proof of the hypothesis a parade of caricature artists are presented as nothing less than fools and elitists. The director even drags in mentally handicapped children to prove his point. Gasp.

The dialogue between the eager impressionistic young artist and the vodka swilling, foul-mouthed angry old man is contrived, predictable and downright boring. And did I mention that there is also a very annoying narrator throughout?

I am sure that director Gallo's heartfelt effort as an homage to his mentor was genuine but this film had no Primary Colors in it for me.

Watch the trailer: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cNagBpfpB70

Acting: Armin Mueller-Stahl as artist Nicoli Seroff does his best to depict the old man yells at cloud bit - but when there is no script to work from - it is hard to get good acting. Trevor Morgan as young John was too sweet and did not have the angry, hungry artist's soul that the role demanded. Samantha Mathis was wasted as the neighbor. Ron Perlman was insulting and cartoonish as the effete art dealer. Ray Liotta and Diana Scarwid as the parents did not have much to do.

Trivia: George Gallo Jr (born 1956 in Port Chester, New York) is a North American painter, musician, filmmaker, and producer. He is best known for writing Midnight Run and 29th Street, and is an accomplished painter in the style of the Pennsylvania Impressionists. In 1990, he won the coveted Arts for the Parks award, and has had three one-man exhibitions in New York City. He currently lives in Los Angeles.

Predilection: I like films about art and artists (but not this one)

Critters: A horse

Food: Lots of food. Apparently creating art builds an appetite (forget that starving artist bit for this film). Bacon, eggs, toast, meat, potatoes, fish, bread and lots of vodka.

Sex Spectrum: A kiss

Soundtrack: Cloying.

Opening Titles: A narrator's voice (bad sign) in an introduction to young John looking thoughtful in an art museum.

Visual Art: Lots and lots of painting.

Theater Audience: Five guys and me.

Weather: Summertime in Pennsylvania (but filmed in pre-Katrina Louisiana).

Sappy Factor: 2

Quirky Meter: 0

Squirm Scale: 0

Drift Factor: I looked at my watch often. The film seemed as if I was watching paint dry.

Predictability Level: High

Tissue Usage: 0

Oscar Worthy: No

Big Screen or Rental: Neither

Length: 100 minutes

LOBO HOWLS: 3