11 September, 2012

RIFF Review bundle: "The Red Machine" (***1/2), "Out on a Limb" (***)

Lee Perkins and Donal Thoms-Cappello star in "The Red Machine"

"The Red Machine" has been juicing the festival circuit for years, after first going into production in 2009. The Depression-era caper has two solid leads in Lee Perkins and Donal Thoms-Cappello and an equally strong supporting cast, featuring the Thelma Ritter-like Mo Byrnes in a standout role. Perkins and Thoms-Cappello are perfect foils for one another and while there could have been a tad more development on their friendship, the chemistry is certainly there. Completely self-aware and self-confident, colorful edits go to show that no one is taking themselves too seriously along this quick, fun ride. "The Red Machine" is more of a period piece "White Collar" than it is "The Lives of Others," but that's totally fine with me. 3.5 out of 5 stars.

"Out on a Limb" after the jump.

Yoky Matsuoka is featured in "Out on a Limb"

Daria Price's "Out on a Limb" is a by-the-numbers look at the advancing technology behind limb prosthetics. Considering the extent of the subject matter, Price does an excellent job of covering all the bases. Every type of limb and potential prosthesis is examined, in addition to looking at the advancements in prosthetics around the world. Not a single lull exists in the flow of the doc, but the emphasis on technology leaves the audience detached. Even with several amputees interviewed extensively, the film feels a bit emotionless. Fortunately, the absence of sympathy allows for the further absence of pity. The stories of each amputee are treated without the least bit of manipulative intent. "Out on a Limb" remains a focused educational piece from start to finish. 3 out of 5 stars.

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