Saturday, June 9, 2012

Review: "Hot Cakes"

Cross posted from InvadeNola, where this will be appearing on June 16:

On the first episode of the #TeamNOLAFilm podcast, we discussed the need for a real investment in local filmmakers and their projects. We have so many out of town productions coming IN to the area which is great, but not enough local projects coming OUT. Do producers need a good example of what New Orleans talent can make?

"I have been waiting all morning for a man with half a heart."

Marty, fresh out of prison, visits his regular post jail release diner.  His body language says he's yearning for a calmer future, but the scars on his face suggest something different; something deeper. Two other ex cons see this as well, and soon the three men are conversing over plates of pancakes. But there is more to their encounter than just short stacks...

Described as a sort of neo noir / urban western, "Hot Cakes" has a surreal nature to it; at times like Lynch, other times like Aronofsky. The appropriately timed music, the cryptic at times dialogue, the interesting framing (there is a Knight suit behind Marty in some shots) and even the setting - which comes off like a purgatory type meeting place for these characters - all makes the audience ask "what's this all leading to?" and "what does this all mean?".

Well, what DOES it all mean? What IS it leading to? A fortune teller in the diner is drawn to Marty, and makes a startling prediction for him; will it turn out to be correct? Will Marty be forced into a compromising position? His new friends certainly wish to pull him back into his harsh past. Will they succeed? The film's aesthetic gives everything - including eating breakfast - a sense of impending doom. And by the time the end credits roll, this sense still lingers; things just don't look good for Marty, in OR out of the diner. Is he in trouble no matter what? I absolutely loved this.

"No one should ever come here. I had teeth when I came here."

My only complaint is that it ended. I would like to see what the director Jo Custer could do with a feature length script. She's an example of the kind of local talent who deserve a shot. For Hollywood South to move forward, out of town producers bringing projects to the area need to make a meaningful investment in local filmmakers. Is an example of good local work needed? I just provided one.

4/5 *'s


  1. this is clearly just another pretentious load of crap that doesn't even deserve to see the light of day (not that it ever will)

  2. you can watch the film here - type in the password thankyouneworleans. give it a chance.

  3. Sorry, I gave it a chance. Not only is it extremely tedious, but the racist characterization of the Latino is enough to question the filmmaker's ability to divine truth and beauty.

  4. We'll just have to agree to disagree on this one. I'm glad you watched it and gave it a shot, though. Do you have a favorite movie that you would consider to be a standard all others are held up to?

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