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Burn Movie Review

Sizzlingly Odd
In his debut feature, writer/director Mike Gan has created a small film that, if there's justice, will attain a cult-like status. "Burn" takes place in the course of one evening and entirely within the confines of a rural, out-of-the-way gas station shop.
It's the kind of place that loners might wander into for a hot cup of coffee at 3am. Obviously this is not a big budget film, but Gan squeezes an awful lot of goodness out of it. Maybe we should call it badness.





Love, Antosha Movie Review

An Ode to Talent, Taken Too Soon

It's been three years since actor Anton Yelchin passed away after being pinned by his Jeep against the gate outside his house in a terrible freak accident. Like any unexpected - and untimely - passing, the entertainment industry was shocked to see such a young star fade too soon. "Love, Antosha" is a loving documentary about Yelchin's life and career, and it appropriately pays tribute to an actor who loved making movies.

From the opening footage of the film, a young Yelchin is seen performing and directing himself in a pretend scene at his home. The seemingly precocious child radiated a passion for creating, and the movie expresses that in mere seconds.

"Love, Antosha" takes us back to the beginning, introducing us to Yelchin's parents, Irina and Viktor Yelchin, who were professional ice skaters in the Soviet Union. Shortly after their son was born, they moved to the United States in order to give him the best life possible. Yelchin would grow up in the San Fernando Valley and the need to put his imagination to use was almost immediate.

Yelchin rose relatively quickly in the industry, booking guest spots on shows and movie roles at just 11 years old. He worked with major stars, including Albert Finney, Morgan Freeman, and Anthony Hopkins early on in his career, trying to learn from their processes as an actor. Even more so, Yelchin showed an interest in directing, often standing by the director in the hopes of learning his way around a camera. As much as Yelchin liked to act, he yearned to create.

The movie shows clips from Yelchin's films, which ranged from the smallest independent film to J.J. Abrams' "Star Trek" movies. Whether performing in supporting roles in those franchise films or lending his voice to a "Smurf" movie, Yelchin gravitated towards small-scale films, where he felt the most creatively fulfilled. Regardless of the size of the project, it's clear, through interviews with Kristen Stewart, Jennifer Lawrence or Chris Pine, that Yelchin made an impact on any film set he stepped onto.

Director Garret Price runs the gamut of Yelchin's personal and professional life, showing a full portrait of the actor. He quietly battled Cystic Fibrosis, about which most co-stars and directors had no clue because Yelchin didn't like drawing attention to himself. He highlights Yelchin's hobbies and passion projects - some quite strange and questionable - and seeks stories from lifelong friends who knew him the best. "Love, Antosha" really captures the spirit of a human being and not a famous person.

It's strange when a public figure passes away because they are complete strangers to the public but we feel connected to them. They introduce themselves to us, in some capacity, through their work, which will live on after they are gone. That's no different for Yelchin, who in too short a time created a diverse body of films and through those will live on forever.

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