On the Wings of Love

Implausible plots, laughable dialogue, stilted acting — the plague of the self-serious summer blockbusters draws nearer every day. Be afraid, be very afraid. Silicon Valley software salesman James Nguyen has the antidote, in the form of an unwittingly hilarious dose of pretension-free, certifiably awful genre filmmaking. His directorial debut, an on-the-cheap labor of love called Birdemic, pits a pretty young couple against a mysterious, deadly avian invasion in a coastal Northern California town. Any resemblance to Alfred Hitchcock’s apocalyptic 1963 masterpiece is awkwardly intentional, down to the cameo appearance by The Birds heroine Tippi Hedren. The good-humored Nguyen may aspire to be the next Hitch or Sam Raimi, but the auteur he most closely resembles is Ed Wood. You see, nothing exposes the gulf between a filmmaker’s ambition and talent like lame special effects. Then again, Birdemic and Tommy Wiseau’s The Room suggest that a new and strangely commercial movement in cinema is on the rise, taking up the mantle handed down by Dogme 95 and mumblecore. Let’s call it Earnest Amateurism.
April 30-May 1, 11 p.m., 2010

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