"THE IDEA THIEF" (2011) 

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THE IDEA THIEF is the uniquely-comical story of a fantasy writer’s desperate dilemma, with everything from artistic high-jacking to the aspirations of independent filmmakers to alien conspiracies to resilient relationships.

Jonathan R. Skocik directed, wrote and produced this highly-original 114-minute film which examines all of the above, with additional elements of Twilight Zone twists, vampires, zombies, lesbianism and more, but above all THE IDEA THIEF is the clever story of Joe: a young author whose intentions on writing original stories are thwarted at every turn when he learns that each and every one of his ideas are being appropriated and published by a mysterious writer named Dean King, containing every idea, character and subplot (indeed every word) before Joe has even begun to write them!

This creepy concept goes beyond mere potentiality to become both amusing and serious.  Underpinning the film’s intriguing premise is realistic dialog, unexpected developments, suspects and sweethearts, but the film mainly portrays what it means to be young and full of dreams, of the agony and pain of intimate relationships, the loyalty and disloyalty of friends and the disappointment of creative urges not yet met.      

Characters are fully-developed and are not just adolescent stereotypes.  A key moment occurs early in the film when Joe is comforting his girlfriend Wendy over her breakup with her lover while at the same time hoping to have a physical relationship with her as well; his ulterior motive makes him a realistic person who proves his true worth when he takes the high road and accepts her as a cute friend when his attempts to persuade her to “switch sides” fail. 

At one point an exasperated Joe moans “Just keep pluiggin’ away, forget all reminders of what a complete utter failure I am,” a statement every struggling artist can relate to, yet the director soon softens the blow with humor a moment later when Joe’s girlfriend beats him in their chess game.    

The performances are convincing and believable.  Particularly good with wonderful comic timing is Joel Dickerson as Joe, Catherine Schulz as his exasperated, sympathetic girlfriend Wendy, and Tom Figel as Joe’s foul-mouthed buddy Stormy, a man who insults Joe at every turn while at the same time willing to defend him to his grave.   Dickerson plays off all of them very well and is an extremely likeable and totally-believable actor, but it is Aki Jamal Durham who steals the show as the enthusiastic and aspiring filmmaker Pharaoh; the actor’s charismatic presence ignites every scene he’s in and his immortal words “You can never have enough zombie movies” is a monster movie mantra in itself!

Kirk Hazen’s score is catchy and pleasant to listen to, getting into the head of the film’s main character expressing his artistic angst, longing and frustrations.   The cinematography by Mr. Skocik, Justin Beninati and Mark Rapp is noteworthy in their use of color, close-ups, framing and compositions, of subtly-effective tracking shots, night shots, shadows and clever angles, and their location photography of appalling Pittsburgh is particularly atmospheric.

Mr. Skocik is a thinking man’s director, keeping things moving by constantly peppering the atmosphere with salient conversation, but ultimately the movie is about young adults pressing-on amidst adversity and rejection, which, along with the film’s satisfying conclusion, gives hope to those with a creative urge never to surrender their dreams.

Jonathan Skocik’s film is both wonderfully entertaining and thought-provoking and bodes well for a remarkable future in cinema, from its intriguing story to its convincing characters and its unpredictable ending.  In summation then THE IDEA THIEF is a movie well-worth a look.

Several, in fact.    

HE IDEA THIEF is the uniquely-comical story of a fantasy writer’s desperate dilemma, with everything from artistic high-jacking to the aspirations of independent filmmakers to alien conspiracies to resilient relationships.

 

 

Jonathan R. Skocik directed, wrote and produced this highly-original 114-minute film which examines all of the above, with additional elements of Twilight Zone twists, vampires, zombies, lesbianism and more, but above all THE IDEA THIEF is the clever story of Joe: a young author whose intentions on writing original stories are thwarted at every turn when he learns that each and every one of his ideas are being appropriated and published by a mysterious writer named Dean King, containing every idea, character and subplot (indeed every word) before Joe has even begun to write them!

This creepy concept goes beyond mere potentiality to become both amusing and serious.  Underpinning the film’s intriguing premise is realistic dialog, unexpected developments, suspects and sweethearts, but the film mainly portrays what it means to be young and full of dreams, of the agony and pain of intimate relationships, the loyalty and disloyalty of friends and the disappointment of creative urges not yet met.      

Characters are fully-developed and are not just adolescent stereotypes.  A key moment occurs early in the film when Joe is comforting his girlfriend Wendy over her breakup with her lover while at the same time hoping to have a physical relationship with her as well; his ulterior motive makes him a realistic person who proves his true worth when he takes the high road and accepts her as a cute friend when his attempts to persuade her to “switch sides” fail. 

At one point an exasperated Joe moans “Just keep pluiggin’ away, forget all reminders of what a complete utter failure I am,” a statement every struggling artist can relate to, yet the director soon softens the blow with humor a moment later when Joe’s girlfriend beats him in their chess game.    

The performances are convincing and believable.  Particularly good with wonderful comic timing is Joel Dickerson as Joe, Catherine Schulz as his exasperated, sympathetic girlfriend Wendy, and Tom Figel as Joe’s foul-mouthed buddy Stormy, a man who insults Joe at every turn while at the same time willing to defend him to his grave.   Dickerson plays off all of them very well and is an extremely likeable and totally-believable actor, but it is Aki Jamal Durham who steals the show as the enthusiastic and aspiring filmmaker Pharaoh; the actor’s charismatic presence ignites every scene he’s in and his immortal words “You can never have enough zombie movies” is a monster movie mantra in itself!

Kirk Hazen’s score is catchy and pleasant to listen to, getting into the head of the film’s main character expressing his artistic angst, longing and frustrations.   The cinematography by Mr. Skocik, Justin Beninati and Mark Rapp is noteworthy in their use of color, close-ups, framing and compositions, of subtly-effective tracking shots, night shots, shadows and clever angles, and their location photography of appalling Pittsburgh is particularly atmospheric.

Mr. Skocik is a thinking man’s director, keeping things moving by constantly peppering the atmosphere with salient conversation, but ultimately the movie is about young adults pressing-on amidst adversity and rejection, which, along with the film’s satisfying conclusion, gives hope to those with a creative urge never to surrender their dreams.

Jonathan Skocik’s film is both wonderfully entertaining and thought-provoking and bodes well for a remarkable future in cinema, from its intriguing story to its convincing characters and its unpredictable ending.  In summation then THE IDEA THIEF is a movie well-worth a look.

Several, in fact.    

 

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