Thursday, August 18, 2022

Look for big-screen 'Love' all around in gentle 'Song' and funny 'Kilnerry'

Maybe there's not one particularly soothing ditty -- if any at all -- in "A Love Song" to justify the title, but combine the good feeling of the whole with another straight away performance from world-class character actor Dale Dickey and it all makes glorious sense. 

In fact, most of the film's heavily country-influenced music comes from the big old transistor radio that Dickey's widow (named Faye) often carries around a remote Colorado campsite while killing time waiting for an old friend (the strong Wes Studi) to show up, as promised.

Dale Dickey excels once more.
When he finally does arrive, sparks of romance might not exactly ignite the cool night air, either. There's mostly just meaningful moments of memories, minimal conversation and the couple's oddly moving rendition of the folksy "Be Kind to Me." 
This nice and hopeful little film comes from first-time feature director/writer Max Walker-Silverman, who certainly won't mind another shout out for cinematographer Alfonso Herrera Salcedo somehow situating western landscapes and gorgeous skies to become perfect co-stars for the always memorable Dickey.

Of course, the talented woman really needs nothing more to entice fans to see her performance as it slowly rolls into wide release Friday (and exclusively in northeast Ohio at the Cedar Lee Theater).

Rated PG by MPAA: mild thematic elements; 1:21; $ $ $ and 1/2 out of $5

There are some similarly lovely and scenic vistas dotting "Love in Kilnerry," along with the tiny fictional town's mayor and parish priest sharing a huge grudge, the longtime mailman hitting on the resident old maid, and just about everybody except the lonely shopkeeper finding a particular reason to despise the sheriff.

Regardless, love really does remain in the air when the EPA orders Kilnerry's dog shampoo-producing chemical plant to release a new drug called "P172." Turns out, though, that the Feds' mandate not only keeps the water safe but features a scintillating side effect that might increase everyone's -- oh my! -- sex drive.

If the premise sounds silly, just know the result becomes a sometimes laugh-aloud and ever-charming situation that could put director, writer and star Daniel Keith on the entertainment map. The actor-turned filmmaker, who plays the sheriff having trouble dealing with all the personality changes afoot, originally authored the story for the stage before workshopping (with many from the film's likable cast) in the real and extremely picturesque city of Portsmouth, N.H.

The rest became indie film history during a lengthy festival run that earned "Kilnerry" almost 50 awards in various cities along the way. Now Keith, also acting as his own distributor, has brokered a deal with Regal Cinemas to put the rib-tickling tale Friday in 75 theaters across the U.S.

The mail carrier (Roger Hendricks Simon), spinster (Sybil Lines), mayor (Tony Triano), priest (James Patrick Nelson), shopkeeper (Kathy Searle) and a few more of their friends likely can't wait to show anyone and everyone a good time. Find them if you can.

Not rated by MPAA: (but with a bit more than innuendo and some brief nudity); 1:40; $ $ $ and 1/2 out $5

(Also opening Aug. 19 in theaters: "Beast," "Delia's Gone," "Dragon Ball Super: Super Hero," "The Immaculate Room," and "The Legend of Molly Johnson." In addition, "Orphan: First Kill" will be available in theaters, on digital, and streaming only on Paramount+, while "Look Both Ways" plays exclusively on Netflix.)

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