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GLITCH IN THE GRID (director/writer: Eric Leiser; cinematographer: Rory Owen Delaney; editors: Eric Leiser/Jenny Leiser; music: Jeffrey Leiser; cast: Jay Masonek (Jay), Eric Leiser (Eric), Jeffrey Leiser (Jeffrey), Marcus Stewart (Roommate), Linda Darnall (Jay’s mom), Patricia Darnall (Grandma), Homer Darnall (Grandpa); Runtime: 82; MPAA Rating: NR; producer: Eric Leiser; Vanguard Cinema; 2011-USA/UK)

What’s unique is the film veers seamlessly betweenlive-action and stop-motion animation.”

Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz

Eric Leiser (“Imagination”)directs and writes this inspirational Christian themed film, that tells about how three likable twentysomething male artists keep their faith during the recent bad days of widespread unemployment. What’s unique is the film veers seamlessly betweenlive-action and stop-motion animation, and its many mundane images are given a spellbinding colorful look. There’s a religious message to a story about artists struggling with such things as making money, fighting against their loneliness, countering a fast-food culture, and fighting their depression. The message sent is that it’s more important finding God than in finding a job.

When Northern California small-town artist Jay (Jay Masonek) feels bummed out, which in this pic means stuck in a spiritual rut–not able to find the key to unlock the glitch in the grid–Jay’s cousins and fellow artists, Jeff (Jeffrey Leiser) and Eric (Eric Leiser), from Los Angeles, cheer the dude up and hang out with him. The boys show Jay around town and to such places as Griffith Park and a Hollywood studio. The brothers also show the unhappy dude how to navigate through the rough economic recession with the help of the Lord. Influenced by the good vibes from his kin, Jay reaches out to make a relationship with God. With that, the re-energized Jay fights the good fight against the stagnation of the spirit (the grid) and we know he’s winning that battle when we see a dove onscreen. Now in God’s hands, I guess everything is cool, in this youthful, earnest and simplistic look at finding hope in a world that seems hopeless. Jay returns to his hometown a reborn spiritual man and an ecology advocate working a “green job” in the redwood forest. The point being that connecting with God works for true believers who still want to pursue their dreams and care about making the world a better place to live in.

The personal film is a good film for those on this type of decent spiritual path, as I believe the filmmakers are sincere about their trip, that their trip has value, and are not putting down others on different trips. But if you’re on a different trip and want to get into the flick, I’m afraid only the unintentional trippy mundane animation images will make an impression. There was just not enough gravitas, friction or challenges to make this film rock, as there’s nothing more to say as the boys seemed to have found all the answers they wanted when they found God and believe they’re now grounded in reality. The great mystical Christian themed filmmaker Andrei Tarkovsky used his imagination and firm religious beliefs to win over an audience in the most poetical ways, as filmmaker Chris Marker says “some filmmakers deliver sermons, but the greats leave us with our freedom.” I only mention Tarkovsky because one of the film’s images was of someone reading Tarkovsky’s edifying book “Sculpting in Time,” indicating that the great Russian filmmaker might be an influence to the brother filmmakers. If so, there’s a lot of maturation to look forward to.

REVIEWED ON 10/13/2011 GRADE: B-

Dennis Schwartz: “Ozus’ World Movie Reviews”