When I Walk

Long Shot Factory

Unrated

Auto-Biopic Chronicles Director’s Decline Since MS Diagnosis

Jason DaSilva was vacationing on the Caribbean island of St. Maarten in 2006 when he fell down on the beach and couldn’t get up. The 25-year-old filmmaker was diagnosed with primary progressive multiple sclerosis, an incurable inflammatory disease eventually leading to blindness, as well as a loss of balance and muscle control.

Nevertheless, his hopeful mother refused to let her son feel sorry for himself, encouraging him to seek help and to employ positive affirmations like, “It’s mind over matter” and “You’ll find a way.” Unfortunately, by 2008, Jason’s health deteriorated to the point where he had become dependent on a walker to get around.

Feeling the frustration of his body slowing down while his mind raced, he decided to make a video record of his day-to-day life during the inexorable decline. The fruit of that effort is When I Walk, an alternately heartbreaking and uplifting tale highlighting the indomitability of the human spirit.

For, in spite of DaSilva’s desperate attempt to alleviate his affliction through prayer, yoga, ayurvedic medicine and trans-meditation, he continued to be betrayed by a deteriorating immune system. Thanks to his ever-present camera, he is able to afford the audience an intimate look at his brave battle against MS.

Shot mostly in the director’s adopted hometown of New York City, the movie is actually much more than a mere chronicle of the subject’s health concerns, as it also devotes considerable attention to his romantic relationship. Jason is suddenly in a rush to start a family, but the object of his affection, Alice, has reasonable reservations about marriage.

After all, bringing a baby into the world with a husband with such a dire prognosis might ultimately mean raising a child while simultaneously caring for a virtual invalid. So, she consults her dad, who just happens to be dating a woman with MS, for a little fatherly advice.

Will Alice and Jason tie the knot, when his legs fail entirely and his walker has to be replaced by a scooter? Rather than spoil this bittersweet biopic’s surprising resolution, just let me say Hollywood execs would probably dismiss this sentimental tearjerker as farfetched if pitched as a piece of romance fiction.

An unblinking look at a life and love irreversibly altered by the onset of MS.

 

Excellent (3.5 stars)

Running time: 85 minutes

 

 

The Inevitable Defeat Of Mister & Pete

Lionsgate Films

Rated R for profanity, ethnic slurs, drug use and sexuality

Abandoned Kids Fend For Themselves In Gritty, NYC Saga

It’s the last day of school for eighth grader Mister Winfield (Skylan Brooks), who comes home to the projects where he lives with his single mom (Jennifer Hudson), Gloria, a hooker with a heroin habit. His best friend, nine-year-old Pete (Ethan Dizon), isn’t any better off, since his mother (Martha Millan) works out on the corner for the same abusive pimp (Anthony Mackie).

When both their moms disappear, it looks like the Housing Cops will cart them away to Riverview, an institution with a horrible reputation in terms of foster care. So, the boys decide to hide in Mister’s apartment, occasionally venturing down to the tough streets where they must forage and fend for themselves over the course of a particularly sweltering, New York City summer.

This is the opening salvo of The Inevitable Defeat Of Mister & Pete, a gritty, slice-of-life saga directed by George Tillman, Jr. (Notorious). The compelling coming-of-age drama plays out like an inner-city answer to The Kings Of Summer, a similarly-themed story featuring a suburban setting.

Here, although Pete is Korean-American, Mister, who is black, refers to his BFF as “my nigga.” And as the two unsupervised adolescents negotiate their way around the ‘hood, no one seems to take much notice of their age or ethnic differences.

Meanwhile, despite being 3,000 miles away from California, aspiring actor Mister harbors a secret dream of auditioning at an upcoming casting call with the hopes of landing a role that will enable them to relocate to Hollywood. He prepares for his make-or-break moment by reenacting a scene from Fargo that he’s memorized verbatim.

However, before that opportunity arrives, a host of frightening ordeals lay in wait in an unforgiving ghetto littered with the scum of the Earth. Will he survive, let alone escape to L.A.? If so, it’ll make for one heck of a “How I Spent My Summer Vacation” essay come September.

A picture which proves it’s hard in the ‘hood not only for pimps, but for kids, too.

 

Very Good (3 stars)

Running time: 108 minutes

 

 

OPENING THIS WEEK

Kam’s Kapsules:

For movies opening October 25, 2013

 

Bad Grandpa (R for profanity, crude humor, graphic sexuality, frontal nudity and brief drug use) Stunt comedy featuring hidden cameras and starring Jackass’ Johnny Knoxville as a cantankerous octogenarian who takes his impressionable, eight-year-old grandson (Jackson Nicoll) on a very eventful, cross-country road trip. With Spike Jonze, Georgina Cates and Brittany Mumford.

 

The Counselor (R for profanity, sexuality, graphic violence and grisly images) Three-time Oscar nominee Ridley Scott directed this crime thriller based on a script by Cormac McCarthy (No Country For Old Men) about an avaricious attorney moonlighting as a drug dealer (Michael Fassbender) whose life spirals out of control. Cast includes Penelope Cruz, Cameron Diaz, Brad Pitt, Javier Bardem, Rosie Perez, John Leguizamo and Ruben Blades.

 

Blue Is The Warmest Color (NC-17 for explicit sexuality) Homoerotic romance drama about a 15-year-old virgin (Adele Exarchopoulos) who satiates her carnal cravings in the arms of the blue-haired art student (Lea Seydoux) she’s been fantasizing about. Supporting cast includes Salim Kechiouche, Aurelien Recoing and Catherine Salee. (In French with subtitles)

 

Bridging The Gap (Unrated) Behind-the-scenes documentary about the Vienna Boys’ Choir features members discussing the group’s cross-cultural appeal.

 

Capital (R for profanity, sexuality and drug use) Blind ambition is the theme of this psychological thriller chronicling the efforts of the greedy CEO (Gad Elmaleh) of a European investment bank to fend off a hostile takeover by an American hedge fund. With Gabriel Byrne, Natacha Regnier and Celine Sallette. (In French and English with subtitles)

 

Go Grandriders (Unrated) Golden Years documentary highlights the 1,000-mile trek of a scooter club comprised of senior citizens with an average age of 81 and suffering from an assortment of ailments. (In Mandarin with subtitles)

 

I Am Divine (Unrated) Drag queen documentary about Harris Glenn Milstead, aka Divine, the cross-dressing star of such John Waters films as Pink Flamingos, Polyester and Hairspray.

 

One Chance (PG-13 for profanity and sexuality) Musical biopic about Paul Potts (James Corden), the amateur opera singer who became a reality-tv sensation en route to winning the Britain’s Got Talent competition. With Simon Cowell, Jemima Rooper, Julie Walters and Colm Meaney.

 

Spinning Plates (Unrated) Gourmet documentary highlighting the operations at three extraordinary restaurants: Alinea in Chicago, Illinois; Breitbach’s Country Dining in Balltown, Iowa; and La Cocina De Gabby in Tucson, Arizona.

 

The Square (Unrated) Arab Spring documentary examining events surrounding the Egyptian Revolution of 2011 as recounted by a half-dozen activists who protested in Tahrir Square. (In Arabic with subtitles)

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