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directed by Matthew Avant
USA 2009

 

A radio call-in show receives a frantic call from a man claiming to be an employee of Area 51. He claims that there are people on the moon and that they are also on Earth and controlling things. The call is cut off and dismissed as a crank until a package shows up at the radio station. The host turns the material over to Matt (writer/director Matthew Avant) and Sonny (producer/digital effects artist Hal Maynor) who - along with guide Nate (Nathan Avant) and camera operator Sarah (Sarah Avant) - investigate some of the radio show's cases. Among the contents of the package are areal photographs from 1893 (pre-dating the Wright brothers first flight) and a vintage Polaroid of a man in modern dress. On the back of the photograph, they discover GPS coordinates that lead them to a derelict houseboat in the middle of the Louisiana swamp. They discover a trapdoor that leads them into a sprawling underground warehouse, the sole item of interest of which is a prototype-looking electronic device and an old toolbox. They test out the device which appears to short circuit and mildly electrocute all of them, but the video of the test captures the wearer disappearing for a second. They approach a scientist (Ray Blum) with the device and he extracts a green crystal from its inside and runs tests on it. He reveals that the only place the mineral is found is on the moon. An invite to the Church of Lunology turns out to be an ambush and the machine is stolen, but Matt and Sonny have the crystal and the mysterious David James (Dave Potter) - who claims to be a refugee from the moon - who has quite a story to tell about moon people, parallel timelines, "transient dimensionaries," and the end of the world. Even if one takes issue with the idea that civilization has been advanced and repeatedly re-written by a conscious order in the universe, writer/director/actor Avant spins a compelling yarn while simultaneously skewering Scientology and its commodification of enlightenment (in retrospect, it is perhaps appropriate that the Lunology henchmen's methods of intimidation include calling people "pussies" and vandalizing cars). Some of the photographic evidence is a bit dodgy, a few supporting performances are underwhelming, the interjections of the French narrator and various interview snippets move the plot along but one wonders why Nate and Sarah would stop recording during these points (necessitating these explanatory interjections), the sparse music underscoring sometimes telegraphs surprises, and it is easy to forget the presence of camera-carrying Nate and Sarah since Matt and Sonny are on screen for most of the time and interact mostly with one another. While not perfect, LUNOPOLIS is a very imaginative work that mostly manages to work within its budgetary limitations.

Eric Cotenas

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DVD Review: Walking Shadows/Virgil Films - Region 0 - NTSC

Big thanks to Eric Cotenas for the Review!

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Distribution

Walking Shadows/Virgil Films

Region 0 - NTSC

Runtime 1:37:36
Video

1.78:1 Original Aspect Ratio

16X9 enhanced
Average Bitrate: 5.42 mb/s
NTSC 720x480 29.97 f/s

NOTE: The Vertical axis represents the bits transferred per second. The Horizontal is the time in minutes.

Bitrate

Audio English Dolby Digital 5.1
Subtitles English HoH, none
Features Release Information:
Studio: Walking Shadows/Virgil Films

Aspect Ratio:
Widescreen anamorphic - 1.78:1

Edition Details:
• Audio Commentary by director Matthew Avant
• Theatrical Trailer (16:9; 1:09)

DVD Release Date: October 11th, 2011
Amaray

Chapters 17

 

Comments

LUNOPOLIS has variable image quality on DVD. The single-layer, anamorphic transfer is progressive as has not been treated to any film-look type processes. Most of the HD image is clear and clean, but some bits shot on other camcorders have messy interlacing artifacts and pixilation (likely an intentional converting a differing frame rate and up scaling from SD). While it is not always attractive, it lends to the reconstructed "found footage" authenticity.

The 5.1 audio makes effective use of sound effects. The menu cites English closed captions, but they are actually subtitles. Actor/writer/director Matthew Avant provides an audio commentary track and the film's trailer is also included.

  - Eric Cotenas

 


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DVD Box Cover

CLICK to order from:

 

Distribution

Walking Shadows/Virgil Films

Region 0 - NTSC

 

 




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