Callback: The Unmaking of ‘Bloodstain’

Mockumentaries that target Hollywood have been made before, but seldom with as much smooth energy as in "Callback: The Unmaking of 'Bloodstain,' " an offbeat comedy that's a resume for everyone involved -- even if it's telling all prospective employers to go to hell.

With:
Tony - Jeff Parise Peter - Johnny Moreno Carl - Michael DeGood Marci - Kate Orsini Jill - Jennifer Hall Beth - Burnadean Jones Duffy - Darrin Reed

Mockumentaries that target Hollywood have been made before, but seldom with as much smooth energy as in “Callback: The Unmaking of ‘Bloodstain,’ ” an offbeat comedy that’s a resume for everyone involved — even if it’s telling all prospective employers to go to hell. The film will be a blip theatrically, but helmer Eric M. Wolfson’s slick effort could become a cable staple, while opening doors for its actors, specifically Jeff Parise.

Parise plays two parts, that of recovering schizophrenic Tony Schamus and the lunatic alter ego that’s been suppressed by medication until Tony is prematurely released from the asylum. Tony then starts having conversations with himself, which doesn’t keep him from being cast in “Bloodstain” (or getting other offers, which is one of “Callback’s” running gags about the insanity of the film industry).

Tony — through whom Parise seems to be channeling Travis Bickle and Arnold Stang — is an only slightly riskier casting choice for “Bloodstain” than Carl (Michael DeGood), a talentless thug who’s gotten his role through his mobster uncle, Duffy (Darrin Reed), or Peter (Johnny Moreno), one of those obsessives who needs two hours of vocal warmup to audition for a pizza commercial.

To DeGood’s credit, it’s a tough job playing an actor with no talent. And Moreno makes Peter completely clueless about his own navel-gazing.

One suspects that Marci (Kate Orsini), who directs the film-within-film and has to deal with a movie that’s melting down before scene one is even re-shot, arrives to work on a broom. The slowly simmering lives of its cast boil over onset in a calamitous, anticlimactic climax that’s not as much fun as some of the earlier scenes.

But while “Callback,” which recalls the 1993 indie “The Making of ‘… and God Spoke,'” is a movie without much narrative tension; you know “Bloodstain” will be “unmade” from the moment it starts. The real appeal is in the acting, and Wolfson’s capable direction.

Production values are first rate.

Callback: The Unmaking of 'Bloodstain'

Production: A Jaffle Prods. presentation. Produced by Jason Mandl, Jordan Leibert, Eric M. Wolfson. Executive producer, Phil Wolfson. Directed by Eric M. Wolfson. Screenplay, Michael DeGood, Wolfson.

Crew: Camera (color), Megan Schoenbachler; editors, Wolfson, DeGood; music, Gordon Bash; production designer, Javiera Varas; set decorator, Jennifer-Neal Edwards; costume designers, Anastasia Konecky, Katherine Huang; sound, Alan Samuels; choreographer, Hays Rosen; fight coordinator, Richard Dortan; digital effects, Encore Hollywood. Reviewed on DVD in Los Angeles, Sept. 21, 2008. Running time: 96 MIN.

With: Tony - Jeff Parise Peter - Johnny Moreno Carl - Michael DeGood Marci - Kate Orsini Jill - Jennifer Hall Beth - Burnadean Jones Duffy - Darrin Reed

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