Review: ‘The Vinyl Frontier’

Guys who grew up playing with "Star Wars" action figures now have an entirely new world of toys to collect.

Thanks to the designer vinyl craze, guys who grew up playing with “Star Wars” action figures now have an entirely new world of toys to collect — and now, thanks to “The Vinyl Frontier,” they have (another) documentary to validate their habit. A bit too casual for anything more than over-the-counter DVD sales, Daniel Zana’s four-year survey explores the curious buying bug that drives this niche phenom, in which fans amass limited-edition sculptures (some of them remarkably creative and highly sought after) fashioned by their favorite underground art stars — a gateway drug for fine-art collecting, the film argues.

Unfulfilled by his reality-TV day job, Zana dedicated his free time to tracking down the scene’s top designers, refusing to let inconvenient locations or distracting background noise sabotage his quest for Q&As. Though production values are rough, the discussion topics prove unusually philosophical, attempting to situate these “toys” in the broader art conversation (Ron English views variants as not unlike prints, while Gotham gallerist Jonathan Levine sees it as a sucker’s game). Highlights include animated chapter headers and a behind-the-scenes look at Keith Poon’s “Sharky” figure, from initial sketch to Comic-Con debut.

The Vinyl Frontier

Production

A Straylight Collective production. Directed, produced, edited by Daniel Zana.

Crew

Camera (color, DV), Zana. Reviewed at Comic-Con Independent Film Festival, San Diego, July 23, 2010. Running time: 83 MIN.

With

Paola Antonelli, Attaboy, Gary Basemen, Tim Biskup, Paul Budnitz, Luke Chueh, Dalek, Tristan Eaton, Ron English, Huck Gee, Thomas Han, Frank Kozik, Joe Ledbetter, Jonathan Levine, Brian McCarty, Bill McMullen, Tara McPherson, Keith Poon, Jermaine Rogers, Bwana Spoons, Sucklord, Derek Welch.
Want to read more articles like this one? SUBSCRIBE TO VARIETY TODAY.
Post A Comment 0

Leave a Reply

No Comments

Comments are moderated. They may be edited for clarity and reprinting in whole or in part in Variety publications.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

More Film News from Variety

Loading