A lean little movie shot on a shoestring and cast with Santa Barbara locals, “Breaking News” is more incisive and funny than many comparable indies. Pitch-perfect in tone, this black comedy about a cutthroat reporter’s journey to the dark side received a warm reception at that city’s film fest. And though theatrical prospects would appear slight, the pic should prove a proud calling card for its multitasking tyro creator (and former news producer), Chandler Landon.
Lonely, aging and alcoholic, weekend newscaster Jerry Blackwell (former KEYT sportscaster Gerry Fall) is a has-been who never really was. Repeatedly overlooked for choice assignments, he resents the younger, more handsome colleague (Joe Gehl) who succeeds at his expense. To impress his station manager, Jerry furtively goads a vagrant into committing a robbery — and conveniently manages to break the story first. As his serendipitous “scoops” increase in frequency — and hilarious depravity — questions inevitably arise, but Jerry deflects them with crooked charm. In the lead, Fall exudes a combination of unctuousness and charisma that, at best, recalls Alec Baldwin on “30 Rock”; his work alone makes this worth a look.