×

Film Review: ‘All Together Now’

This loosely constructed hybrid of music docu and coming-of-age drama casts an undeniable spell.

With:
Ryan Bates, Tucker Bryan, James Burns, Sam Carson, Hal Dion, James Duval, Lindsey Garrett, Ryan Heinke, William Horwich, Monika Jolly, Amanda Kimmel, Nora Kirkpatrick, Morgan Krantz, Stella Maeve, Luke McClure, Ryan Melander, Dalton O’Dell, Jerry Phillips, Lou Taylor Pucci, Azim Rizk, Hannah Sullivan, Will Watkins, Matt Weiner, Martin Yribarren, Night Control, Manicorn, Pedestrian Deposit, Nice Face.

The title of “All Together Now” speaks directly to this odd but likable little picture’s infectious, inclusive spirit. A “hangout” movie in the truest sense, set in and around a multi-act punk/noise rock concert, first-time director Alexander Mirecki’s loosely constructed hybrid of music docu and coming-of-age drama follows a couple dozen teens, twentysomethings and chaperoning middle-agers as they drift in and out of each other’s lives over a few brief hours in the woods, illuminated by the flickering bonfire light. Though its ambitions are modest, “All Together Now” casts an undeniable spell, of which fests with an eye toward microbudget emerging helmers should take particular note.

The concert is the brainchild of Ron (indie stalwart Lou Taylor Pucci), a promoter so soft-spoken and easygoing he might easily be mistaken for a spectator. The actual ticket holders — though it’s not even clear that there are tickets — run the gamut from the visibly “alt” (in their dyed hair and piercings) to the decidedly prep (or is that retro prep?), an assortment of kids and kids-at-heart who recall the ones directors Jeff Krulik and John Heyn found tailgating a Judas Priest concert in their seminal 1986 short “Heavy Metal Parking Lot.”

There’s Ron’s friend Richard (Will Watkins), a human-rights activist who’s been recruited into keeping an eye on his boss’s teen daughter (Hannah Sullivan) and her two gay guy pals (Martin Yribarren and Dalton O’Dell). A couple of bros (Ryan Melander and Matt Weiner) awkwardly try to put the moves on two older babes (Amanda Kimmel and Nora Kirkpatrick). Lovestruck Sam (Morgan Krantz) wants to be more than just friends with Michelle (Lindsey Garrett), who herself only has eyes for Ron. And the movie’s requisite Spicoli/Wooderson arrives in the form of James Duval’s Zeke, who aspires to end the night with a bang — by launching a large anvil 200 feet into the air.

Popular on Variety

Mirecki, who also co-wrote “All Together Now” with fellow USC film-school grad Ryan Kasmiskie, doesn’t do the expected thing and narrow in on two or three main characters, instead juggling his sprawling, Altmanesque ensemble for all the pic’s brief 82-minute running time. But Kasmiskie has obvious gifts for characterization — as do most of his actors — and so we come away with a pretty good sense of who these people are, or at least (this being the world of malleable teen identities) who they’re trying to be.

Mirecki’s conceit, doubtless gleaned from firsthand experience, is that at gatherings like this, the real action happens far from the main stage (or in this case, the main corrugated tin shed), wherever eager warm bodies can find some fleeting privacy. So “All Together Now” largely follows suit, keeping the actual concert footage (of real “noise” acts including Manicorn and Pedestrian Depot) relatively brief. Which may be just as well, given that the music under discussion is an acquired taste — so screeching and atonal they make the Sex Pistols sound like easy listening. Pic humorously adds one fictional act to the roster: a father-son death metal act called Possessed (played by James Burns and Jerry Phillips), who momentarily spoil everyone’s good vibrations when a technical snafu sends dad on a rampage wielding a large samurai sword. Yep, it’s that kind of night.

The movie’s true musicality lies in Mirecki and cinematographer Zoran Popvic’s lyrical handheld camerawork, much of it shot with low levels of available light, effortlessly pulling us into the communal happening vibe. But “All Together Now” is ultimately better seen than described. As one of its own characters might say: You had to be there.

Film Review: 'All Together Now'

Reviewed online, New York, June 19, 2013. (In Los Angeles Film Festival — competing.) Running time: 82 MIN.

Production: Produced by Michael Younesi, Leah Fong. Executive producer, Daniel Dubiecki.

Crew: Directed by Alexander Mirecki. Screenplay, Mirecki, Ryan Kasmiskie. Camera (color), Zoran Popvic; editor, Gal Muggia; production designer, Zach Bangma; Costume designer, Dana Boulos; sound, David Alvarez; supervising sound editor, Sebastian Sheehan Visconti; associate producer, Robert Glennon; assistant director, Li Lu; casting, Ricki Maslar.

With: Ryan Bates, Tucker Bryan, James Burns, Sam Carson, Hal Dion, James Duval, Lindsey Garrett, Ryan Heinke, William Horwich, Monika Jolly, Amanda Kimmel, Nora Kirkpatrick, Morgan Krantz, Stella Maeve, Luke McClure, Ryan Melander, Dalton O’Dell, Jerry Phillips, Lou Taylor Pucci, Azim Rizk, Hannah Sullivan, Will Watkins, Matt Weiner, Martin Yribarren, Night Control, Manicorn, Pedestrian Deposit, Nice Face.

More Film

  • Mika Ronkainen and Merja Aakko

    ‘All the Sins’ Producers to Broaden Spanish-Language Ties (EXCLUSIVE)

    GÖTEBORG, Sweden: “All the Sins”’ Finnish co-writers and creators Mika Ronkainen and Merja Aakko, winners of last year’s Nordisk Film & TV Fond Prize for outstanding Nordic screenplay, are developing for MRK Matila Röhr Productions an adoption drama set between Finland and Guatemala. Based on a true story, the six-part series “Act of Telling” (a [...]

  • A still from Vivos by Ai

    'Vivos': Film Review

    To the individual enduring it, sorrow seems a lonely, defenseless emotion, one from which others are too quick to look away. Shared and felt en masse, however, it can become something different: a galvanizing force, a wall, not diminished in pain but not diminished by it either. Ai Weiwei’s stirring new documentary “Vivos” runs on [...]

  • Jumbo

    'Jumbo': Film Review

    Tall, dark and handsome? The crush that Noémie Merlant’s character, Jeanne, explores in “Jumbo” is one out of three: a 25-foot-tall carnival ride who seduces the amusement park janitor as she spit-cleans his bulbs. During the night shift, Jumbo literally lights up Jeanne’s life, and while he’s not handsome in the traditional sense — especially [...]

  • Ironbark

    'Ironbark': Film Review

    Movie spies typically fall into one of two categories. There are the butterflies — flamboyant secret agents like James Bond or “Atomic Blonde” who behave as conspicuously as possible. And then there are the moth-like kind, who do their best to blend in. The character Benedict Cumberbatch plays in “Ironbark” belongs to the latter variety, [...]

  • Miss Juneteenth review

    'Miss Juneteenth': Film Review

    “Miss Juneteenth” richly captures the slow pace of ebbing small-town Texas life, even if you might wish there were a bit more narrative momentum to pick up the slack in writer-director Channing Godfrey Peoples’ first feature. She’s got a very relatable heroine in Nicole Beharie’s Turquoise, an erstwhile local beauty queen whose crown proved the [...]

  • Never Rarely Sometimes Always

    'Never Rarely Sometimes Always': Film Review

    The basic plot of “Never Rarely Sometimes Always” is easy enough to describe. A 17-year-old girl named Autumn (Sidney Flanigan) winds up pregnant in a small Pennsylvania town. Prevented from seeking an abortion by the state’s parental consent laws, she takes off for New York City with her cousin Skylar (Talia Ryder), where what they’d [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content