“MOVIE CYNICS” Review for Actor Kelvin Page’s Independent Feature length Drama [Second Chances] starring LeRoy Taylor, Shari Nelson, and Kelvin Page – Directed by Jimmy Traynor
Second Chances (2010) – New DVD Movie Reviews
By The Vocabulariast on Saturday, 4th September 2010
I am constantly amazed by Jimmy Traynor, one of the hardest working indie directors in the business. Traynor is a one man film factory who appears to be able to cobble a story together out of seemingly nothing other than a handful of actors and a couple of locations. Traynor’s latest indie opus is a tough-luck film about a man discovering what’s really important in life. While the film is far from perfect, the earnest sentiment of the film manages to salvage it.
The film tells the tale of Doug Johnson, a hard-working dude who holds down three jobs simply to pay for a house which isn’t in the bad part of town. His jobs prevent him from being able to spend quality time with his son and his wife, both of whom he loves very much. As the strain of working every day begins to take its toll on the family, they begin to drift apart. His wife Trish becomes friends with a shady hornball named Rick, who operates under the guise of the “well-meaning church friend.” His son Doug remains in close contact with his friend from the streets, and tries to adapt to his new environment. Through an unfortunate twist of fate, Doug learns what really matters in life and secures his salvation with a new understanding of the world around him.
Traynor’s latest flick is another example of indie spirit at work. Traynor has gradually come to tighten up the dialogue and transition scenes in his film, so that there aren’t giant pauses which affect the pacing. Second Chances flows nicely and there’s no dead space in the film. Traynor tells the story of Second Chances in a meandering way, which takes some getting used to, but the payoff is worth it. Now the only thing that Traynor needs to do to take his film to the next level is upgrade the look of his movies. A better camera, more sophisticated lighting, and less claustrophobic settings will go a long way into allowing Traynor to make some fine cinema.
The cast is also a slight upgrade over some of Traynor’s previous flicks. LeRoy Taylor gives a sympathetic portrayal of Doug Johnson. Taylor finds his stride in many scenes, and as a lead in an indie flick, he is definitely up to the task. Shari Nelson is somewhat of a mixed bag as Trish, Doug’s wife. There are some scenes where she is outstanding, but others where she’s just a little off. There are also some huge problems in the writing of the character, as it’s awful hard to care about a wife who does nothing but go to church while her husband slaves away at three jobs. I don’t know anyone who wouldn’t kick that cooze to the curb. Kevin Page is a nice find as David, Doug and Trish’s son.
Overall, Second Chances is a somewhat simplistic film. Its plot is the type of everyday “slice of life” fare that anyone can connect to. And that’s what this film is, an attempt from director Traynor to connect to his audience and impart a modicum of wisdom. Its honesty is refreshing, and to be honest, Traynor’s approach is something that you simply don’t see too often. That makes Second Chances somewhat refreshing, despite its flaws.
Final Synopsis: Second Chances is another in Jimmy Traynor’s growing list of films. It’s put together solidly. It still lacks the polish needed to make it a solid recommendation, but for those of you that like to support a man that works his ass off, I say check it out.
Points Lost: -1 for a couple sound quality blips, -1 for claustrophobic locations that narrow the film’s scope, -1 for an overabundance of time transition title cards at the end of the film, -1 for inconsistent lighting, -1 for a cheap look to the film
Lesson Learned: Don’t forget about the things that are important in life.
Burning Question: Can I borrow your lawn choppa?
Tags: drama, kevin page, latest independent movie reviews, latest movie reviews, leroy taylor, new independent movie reviews. jimmy traynor, new indie film reviews, new indie movie reviews, shari nelson