South of Heaven
LAS VEGAS -- A live action cartoon of a spaghetti western (served with plenty of extra cheese), “South of Heaven” would have made for an intoxicating short film, but as a feature-length proposition, the surreally silly effect wears thin mighty fast.
Premiering at CineVegas, this first feature by J.L. Vara concerns a bloody, Wild West crime spree taken by the affably psychotic Mad Dog Mantee (an amusing Shea Whigham) along with his reluctant accomplice, writer Dale Coop (Aaron Nee).
Meanwhile, Dale's lookalike brother, Roy (Adam Nee), who has become disfigured after being continually brutalized by a pair of Vaudevillian thugs mistaking him for his sibling, assumes the identity of a masked avenger known as Nobody.
With a distinctive score by Russ Howard III and quaint painted backdrops that would have been right a home in community theater productions of Oklahoma! or in Yosemite Sam cartoons, “South of Heaven” admittedly has its giddy, inspired moments-just not enough of them to be in it for the long run.
Production: Blue Maria Productions.
Cast: Aaron Nee, Adam Nee, Elina Lowensohn, Shea Whigham. Director-screenwriter: J.L. Vara. Producers: Brian Udovich, Jason Polstein, Glenn Abbott. Director of photography: Darren Genet. Music: Russ Howard III. Editor: Shilpa Sahi
Not yet rated, 97 minutes.