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Review: Indie drama ‘Last Curtain Call’ struggles to make you care about tragic rocker

Review: Indie drama ‘Last Curtain Call’ struggles to make you care about tragic rocker
Christopher Maleki in the movie "Last Curtain Call." (Indie Rights)

This indie music drama desperately wants its viewers to come away with a sense of what matters in life. “Last Curtain Call” may lament the emptiness of its protagonist’s hedonistic and selfish lifestyle, but the film itself offers few pleasures with its poor pacing and cliched script.

Mason (Christopher Maleki) is a hard-living hard rocker, who has spent more time trying to make it as a middle-aged musician than he has with his teenage son, Noah (August Roads). While still dealing with the death of his mother (Judy Maleki) and an ailing, aging father (David Proval), Mason becomes concerned about his own mortality when he is diagnosed with dementia. The record industry is finally recognizing the talent of his band, but the timing is wrong as Mason tries to fix the mess he’s made of his life while he still has time.

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Directed by Jennifer Tadlock and written by Jon Hollis-Franks, “Last Curtain Call” demonstrates a lot of love for music, but it doesn’t devote the necessary attention to much else in Mason’s life. Hollis-Franks’ characters don’t feel like real people facing tough choices; instead, they’re flimsily constructed fictions who can’t make the audience care in the 90 minutes they are on screen. Tadlock uses some gimmicky cinematic tricks to put us in Mason’s shoes, but it rarely works to instill empathy for such an unlikable character.

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‘Last Curtain Call’

Not rated

Running time: 1 hour, 30 minutes

Playing: Starts Friday, Arena Cinelounge Sunset, Hollywood

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