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86 Melrose Avenue - Movie Review

86 Melrose Avenue

BANG! BANG!  Shots ARE fired!

Travis (Dade Elza) is having a bad, bad, very bad night.  And it is about to get worse.  He blindly runs and stumbles down the busy Los Angeles boulevard.  Something has happened.  He’s BLOODY and sirens are non-stop in the background.  His world has been torn asunder just like the t-shirt he’s wearing.  The night around him is full of passing cars and flashing sirens.  The only thing he seems to have left is the gun he is trying to hide in his shirt.

And ALREADY we are nervous.  There is something unhinged about his very nature.  What is he going to do?

Because when that gun is pulled out, he’s at 86 Melrose Avenue and looking at an unsuspecting group of people he will now refer to as his HOSTAGES.  Gulp. 

86 Melrose Avenue is an art gallery and, more than that, it is where this ex-Marine, suffering from PTSD, is going to take a diverse group of people hostage.  These people, as we soon find out, aren’t what you would call angels and, truthfully, everyone here is a victim of some sort.  They all have their demons - whether it be from drug addiction, PTSD, or stark cultural differences - and here, inside 86 Melrose Avenue, is where they ALL will face their own mortality. 

From writer/director Lili Matta, and starring Dada Elza (Mystery Incorporated) and Jim O'Heir (Parks and Recreation), action has a new address!  Sharply edited and full of great camera angles, awesome locales, and even better set pieces, this purposeful thriller might not be all about kicking ass, but it does take names and ask us to REFLECT.86 Melrose Avenue

But, first, we have to step back and set up the dramatic chess pieces as Madeline (Kambra Potter) and Dallas (Jake Red) break bed with Travis.  This pause to develop the backstory gives us a chance to meet and greet all the guests and the workers within the art gallery as their stories are introduced and REFINED.  There is a reason for it all and, truly, 86 Melrose Avenue delivers on multiple fronts as (a) the audience will actually like the people at the center of the drama and (b) the gun violence has a point.  

Co-starring Anastasia Antonia, Gregory Zarian, Terri Ivens, Langstone Fishburne, Michael Polak, Andy Evans, Richard Sabine, Helen Kennedy, and Gary Sturm, Matta’s film - while not perfect - is ON POINT in its delivery of a cautionary tale concerning mental health and gun violence here in America.  We have issues addressing both . . . something that this flick has NO PROBLEM dealing with.

86 Melrose Avenue is now streaming courtesy of October Coast and, honestly, we are the TARGETS.

4/5 stars

Film Details

86 Melrose Avenue

MPAA Rating: Unrated.
Runtime:
94 mins
Director
: Lili Matta
Writer:
Lili Matta
Cast:
Dade Elza, Anastasia Antonia, Gregory Zarian
Genre
: Drama | Thriller
Tagline:
A Lili Matta Film
Memorable Movie Quote:
Distributor:
Gravitas Ventures
Official Site:
Release Date:
April 20, 2021 (Streaming)
DVD/Blu-ray Release Date:

Synopsis: A diverse group of people at a gallery opening is taken hostage by an ex-Marine suffering with PTSD and forced to confront their cultural differences, their pasts, and their looming mortality as time ticks away.

Art

86 Melrose Avenue

 

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