Note to Bluebox Productions: You're getting there, guys.
"University Heights," the latest from Bluebox Limited (filmmakers Scott Beck and Bryan Woods), is hands-down their best. This is their third feature film. They've come a long, long way since … high school.
I know, that sounds ridiculous. And yet these two young filmmakers, truly veterans of sorts, have done just that with "University Heights," which weaves together the stories of several people who are trying to find themselves.
This contemporary tale is a look at a college campus and the people involved in it, including a philosophy teacher who struggles over the death of his wife and simultaneously grapples with a debt he owes to drug dealers; a student who thinks he may have found the girl of his dreams but isn't mature enough to leave behind getting wasted with his friends; a student determined to carry out a hateful act; and a teacher who struggles with his sexual preference.
Some of the actors are fine in their roles, some are, well, less than fine. But standing out from among the performers is Jim Siokos as Tom Adams, an instructor who is in debt to drug suppliers. He's one of those rare actors who is so natural it's uncanny he's beyond good. Bluebox would bode well to use his talent again.
This time around, it's much easier for viewers to follow the story threads as they focus on first one, then another, of the main characters.
The camera work, as always, is excellent.
By the way: Bluebox Limited was in the running for Project Greenlight's final 50 in the directors' competition this year. The competition, which began three years ago, was created by Matt Damon and Ben Affleck, and is sponsored by Bravo and Miramax Pictures.
Are they ready to compete with the veterans? Well, not yet …. but they're still in college. They have a lot of experience under their belts now, and have proven themselves able to handle the camera deftly. Now they need to find more performers like Siokos as they mature along with their craft.
In a couple of years … who knows?
Linda Cook reviews movies for GO! and KWQC-TV6. Contact her at (563) 383-2400 or
What: "University Heights" premiere.
When: 7 p.m. Saturday, June 26.
Where: RiverCenter Adler Theatre, 136 E. 3rd St., Davenport.
How much: $5 at the door. Tickets go on sale at 5:30 p.m. and doors open at 6 p.m.
Information: Adler Theatre, (563) 326-8500, or Scott Beck, (563) 370-1806.
Running time: Ninety-five minutes.
Rated: Similar to an R for foul language, drug abuse and violence.
Stars: Jim Siokos, Shane Simmons, Travis Shepherd, Sabien Minteer, Justin Marxen, Lindsey Husak, Casey Campbell and Brad Fandel.
Screenwriter and director: Scott Beck.