Houston-made film Hardball gets 'leaner and meaner' for DVD
A new cut of the locally made action film Hardball: All Balls Don't Bounce will screen next Thursday at River Oaks Theater to celebrate the movie's DVD release.
Director Jerry Ochoa and crew shot Hardball in Houston and Galveston and completed a rough cut in 2007. While screening the film at festivals, the filmmakers looked for distribution and edited the movie to make it more fast-paced.
"We're saying it's leaner and meaner," says Sophia Vassilakidis, the film's producer.
At once a genuine action film and a parody of the genre, Hardball chronicles a vigilante's battle against human trafficking in Houston.
Vassilakidis describes the protagonist as "kind of a fool, kind of the machismo stereotype, only he doesn't get it, and everybody realizes that he's a bit ridiculous."
"[Jerry] actually based the script on the fact that Houston in the 1990s used to be a hub of human smuggling from Eastern Europe, for sex trafficking especially," Vassilakidis says.
The film also maintains a subtle but strong sense of humor, including scenes in which police officers are forced to make mysterious payments to a mime. Vassilakidis says the film wants to make a serious point about human trafficking, but is glad that there's some comic balance.
"Sometimes issue films get so maudlin or pretentious that it's hard to take seriously," she says.
The film used all local actors and locations, and its soundtrack includes songs from local bands.
"We tried to make Houston look good," Vassilakidis says. "Unfortunately, quite a few places where we shot have now been torn-down or changed, because Houston is always in flux."
The DVD-release screening takes place Thursday, June 30 at 7:30 p.m. at River Oaks Theater. Tickets cost $10.
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