Despite barely having reached 20, Yoshioka has a slew of work under his belt, both micro-budget features and music videos, through his company, Ballistic Entertainment. Premonition is the latest, a 60-minute movie about a missing girl who seems to have forseen her own death, an idea intriguing enough to draw us down from Scottsdale to Tempe for its premiere. Shot over three weekends and costing a mere $200 (making the budget of El Mariachi look like Waterworld in comparison), its economy largely vaccinates it from criticism - what do you want from a movie costing less than a weekend in Vegas?
There's no denying Yoshioka's visual style, and also his restraint - he doesn't wave the camera around needlessly, like some low-budget directors. He does let rip during one party sequence which is fabulously shot, but I must confess the significance of the scene to the plot had to be explained to me afterwards, style having blinded me to the substance.
The basic story is interestingly X-Files-ish, an influence acknowledged by naming one investigating officer Chris Carter! The film's biggest weakness is clunky dialogue in need of polish - given the amateur actors, they don't need to be struggling with lines that obviously don't fit their characters. The psychic who plays a key role also comes across as a plot contrivance, breezing in to answer all the questions, simply 'cos he is a psychic.
Original tracks by local bands rub soundtrack shoulders with music shamelessly pilfered from the likes of Run Lola Run - while understandable (and showing admirable taste), this will block commercial distribution. Though the Limp Bizkit promo accompanying the film, with cast and crew lip-synching away enthusiastically, was undeniably amusing!
The energy is infectious, and everyone at Ballistic deserves praise for their efforts, which can only be applauded. There's a lot of raw talent on view here, and with a little more work on the script (and a little less plagiarism on the music!), the payoff could be spectacular.