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3 out of 3 people found the following review useful:

Trys to be too epic, and ends up as an unconnected mess

2/10
Author: Daniel Imfeld (dimfeld) from Los Angeles, CA
5 August 2003

The film 12 certainly is groundbreaking in its presentation. The guerrilla drive-in is a brilliant idea, in which the projectionist displays the movie on a wall in a parking lot and sends the audio to your car radio through a low-power FM transmitter. Incidentally, the projectionist at the showing that I attended had not obtained permission to use the parking lot, and the owner of the building came out about halfway through the movie, but he allowed us to finish the viewing anyway. The audio and video quality falls short of that of a theater, of course, but it's an excellent method for showing films without having to sign with a distributor, which leads to the reason (in my opinion) that 12 doesn't have a distributor: the movie simply isn't very good, and comes nowhere near the quality of either big budget blockbusters or Sundance/Cannes fare.

Lawrence Bridges spent approximately 12 years in production and post-production on this movie (hence the title), and although it has some decent cinematography, 12 is neither enjoyable nor thought-provoking. The movie plays as if Bridges was trying to stuff many years of loosely related ideas into one feature. Basically, the lesser Greek gods are forced by Zeus to act out Oscar Wilde's "The Importance of Being Earnest" under threat of death. The squabbles between the gods cause disasters in the city of Los Angeles, such as the Northridge earthquake and the riots that resulted from the Rodney King verdict. Bridges uses real footage that he filmed during these events, and well it is an interesting idea, the film does not segue well into these scenes. They seem jammed into the movie, and do not actually affect anything. As the movie progressed, I felt that it lost its purpose, and that I was just watching a mediocre performance of "The Importance of Being Earnest." The fact that the characters were Greek gods affected the movie only to a small degree; it seemed to be just another potentially interesting idea that should have been better incorporated. Some social commentary on the denizens of Los Angeles is in the script too, and this is generally effective, funny, and often quite accurate, but these flares of quality do not make the rest of the movie any more bearable.

Anyway, 12 is worth watching simply because of the novel format of the guerrilla drive-in. Don't expect anything particularly groundbreaking in the film itself, but if you don't enjoy it, at least it was free.

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1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:

The way of all things

1/10
Author: mockturtle from New York
25 December 2002

This film, the "guerilla drive-in" picture that has had ads in the LA Weekly ever since I moved here, has had its chance. Recently seeing that it was going to be shown in a theatre (the Sunset 5) I gave in to my curiosity and checked it out. I was the only person in the theatre. And I walked out after 1 hour and 20 minutes. I realize that I did not see it under optimal "guerilla drive-in" conditions but I think I got a fair picture of the picture. There is some interesting photography, some nice shots of the character Filmore walking with nicely deepened and textured backgrounds. To be honest a lot of what kept me in my seat was the beauty of Allison Elliot, playing Marie-Noel. But she really can't handle those faux poetic monologues. During most of the film the characters talk at each other instead of to each other in maddeningly pretentious existentia-speech. Then there are exchanges that are set up so they can exchange what are intended as witty ripostes and thought-provoking badinage. It doesn't work. Most important on the "deal-breaker" front: Artemis is the goddess of chastity, why would she be a model? Why would she be more attractive than Aphrodite? Most importantly and really the reason I left was that the character of "Allen" and the actor playing the part were so intensely irritating every moment he was on screen I began to make another move to prepare to leave until I found myself exiting the theatre as a reflex. And I don't walk out on movies. And please why does every film have to have an actor character that is so annoying? Can somebody be courageous and show us an honorable actor and not a piece of s#!t that claims to be an artist to avoid a real job? I know it's hard to imagine out there, but some places in the world don't always have invisible quotes around the word "artist" when referring to actors. this film "12" had a great initial idea: Zeus birthed so many demi-gods, why aren't some of the more recent ones hanging around today, and the old ones too for that matter? That's a pity because now no one else can use it to make a good movie. And what the f%$# did "the importance of being earnest" have to do with the price of fake chicken at panda express? I know it is a radical idea, but maybe the Gods of cinema would have forgiven Mr. Bridges for giving his characters something interesting to do. Even without special effects. Oy. This film is from 1999. Indiana, let it go.

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3 out of 5 people found the following review useful:

A real life Auter

10/10
Author: ktonefilm from Los Angeles, California
14 June 2003

In a society full of people eager to pay $9.00 on a Friday night to see a film that has no more depth than the daily routine they live, the movie 12 is a nice break in tradition. We all know how few Auter's their really are in our studio, bottom-line driven, filmmaking system. Personally, I think Larry Bridges and his extremely committed cast and crew came up with an amazing film for such a low budget and stringent resources. The fact that Larry Bridges continues to believe in his film, though he has been turned down by distributors for years, shows what perserverance and faith he has in the story that he is telling. Not to mention the actors' unfailing commitment over at least a 12 year period. One real test to tell whether a film is worth something is whether you like it the second, third, fourth, or tenth time you have seen it. Not only do I like this film after seeing it for the third time, I enjoy it more each time I see it. I recommend this movie to anybody who appreciates the art of filmmaking. Not to mention, you can see it for free any Saturday night in a parking lot, on a wall, somewhere in L.A.. The experience alone is worth trying.

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2 out of 4 people found the following review useful:

Divine comedy

8/10
Author: Eric Schiff from Syracuse, New York
1 May 2004

I was fortunate to see this film in 2004 at the Syracuse International Film & Video Festival, and even more fortunate that Larry Bridges himself appeared at the conclusion of the film to answer questions.

The film does not possess a conventional, linear plot. I found the storyline to be rather surreal, but I don't think of this as a criticism. As Bridges remarked, he didn't "storyboard" his film, but left himself open as cinematographer/director/writer to the unplanned and the improvisational. The storyline, which alludes to the capricious relationships of Greek myth and Greek gods, mirrors in a lighthearted way the chaotic events in Los Angeles in the 1990's that are represented in the film. It was a decade of earthquakes, riots, and floods. Apparently Bridges kept filming right through the 1992 riots: foolhardy and inspiring. I do confess that I don't understand the emphasis on Wilde's play, "The Importance of Being Earnest," but never mind - caprice of the gods.

I think this film is a remarkable and unique work of art. The texture that Bridges achieved in editing material acquired over a decade of filming has the richness of life itself. One sees the actual aging of its actresses and actors, who are surprisingly credible in their roles as gods, demigods, and mortals. The physical environment of Southern California is lovingly and widely represented. The images include aerial and wide-angle landscapes of the Channel Islands, local icons such as Mann's Chinese Theater, City Hall, and LAX, to the urban landscape of South Central and Korea Town.

I was engrossed by the film for its entire 124 minutes.

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1 out of 3 people found the following review useful:

an excellent movie

10/10
Author: ivoperic from United States
8 March 2005

i must admit that i am not in the movie business. nevertheless i had the chance of seeing this movie in the directors cut version. even though i probably understood 60% of the plot (if there was something as a "real plot"), i enjoyed it even more. it is by far one of the best movies i have seen in the last years. it captured me from the first scene and kept me hooked until the end. the pictures, the sound, the idea itself, the actors (except of this Allen guy, he really got on my nerves), the colors and the way Larry portrays los Angeles fascinated me. as a European, no other "American" movie has made such an impression on me since at least 5 years. i hope to see in future time many more American movies taking risks such as this one.

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1 out of 3 people found the following review useful:

12 & The Guerrilla-Drive In

Author: caronte
26 June 2003

Showing 12 on the streets of los angeles is one of the most daring things an indipendent filmaker can do. 12 and the guerrilla-filmaking experience remember us why sometimes we watch movies, that is leave with something that makes us think. First of all, 12 is a very original picture: the illegitimate children of Greek God Zeus are anxiously waiting for their father to move them to new lives. But he gives them a task: in order to survive, they will have to find a play, "The Importance of Being Earnest," by Oscar Wilde, in which they must perform if they want to survive. So they wander in the City of Angels where they meet colorful characters, fall in love and manage to fullfill their goal. The director took 12 years to put together his movie, that shows plenty of dedication and determination for something that was certainly not thought to be mainstream. The problem with 12 is that, as we are so accostumed with watching movies that we already know how they are going to begin and end, we have a problem with a movie that does not flow like some dramatica guru has decided stories have to be told. But that is what makes 12 fascinating, it attempts to tell a story, a very original one, by breaking the rules of both storytelling and filmaking. 12 may not work all the time, but its flaws are often what push you to think freely and hopefully fill the gaps, which is what art should do.

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0 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

What a sublime movie! Finally time has caught up with this movie!

10/10
Author: dan bergman (mickdan@earthlink.net) from LA
10 July 2003

What a sublime movie! Finally time has caught up with this movie!

The comments by the person who saw "12" in a theater had clearly more to do with his state of mind than with the movie, and IF he JUST had sat through to the END and seen the coming together of all the PARTS!

As good as ALTMAN's script of Carver's SHORT CUTS but in the metaphysical mixed with the real of LA, and not just the real LA shown in SHORT CUTS, which happens to be my favorite movie about LA, a city which I love.

Sure some fine tuning could be made like in the time the text is allowed to stay on the screen, which was too short to be possible to read in its entirety for the uninitiated, but that is the only real problem, as it is such an integral part of the movie in the beginning and NEEDS to be understood by the viewer.

Bravo, dAn

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0 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

A fantastic epic masterpiece

Author: (shiomigary@hotmail.com) from los angeles, ca
16 June 2003



After first seeing 12 at the Guerilla drive in, there was only one word that came to mind, epic. 12 had everything a great movie should have. An interesting plot, character development, and plenty of action.

The movie had some of the most amazing shots of LA and Catalina that I've ever seen. It reminded me of how beautiful Los Angeles is. 12 also touches into LA's eventful past, floods, earth quakes, and riots..

After reading a bit on 12 i learned a few interesting things about the Film maker: Larry Bridges, and the making of the film. It took 12 years to make 12! Talk about dedication and persistence.

I'm a screenwriter and film maker and 12 has definitely influenced me and inspired me about what it means to be a film maker. 12 definitely sets the bar when it comes to independent features.

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