|Index||4 reviews in total|
Having been through film school, I really enjoyed "Film School Confidential" -- it perfectly captured the personalities of the teachers, the students, and the student films themselves. I agree with the last reviewer that the student films themselves are a major triumph of the movie. One memorable sequence has a wholesome mid-western sophomore watching the grunge/metal inspired dark experimental films of his fellow students, followed immediately by his sweet and wholesome movie about a cute little girl's first day on the bus to school. His film is, of course, ridiculed by the other students -- which is an oft-encountered film school moment. It sure brought back memories. Underdahl has used the editing to add commentary and humor to the story in a very effective and unconventional way. One student who makes experimental films and smokes too much dope, is introduced with jump cuts through all his dialogue -- as if he were in an experimental film. Underdahl's appreciation of the full spectrum of student personalities -- from the pretentious to the experimental to the ones with a simple, genuine desire to tell stories -- provides for pleasant surprises throughout the movie. The technical details -- the flicker and hot spot on the screen of the Steenbecks for instance -- give texture to the obvious love of film-making that Underdahl is sharing with us. The last scene with Sara watching her film on the Steenbeck, and slowing down the film to watch the two actors who don't know the camera is rolling and are sharing a genuine emotion... was very powerful. THAT was what film school was about. It gave us a place to experiment and manipulate time, space, sound... the rawness of that dirty film passing slowly on the steenbeck screen, and freezing... surprised me by bringing back very specific and exciting memories. There is a low-budget charm to the movie, so don't go in expecting the polish of big-budget Hollywood movies. This was made on a shoestring, with a lot of heart and some very clever humor.
I came across this when directing a friend to a book about film schools with the same title, so I decided to check it out. Having been to film school myself, I think the movie does a great job of capturing how disparate personalities can start out hating one another, and, by the end, come to appreciate their differences and ultimately become close friends. Just putting aside the film school stuff for a minute, it really did a great job sketching out the backgrounds of the characters, giving you their weaknesses and strengths. You really root for them by the end. But the thing that really got me about the movie was the films that the students make. They're not staring at a screen that the camera never turns towards, leaving you to imagine what they wound up with, you actually get to see a variety of little student films that, in my opinion, are the biggest triumph of this movie. In all their artsy awkwardness and glory, the student films seem like they actually came from somewhere completely different than the movie itself. They've got a power on their own, and that's no small feat. There's a little bit to get over as far as the editing style is concerned, certain scenes, gestures, and lines are repeated for stylistic effect, but the last 20 minutes really brings the film to a great close, and that's a helluva lot more than I can say about the majority of movies nowadays.
Solid debut film by writer/director Underdahl. It is a nice blend of comedy and drama with terrific performances by the five main characters. Cute scene where the students recite movie dialogue in order to get their beer cup. The strength of the movie lies in the characters. All are compelling and likable. Funny and clever too how the director has the characters reciting the same dialogue in a different manner. Some shots occasionally are out of focus, but for a film budget of only $75,000, the film looks darn good. I'll take this movie anytime over dumb Hollywood films such as Pluto Nash or Swimfan.
I saw this film recently and the interaction of the characters really sold me. Writer/ Director Underdahl accomplishes the hardest of movie-making tasks by creating a world where comedy and tragedy intertwine to form that bittersweet commodity we humans call "life". Think "Tales of the City" or your favorite Woody Allen film. This allows the movie to transcend it's foundation as the trials and tribulations of a group of film school geeks to become a smart and funny commentary on human interaction, regardless of what "school" you may happen to be in at the moment. Some of my favorite moments include actor Chuck Worthington's portrayal of naive (and unbeknownst to him, talented) freshman filmmaker Sal, Stephanie Paul as a bitchy and self-centered art film poser Sara, and of course, the brilliant tearjerker Barbie doll film made by Marta (Christi Kelsy). Lighter moments include the ritualistic recitation of famous film lines to gain entry (and a plastic cup) to the dorm keg parties. All in all, one of better films I've see in a long time either in or out of the festival circuit, and one that will hopefully be available soon at a theatre near you! PS: The short films in the movie that were created by the students as class projects kick ass as well, hopefully they will be released on their own as "special features" on a DVD release.
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