Tricks of the Trade: Making 'Matchstick Men' (Video 2004) Poster

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Terrific Documentary About Moving Making
Rick Umali23 March 2004
If you are at all a fan of DVD commentaries, then this documentary is definitely for you. This documentary ALONE is worth the price of the DVD.

This documentary was made by Charles de Lauzirika, who has produced the DVDs for many of Ridley Scott's films, including Alien, the Duellists, and Hannibal. I actually was watching the small "retrospective" short (Duelling Directors) on the DVD "The Duellists" (Ridley Scott's first film), and I was amazed that the producer of that DVD was none other than Charles de Lauzirika. He does terrific work.

The documentary neatly splits up the "Matchstick Men" movie making process into pre-production, production, and post-production. Charles gives equal weight to both, highlighting some of the key decisions that were made at each step in the movie-making process. For pre-production, we saw Ridley at a casting meeting and costume reviews. For production, we saw Ridley's first shooting day, and last shooting day, as well as a necessary re-shoot. You even got to see the author of the book Matchstick Men, Eric Garcia. For post-production, we heard from Hans Zimmer (composer) and Dody Dorn (editor), and the decisions they made in their roles.

This was a long documentary but it was hardly a marketing-driven fluff piece. This was clearly a documentary from a fan of the "behind-the-scenes" genre, for fans of the "behind-the-scenes" genre.

I wish the documentary could have been longer! I wish there could have been more about the budget process, and some more from the principal actors (a la the reality TV show about movie making, Project Greenlight).

That little bit aside, this documentary is a wonderful testimony to Ridley Scott, the legendary director. He's the star of the documentary as he should be. You got a sense of his style. You got a sense of his desire to be prepared for all aspects of the production.

For all fans of movie-making, this documentary is a superb addition to your collection.
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True "Making of" documentary!
rickybo1402 August 2004
i recently rented the "matchstick men" DVD and immediately went out and bought my own copy the next day after watching the documentary on the making of the film (tricks of the trade)which is included in the bonus features

it is a full length documentary that goes into extreme detail from pre-production meetings to the release movie fans like me foam at the mouth for DVD extras like this one, OK maybe not so extreme but i definitely act like a giddy little school girl just thinking about it

if you want to check out the long process and hard work it takes to make a quality film then this is for you

oh yeah, if you like it as much as i do, then check out the extras on the "once upon a time in Mexico" DVD which were done by the same DVD producer

-after watching this doc., you will appreciate this movie and the film-making process in general so much more
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The Real Deal
toniweiss22 February 2004
Far from being your average Studio-PR, hype-filled, everybody-congratulating-everybody making of-doc, this is a real look at what it feels like to prep, direct and post a feature film. Camera is present at moments you usually don't see, like the fitting for Nic Cage (you can sense everybody in the room just slowly getting comfortable with each other) or Ridley Scott's first meeting with the picture's editor. If you pay attention, you get a free tour of Scott's offices, too - and any director who posts a "Don't knock, just enter"-sign on the door of his conference room is a prince, if you ask me. Footage is mostly very intriguing fly-on-the-wall-stuff and interviews highlighting production from the p.o.v. of the team members. People readily admit to shortcomings (Hans Zimmer), problems (screenings resulted in quite some creative changes to the movie) and insecurities. Which makes the team's and Scott's triumphs of arriving at better solutions for the creative problems even more valuable and inspiring. Camera always stays long enough on its subject or the proceedings to really feel what's going on. This doc has obviously been made to record what it's like to really work on something like Matchstick Men - as opposed to the souped-up, highlights-filled making of-fare that the PR-departments usually churn out. If the movie weren't brilliant in itself, this doc alone would be worth buying the Matchstick Man DVD for.
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Lacks any fun stuff from the specific film but is interesting in terms of the general making of a film
bob the moo13 March 2004
In three parts, this documentary follows the making of the film Matchstick Men. Starting with a long pre-production period where Scott and the crew, cast the picture, scout locations, pick costumes and discuss shots. We then follow the actual production of the film and the difficulties involved there before entering the post production where they struggle to get a cut where everyone is happy and the music is right so that it can be put in front of a test audience.

Many dvd's include a `making of' documentary as one of the extras, but not all of them are worth even the name. However, this film runs to over an hour and therefore shows promise - although experience has taught me that quantity doesn't always mean quality. However, this film is actually pretty good despite the lack of real fireworks or great stories. Broken into three sections, the film actually succeeds as a look at the making of any film rather than being very specifically about Matchstick Men.

The reason for this is the real lack of specific stories or sticking points in the documentary. It looks at generic issues around the shot, the costumes, the casting process and the problems of the post production process is not dealt with by including a great deal of detail that are specific to the film - there are no real stories of woe here or any dirt. Despite this, the film is still quite interesting - mainly because Ridley Scott shows us the onerous process that he goes through and we see the unglamorous side of the job and all the difficulties. Despite there not being great specific tales or such there is still enough general interest to justify watching.

Overall this is an interesting documentary that takes us through the making of a film from start to finish. It is well supported by the cast and crew and has managed to get seemingly unlimited access to the process. It may lack any really good stories or tales of splits in the camp but it is still interesting.
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