|Index||5 reviews in total|
I had certain expectations for this movie based on the things I'd seen
and read prior to today. I was expecting, based on that first scene, a
wordy, cynical, angsty, postmodern treatment of the romantic comedy
genre. I certainly got all that, but I also got something I didn't
fully expect - a movie with a heart a mile wide and a soul as deep. I
really felt like Ethan really laid himself out there emotionally and
the movie benefits greatly from the vulnerability he projects.
Grant Henry did a great job as both the lead actor and score composer. The score is very subtle, but very well done. It doesn't get in the way of anything, but it adds the perfect atmosphere throughout.
Although this story was about love and loss and the relationship (or lack thereof) between Duo and Catherine, for me, the emotional center of the movie was the relationship between Duo and Travis, played by Travis Barkley. Travis basically makes this movie what it is. I think the character is exceptionally well conceived, written, and acted, and it's obvious that Ethan trusts him with such a pivotal position in his story. We've all been that guy too - the best friend of the guy who is going through hell, and we have to walk the line between putting up with all the s**t, and doing all we know how to help out a brother in need. Travis' performance was outstanding. Travis, your performance was both kickass in your face and totally sublime at the same time. The scene where you were waiting for the "AAAA" was so good, and thinking about it right now is making me kind of teary-eyed.
Matt Shelton was the shizz-nite up in there, boy. Every time he was on the screen was funny, culminating in the "He's beating me...with my own shoe!" scene.
There were a few problems, however. The sound was kind of rough in places, and there were lines of dialog that weren't as clear as they should have been. It would have been OK if the overall volume was a little louder in the theater though. The lighting was inconsistent, and even bad in places. Some of the lines, while cool, seemed awkward. They probably look great on the page, but sound a little clunky when spoken. In other words, it's not as conversational as you may be accustomed to with dialog. However, I think this is more of a conscious stylistic choice rather than an oversight, so listing it as a "problem" isn't completely fair. The issues were mainly technical, but given that the movie was produced for less than the price of a decent used car, you can't expect million dollar slickness. There's very little "slick" about this movie, but it may have suffered if it had been.
I'll be buying at least two copies of the DVD - one for myself, and one for a friend of mine who is an aspiring screenwriter. I'm sure he'll love it. If you can't relate to it on some level, then you're obviously not old enough to have had your heart broken.
Since I'm not a professional movie critic, I don't have any fancy rating system. I'll just say it's good and leave it at that.
Well friends, I just got finished viewing For Catherine, an independent
movie produced, written, and directed by Ethan Hunter (check out his
website, 207pictures.com). Now, let me first warn you that this is not
in any way a movie where lots of action occurs, or things blow up,
etcetera. This was not filmed on a huge budget.It doesn't take
advantage of any "hot" actors to boost its credibility. It is not your
typical movie for this day and age. But that's what makes it one of the
most thought-provoking, fresh, and original movies I've ever seen.
Now, here's how the story goes: Duo is in a relationship with Catherine. In fact, he has been for about two years. He's apparently been relatively happy with his life, until Catherine leaves in August for Oxford University. Duo is now alone, and doesn't know what to do. As a result, for one reason or another (which is actually explained quite well in the film itself), Duo decides to pack all of the belongings in his apartment, and Fed-Ex them all--to himself. That's right, from apartment 207, right back to apartment 207. Now, this is just where things begin. His roommate Travis, seeing that Duo is obviously having a hard time, attempts to get him out of this rut he appears to be stuck in. Thus begins Duo's journey of contemplation and self-discovery, with countless laughs and quirky moments all along the way.
I first want to talk about Duo. Duo is one of the most well-crafted and intriguing characters I've ever come across in any movie I've ever seen. His behavior in the beginning of the movie is odd, unexplainable, and sometimes unsettling. But, as the story goes on, we get to understand Duo and his motives, who he is, what he's hiding. As he slowly opens up to the viewer, we get more and more interested in what's going to happen to him next, what other side of him we're going to see. Travis is his friend/roommate/confidant/etc. Duo, for most of the movie, seems to live in a different world, which exists solely within the confines of his apartment. While other people visit from time to time, the only other person who's actually allowed into Duo's little world seems to be Travis. Sometimes, he seems to be the only other person that exists in Duo's mind. And he really is a good friend to him, cheering him up, always thinking of what's best for him, and even making the occasional inspired speech from time to time. In other words, the perfect supporting character.
Now, here's one of the reasons why I enjoyed this movie so much. I love movies with little action and lots of talking. I think it's mainly because those kinds of movies, especially comedies, are so hard to successfully execute. It takes so much skill in writing, and in the actors who put that hard work onto film. It takes more talent than one would think. And I can say with all confidence that For Catherine pulled this off with the kind of grace one can only be impressed by. The jokes are put in a satisfying balance between clever, traditional, and even a little physical. And other than the aforementioned few physical jokes, it's all done through conversation. And well, I might add.
Those of you who think Scary Movie 4 looks pretty funny need to see this instead. This is real humor.
Now, not only is For Catherine very funny. It also manages to be so true to real life and what goes through our heads on a regular basis, it's eerie. Duo's situation with Catherine is easily related to, no matter how much experience the viewer's had with the opposite sex. Each character is about as real as our friends and neighbors, but with enough quirks to be captivating and interesting enough to care about. It really all comes down to the brilliant writing, which I have to give props to Ethan for making an amazing script. I'd like a copy of the script to bind, preserve, and keep locked in a glass display box for all to see, I'm so impressed.
So we've got a captivating story, characters we care about, some of the most genuinely funny moments I've seen on film in a while, and to top it all off, a script to die for. What are you waiting for? Order the DVD from the 207 site, get some friends, and have one hell of a good time.
First, I love when stories shove impossibly quirky ideas into my face and not only handle them in ways that are still accessible, but are also integrated into the plot in such a way as to be vital to the rest of the presentation. Case in point: Duo's shipping and receiving of his own stuff. ...made absolutely no sense to me whatsoever until later when, alone in an almost completely empty apartment, sat delighted and eating his own snack food parcel of cereal, chips, etc. It was then that I realized, in such a subtle and beautiful way, he was literally re- claiming his life. I loved it.
Second on the list of praise - This movie was overflowing with personality and sports a most endearing cast. It was rather scary how, by the end of the flick, I almost felt Travis (one of the main characters), had been my best friend for years. Duo was truly convincing as the goon none of us want to admit we are, Bru was maddeningly charming, and this Catherine Campbell sure knows how to play the absent but nevertheless ever-present "villain". Cheers all around to them.
Finally, I'd recommend this film to anyone who's ever been forced to sit through a romantic comedy wishing somebody would finally get it right. For those whom this describes, Mr. Hunter has a movie for you.
I'm not great with words, like another fan on here I am not a pro movie
critic, but I know without a doubt this is the best independent film I
have ever seen. More than that it's one of the best movies i've ever
Mr. Hunter is a force to be reckoned with as a filmmaker and I can not wait to see what he gives us next.
Travis Barkley and Grant Henry are as good or better than any of the big name actors and none of these guys are too hard on the eyes either.
In short, this flick is amazing and i can't recommend it more highly. Or, as Ethan might say, "Get a beverage of your choice and watch this movie." You'll be very glad you did.
The fact of the matter is that it's hard to make a good movie on a low
budget. Even when a talented person is put behind the camera, the
technical limitations will likely show, and the actors will be anything
but the best available. There is so much going against Ethan Hunter's
debut film, For Catherine, but at the same time, it shows Hunter's
potential to be a great filmmaker.
For Catherine's biggest strength is undoubtedly Hunter's writing. Hunter admits to being a devout fan of Kevin Smith, and it shows with much of the humor coming from everyday conversations, but even the plot itself is inventive, with the main character, Duo, mailing all of his possessions to himself during a bout of loneliness and confusion. For Catherine is the chronicling of Duo's rise from that state as he gains new found independence and as his belongings are returned one by one. The dialogue is for the most part well written, and while the characters could be just about any twenty-something, that's where part of their charm lies.
Unfortunately, most of the other aspects of this film suffer. The majority of the actors in the film had no prior acting experience and it shows. Most of the supporting characters sound like they're reading from a card and are completely unconvincing, and while Grant Henry, who also supplied the movie's whimsical soundtrack, is more bearable in the role of Duo, the movie would have been greatly improved with more competent actors or even just an acting coach. It seems like Hunter just gathered up his closest friends, which makes the stiff acting all the more sad when you consider that the people are probably playing parts based on themselves. Hunter himself has a small part, and he's the only actor who looks and sounds comfortable with his role.
There are a number of technical issues, too. Lighting seems to be almost non-existent, and the camera work is very amateurish with many goofs and flaws, and for the most part, For Catherine has very dull cinematography. All of this is understandable considering that the movie was made on less than $1000, but even if it is understandable it is not excusable. All of this goes to show how much better this movie would have been had it been made by someone with even just a little bit more experience or money.
With all that holds it back, though, For Catherine still manages to be entertaining. As previously mentioned the dialogue, while seemingly, mundane, is full of clever little jokes that spring out of realistic conversations. By the end of the movie, though, it's hard not to feel for Duo in his quest to regain Catherine, and he's a character that you want to root for. And while Hunter flubs a bit when he attempts to get on his soap box, his sentiments of anti-conformity and anti-commercialism are ones that aren't expressed enough in the film industry.
For Catherine is full of obvious flaws, but it's a charming enough little film, if you can look past them. Many people will inevitably hate it for such shortcomings, and they do ruin what is a great script, but if nothing else, For Catherine showcases Hunter's ability to write a clever, but realistic script. With a little bit of rewriting, a better cast, and some studio backing, For Catherine could be remade into a great film. As it is, it's nearly unwatchable. With a little financial backing, though I wouldn't be surprised if Hunter went on to do great things.
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