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|Index||69 reviews in total|
This film was shot on some kind of HD video. That's not the problem.
What made me hit the eject button on my blu-ray player was the
nauseating, sepia (tobacco-like) tint they ran it through - probably in
an attempt to make it look like film. What's more, the blu-ray/DVD
versions were not released in the original 2.3:1 widescreen but in 16:9
video aspect ratio. When HD video finally wins our hearts it will be
with its own, brilliant colours - not by trickery. Until then, I
"believe in video, but I dream in film"*. They only saved a little by
not using film; was it worth the sacrifice? I used to wish DVD-cases
were labelled "shot on video" whenever necessary. Lately, however,
several genre-specific films have been released where I found HD to be
the ideal medium (The Social Network, Avatar). But the dramatic genre
of this film means it is cheapened by the digital acquisition format
*We used to say, "We see in colour but we dream in black & white."
Me and Orson Welles
In addition to the pronoun and Orson Welles, there's probably a few Double Down Chicken Sandwiches involved here too.
And while, technically, the rotund auteur died before KFC revealed its abomination, his appetite for food and theater was insatiable.
Richard (Zac Efron), a teen with acting aspirations, hits it big when he lands a role in Welles' (Christian McKay) stage production of Julius Caesar.
New to the playhouse, Richard receives pointers from the production assistant (Clare Danes), whom he takes a shine to. But her licentious relationship with Welles causes the love struck pup to lash out at his idol.
With McKay embodying the wit and arrogance of the wunderkind, this film is a treat for both theater and Welles fans.
And while live theater is terminal, Welles would be pleased knowing that the bard's work is still performed every summer in a park next to a hot dog cart. (Green Light)
This movie is almost as theatrical as the play ('Julius Caesar') that is being staged in it. It reminded me of Hairspray (the version with John Travolta) and not only because Zac Efron is in it. The same artificiality of the sets, story lines and up-beat performances. Any moment, I expected Zac to burst into singing,and one moment he actually does! Christian McKay is excellent as Orson Welles but suffers from the same artificiality of the script as all the actors do. It took a while before I got into the right mood but from that moment on the movie was entertaining. For me the best parts are the glimpses of the adaptation of 'Julius Caesar' that was created by Orson Welles. I would have loved to be in the audience when it was first performed.
Monotone is the best suited word to describe it. I love every other Linklater film and I've been postponing to watch this film because I don't think "Junior", played by Effron, is much of an actor. Well, I was right, the kid overacts, delivers some of his lines as if he's reading from the script as they're shooting it and even reacts before the right moment. In this scene, where the character played by Kelly Reilly kisses him on the cheek, the kid literally reacts to the kiss before it is even landed. But the problem with this film is not the teenage idol. I don't understand why a brilliant writer such as Richard Linklater would choose to direct someone else's script, specially a particularly horrible one. This film is an insult to New York period films post Mad Men; the characters act - or overact - as if they are on a play the entire time. I don't know whose fault it is, but I doubt it was Linklater's who usually goes for the natural performances, sometimes even improvs. Unless you're a 12 year-old teenage girl who never heard of Orson Welles, you have nothing to take from this, not even entertainment.
The film is set in New York City, 1937. A teenager named Richard
Samuels (played by Zac Efron) stumbles upon the Mercury theater, and is
hired to star in a modern retelling of "Julius Caesar" directed by
Orson Welles (played by Christian McKay). He soon finds out that Welles
is the unofficial/official dictator for the show, meaning whatever Mr.
Welles wants, he gets. He is also taken under wing by Welles' assistant
Sonja Jones (played by Claire Danes), and he begins to take an interest
in her. She is referred to as the "Ice Queen" by the male cast, and she
turns down her sexual attention. Tensions grow during the play
rehearsals, and Richard begins to wonder if acting in this play is
really worth it, all leading up to opening night.
And the film... Decent.
The film is a bit slow to start out, but once Welles steps in, the show begins to pick up. While it's not perfect, it's certainly rather good.
The performances by the cast range from average to great, the great performance being Christian McKay, who was absolutely STUNNING as Mr. Welles. And while Zac Efron is really nothing special, it's actually a good performance. I like the fact that he's taken on a more dramatic role here.
And the film is a bit clichéd plot-wise, but it's an enjoyable story, and the last third of the movie is wonderful.
I give it **1/2 out of ****
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
As conceits go this is average. As performances go there is one that overshadows all the rest. Which one? The Shadow Knows. On the other hand there is also some wilful casting. Eddy Marsan is a joke as John Houseman. Houseman was educated at Dulwich College and behaved like an English gentleman; Marsan was educated (probably) in the school of hard knocks and, to be fair, has never pretended otherwise. The nominal lead Zac whatever is neither here nor there but there are two tasty entries on the distaff side, one, Gadg's granddaughter Zoe, and two, Clair Danes. There's a nice attempt at period feel especially in the opening scene in a music store which offers name-checks via sheet music of some of the giants of ASCAP. As a Welles buff I was glad of the footage and for the same reason I'll buy the DVD as and when.
This movie is about a boy (Richard) who got bored of his lectures in the school and wanted to do something for real. The story revolves the real world experiences which changed Richards life from an ambition to become a renowned actor to a writer. Richard got a chance in a play lead by Orson Welles. Orson Welles is depicted as an arrogant, confident, convincing leader who controls the whole the play. All the other actors were just happy to be working with Orson Welles. Richard fall in love with Sonja and spent time with her. But when he fights for her against Orson Welles his life took a new turn. In the end the whole episode gave Richard an idea of writing a novel on a famous personality. Its a drama worth watching. I liked the acting of Christian McKay (Orson Welles) and Claire Danes(Sonja). Zac Efron reminded me of Leonardo DiCaprio.
How did this movie get positive reviews from ANY serious critic or IMDb user....seriously? Badly acted, poorly written, annoying and inappropriate overuse of period music throughout, glib tone...was there actually a director?...I want my money back! I can't believe I paid money to see this- they should have paid me! A big fat waste of my time! If I have anything nice to say about any part of this film, which does account for the score of 1 that I did give this movie, it is that is is mercifully finally over. Why I felt compelled to suffer through to the very end is a mystery...I think actually the movie was so BAD that people didn't even watch the whole thing or waste time writing an excruciatingly painful 10 line review...
I don't think it is exaggeration to say that the performance of
Christian McKay as Orson Welles in this film is beyond criticism. It is
one of the rarest of moments in movies when a character from history
becomes more than real- it becomes part of the legend of his life. More
than anything, this is a film about youth, and all the brashness,
foolishness, and loss that it represents. Orson Welles was a genius,
and as such, would be ignored and destroyed by the very culture that
created him. But theater, just like film is an art of collaboration.
Even geniuses need a cast, and Orson created a team, that included
masters of art like John Houseman and Joseph Cotten. Too bad so many
film viewers will see this film without a clue about who these people
were, never mind how magical this group became.
The film is a delight in every way, with a cast to die for, magical cinematography and a soundtrack that is so perfect it is going to be very hard to resist buying the CD.
And then there is the performance by Mr. McKay. And once again, Europe provides the kind of new acting talent that is apparently lost here in America. Where are the American's that could come even close to such a masterful piece of film acting? We will never know since American directors will make movies with George Clooney and the rest over and over again to guarantee a return on their dollars. The risk and absolute stunning results of the new evident in this film, are rare but absolutely delicious. Don't miss this evidence that film acting still can blow your mind, and make you believe.
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