Joy and the Apocalypse (TV Movie 2011) Poster

(2011 TV Movie)

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Brilliantly crafted independent film.
fredthompson0715 February 2011
I must say, I didn't plan on writing a review of this movie, but reading the previous review by Sally Reinhardt motivated me to do so.

What an excellent movie! It's very rare these days to find a movie that I can say I've enjoyed from beginning to end; I am happy to say that Joy and the Apocalypse is the welcomed exception.

Once the credits begin to roll, it's obvious from the get-go that this is not your average "I have no money to make an independent film so I'll focus the camera on a fly and call it art" type movie. Instead, Joy and the Apocalypse takes a creative and extraordinary approach to film making; combining themes of love and loyalty with humor, all while interlacing elements of theater. The greatest gratification of the movie comes with watching the story unfold, since it kept me guessing the whole time.

To call the cinematography of this film great would serve it an injustice, I would call the camera work extraordinary. The camera angles, the focusing points, and the backdrop of Boston's cityscapes all add to the appealing visual delivery. Also, the overall picture quality is amazing considering the production only cost a meager 10K.

Of course, we can't forget the acting...Brilliant! Newcomer Reza Breakstone commands the screen with an intensity seen only in seasoned actors. Each careful line spoken creates a persona that grabs the viewer's attention and draws them in; I even found myself silently rooting for him and a happy ending. It makes me wonder with all the talent he has, where has he been before now? And let's not forget about Vanessa Leigh, the belle of Joy and the Apocalypse. What I first thought was a simple character, became a beautiful, complex, and emotional roller-coaster ride of a role. Skillfully crafted and executed with the most sincere of talent, she exudes an air of sophistication; but more importantly, she creates her own place in your heart. It was a real 'Joy' to watch her act.

Not to be underscored any, the supporting cast shows tremendous strength delivery in their roles. I enjoyed their unpredictability and clever acting. The roles meant to be funny are, the roles meant to be serious are, and the roles meant to be intense are exceptional. All of their combined hard work add to the melodramatic feel of the movie and create the constantly changing atmosphere necessary for a successful story. Look for Fiore Leo as Devin Harris, he has one of the most intense scenes I've seen in years.

Directors Ryan Convery and Daniel Black have created their own place in the history of Independent film with this gem. Between the creative story and the masterful camera work, their vision has been captured with the utmost expertise. Personally, I can't wait to see what their future works will be.

I don't know what your business is in this industry Sally Reinhardt, but it appears to me that you've been working in the wrong place. This movie has it all, great acting, impressive imagery, and above all a huge replay factor. If this is the future of film, then I have faith in the film industry once again. Cheers!
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Non-traditional indie fare
H B18 February 2011
Warning: Spoilers
Joy and the Apocalypse is not an easy movie to watch. It is not meant to be. The viewer has to watch; listen; and pay close attention to the unfolding story. Even then, you may find yourself questioning if what you saw and heard was, truly, what you saw and heard. The characters are all flawed and that is what makes them colorful, weaving a tapestry as they intertwine. Benjamin is naïve but wants to do the right thing. Joy is trying to control anything or anybody, as she has none over herself. Linda and Mr. Dover expect the universe to shape itself to their whims. The most powerful scene in the move is between Benjamin and Mr. Dover where one can sense the catastrophe that is about to occur and the variables that make it unavoidable. The plot twist is completely unforeseen, another of the many surprises in the movie. The music for this movie is flawless as it never takes over a scene but rather enhances it. The actors and filmmakers of Joy and the Apocalypse have created an independent film that does not follow a formula. One can only hope that there will be more coming from them.
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Great throwback Romance with a Twist
This film is for the other kind of people who watch film. The ones who believe a story can be anything involving anyone. The form reminds me or Richard Linklater's Sunrise / Sunset series but, set to a different tone. One that keeps the viewer guessing about the world around the two main characters. This film should serve as a reminder that sometimes it is okay to slow down and get to know a character. The film also has a lot of hidden meaning about God, religion and how we often lie to each other and ourselves to make the world easier to live in. The value of this film isn't in the budget but, instead in it's depth and meaning. If one takes the time to think about this picture while watching it, they will not be disappointed and they will want to watch it again.
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The Midas Touch
Chip Duggan27 March 2011
Warning: Spoilers
This film takes every shot seriously and turns a 7,000 dollar film into a million dollar value. Production value was very high with very little resources. Ed Gutierrez stole the show with his brilliant acting. The two leads were good and I hope to see Reza Breakstone in more films, he looks like he has a lot of potential. The film was over all a good story, with great dialogue that kept you interested through the whole movie. My criticism is in the development and arc of the entire story, it felt like it could have been a lot more emotional build-up between Benjamin and Joy. Other than that it was entertaining and brings you through some great unexpected moments. I hope to see another film from these guys!
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An Incredible Emotional Journey
Jordan Mandelkorn20 March 2011
Warning: Spoilers
Joy and the Apocalypse is truly proof that it's not the size of your production budget, but your ability to truly tell a story that can make a film worth watching. Joy and the Apocalypse accomplishes what so few films are able to without the assistance of major studio funding. The story is too good to not be told.

Expertly written with both human feeling and the ability to make you look at each scene a number of times to be sure you've taken in everything you're supposed to.

Reza Breakstone and Vanessa Leigh bring some very complicated and layered characters to life, all the while remaining human and easy to relate to. Nothing can sink an independent film quicker than that of poor acting, but one of Joy and the Apocalypse's greatest strengths is its incredible cast of talented actors.

Joy and the Apocalypse is not an easy journey, but one worth making. Taking place on the final day of Earth after a four year wait for an asteroid to hit, a small few have been chosen to be saved and live in an underground colony until it's safe to reemerge.

Ben, played with a steady confidence by Reza Breakstone, is responsible for designing the first Church the New World will worship in. On his last day on Earth, instead of making final plans for the Church, or even spending it with his fiancé', finds himself running into an old yet not forgotten flame. Joy, played by Vanessa Leigh, leaps off the screen with insecurity and quirky mannerisms that mask her fear.

Taking a fresh approach, Directors Ryan Convery and Dan Black ensure that this film doesn't fall into any clichéd' or typical pratfalls that post-apocalyptic films so often do.

Joy and the Apocalypse truly represents a step forward for independent film making, and most notably the ability to create a professional presentation with meager funding. From the exceptional acting, to the original score, to the care that each shot is filmed with; Joy and the Apocalypse is not to be missed, and leaves you with a refreshing twist you never knew to look for.
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I am still thinking about it. The movie gets better the more you view it.
joefollansbee6026 February 2011
I attended the premiere with moderate expectations as I knew the movie was a low-budget indie, but my hopes were high. Joy and the Apocalypse exceeded my wildest dreams in delivering an awesomely stellar impact. It's two lead actors, Vanessa Leigh and Reza Breakstone, were both superb and showed talent and depth of character and played the characters so believably and delightfully that I wanted more of them when the movie ended, thus hopes for a sequel starring these two are truly in my heart. The cinematography was superb. The music score was a sensational compliment as well, and was a major part of the total success of this film, and exposes a great new musician further to all of us. Further, the story itself was superbly written and left me wanting more throughout, until the surprise ending that was exactly what I was looking for - an answer to the delightful earlier unique and enigmatic tale of "Joy and the Apocalypse". I was initially and weeks after still am blown away by the AWESOME delivery this movie had in total, and my sincere reaction was – given their resources – that the two Director-Producer team of Dan Black and Ryan Convery were clearly almost magical in their ability to creatively produce, direct, and craft a product of such total quality and substance within their resources. I can only imagine the genius they will deliver on screen as they evolve into big budget movies, which, given their absolutely delightful delivery – they are clearly qualified to do. Respectfully - Spielberg look out!
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