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A friend invited me to a Sundance USA event in San Francisco, where
they take 10 films from the festival and show them in different cities
around the US. I had no idea what the movie was even about, and
obviously no expectations.
I was completely blown away. 'In a World' was one of the funniest, cleverly-written and flawlessly edited movies I've seen this year (2012-present). From Demetri Martin, Rob Cordry and Lake Bell herself, the acting was fantastic. I had seen Lake Bell in 'How to Make it in America' and thought she was great, but I had no idea how unbelievably talented she is (i.e. playing an accent- obsessed speech coach/aspiring voice-over actress who does probably 10+ flawless accents throughout the movie...a movie she wrote and directed as well. No big deal).
I'm not sure if this movie is getting distributed to a wider audience, but I'm grateful my friend convinced me to go. If you have a chance to catch this, it's a must-see.
After watching an infinity of trailers for violent, over-the-top,
sci-fi or thriller or political espionage movies coming down the pike,
my question is Why aren't there more charming and happy movies? They
sell well too.
So what a delight to see In A World.
It is a quirky and sophisticated comedy. Perhaps it is a chick-flick, but not overwhelmingly so.Yes, some of the criticisms herein are true, but not damaging enough to detract from a thoroughly enjoyable cinema experience. The acting is terrific, the plot and subplots are simple, the humor is amusing and even at a couple of points a true belly laugh, and altogether, the movie is a winner. Kudos to Lake Bell and team.
In a World . . . was written, produced, and directed by Lake Bell. Can
you guess who stars in the movie?
This modest comedy takes place in the mini-world of people who do voice overs. Apparently this world exists. And, like all such worlds, it has stars, former stars, people who want to be stars and will make it, and people who want to be stars and won't make it.
This world also has alliances, feuds, betrayals, burning hates and burning loves. It's the same as any other profession, except that it's invisible to the rest of us. (When was the last time you knew the name of someone doing a voice-over?)
Bell is a good director and a good actor. (And, yes, her voice is fabulous.) She keeps her excellent ensemble cast moving along. The story line starts with boy meets girl, so you know how it will end, but there are enough unexpected twists and turns to hold your interest. It will work well on the small screen. My advice--seek it out and see it. Just don't expect a movie that's so powerful that it will change your life forever.
Lake Bell wrote, directed and starred in this comedy of a voice coach
who wants to make it as a voice-over star, a boy's club dominated by
her famous father, the reigning king of movie trailer voice-overs. The
small group are competing for the voice-over role for an epic new
blockbuster series that's bringing back Don LaFontaine's famous "In a
World..." putting the father and daughter at conflict.
Currently making its rounds of the festivals, where it picked up the Waldo Salt Screen writing award at Sundance USA and was nominated for the Grand Jury Prize. It's a great script that zips along, full of believable characters, handles the central conflict deftly and is never annoyingly quirky, just consistently funny.
Featuring an uncredited cameo by Cameron Diaz and a whole host of comedic talent from the LA circuit including Demetri Martin, Ken Marino, Rob Corddry, Geena Davis, Nick Offerman and Eva Longoria. Lake Bell confirmed at the Sundance London director's Q&A she'd written the script with all her friends in mind but she is the stand-out, anchoring the film and flawlessly delivering around different accents in her performance.
A feminist film that delivers its message without forcing itself upon you and puts the comedy foremost, it's great fun, well worth tracking down at release and shows Lake Bell to be a great talent to watch.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
As someone who watch at least half a dozen movie trailers a week, the
premise definitely appeals to me. In fact, earlier today I saw a
trailer of Inescapable that pretty much had this cheesy VO narration
that tells you the plot of the story. The protagonist of this movie,
Carol (Lake Bell), lives under the shadow of her voice-over star dad
Sam Solomon (Fred Melamed). After being kicked out of her dad's house
to accommodate for his new young wife which Carol refers to as his
groupie she has to pack her bags and live with her sister.
As a vocal coach, Carol often has to coach certain celebrities when they have to adopt a certainly adopt a certain accent, but voicing a trailer is still pretty much an elite boys club. An opportunity suddenly presents itself when a big studio is looking for a voice over for a quadrilogy blockbuster sci-fi franchise and with the help of her friend Louis (Demetri Martin), she just might have a chance to break into the glass ceiling of that industry. The whole VO competition involving her dad and another VO star Gustav, an eccentric douche bag who takes a shine on Carol, provide most of the laughs. Ken Marino is a hoot as Gustav, a familiar face though I can't quite put my finger on what movies I've seen him in. There's also a comical side plot about Carol's sister marital infidelity involving a seductive hunk in the form of Irish hunk Jason O'Mara. Seriously who could resist him with his natural Irish brogue!
This is the first time I've seen Lake Bell, though I've heard of her before this movie. She not only star in this but also wrote and directed her debut film, and I must say I'm impressed! She's got excellent comic timing and a knack for accents, and the story is surprisingly engaging and downright hilarious. The tall and svelte Bell could make a living as a model but she really made herself to look very plain here as a perpetually-disheveled tomboy who's 'signature look' is a denim overall. But she's instantly likable and she surround herself with equally affable and amusing characters.
It was fun to see cameos from Geena Davis, Eva Longoria and Cameron Diaz as well, the scene of Longoria struggling to say just one simple line with a British accent had me in stitches! This movie premiered in Sundance a few months ago and I hope it'll get some decent distribution in the coming months.
For more reviews, visit FlixChatter.net
IN A WORLD... doesn't exactly have a totally engaging plot (some of its
B-Plots are even weaker) but the film has such character and cute and
hilarious humour naturally within the interactions that it's a joy to
The cast across the board is great from the leads to a few smaller parts adding even more humour from the likes of Nick Offerman and Ig Notaro.
Gender inequality takes the for front of this film, with excellent family moments and hilarious cynicism from the lead. Of course it also has a sweet romantic story happening throughout too. It's a fun clever movie and a good watch.
Lake Bell delivers as the screenwriter/director/star and looking forward to what she does next.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
As you may know already, the gist is that Don LaFontaine was the guy
who popularized the phrase "in a world
" as the way to begin nearly
every movie trailer for decades. He's a real guy who really did die in
2008. So the film is a fictional account of Carolthe daughter of a
voice-over artist gifted similarly to LaFontainewho wants to break
into the world of voice-overs, particularly for film trailers, and
become the next LaFontaine.
Kudos to Bell for humorously broaching the subject of male-dominance in the voice-over field. But my praise ends there. I found that every single character was written as a shrill fast-talker no matter their age, gender, or background. It was insufferable, and the cheap writing continued: pivotal plot points hinged on unrealistically stupid coincidences. For instance, Carol can't get a date with the guy who has a crush on her ("Mary Sue" much?) because someone interrupts her cell phone call and he's confused about who she's talking to. Just dumb, lazy writing. I left when her sister's boyfriend finds the (telegraphed) evidence he didn't want to know.
(Note: this review appears on my own blog.)
I didn't know anything about the movie other than the synopsis, and so
I thought it was a documentary. Nope!
That said, this was one of the most laid-back movies I've seen (and liked) in a while. It feels so much like a typical "independent" movie from the late 90's/early 2000's, that it was very refreshing. The dialogue felt very authentic (a few scenes felt improvised, even), and the main character is awesome. I hope this movie becomes more popular just to showcase this character to a wider audience. She's the female lead character we're not shown too often in Hollywood- she's just kinda...normal.
Demitri Martin is also awesome, and I wish he had more screen time (though his character was wisely kept in small doses). The supporting roles, as well as the B-plot characters, are mostly great, though there are a couple of two-dimensional characters who feel written in for convenience, or cheap gags.
The movie is not without flaws, either. At times the characters' dialogue overlaps each other and comes out a bit too quick. Especially in the beginning, I had trouble figuring out what was going on because I couldn't pick out what the people were saying. But then again, that did add to the authenticity of the film overall.
Also, one person's "authentic" is another person's "boring" or "unmotivated." Like real life, stuff just kinda happens and people just kinda do things. It felt very much like just suddenly watching somebody's weekend. I can see how that might irritate some people, who'd want a more audience-friendly flow and script.
I only mention it because it threw me off at first- since I expected a documentary, I had no idea what the movie was trying to be for the first 10 minutes or so. But it did all come together in the end, and I liked it.
Nice story, an unexpected view on gender bias. There's a lot going on,
but it's all connected to Carol's (Bell) struggle to carve out a career
for herself. Many strong performances in small roles, including
Michaela Watkins and Rob Corddry as Carol's sister and brother-in-law
who have their own pressures. Bell shows a strong director's hand
working with a large ensemble cast, and her writing skills made the
shifting relationships between characters work.
Generally a strong directorial debut for Bell, but she also showed her inexperience on the technical side of directing, as there were scenes throughout the movie that were poorly lit (yes, it does matter: shadows are distracting to the audience).
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
. . . for writer\director\producer\star\(and Honeywagon Driver?) Lake Bell, this 34-year-old, primarily a TV actress, has turned out a family mini-drama about the movie trailer voice-over business (an industry which most Americans probably are just dying to learn more about). Never playing on more than 144 screens across the country and grossing less than $3 million, IN A WORLD . . . is the sort of flick that can easily go unnoticed in a world in which OBLIVION gets NO Oscar nominations. In a world in which YOU'RE NEXT also is ignored, it's not surprising that few have even heard of THIS feature. Not even billionaire Steve Jobs' namesake Pic could garner a "nod" in a world in which LOVELACE also received short shrift. In a world in which no one even cares about BLACKFISH, FRUITVALE STATION, or THE HEAT, one may wonder if IN A WORLD . . . even registers. NOTHING was made ABOUT MUCH ADO, STORIES WE TELL remained mostly untold, TRANCE got stuck in the MUD, and IDENTITY THIEF was told to take its WARM BODIES out ON THE ROAD. Obviously, we live IN A WORLD in which there is not enough recognition to go around.
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