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Rachel Getting Married (2008)
An old curmudgeon's view
Maybe this is a generational thing but I wholeheartedly agree with those who have said, "Excellent film sabotaged by execrable camera work," "Teenagers Making Video," and "Rachel Gets Married, Audience Gets Headache." When I was an engineer and again as a programmer, we had a saying, "Just because you can do something doesn't mean you have to do it." Last week I saw W. and had the same comment about it. The hand held, shaky, up your actor's nose close-ups all distract from what could be an interesting story. How I miss the carefully plotted camera work of people like Gregg Toland (The Grapes of Wrath and Citizen Kane), James Wong Howe (too many to mention), and Freddie Young (Lawrence of Arabia). As Dennis Miller says, "of course, that's just my opinion. I could be wrong."
I also feel that many of the scenes, particularly the wedding party, went on way, way too long. If I had wanted to watch my friend's long, boring, amateur wedding video, I could have stayed home and saved the price of admission.
Mojave Phone Booth (2006)
What talented people can accomplish
I'll leave it to others to discuss the plot, acting and photography other than to say that many of the shots in this movie could be printed and hung on your wall as art. The cinematography by Keith Duggan is spectacular. Well, I'll also say that the characters come across as real people- people that you feel you might actually have among your friends.
I saw this picture at the Sedona Film Festival. "What a great picture," I thought. After the showing, Jerry Rapp, the co-writer and co-producer came up to answer some questions. Then I was completely blown away. Some facts about the movie: 1) Shooting time? 18 days! 2) Number in crew? No more than 8 at a time, and that includes director/writers/ producers! Many of them did double duty. 3) Everyone drove themselves to and from the set or location. And, speaking of cars, the cars you see the actors driving in the movie are their own cars! 4) There was no up-front pay. However, gas money was provided along with food. All crew and talent are share holders in 50% of the film's grosses after the initial production budget is recouped. That is, after the budget is payed back, 50% of whatever the movie makes is split evenly between everyone involved. (I don't know who gets the other 50%. But, whoever it is, deserves it.) Shows what a dedicated group of professionals can accomplish if they work together.
The only other comment I'll make is to relieve the consternation someone else might have. The background music during the first episode was hauntingly familiar. During the Q&A I asked Jerry if it was original or came from another source. It was original but inspired by the 1974 Gene Hackman film, The Conversation. If you've seen that film, you'll know why it was haunting.
Keep your eye out for this picture and when it comes around, see it!
P.S., If you want to know what Jerry Rapp looks like, he's the flower delivery boy in the movie. I told you everybody did double duty in this movie.