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review by Carter (Marc's friend)
If Miller was not the daughter of Arthur Miller this movie would not have never been picked up by a major studio. It is so amateur nobody should have to pay to see it. The viewer is constantly forced to see close ups of the back of heads,hands and other varios objects. It is pointless cinamatography trying to be artsey and succeeding only in being very annoying. The stories are interesting enough but leave the viewer slightly hanging or just with a too easy conclusion. A meal not cooked very well with portions that leave one hungry and with no dessert. One positive note: The acting is professional and It was the best I've seen of Krya Sedgewick- too bad the actors did not have a better vehicle.
Marion Bridge (2002)
A must see for anyone who still cares about a good story ....
As someone who loves the theatre but is tired of seeing the same material recycled again and again, it is refreshing to know that independent film still exists. Marion Bridge is such a breathe of fresh air. Its the type of picture which reassures you that there are still filmmakers out there who care about the story they are telling rather than just looking for a vehicle to demonstrate the newest special effect.
This film was absolutely wonderful. The others who have commented here have already given a synopsis, so I won't go into those details. I simply wanted to add my name to those who have praised Wiebke von Carolsfeld's feature length directorial debut.
Ms. Carolsfeld has taken a powerful story written by Daniel Maclvor and transfered it to film in a fashion that will touch you on many levels. I assure you that you won't forget about this movie or its performers (Molly Parker, Rebecca Jenkins, Stacy Smith and Marguerite McNeil are all outstanding) anytime soon.
I will continue to look for future endeavors by all of the participants in this project. They have a new fan today; one who hopes that there is plenty more material to come.
Dog Days (2001)
What would we do without Independent Film screenings?
What would we do without Independent Film screenings? Frankly, I don't want to find out. Without them I would never have had the fortune to view "Dog Days", the first live action short (25 minutes long) by director Ellie Lee.
I saw "Dogs Days" last night in a screening that also included Ms. Lee's first animated short "Repetition Compulsion". I was incredibly moved by both.
"Dogs Days" is the story of an America not far removed from our own, but yet engaged in a horrible war with an unknown enemy. Communications with the outside world have been completely cut off and the people, subjected to food and water rationing, are only told what the government wants them to know.
The film focuses on one young girl (Sonya Genel) and how she and her family deal with the crisis around them. Her father (Will Lyman) is a very proud man who insists on supporting his family in any way he can. Each day he sets out hunting for food, knowing in advance that none will be found as one of consequences of the war has been death of all animals.
In the midst of all of this, a stranger dressed in a dog suit (Spencer Beglarian) shows up at the family's doorstep. He walks on all fours, he barks, he wimpers ... he is a dog in every sense of the word. Although the girl initially rejects the stranger's presence, seeing him as nothing more than a homeless guy pretending to be a dog, a strong bond soon develops between the two much to the apprehension of her father who fears for his daughter's safety.
Director/writer Ellie Lee, through the use of humor/fear/love/optimism and hopelessness explores the relationship between these three characters and paints a true-to-life portrait of just how similar mankind really is to the animals around us.
As I said at the start of this review, I don't know what I would do without Independent Film screenings. I was fortunate enough to see all of Ellie Lee's work to date and I only can hope that everyone else has the opportunity to do so as well.
So scour your local newspaper for Independent screenings and hope Ellie Lee's name appears among the offerings. If it does, you are will be in for a treat that you won't soon forget. In the meantime, I'll be keeping an eye out for other projects that this muti-talented artist might be involved in.
The Matrix (1999)
Stop the insanity-This is not a good movie! Where did the script go?
I really can't understand all of the accolades that this film continues to receive. Has the entire world gone insane and forgotten that what makes a good movie is its script. Has everything become about special effects, special effects and more special effects? Sure, if you want special effects, this is definitely the movie for you. If I was writing this entry for the Special Effects Message Board, I would have given it a 10/10 rating. But frankly, I need more than great visuals to have a movie work for me and as this film has nothing else, it gets a 1 rating.
I know my rating won't dissuade the masses from singing the praises of this movie. I know that my rating won't stop the inevitable outcome of Matrix II becoming the highest grossing film of all time during its opening weekend. Perhaps the only thing this review will do is lead like minded people in the direction of other movies that deal with similar themes yet actually have characters that you will care about.
Let me make clear, that the core concept of Matrix is a great one. The whole idea of our world being part of someone else's imagination is something that has fascinated me for as long as I can remember. When Matrix originally debuted, you couldn't have paid me to stay away from the theater. Someone had finally put one of the great philosophic debates into movie form and I knew that it had to be incredible. Instead, the only thing incredible about the film (beside the special effects) was how wrong I had been.
There on the screen was a movie without any real screenplay. No matter how much I tried, I couldn't bring myself to care about these characters because they just weren't real. You would think that in a film dealing with reality-as-you-know-it crumbling around the main characters, that there would be some exploration into how the newly revealed reality affected their psyches. But that doesn't happen here. Instead, we are given a movie where the emphasis is placed upon stocking up on as many guns and other weapons as possible so that the bad guys can be shot and killed. Give me a break!!!
I think what has happened in these type of movies is that the producers are handed a great idea and then spend their entire budget on the actors and special effects. They don't bother to spend anything on the screenplay because they have realized that good ones aren't necessary anymore. Just give the public some nice CGI and they'll flock to the theatre. Unfortunately, they seem to be right. Movies like Matrix and and the Jurassic Park series continue to sell out even though the stories are horrible. Give us a cool CGI Dinosaur running around a city or make the lead characters do CGI kung-fu moves and we'll go home happy. Never mind that we have absolutely no insight into who the main characters are. We don't need to care about them as long as they are involved in computerized situations! (Did anyone actually give a damn whether Jeff Goldblum's character lived or died in Lost World?)
Anyway - my point is that you can certainly make a film exploring ideas and concepts similar to those in these mega movies and still have the audience care about the characters.
In the case of Matrix, for those interested in a good "reality-as-you-know-it" type of movie, I would suggest Josef Rusnak's 'Thirteenth Floor' or even better yet, if you can handle sub-titles, Alejandro Amenabar's "Open Your Eyes". Both of these movies manage to give you an incredible story, with characters you will remember long after the credits have rolled. Believe it or not, you'll actually find yourself wondering about the characters' futures rather than simply commenting on how cool that CGI generated flip-in-the-air was.
Good movies are supposed to leave you with questions. They are supposed to make you think. You didn't really have to do that with Matrix, and its a shame because the movie could and should have been so much more than it ended up being.
In my opinion, Matrix was a waste of both time and money. I will just keep praying that one day the movie going public will give up on these special effects monsters and turn back to the days of enjoying movies with plots. On that day, films like "Open Your Eyes" will finally get their due and Hollywood will stop giving us mere eye candy like Matrix and similar ilk.
Body Shots (1999)
Please don't compare this to Swingers
I do not know how an earlier reviewer could have compared this movie to Swingers. Swingers was a great movie with a great screenplay. This movie has good acting but the screenwriters obviously didn't know what to do with the talent they had. The movie is just horrible.
Basically you are introduced to this group of friends but never get to know any of them enough to really give a damn about what happens to them. There is simply no character development. You meet the cast, they discuss how they each view sex, they go to a club, get completely drunk, have a pointless bloody street fight (which somehow is quickly recovered from), and then the film suddenly becomes a he said she said date-rape sequence which is never resolved. In the end, you really don't care. The writer's have failed to give you any reason to.
I have a feeling that someone was attempting to make a statement on the 20 something generation -- the problem is, I don't think they talked to anyone in their 20's.
All in all this movie is one big disappointment.
What attracted me to go see this movie was the cast involved -- they are all great actors, but there is simply no screenplay here. Its as if the writers had an idea and then didn't know what to do with it. My recommendation is to stay away from this movie and please do not utter its name and Swingers in the same breathe.