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Twenty-Seven Stories (2007)
Textbook example of a documentary that lacks compelling...well...anything
Drivel. Absolute terrible god-awful drivel. How this made it into a best-of student films DVD is positively lost on me. The film is paced like a dead toad, and the entire film has a terribly amateurish quality to it. The competitors lack any sort of spark or drive, and the one character that the director chooses to focus on is so pathetic that we're almost rooting for his business idea to fail miserably. Which it does. Because his plan is nonsensical and ridiculous. The film was also poorly shot, as microphones are constantly dipping into the shot, and most of the camera-work was ugly and shaky. The few good shots in the film were those that stuck to tripods. I think it's truly sad to realize that the most intriguing shot in the film is the final shot, which simply involves a janitor doing his job. It reminds one that people were actually doing things that mattered that day, as opposed to these business-suit-clad idiots.
Intriguing Premise with some poor acting
Overall, this movie is beautifully shot. Entirely gorgeous to look at. However, the actors and actresses in the film are a little less than convincing in their roles. It was hard to believe anything that they said; everything seemed quite forced.
The concept and premise is fantastic, and the editing was superb, however, the acting just did it in. Also, it was plagued with bad ADR, which was unfortunate.
Overall, this film was worth at least a look. The technical aspects are flawless, and it exudes professionalism from every orifice. However, the unconvincing acting brought the piece down as a whole. Exceptional for a student work, though.
The Break-Up (2006)
The Break-Up is broken, but it could have been fixed
All in all, The Break Up was rather disappointing.
The comedy, at times, is genuine, but most of the characters aren't fleshed out well (the realtor, for instance--his name, occupation, etc. aren't revealed until his part in the plot is crucial, and the brother, who is slow, but no explanation is given to why he's in charge of the financial records, etc.), some of the acting was over-the-top (Judy Davis, I'm looking at you. You weren't funny, you were awkward.), and there were times where 20 minutes would pass without a laugh.
I disagree with the whole 'don't even see the relationship as a success' thing. The opening credits sequence is good enough, so they can jump right into the plot.
Aniston was mediocre, Jon Favreau was laughable (stay behind the camera, dude, that whole scene near the end was just painful to watch), and Bateman was underused.
It was also a rather ugly film. They should have taken a look at The Weather Man for tips on how to shoot Chicago. Too much focus on the size of the city, when the movie itself is rather person-centered.
Bad dialogue, bad dialogue, augh the bad dialogue. Especially from Aniston's mouth.
I must admit that some parts worked--mainly Vince Vaughn, who almost saved the film. The guy's naturally charming and funny, he works well, and his performance seemed mostly effortless.
The Old 97's were good, even though the director decided to use their recordings as opposed to their actual performance.
The ending, on the other hand....notsogood... *SPOILER ALERT* it's the new Hollywood standard--the "unexpected expected" ending. We know they're not getting back together, it's what we expect nowadays--we've become bored with everything working out, but now we're becoming bored with everything not working out. It's a conundrum, to say the least. Maybe movies should just end with a big title card that says "Insert Happy/Sad Ending Here," or it should just be a complete non-sequitur, who knows. *END SPOILERS*
My conclusion: Mediocre script bad cinematography bad acting (with exceptions) painfully long/unfunny scenes needed more heart, more comedy who. are. these. people? secondary characters as plot devices.