Bellflower (2011) Poster

(2011)

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Bellflower or The Most Annoying Film of the Year
Chase Katz20 August 2011
I have to be honest here, I am barely ever compelled to come on the web and write a review for a movie with a negative thrust. For one thing, I watch all types of films, even the so-called no budget or low budget films that other people will stay clear from. In fact, just this year, I have seen all the Sundance NEXT films, some at the Sundance premiere in January, and some, like BELLFLOWER, only recently. I feel the need to clear that first, so that I'm not accused of a negative bias for ultra small films.

I had heard the buzz of BELLFLOWER at Sundance, and I missed it, and my trip to SXSW was too brief to catch, so, I waited patiently for the theatrical. Up until then, I had read many things about the movie, plenty of positive reviews, and was pretty enthralled by the trailer. I should have been a little more cautious on the get go, seeing that even the trailer was a little fishy. You know, it was extremely light on substance, but full of those great pull quotes from the likes of Peter Travers, the king of whoring a few positive lines for maximum effect. And, of course, the reviews themselves were mostly copies of one another, with a great chunk of prose spent on context based stuff like, "the film cost 17,000", or "they made there own camera's", and even, "he wrote about his own break-up". This stuff is mostly about justification and the press angle, so, I'm not going fault the work on that.

But, lets get to the actual film itself, and how this particular film outright compelled me to come on the web and give my two cents. Basically, the film is in essence, a break up movie. The lead character Woodrow, played here by the director himself is a typical "disaffected" young man, who, along with his best friend spends his days drinking, smoking and with the country boy craftsmanship of building "cool" stuff. They are seen spending time blowing stuff up at the beginning. Soon, they go out to what I assume is a dive bar, and low and behold, a cricket eating contest (in LA mind you), when we meet our lead female, the narrative conflict of the movie. We see Woodrow and soon to be lady friend Milly engage in eating crickets in slow mo, while a "cool" music track plays in the background. This is the essence of the movie. These bits of music video montage scenes are in my mind, the only respectable albeit very thin moments of the film, especially the final moments. They come and go in-between some of the most banal, and base scenes I have seen in years.

After this, Woodrow picks up Milly for a first date, and she proposes they go and eat at the most disgusting restaurant around, and guess what, Woodrow has a suggestion, but its located in Texas. So, what happens next, shoot, they go to Texas. The film carries on in this vein. I can go on, but even writing about it gets tiresome.

Anyways, to shorten this up, the relationship heads south, but for no reason other then the fact that Milly tells Woodrow that she is going to hurt him. And then she hurts him. Yup, thats it, because things go bad in relationships, but the audience is left to just assume things happen. The problem is, we are not lead to care any bit about them. All this heartbreak stuff doesn't add up, when you don't buy any of it. The film then continues to jump ahead and behind after an accident. And then things get violent, but in a pretty safe way. The film basically alludes to everything, and always in an extremely swallow, hey look at me mom kind of way. But heck, they built a "totally sweet ride brah" . With the finale going straight into film school cope out mode. I won't say anymore, so that I don't spoil the twist.

As you can tell, I did not like this movie. It felt as cliché as could be. I did not like the characters, all of whom became increasingly annoying. I did not like the writing. I did not like the acting, which goes into B level and below many, many times. And the visual style gets pretty dang boring after awhile. Note to some reviewers; spend some time on Vimeo, or Tumblr, and yeah, you got the visual aesthetic this strives for. Basically, everybody is doing that anyway, and really, swallow depth of field and especially tilt shift is boring when used for no reason other then, "to look cool". Which apply describes the hipster culture itself. It yells to be looked at, but on closer inspection, you realize that all its desires are superficial. Thats all it knows.

And that sums up the film for me. Everything done for effect, and nothing done to strive for a deeper reading. And thats the issue, because its not even entertaining. In fact, its altogether boring, but in the American style of boring, and not in the European, sophisticated, by design way boring.

I guess maybe its utility is best served as a sort of Hollywood calling card for the troupe, and for that, maybe it succeeds. But for something that I have to pay money to watch, no. And truth be told, if this was for free, I would probably pass as well.
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5/10
A lot of promise that dwindles as it progresses.
Rockwell_Cronenberg29 October 2011
Bellflower is an interesting film because even in it's flaws it kind of speaks to the kind of film that it is. Unfortunately for me though, that doesn't mean crap when the flaws are so blatant and intrusive. The film starts off interestingly, a really in-your-face turn back the clock montage that takes us to the beginning of our characters, two wild twenty-something youths who spend their free time (which it seems is all they have for some untold reason) preparing for their Mad Max vision of the end of the world. In their mind it's perfectly normal to spend their time building flamethrowers and tricking out muscle cars, which is so dumb and idiotic and an absolute perfect depiction of men at this time in their life.

The first hour takes a relatively standard approach to following these guys, but despite some pretty awful amateur performances and awkwardly obvious pieces of dialogue, it had a certain charm for me. Writer/director/star Evan Glodell gives an aesthetic feeling that was off-putting at first -- the focus falls off every so often, flecks off dirt come up into the lens -- once I settled into it I really began to embrace the tone he was going for. However once the film started to really get a rhythm going it decided to awkwardly jump forward a period of time (you can tell because the main character has a beard now!) it really caves in on itself.

It was going along smoothly but then decided to move the plot forward into more serious territory and then none of it worked anymore. Those bad performances became worse as the scenes progressed further and further into laughably horrendous melodrama with some of the most obvious and artificial character progressions and dialogue stretches I've seen. The film spirals down and down until it gets to it's last two chunks where I was just hoping they would clip the wings off and stop tarnishing the promise it once showed. There's a disastrous fifteen-minute sequence that felt absolutely worthless even before we find out that it actually is worthless, followed by the final act which just nonsensically rambles on for what seems like an eternity.

Ultimately, it felt like this was a premise that would have worked great as a short feature, but in stretching it out to something full-length Glodell really destroyed everything he had going for him. Still, despite ultimately being a failure, I think Glodell shows some promise here as a filmmaker and I'll be curious to see what he does next.
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3/10
Boring
sloppyjoe91118 November 2011
Warning: Spoilers
We saw a few movies at the Seattle film fest and this was the worst of what we saw. I like the premise a lot but the actual story does not live up to its potential. It was directed amateurishly and worse is the cinematography. I know others like this but I don't get it. I thought the acting was weak and over-the-top in some parts. I really wanted to like this film but after 30 minutes I was so bored I couldn't take it. My wife wanted to leave but I gave this movie every chance and stuck it out. For those who think there's some sort of nuclear blast; there is none. There is Apocalypse or anything of the sort - it's just a character study and a boring one at that.
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10/10
Brilliant, absolutely brilliant
wytsharkmedia16 November 2011
When David Fincher was preparing to shoot Fight Club, he briefly considered dispensing with stars and a big budget to shoot the film guerrilla style on digital video. Had he gone that route, the results would have been something along the lines of Bellflower, an audacious, flame- spewing, spit in the face of everything stale and conventional about modern cinema. Shot on a nothing budget using a camera that director/writer/star Evan Glodell built from odds and ends, Bellflower is a stark critique of characters lost and struggling in the sun soaked wastelands of Southern California. To go into detail would certainly ruin the joy of discovery this brutal movie has to offer. Suffice to say it is a love story like no other, chock full of drunken brawls, flame- throwers, and a muscle car named Medusa (also built from scratch by Glodell). Personally, I think this is one of the most important movies that's come out in recent memory. With a raw, ugly beauty reminiscent of the original Texas Chainsaw Massacre, the sparse immediacy of films like Two Lane Blacktop, and David Lynch's ability to make the banal nightmarish and horrifying, Bellflower incinerates the very notion of narrative filmmaking, redefining it on its own terms. If indie filmmaking is meant to push the envelope, this movie leaves that envelope charred and twisting in the wind.
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Huge Disappointment
kumanoir7 August 2011
Warning: Spoilers
The premise of this movie is so evocative and brilliant, that what the director/writer actually gives you is even more of a disappointment. Don't be deceived by the publicity. This is by no means an apocalyptic melodrama, full of flame throwing hipsters wreaking havoc everywhere they go. FAR FROM IT. This is a vapid mumblecore boyfriend/girlfriend drama with some digressions that barely graze the original premise. Almost the entire movie consists of the very slow charting of how two couples find each other, couple, uncouple, recouple, etc. It's completely generic at that level.

Spoiler alert below!

Also, I totally lost respect for the director/writer when, after finally showing us something shocking and violent - most the main characters murder each other or commit suicide - all this turns out to have just been a revenge fantasy in the mind of Woodrow, and it turns out none of it actually happened. How cowardly.

The movie has great pretensions to rocking our world, but turns out to be entirely timid and conventional. All the expressionist cinematography in the world doesn't make it interesting or original. Skip it.
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9/10
Amazing movie, visually stunning...
bcsarmaa1 May 2011
Just got out of the screening of this movie at the Independent Film Fest of Boston. Bellflower is a visually stunning movie and is sure to make help make the career of the star/director and a few other members of the supporting cast.

The basic premise is that two friends decide to future-proof themselves by creating weaponry designed for ruling a potential post-apocalyptic wasteland. They figure that if Mad Max has taught us anything it is that whoever has the most badass weapons will end up on top.

Evan Glodell, Jessie Wiseman, Tyler Dawson and Rebekah Brandes turn in impressive performances. I am sure that we will be seeing plenty of Jessie Wiseman.

The film was shot on handmade cameras that the director built which allowed him to create amazing tilt-shift visuals. All of the gadgets featured in the film were also built by the director for the movie. Filming happened over the course of 3 years on a meager budget of only $17,000, an amazing feat.

If this movie is playing at a local festival you need to go see it ASAP. I'm pretty sure that there will be plenty of buzz surrounding the film once it gets a wider release.
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3/10
Bell's Toll
thesar-226 November 2011
Warning: Spoilers
How come after watching this odd fantasy called "BELLFLOWER," I get the impression the Director/Writer/Star Evan Glodell was on the ground, back to a telephone pole while inhaling a massive amount of pot upset he hadn't come up with a title for his film and the movie had been in the can. He can barely lift his spinning head enough to see the street sign: 'BellFLower' and he exclaims: "Oh, man, that's it. Dude. It's art, bro. F'ng art."

I can't explain this trip of a movie's title other than that scenario. It starts off as a dead-weight Mumblecore film, but at least in our reality and slowly transforms into a dark haze as if the audience was just as stoned.

We have two loser BFF's who's obsession with Mad Max, his flamethrowin' dude car and the possibility of an impending apocalypse goes a tad bit far. In fact, we really don't know if either of these adult males work – we only know they're pimping their Road Warrior car named Medusa and their flamethrower and they like to hit on girls. One does hook up with one and things go sour from there. Sorta. Kinda.

Admittedly, the film's odd style, jumping all over the place and the dead-end lives you witness leave an impression, but since barely a thing happens worth repeating nor is there any point, it's not recommended.

Rating: 2 out of 5 Stars
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1/10
To quote Modest Mouse,...
argent the wolf3 February 2012
Warning: Spoilers
"I just don't need none of that Mad Max bullsh*t!" I gave this film a try on account of several good reviews, but I was seriously disappointed. Far from being fresh, the camera effects were excessive, giving you the feeling a toy camera filter had been added to every frame. The characters were thoroughly unappealing, with no depth. It was hard to find the patience to sit through all the screen time that was devoted to their self-absorbed, hipster fantasies. The emotional response and life and death consequences late in the film seem extremely disproportionate to what caused them- a breakup in a relationship that was boring, shallow, and doomed from the start. The constant hipster fantasy elements attempt to mask what is essentially a very hollow movie.
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8/10
Just watch it, don't analyze it !
Augur12 August 2012
So, here we are my first review. First of all, you must know I'm a really BIG watcher but I've never wrote a review for the simple reason, i never had to. But this time, it's different. Why? Because the phenomenon of this "3.0" generation really start to exasperate me. In fact I'm pretty sure all the people that destroy this movie did it on their smart-phones while "watching" it.

It's amazing how the bad reviews are incredibly long and detailed. And if i put that in parallel with some pretty popular movies for that same generation, the conclusion i come to is that you aren't capable of watching a movie in his "fullness", you just watch a succession of "scenes".

I know, i know, I'm not really talking about the movie, just go read other good reviews if you want to know why it's a f*ck*ng pretty good movie.

I wrote this review only to give you an advice if you decide to watch it: JUST DO IT, it's a real journey. Don't judge it, appreciate it, and do that until the very last moment. At the end, maybe that you will have liked it, maybe not, but at least you won't have lost 2 hours of your life, because it's unique and mesmerizing. Something you won't be able to appreciate if you analyze every seconds of it.
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2/10
Slow and drawn out
RebeLImDb7 November 2011
I'm not an expert on Directors and such, but I do know a bad movie from a good movie.

This movie started slow and I waited and waited for it to pick up, and it didn't. I had to (painfully) keep watching to see if their was more to this movie, and before I knew it it was over.

I am very perplexed that this film has a score of (6.3) on IMDb as to me its rating was closer to (2). I am starting to not trust the rating system here to help me find good movies.

I would rate this as movie to watch if there isn't anything else to do....
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6/10
Mad Max Slackers
David Ferguson19 September 2011
Greetings again from the darkness. This film is for all you kids out there who fantasize of a post-apocalyptic world in which you rule thanks to your killer muscle cars, hand-crafted flame throwers and total lack of dependence on society. You also treat bourbon as a major food group. If this describes you, please stay away from me ... and rush out to see this Sundance Festival favorite.

In the old days of radio, college stations would play what were known as "deep cuts". These songs were treats for the biggest fans of that artist and allowed everyone else to get a taste of a song that wasn't created to be a hit single. Bellflower is the movie equivalent of a deep cut ... filmed on a (broken) shoestring budget with driving force Evan Glodell as writer, director and lead actor. Glodell has a real feel for visual statements but I so hope his outlook on life is much brighter than the film projects.

Woodrow (Glodell) and Aiden (Tyler Dawson) are best friends and transplants to L.A. from Wisconsin. They come across as having ceased psychologically maturing at about age 15, though they are in their 20's now. Their whole world is tied to this poor neighborhood where they waste each day by boozing incessantly and planning their next flame thrower or souped-up muscle car. This is done with the intention of protecting them should the world turn into the deserted landscape seen in the Mad Max movies, which they admit to having seen way too many times.

As destructive plans are apt to do, theirs hits a speed bump when Woodrow meets Milly (Jessie Wiseman) during a cricket eating contest. What a great story to tell your grandkids! Anyway, Milly and Woodrow seem to be soul mates initially, but then things get complicated. Aiden is a very loyal friend and quite charming when he sets his mind to it. He stands by his friend through some staggeringly bad luck.

This isn't a movie that necessarily follows a traditional story arc. Heck, it begins by showing a scattershot montage of things to come (we assume) and none of it is particularly cheery. The ending is such that it's a web of "maybe" endings that allow us to determine just where the visions end and reality takes over.

It's no mystery why critics were so enamored with this one at Sundance. At times it plays like a student film project for a young Tarantino. Or maybe an early Kevin Smith movie, if he were ever addicted to explosions. That is meant as a compliment. Continuity is lacking on purpose and the rawness of the production comes across quite clearly and with power. Mr. Glodell will undoubtedly be given a budget larger than a credit card next time to see just what he is capable of. I for one, will be rooting for him ... just keep him away from me please!
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4/10
Looks good, but boy is it weird
daniel-82910 March 2012
Warning: Spoilers
I had high hopes for this one. Pretty good ratings and a neat plot summary.

Long story short: I didn't finish it.

It starts out rather slow, but pleasantly so. You get used to the visuals (that I thought were a little overdone - like those instamatic iPhone pics that people think are artsy) and appreciate them, mostly, and you get a feel for the characters. You start to like the two dudes, their quirkiness and maybe even start to relate to them a bit, if you are/were quirky in your youth.

Up until the point where the main dude gets cheated on by his girlfriend. That's when things fall apart. Or at least they did for me, since I had to fast-forward the screaming girl parts (couldn't stand it) and I got lost in what was real and what not. Suddenly the movie jumps around the time-line, main dude goes mental, then he doesn't ... I didn't understand it and I didn't try to, in the end.

If this is a first for the director, it was very well done. I actually think the acting was pretty good, too, except some scenes seemed a little improvised (like the girl-fight scene, too much use of one single word and it seemed like this was the first take) and wooden. The visual style was neat, too, in a way. Like I said, overdone but not bad for the plot.

But as for the finale, I would have probably appreciated a linear storyline a lot more than this knotted up thing.

4 out of 10. Had a lot of potential, couldn't deliver it all, but OK all in all, even if I didn't finish it.
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3/10
amateur prosumer junk, possibly better than certain TV movies
sourceofreality31 December 2011
Warning: Spoilers
So, basically, you could follow around an 18 year old that has no responsibilities, with a camera for a few days, and this is basically what you'd get. This film comes off as a full length student film, which I think, based on the info here on IMDb, it basically is.

The film bears earmarks of less than professional filmmaking. There is dirt on the camera's lens during several shots in this movie, while opposing angle shots don't have a dirty lens, which identifies the dirt early on, as a total rookie mistake. (It doesn't do anything for me artistically) It's just plain, careless camera work, and lack of budget for a reshoot. Generally, even your lowest budget indie film(which i guess this is, so I'll give 'em credit pulling that off.)wouldn't permit shoddy camera work to this degree.

The first thing that cued me to recognize the amateur quality of this movie, was the opening dialog's audio, which is just strangely in your face. I don't know if it's poor mics or, crappy sound equipment, but something about the audio lets you know right away, that this is not professionally produced.(I'm thinking, maybe they didn't have directional mics, or they overdubbed a lot of scenes and didn't add score or any effects on the voices.)--> (update 1/2/12) I realized what it is; they overdubbed too directly into, and too close to the mics without pop filters.

The camera work and editing was decent, aside of what I mentioned before. As far as inciting incidents go, this one came about halfway into the film.(I wasn't sure it would ever come.) The opening hook is poor. "I'm building a flame thrower," and something about a car. I felt like, all that was, was some inside message between the screenwriter and his real life best friend???.... That's your opening hook??? (Believe me, ... that isn't enough, to create a box office smash. )

... Then 50 insipid, dull, monotonous minutes of young adults, doing what, I could walk outside and watch young adults do, outside my door. It's just irrational, idiot kids, being, ... idiot kids. (Sort of talentless on the acting end.) If you just sit and watch your roommates(at age 18), ... it'd be about the same as watching this movie. Maybe a little less violent.

The film introduces chapters as if it were following some kind of act structure, which it ... isn't. I'm surprised this film received any accolades of any type, unless Hollywood, just sees this kid and wants to let him in for some obscure reason. I won't say there is "NOOOO" talent. There is some. It's just kind of buried under, a bunch of tripe.

Some will say that the director is some indie film innovator, but he amounts to little more than a trite screenwriter that has a lack of education to that effect. That's just the facts, and the fact that the film receives any attention at all, is beyond amazing to me. I can only imagine the politics, ... i assume half the attention it's gotten comes from the production company's, promotional contracts, with their associates. I'm surprised a production company bought this film, but it happens?

Again, the film world has their obscure politics as to why things do what they do, and it's usually promotion related.
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Waste of Time
adifferentcity2122 November 2011
My friend and I took a leap of faith and rented this movie with no prior knowledge other than that it got relatively good reviews (ebert gave it 3 out of 4). The summary on the back seemed interested: two guys trying to make a flamethrower. Can't go wrong with that, right? Because this movie isn't really worth a deep analysis I'm going to explain my disappointment in bullet points. -What I was expecting: An interesting, off the beaten path indie film containing flamethrowers -What I got: A shitty version of Garden State -Why the film falls flat: poor acting, bad writing, no direction, low budget, and horrible characters

It's hard to describe my hate for this movie. It's like listening to a relatively good band that has an extremely pretentious and untalented singer. It's not so bad that it's laughable, it's just bad.
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Boreflower
Ray McKay1 November 2011
I tried to like this movie since I watch a lot of indie films that are similar, but I just couldn't get into this movie. I don't know if it was the pacing, or just because there is no real build up to anything. The acting was pretty solid in the movie, maybe one of the only things it has going for it. There was a lot of cool artsy scenes that I found to be cool, the contrast on a lot of the scenes is high giving the scenes a nice glowing look that seems ever so popular in indie films. All in all, it just wasn't enough to keep me interested. I could see people liking the movie though, and I'm not saying it's a terrible movie. If you dig the whole indie thing, I'd say check it out and make your own judgement of it.
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3/10
a disjointed mess
billcr1226 November 2011
The most interesting aspect of Bellflower is the soundtrack. The storyline and structure is completely disjointed. The advance word was about a flame throwing car in a Mad Max type of apocalyptic world. The car is a very small part of this character driven film.

The writer, director and star is Evan Glodell, who uses a hand held camera shots and quick editing which becomes very tedious. Glodell plays Woodrow and Tyler Dawson is Aiden, his best friend. The pair are Beavis and Butthead come to life, with constant "hey dudes" every minute; script writing is not Mr. Glodell's strong suit. The two leads are constantly drinking and neither seems to have a job.

The use of flashbacks from beginning to end and made me wish for the finish.

Bellflower looks as if it was done using a cheap video camera with Glodell and his friends on a weekend binge.
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1/10
Will not waste a lot of time with this review...
mcspikev14 August 2011
... this movie stunk. I have a self imposed rule never to walk out on a movie no matter how bad it is. However, this sorry excuse of a film came very close to me making an exception.

This, for me, has been one of the worst film experience I have ever had to sit through. With all the accolades given to it from the film festivals and film reviewers, I made the mistake of taking their assessments to heart and attended a recent showing.

Big Mistake! What could these people be thinking?

As for "Bellflower" the title should be changed to "SMELLflower"...OR, Amorphophallus titanium, better known as the Corpse Flower. A big Peeee-U.
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10/10
Amazing
cashmantyler10 September 2011
This movie had me completely enthralled the entire time. It takes your brain and emotions and rips them in two. The story is a crazy jumble of two friends lives and how dramatically things change when love becomes tangled in them, and how much losing love destroys people.

The way the movie is filmed and edited gives it a dreamlike yet plausible view of life. It's easy to relate to the sense of adventure and heartache this movie represents because of how real it all seems.

The acting was amazing, the writing was amazing, everything about this movie screams amazing. If you have the chance to see it, do yourself a favor and do.
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6/10
Guys being guys and girls being psychotic
napierslogs18 January 2012
"Bellflower" opens and continues with guys being guys. They have no regard to how they live, they just get drunk and build flame-throwers. They are similar, I'm assuming, to how writer, director and star Evan Glodell behaves with his male friends. If it can blow-up, Aiden and Woodrow will find a way to make it blow-up. And then Woodrow meets a girl and falls in love.

The romance element is played out quickly. Because, as I said, the film is about guys being guys. It's also about girls being psychotic. It's hard to stay in love with that explosive mix going on. Seeing as they will throw gasoline on any fire that's burning, the flames just leap up higher and engulf everyone and everything.

Not being a guy myself, I didn't connect with Aiden and Woodrow in the beginning, although I certainly have met guys like them. The girls, Milly and Courtney, are way more destructive than any girls will admit to being. The characters, the acting, and the dialogue are the weaker elements to the film, but the story that they insist they are telling is just so intriguing you won't want to turn this off.

As the poster suggests, and their past-times, "Bellflower" gets very violent. But the interesting thing is that it's not just mindless violence. The characters are just so calamitous, that they have their reasons for everything that burns, explodes, crashes or dies. It is dark and devastating, and unfortunately, a little more empty than it should have been.
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8/10
Living in the Apocalypse of Love
rooprect1 December 2014
I almost didn't watch this movie because its IMDb plot summary (something about 2 guys building a monster car in preparation for the apocalypse) made it sound like Beavis & Butthead vs. Road Warrior. That couldn't be further from the truth.

True there are a couple explosions, flame throwers, firearms, a few pints of spilled blood, and a super souped-up Buick Skylark 1972 that would make James Bond hop on his tricycle and pedal furiously away. But essentially this is a love story. The apocalypse here is not a literal one but a personal one. Writer/director/principal actor Evan Glodell says he wrote it while in the painful haze of a bad breakup. Indeed, I would say this is one of the best post-breakup films to watch, because it perfectly captures the feeling of emotional desolation, hope & obsession associated with that mixed bag we call "love".

The story centers on 2 friends Woodrow (Evan Glodell) and Aiden (Tyler Dawson) who, contrary to their pastime of blowing things up, are NOT Beavis & Butthead type morons. They're just a couple of average-to-nerdy 20-somethings who live life one day at a time on the outskirts of LA. They drink a lot of beer. They try to pick up girls at the local bar (unsuccessfully most of the time). And when all else fails, they build the car of their dreams.

Enter Milly (Jessie Wiseman) who becomes Woodrow's love interest. In a very sweet way, Woodrow & Milly develop a charming relationship. But then things get complicated. Very complicated. I'm talking flame thrower complicated. The 2nd half of the movie is a suspenseful, tense, explosive ride that comes to a powerful climax with great, passionate acting.

The story is from Woodrow's point of view, the male point of view. Female characters seem peripheral, and I figured the IMDb demographic would show "Bellflower" to be preferred by males. Surprise: it's evenly split down the middle. Perhaps it's because, even though it's from a male perspective and has a lot of "manly" things like beer, whiskey, guns and cars that slurp a gallon of gas to pull out of the driveway, it's still a very sensitive film that can be appreciated by anyone. It exposes the vulnerabilities of heartbreak, the thrill of obsession, and the nature of friendship. And these things are not gender-specific.

A word about the cinematography: wow. As the story becomes increasingly complicated, the visuals become more expressionistic and hallucinatory. This is the masterwork of Joel Hodge, director of photography. Visuals are often very striking, with heavy color saturation, hazy filters and occasional lens grit, making it a very dreamlike presentation. I read that the cameras they used were mostly home made, scrapped together from cheap parts... much like the car "Medusa" which was actually built for this film. "Bellflower" was nominated for the 2012 Independent Spirit Award for Best Cinematography, but lost to the blockbuster Academy Award Winning "The Artist".

Another highlight: the music. Beginning with a dark acoustic guitar & vocal piece, the film keeps the soundtrack minimal (no melodramatic symphonies here) and toward the end throws in some powerful trip-hop, industrial house stuff. I didn't recognize any of the bands on the soundtrack, but it felt similar to maybe Jeff Buckley for the acoustic/vocal pieces and Portishead or AWOL Nation for the heavy stuff. Undeniably cool stuff.

"Bellflower" is an artistic, slow moving film that keeps gaining momentum all the way to its roller-coaster finale. There aren't any popular movies I can compare it to. But if you've seen the indie flicks "Entrance" (2012) or "The Tracey Fragments" (2007), or my favorite "Buffalo 66", then you can expect a similar off-kilter approach to filmmaking that makes this a challenging and ultimately satisfying movie.
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7/10
The Medusa of movies
Steve Schreiber21 January 2014
Bellflower is a very good low budget film. Evan Godell wrote, directed and stars as Woodrow in this movie. The acting was a bit poor but the screenplay was excellent. This is what I would use as an example of a movie that has an excellent plot and horrible acting but completely pulls it off. Much like Medusa, the acting is hard to look at during some parts of the film but when looking at the film you see something that is incredibly beautiful that will ultimately end up harming you in some way. Bellflower is extremely dark and will get under your skin for days. From start to finish Bellflower is a visual work of art. If the acting were better, I could see this being one of the best dark films I have ever seen. Unfortunately, the acting is so bad that it is very tough to get past. This has to be one of the best low budget efforts I have ever seen and should be seen by any aspiring director. Evan Glodell's Medusa ultimately becomes the star of this film because the vehicle provides the best performance and it by far one of the most amazing works of art on wheels. Who doesn't love a car with a flame thrower for exhaust pipes?!
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8/10
The End of Love and The End of Times
camilomgn21 December 2012
When I saw the trailer I was very excited about this film I think that is the apocalyptic film that the indie movement need to do when the panic is close. But when I see the movie I don't see a apocalyptic film I see a film about love and how be without it could may you think the world is over. In other worlds maybe also can we understand this movie as a apocalyptic history of love a cross-genre between apocalyptic dreams and a psychological introspection. But beyond the love and then hate story there is important point the friendship between two male friends appear as mature and deep relation. The screenplay is really intelligent. The cinematography of the film is remarkable. The actors were fit in the characters. Evan Glodell made with this film a successful debut.
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Gritty but narration is a mess
Clayton Davis6 November 2011
Having high hopes for Bellflower, especially from staff writer Joey Magidson's review, Bellflower is one of the most disappointing independent films seen in 2011. Completely understanding I could be in the minority, this confusing and at times frustrating story explores the relationship between Woodrow (Evan Glodell) and Milly (Jessie Wiseman) and they're seemingly beautiful beginning to explosive end, all while falling in and out the subplot of best friend Aiden and his quest along with Woodrow to be as "Mad Max" as possible. The film's artistic integrity is lost among this demented narrative that never has a grasp of concept or proper execution. The acting is as simple as any fourth grade theater class and it's ability to include the viewer in what's going on is as overstepped as independent pictures like Thumbsucker. While Writer/Director/Editor/Star Glodell dives into all aspects of the picture, he needs to pull back as the cinematically exhausting film never lands on its feet. It fly highs while leaving all of us behind.



www.awardscircuit.com
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8/10
Amazingly well done chronicle of a pair of friends...
dwpollar16 March 2012
1st watched 3/11/2012 – 8 out of 10(Dir-Evan Glodell): Amazingly well done chronicle of a pair of friends who hook-up with some girls at a wild bar where they have a cricket eating contest and all hell breaks loose after this. That previous sentence – a breakdown of this entire movie – was hard to come up with because there is so much more to this movie than a 1-sentence synopsis. The story is basically about the main character, Woodrow, played by the writer & director of the film – Evan Glodell, who becomes involved with a girl named Milly, who he starts the movie eating crickets with in the contest. He gets her number and they go on a date the next day – all the way across the country to a dive in Texas on a dare from Milly. Their no-holds-barred friendships with each other and another guy friend involve a lot of drinking, drugs, and hardcore things like building flame throwers, and jacking up a car to look like a post-apocalyptic vehicle from Mad Max called Medusa, but we also see that these are real people who can be hurt as well. After the couple are in a relationship for awhile, Milly cheats on Woodrow with a roommate(whom she apparently had a prior relationship with), he gets hit by a car and injured and what happens after this is somewhat unclear. The reason is that we are shown two different versions of the rest of the movie by the filmmaker. One is a more hardcore revenge plot, and the other one is much lighter. We are given hints that Woodrow received some possible brain damage so we're not sure what we are seeing is coming from his mind or truly happening, and we're not even sure what's happened when the movie finishes. This is a one-of-a-kind movie experience from Mr. Glodell, and it's obviously a passion-project that he's created here. Even if everything else he creates is trash, I have become one of his fans. Don't miss this one.
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9/10
Independent Insanity
eraserdead2 December 2011
Independent cinema has always been the most interesting place in cinema's history. It gave us Scorsese and DePalma in the 70s, Cronenberg and Jarmusch in the 80s and Tarantino and PTA in the 90s. The 2000s (or the Noughties) however haven't really given us many new and talented filmmakers willing to push the medium to it's fullest. That may be because of the rise in big-budget no-brainer Hollywood movies. But with Evan Glodell, however, this is all about to change. Bellflower begins as a story of two best friends who are in preparation for the apocalypse. Equipping their car like something out of a James Bond movie and building themselves a flame thrower the likes you've never seen before. Quickly, our main character Woodrow (played by Glodell himself) finds a girl and falls in love. Even quicker though is how she cheats on him and leaves him for broke. I won't go too much into the details of the plot but in terms of the overall film it is absolutely crazy insane. The performances are, to be perfectly honest, horrible – albeit the two lead females are smoking hot! Even with horrible performances, this film is incredible. The cinematography is perfect and the colour-coding is outrageously gorgeous. I couldn't get my head around how with such a little budget half of the stuff in this film was even pulled off. There hasn't been a film like this in a long time and I really can't wait to see what this guy does next. The last twenty minutes are easily my favourite of any this year. Woodrow's descent into madness almost reminds me of Jack Torrance in The Shining – and I think the performances are very easily comparable too. Obviously this doesn't even begin to touch Kubrick's masterpiece but I mean come on, this film is perfect in almost every single way. I think that this can only get better upon re-watch. Just a phenomenal film that needs to be seen to be believed.

http://destroyallcinema.wordpress.com/
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