When an exploitation filmmaker goes undercover as a pretentious film snob to obtain proper filming permits, he is thrust into a strange mystery surrounding the very secretive film commission... Read allWhen an exploitation filmmaker goes undercover as a pretentious film snob to obtain proper filming permits, he is thrust into a strange mystery surrounding the very secretive film commission.When an exploitation filmmaker goes undercover as a pretentious film snob to obtain proper filming permits, he is thrust into a strange mystery surrounding the very secretive film commission.
There are some negative aspects that I feel must be discussed upfront. The cinematography is very much amateur-grade: lots of hand-held camera shake, camera shake where there was no excuse for not using a tripod such as stationary establishing shots of houses, complete failure to add proper lighting, select shots that are poorly framed, and continuity errors across cuts between different viewing angles of the same shot (bottles changing position on tables and a hand that vanishes are the most egregious errors that come to mind.) The sound design leaves A LOT to be desired as well, from the audio levels in the same conversation being significantly different between speakers to the ambient sound of traffic suddenly cutting in when the POV changes. The movie is two hours long but probably could have been executed in 90 minutes if some of the unnecessarily slow parts were cleaned up. There are some instances where the acting is unconvincing. If this was even a "low-budget film" by the industry definition, this would be enough to earn it a review that boiled down to "what is this crap?"
Fortunately, this isn't such a film, and I didn't go in expecting anything with apparent high production values. This film was obviously a labor of love and provided something for a bunch of like-minded friends to work together on. The great thing about this film is that it doesn't even try to take itself seriously. It's obviously made to appeal to people who are "in" on Brad Jones' previous work, but despite being an "outsider," I found myself able to enjoy it. Being able to appreciate the "WTF? factor" is crucial to enjoyment of this film, because that's what makes it amusing. On the surface, it's littered with flat, minimally expressive dialogue, but that's what makes the more ridiculous parts so worthwhile. You find yourself caught off-guard and suddenly laughing at what seemed like a contrived, knuckle-dragging story just seconds earlier.
I can forgive amateur production if the story is decent and the execution is clever. This film was hard to watch in the beginning since I was not used to the "flat" dialogue and sneaky subtle humor, but by the time the credits rolled, I found myself wanting to watch it again, if for no other reason than to pick up on the subtle humor I missed. I also appreciated the special effects; they can be quite a treat, and it's fun to stop the video and try to figure out how they pulled them off.
If you'd like to see a no-budget film that's executed pretty well, this is definitely a good choice. It's not a very serious film, but it isn't supposed to be, and while I am certain that some people would never be capable of appreciating it, you owe it to yourself to give it a chance.
EDIT/UPDATE: I've seen this film many times over now, and having done so brings some new perspectives. I've watched some key Cinema Snob reviews that get referenced in this film and realized that I would have enjoyed it more had I seen these episodes first. There seems to be a plethora of in-jokes and references to Cinema Snob episodes. This is both understandable and acceptable, but as a newcomer to the works of Brad Jones it detracts from the enjoyment of the film a bit due to not understanding the meaning behind these seemingly random utterances. I've also noticed that enjoyment of the story drops sharply as it transitions away from snarky comedy halfway through. As with Brad's previous film Paranoia, the later parts of the film have issues relating to continuity, transitions, and too many scenes dragging on for far too long. Audio and lighting problems are still present and obvious when they happen...and dear lord, SO MANY of the supporting characters are NOT convincing actors at all!
All of that being said, each watch of The Cinema Snob Movie has become more and more enjoyable to watch every time I see it, especially as I look up the incredible number of actors and films name-dropped throughout and better understand what they're talking about. The cringey moments of really bad acting start to become funny as well. If you want a movie that can both feed into a MST3K/RiffTrax mocking session with your friends and give you a bunch of genuine laughs as well, you'll definitely appreciate this one. As far as no-budget feature-length films by amateurs goes, it's very hard to find much better, and if you have an interest in making your own films, you can learn a lot by watching it, especially from the commentary tracks on the DVD.
- Dec 14, 2015