ONE TERRIFIC FILM, ONE REAL STINKER (BUT WHAT A GREAT ‘EXTRA’)
I’ve seen two interesting films recently.
TINY FURNITURE – Writer/Director Lena Dunham has fashioned an indie comedy which is so complete, so satisfying, so quirky and indie that you gotta like it. (Though, I recommended it to one my students and he didn’t get it at all. Others did)
I guess it could qualify as Mumblecore, but forget the labels, it works. You care about the characters, you care about the story and most of all…most of all…you’re never quite sure where it’s going and how it’s going to get there. That alone is worth watching the film for.
In the extras is a great short film of Lena videoing her parents through the front door video camera. It’s so simple, so funny. Rent or stream the video just for this short film extra.
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ATLAS SHRUGGED – Top to bottom, is a lesson in how not do make movies. The beloved Ayn Rand novel, which I confess being a big fan of as a callow youth along with FOUNTAINHEAD, was an interesting adaptation problem, which the writers of this super clunker failed to solve at all. Instead of telling the wonderful and dramatic human story of Dagny Taggert, they chose to clog the script with Rand’s philosophy and economic theories. What a mistake.
It looks like they spent a bunch of money. Really good locations. Really terrible sets (you can tell how cheesy it is because none of the countless offices have windows…only glowing walls pieces)
The one place it looks like they saved money was with the actors who, granted they’re given poo-poo to read and act, nonetheless squandered their opportunity.
The good news, the second unit photographer was great. Beautiful stuff. The rest. Pedestrian at best.
The one saving grace…I only saw part one of two parts.
THERE WAS ONE TERRIFIC EXTRA: There’s a thirty-five minute or so piece which starts with the Marketing Guy (!?) from the movie pitching fans of ATLAS SHRUGGED to video themselves saying “WHO IS JOHN GALT?” and send it the film company.
They fashioned a thirty or so minute conglomeration of the video in split screen and it’s fascinating on a couple of levels. One, the dedication and passion of the seemingly hundreds of fans of ATLAS SHRUGGED to take the time and thought to send in their videos, and, two, the incredible job the editor or editors did in putting the footage together. The timing, the sound, the variety of split screens are all masterfully done.
FOR MY LIST OF MY FAVORITE MOVIES READ:
THE LAST WORD – Definitive Answers To All Your Screenwriting Questions