Amazon Holiday

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

The Great Buck Howard

Q: What’s the movie about?

A: A law school drop out (Colin Hanks) takes a job as a personal assistant to a mentalist (John Malkovich) who is past his prime, and in complete denial of the fact that he no longer matters. Basically, it's The Wrestler with a magician, minus the depressing tone and the naked stripper.

Q: Who’s in the movie?

A: Colin Hanks, John Malkovich, Emily Blunt, Ricky Jay, Steve Zahn, Adam Scott, Griffin Dunne, Patrick Fischler, Wallace Langham, Tom Hanks (uncredited), and 90% of the talk show hosts you can think of.

Q: Is this movie worth the price of admission?

A: PhotobucketProceed with Caution. Yet another movie that makes you ask "why?" Why bother? Why not? Why ask why, drink Bud Dry. I miss Bud Dry. And if I had asked "why," I might never have learned that it was my favorite American beer in America. But some prefer Sam Adams. Do you get the metaphor?

Q: Will this movie make me laugh?

A: A little. But some of the laughs feel like they belong in a different movie.

Q: Will this movie make me cry?

A: It tries to be moving, but you won't be connected enough to cry.

Q: Will this movie be up for any awards?

A: This is the most 'based on a true story' movie that's NOT being billed or marketed as a true story. It turns out that these characters are loosely based on the magician, The Amazing Kreskin, and Sean McGinly, the writer-director of this film, who served as his road manager, much like the main character, Troy Gabel... So at least now I know why he wanted to write and direct this. Although I'm still not sure why everyone else got involved.

Q: How is the Acting?

A: John Malkovich is magic. The best thing about Colin Hanks is his dad.

Q: How is the Directing?

A: If I disregard the boom mic I saw drop into one shot, the directing is pretty good, as Sean McGinly does manage to create the requisite tension in the moments when we don't know whether a magic trick will be successful or not. But the lighting is a little slapped together, landing the film's look somewhere between a glossy studio film and a trying-to-look-realistic independent, which subsequently doesn't help give the movie a clear cut tone. The cinematographer, Tak Fujimoto, has done a lot of great work in the past, though, so I tend to blame the script for the confused tone.

Q: How is the story/script?

A: It's hard to tell what this script wants to be. Is it a comedy? A cautionary tale about making it big? Or just a slice of life about a boy who doesn't know what he wants, except that it's not law school? While the script does have a clear cut beginning, middle, and end, as well as an enjoyable enough running voice over, you may leave wondering what you were meant to learn or gain from watching it.

Q: Where can I see the trailer?


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1 comment:

Anonymous said...

The best thing about Colin Hanks is his dad. Haha -- that's funny. (And true.)