Amazon Holiday

Friday, November 13, 2009

Me and Orson Welles

(Guest Review by Russ)

Q: What’s the movie about?

A: A teenager (Zac Efron) is cast in the 1937 Broadway production of Shakespeare’s “Julius Caesar” and comes of age in the shadow of actor/director Orson Welles’ genius.

Q: Who’s in the movie?

A: Zac Efron, Claire Danes, Christian McKay, Ben Chaplin, Eddie Marsan, James Tupper, Zoe Kazan

Q: Is this movie worth the price of admission?

A: PhotobucketProceed with Caution. You might try not to pay full price for it. Although, I guess this film could pique the interest of various fans, so here’s a handy guide. Screaming insane tween female Zac Efron fans: stay away and re-watch the High School Musical trilogy on DVD. Forty year-old gay men: sorry, Zac never goes shirtless, re-watch 17 Again. Orson Welles fanatics: it’s an interesting insight into a week of his life, pre-Hollywood filmmaker genius mode. Richard Linklater fans: I don’t know what to tell you, no one gets high in this film and Jack Black is nowhere to be seen.

Q: Will this movie make me laugh?

A: Yes. The overall tone of the movie is light and there is good wordplay and joke set-ups that pay off with nice chuckles. The funniest revolves around “the Quadruple Space,” but I won’t ruin it for you with an explanation in this review.

Q: Will this movie make me cry?

A: No. And it’s not built for it anyway so don’t hold that against it.

Q: Will this movie be up for any awards?

A: Nothing obvious. But depending on how it plays, a buzz could begin to circle for British stage actor Christian McKay’s portrayal of a young Welles... especially when they realize that he has never acted in a movie before.

Q: How is the Acting?

A: It’s all first rate if not spectacular. Christian McKay steals the show as a 22 year-old Orson Welles putting his budding genius on show. The performance sneaks up on you and builds into something completely authentic. Zac Efron might not blow you away, but there’s no denying his youthful charisma, perfect eyebrows and freakishly long eyelashes. He both naturally seduces and is seduced in a role that doesn’t call for much more than that.

Q: How is the Directing?

A: It’s serviceable and works on the relatively low budget the film was shot on. It doesn’t look cheap, but it doesn’t look expensive either. The period detail is all there, but it’s mostly done in medium and close-up shots, which undercut the grandeur of the period. Otherwise the whole thing skips along at a nice pace and never bores.

Q: How is the story/script?

A: Probably the biggest problem and the main thing holding the film back from a green light. Zac Efron’s character ‘Richard’ is the dual lead with Orson Welles and it’s an unfortunately underwritten part. Its purpose is for us, the viewer, to see Welles’ genius through the eyes of an everyman, but one can’t help wishing that we knew more about Richard and what he wanted out of life and his experience working in the theater. There also isn’t much conflict as Richard easily gets everything he wants up until the very end. There’s nothing glaringly wrong or bad with the movie, but as good as it is, it’s not hard to imagine how it could have been so much better with another script rewrite.

Q: Where can I see the trailer?


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