How would I describe “Planet World”? Strange. Silly. Funny. Hilarious. If you like sci-fi movies, go see this film. If you like Saturday Night Live, go see this film. If you like to laugh, go see this film. It’s “Saturday Night Live” meets “Planet of the Apes” meets “Star Trek”.
Austin Film Festival
This review contains “spoilers”.
When I went to see “The Company Men” at the Austin Film Festival 2010, I wasn’t sure what to expect since it was a last minute addition. Having seen it, I think it’s a good movie. The acting is great, as it should be, given the acting pedigrees of the cast members Ben Affleck, Chris Cooper, Tommy Lee Jones, Kevin Costner, Craig T. Nelson and Maria Bello. They all did a fantastic job.
But I am still a bit confused about the main point of the film. Is it a “feel good movie” about surviving the economic crash or is it meant to show how awful corporate greed is and how it destroyed more than jobs?
I liked that the movie showed how Bobby Walker’s family became closer even though they lost their home, the fancy car and all the other “toys” from their “pre-layoff” lives. I like that it showed Bobby’s emotional growth and the growth of his relationship with his brother-in-law.
What I did not like about the movie was how apathetic it was to the true depth of destruction the economic crash caused. I don’t think it shows the damage after Phil Woodward takes his own life. It left too much to the imagination…sugar coated the aftermath. When Bobby Walker and his wife are discussing the selling of their home and the struggle to pay their bills, it didn’t show the true anger that every person in that situation would have felt, no matter HOW much they got along and loved each other. The transition from affluent to losing everything but each other, was much too soft…sugar coated. When Gene McClary finds out that he’s been let go along with Phil, does he react in anger? No. He goes and sleeps with the woman who fired them all. James Salinger continues to spend money, building his new office, even while more employees are let go. The film does not give closure on his character, leaving the viewer unsure if he’s still out there living the lush life and not being held accountable for his greedy actions.
I realize that it is just a movie and we each bring our own backgrounds when we watch it. And I really do like this film. “The Company Men” is a good movie that celebrates Bobby Walker’s family coming together in adversity. It just left me scratching my head a bit over “what” the movie was really about.
Writer/Director Michael Suter describes his film, “The Legend of El Limbo“, as “The Three Amigos” meets “The Good, The Bad and The Ugly“. I think it’s more a case of “Monty Python’s Flying Circus” meets “The Good, The Bad and The Ugly”.
If you like to laugh, then you MUST pray that ”Exporting Raymond” gets released into our theaters! I honestly cannot remember ever hearing an audience laugh so loudly or so often as I did when the film was shown at the Austin Film Festival on Thursday, October 21st, 2010.
The film is brought to us by Philip Rosenthal and Sony Pictures. Rosenthal created and executive produced the comedy “Everybody Loves Raymond”. “Exporting Raymond” is the true story about his attempt to turn “Everybody Loves Raymond” into a Russian sitcom. In the film, he once again proves his ability to find the “funny” in any situation, whether it’s a family or an international cultural divide…or an uptight costume designer who thinks she’s prepping for the fashion runways in Paris rather than dressing an every day housewife.
My favorite scenes were the ones where he looked into the camera with the expression of a deer caught in the headlights, as if to say “Wha..? Is it me or…?”. Of course, that look…combined with the rest of the particular scene, makes you “instantly GET IT”…and the laughing starts all on it’s own. It’s a beautiful thing! What an absolutely fabulous way to kick of the festival.
So that just leaves me to say, “Thank you, Phil Rosenthal! Thank you so very much for the wonderful gift of laughter. I wish you would release all of clips that were edited out.”
P.S. – Also, Phil, you are just as great in front of the camera as you are behind the words!
Sadly, the Flip camera that I used to record all of my interviews on days 1 and 2 went for a “walk” while I was in the restroom at the Paramount during Friday’s showing of “Peep World”. Thankfully, nothing else went for a stroll with it. I am still, naively, hoping that someone will turn it in to the Paramount office. For those of you whom I interviewed, my sincere apologies. I will try to reconnect for a followup interview about your entrees in the festival.
The main thing that I wanted to do on the first day of the Austin Film Festival was to find out how it all worked. As a “first-timer”, just trying to figure out WHERE to start was the hardest part! After reading about the different panels, I decided to try “The Business of Screenwriting” and “Breaking In and Staying In”.