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    Lawrie's Reviews/Feedback Gathered in one Hellish Place
    #1
    Senior Member lawriejaffa's Avatar
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    I think combined (with Ryans cinematography) AJ you have produced a very attractive film and I applaud the attempt to convey a different perspective on the nature of war through reflection of an inner conflict. However... this is where I think the script lets the film down unfortunately. If you are grabbing our nuts and saying - 'dude... this is my 'different' take on war - suck it up' then it better be filled with some real existential metaphorical meaning - some real poetry of the soul.

    If your going down the road of arthouse you need more than the Sundance visuals... you gotta have the written substance to back it up. At times the film does this - I liked the contrast between the good dude and the bad dude and the rendition of her different opinions (of those men) fighting it out. It was almost lurching into the territory of Maya Derren there.

    But these strings dilly-dance us to one thought... one idea, then another... but don't seem to bring to a consistent central conflict playing in her head... or even... to put it more abstractly... a prevailing ideology shaping what the film is talking about - that we're supposed to be entertained/enlightened by.

    Which makes the rude cliche that ties the end of the film... this supposed source of conflict... her princess like wish-fulfillment... all the less dissatisfying.

    spoilers
    Your telling me that at the end of the day this girl just wants a hipster dude bearing a wedding ring? Really? I mean really? You don't have to be a feminist to find that perspective so amusingly steeped in male egocentricity to know... to already hear the giggles resounding among the flowery quilts of the intelligentsia. And it would i'm afraid! (I've seen their bedrooms)

    So in all, a very beautiful looking film, well acted, but marred by visual cliche, an A-Z Sundance inspired 90s American arthouse, with a script stricken, by a cliched and immature perception of feminine inner conflict. I don't think this is a terrible film by any account, but im afraid i didn't find it as strong as others you've shared here. I still woud rank this film in my top 5 this fest incidentally but I deeply and most sincerely suggest you start searching out other writers because I believe clearly your talents like in visuals and direction.


    The Spear
    This I think is probably the best of your shorts (imo) that I have seen played here in the dvxfestivals Chris. I've often been critical of the sentimental aspects of some of your previous works, or this and that! What this film does well is that it uses just the precise amount dialogue required, - great motivated action, and a genuinely discomforting level of suspense (played brilliantly at the start) that manages to pull of the foreboding (ahem twist) that well... is simply not easy to pull of right!

    Other than that the actors were good, the film was nicely shot and produced. All in all a solid film, and to me is probably the most complete and professional looking film in the festival, every component from script to production adding up just right.

    Nice one bro.
    Feature: LORD OF TEARS - A New Legend in Horror - Pre-Order Now http://www.lordoftears.com/


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    #2
    Senior Member lawriejaffa's Avatar
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    The Dust Settles
    Awe what can i say about this film (apart from the insane shutter speed hehe!) - this was basically an adolescents wet dream (well not mine... but dvx haven't agreed to interracial-midget-fest just yet...)

    It's like Santa Claus delivered a pile of airsoft guns - and you guys had to run riot in the woods! Story wise - we're thrown into the thick of it - given (yet another dixie-land) neurosis of a USA facing imminent civil war (Chik-afils vs Starbucks). Cinematography and gun fx... etc all that kinda stuff was okay, i think the muzzle flashes could have done with (some more blur) especially with all these fast camera movements, blur it in (kill the opacity a bit) and so forth.

    But back to the actual film... omg... the (oh warning - spoilers) brothers... (hehe - honestly I blame Rolf Harris for that) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HmL3m2zcoOI

    So we have our poor 'brother' with his excruciating death (and dialogue) giving an incredible final testimony (it basically consists of the entirety of a future 1200 wd wikipedia article on - a future US war...) I can't recall the dialogue precisely (but I'll have a go!) It went something like this....

    DYING BROTHER
    Bro... this is it... you got me gol'darnnit... just like you always wanted when we waaaz kids! Gosh I never thought I would see you after...
    1) The OPEC Oil embargo against the US
    2) The Iraqi cocoa-nut inscurrection
    3) When we served together in the suicide squad of the Boy Scouts
    4) Performed together on the Iranian version of Addams Family Values on... ICE!

    And a variety of other unnecessary expositional past exploits relating to the granduer of the outside war being fought (to justify this self indulgent airsoft skirmish!)

    That said - the acting of our dying chap (despite his dialogue) was full of energy - and the casting (for our dude with the cigar) was perfect.

    I think the film could have benefited from its unashamed pure action cheese by setting us up (with the expositional stuff bang either bang in the start) or with just... 3 short lines even of dialogue at the start. It really dosent take as much to set up the action as we think - so long as we're clear and concise about it (The Captive manages to do that somewhat better.)

    All in all a fun effort chaps, just lacking discipline with the storytelling with a blunderbuss approach to exposition letting it down!


    The Light Captured
    The film follows a simple and fun premise - that works quite well - with the old man's passing line of dialogue running only too true (for us guys and our morbid curiousities.) The setting of the submarine was a novel and unexpected location that worked quite well, all in all that and the exteriors looked very nice, - looked quite expensive! Its a shame that the sound quality was so particularly poor on this film (very tinny? was there a hell of a lot of noise correction required or?)

    Overall a nice little short film, entertaining and unassumingly safe!
    Feature: LORD OF TEARS - A New Legend in Horror - Pre-Order Now http://www.lordoftears.com/


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    #3
    Senior Member lawriejaffa's Avatar
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    Little White Pills
    Hey there bro I applaud what you attempted here - pretty clean cut morality tale.

    Also I recall the actor (which one was he - who played the father here?) he once played the devil in a TwilightFest film (and I loved that one, thought it was hilarious!) Anyway the set up is simple, but the execution is soooooo overlong.

    I kid you not when I venture this opinion - but - see the dialogue in the office? (okay you can't see it... but we can hear it so...) So - hear the dialogue that we see in the office? Damn it - still not right! hehe Okay, Here is the dialogue that you see on a script and hear in the film well that dialogue....

    That was how exciting it was to listen to the dialogue in your office scene - rambling and repetitious. We get it - ONE DUDE MADE THE DRUG - ONE DUDE SOLD THE DRUG. That could have been handled in 3 lines... The challenge over whether it should still be sold - perhaps just a line or two more. The real negative consequences of this drug should not have been discussed and batted - back and forth at tedium - but seen. Lets get those guys out the office... let them walk past an addicted bum on the street begging for cash (to get more white pills) - have a poke at popular media - maybe theres a tv ad in a shop window for the pills?

    Whatever it is - i think the film would have benefited from showing us the wider subtext of the white pill - to make the costs (to society) and the riches (for its sellar and inventer) more extreme, more climactic - instead of blah blah blah in the office.

    Finally the dream sequence of our lady taking her drugs (like the conversation) went on rather too long - longer than the Space Baby of Space Odyssey ;) (and her performance didn't exactly exude too much resistance to the taking of this controversial drug?)

    I think the actor playing the sellar of the drugs (has a lot of charisma and dynamism) which we've seen in the films before, but the nature of the dialogue and pauses/ edit made him seem i don't know?

    So perhaps a tighter edit - and showing rather than telling us would get more drama into this beast!


    Marching Home
    I too enjoy Westerns and American Civil War era shenanigans and was pleased to see this film attempt to tell a period story set during this turbulent time - especially in the immediate aftermath of Lee's surrender.

    Yet the film suffered for its lack of pace, lack of motivated inter-personal dialogue and conflict. For Johnny Reb we should have felt more about what he had lost... what his heart had lost through the futility of his efforts. Imagine all the battles, the scars, the loss of his comrades... probably the semi-scorched earths of his homeland and the imminent impact that (occupation) may have for him - as regards to his family, hometown and neighbours.

    Could you imagine anything more despairing - shocking and utterly unexpected for him than discovering - BY CHANCE a courier with news of the wars end.

    We had aspects of this story that harken towards Hiroo Oona (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hiroo_Onoda) ie. the last man fighting - not knowing etc?

    The gravitas of the situation was not borne out in this story and i feel the actor (playing Johnny Reb) had the ability I believe to express far more pathos - if he had been directed better to do so. As for your Yankee well, he looked the part, but was it ADR? or - there was just something so indifferent about his performance (to the immediate danger he was in) especially if he was an inexperienced soldier.

    So - in a film where two dudes representing completely different cultures (as existed and pretty much still does in the USA) at that point in history - we should have had dialogue that gave us a genuine sense of impact and clash drenched in sorrow and an unknown future.

    We look for that because that is the set up you've given us - two dudes in the woods, so these two dudes in the woods really have to bat it out the park you know? for the film to kick our asses!

    A nice mature and serious attempt, but just needing x10 fire in the belly imo!


    The Token
    This film showcases some beautiful and very professional visuals - both with the cinematography and the colour grading. For that and the films excellent production values - I give it a big thumbs up!

    Where the film struggled I think - was in how it attempted to create a sense of suspense - and a heartfelt sense of conflict (with our German Officers soul) over how he is behaving (to the types of people he may have once played with as a child.) This nostalgic childhood kind of reminisent is not an unfamiliar theme in war films - its a classic trope, but for it to work it has to have such a ball grabbing level of intensity - of feeling - that we really feel our nuts getting crushed seeing what this officer might or might not do. Not just that - but more importantly - we should feel that conflict play out much louder (in his heart) than with what evidence we are provided in the flashbacks.

    That is - the flashbacks are cute BUT do they build up the kind of high noon stand off (that makes our officers battle of indoctrination vs soul) something deep and memorable?) Or is it just pretty and slightly forgettable.

    I think unfortunately it falls to the later - because we do not have the opportunity to really feel that intensity. Everything else - gorgeous, shiny as a belt buckle, but it lacks fire imo.

    Someone who is probably the indisputed master of setups/flashbacks is Sergio Leonne - and like yours these flashbacks are interwoven piece meal through the mainform narrative to a climactic conclusion.

    Spoilers
    Once Upon a Time in the West
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_kD54-q1uFM

    Duck you Suckers
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lGif...e=results_main

    Of course those films are a product of the style of their time, and its not to say that the film requires as melodramatic an impact but... something of that sort would have struck the spirit with a more positive remembrance for your character and film.


    En(Listless)
    Right this is an interesting film - that has a promising concept that other filmmakers could learn from imo - especially those with artistic pretention.

    1) PTSD
    2) Original and Disturbing depiction of PTSD
    3) Wrapped in a comedy.

    Those ingredients could buy you an indie film playing at Telluride hehe.

    But its a difficult balancing act (and at the risk of offence, DVXFESTs are not often the best venue for these kinds of complex divisive ideas.)

    I think you get a lot right with this, but where it goes wrong (i think it does) critically. It is with the extent and manner of your comedy - these ideas work as a black comedy with a kind of circumstantial comedic aspect (as in how his tragic remember... tragic loss of his friend, affects his daily life.) I also like the irony of before and after (and in this context the music actually works but...)

    While you had it right with the ingredients - the direction seems to imo... lack a confidence in your own idea. The hamminess of the performances - the over the top aspects were not... required to make this funny or for it to work. It could have been closer to the bone, more black, and still be amusing and disquietly disturbing.

    By having this kind of Adam Sandler esque characterisation you are LOSING the power of your concept and giving it away to a kind of short term/insecure agitated gain - like the ott nervousness of your actor, it seems to be reflected too in aspects of the films edit and delivery.

    The VERY SAME script, and SAME CAST AND GEAR hehe, but with a different direction of your actors, (strip it back) and less obvious comedic ironic music - something more real, would have made this piece a strong contender, not just for its few (uneasy laughs) but for its tragic aspects.

    This is a much more ambitious war film than the token, that it fails to deliver (in comparison to the token) is something you can rectify by following your original convictions harder imo!

    (Yes im aware i make a terrible number of assumptions in this feedback, apolagies for that

    Battle Portlandia
    Yep this was an amusing film on the superficial level - (and is all the more amusing and affectionately so) among fellow filmmakers (be warned - less so imo, to a discerning indifferent audience!)

    The story is a set of skits among different pop cultural groups with the odd (unexpected individual) though for a sec I though the mountain man would be a hipster haha (if he had skinny jeans and pilot shades!)

    so this was a 'fun' and irreverent little film, that was all very geeky and silly. Which is part of its charm, there have been (in the cinematic evolution of things) sophisticated attempts at this kind of geek-pop-culture-humour in films, especially as nerdomia becomes an ever increasing pop cultural obsession and commodity.

    So yoru film certainly filled the criteria of 'crowd-pleaser' and had moments of fun - creative and novel ideas that I think indicate a somewhat irreverent and creative mind!
    Last edited by lawriejaffa; 09-04-2012 at 12:48 PM.
    Feature: LORD OF TEARS - A New Legend in Horror - Pre-Order Now http://www.lordoftears.com/


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    Senior Member JaceBrownlow's Avatar
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    Going to be completely honest with you. Your reviews really dont seem helpful at all, more so just mocking the things you didnt like. This should be a place of good company, and its hard to be able to learn from mistake if they are mocked in the way you have done it.
    . And the fact that you made a thread dedicated to your own opinions really makes me feel that you believe your opinions are the final word and that everyone should take them very seriously. Maybe I am the only one who feels this way idk. I just want criticism that doesnt make me feel like I have completely failed as a director or my brother as a writer, you know?


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    Quote Originally Posted by JaceBrownlow View Post
    I just want criticism that doesnt make me feel like I have completely failed as a director or my brother as a writer, you know?
    Unless you can develop a thicker skin, you're probably in the wrong biz.


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    Quote Originally Posted by Gary Huff View Post
    Unless you can develop a thicker skin, you're probably in the wrong biz.
    There is fine line between criticism and insult. I am just starting out as a filmmaker, I have only been making films for 2 years, and there is nothing stopping me from becoming a professional director


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    Quote Originally Posted by JaceBrownlow View Post
    There is fine line between criticism and insult.
    How would you define that line exactly, an what specifically are you referring to as an insult in this instance?


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    Senior Member JaceBrownlow's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gary Huff View Post
    How would you define that line exactly, an what specifically are you referring to as an insult in this instance?
    Criticism is pointing out mistakes or making suggestions on how to improve them. Insults are pointed them out the mistakes and make it obvious how foolish it was to make such a mistake by making jokes, and leaving the artist feeling unhappy about his work. There is no denying that I am a rookie filmmaker, but I do know that respect is an important thing to have for one another. I dont know if his intentions were to insult, but all I know is all the other critiques were respectful as they told each other what they needed to improve on and left it at that... until he came along and commented on the films and instead just made a mockery of all the negative parts of the films. We are filmmakers, not film snobs, lets make the filmmaking experience enjoyable


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    Quote Originally Posted by JaceBrownlow View Post
    Insults are pointed them out the mistakes and make it obvious how foolish it was to make such a mistake by making jokes, and leaving the artist feeling unhappy about his work.
    "Artists" are usually unhappy with their works in the first place. On top of that, my point still stands. If you can't take criticism, in whatever vehicle has been chosen to deliver it in, then perhaps you're not cut out for this.

    I didn't see Lawrie mock you or your family on a personal level. If he chooses to make a joke about something in the film that didn't work, that is his prerogative. It's your prerogative not to whine publicly about it.


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    Senior Member JaceBrownlow's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gary Huff View Post
    "Artists" are usually unhappy with their works in the first place. On top of that, my point still stands. If you can't take criticism, in whatever vehicle has been chosen to deliver it in, then perhaps you're not cut out for this.

    I didn't see Lawrie mock you or your family on a personal level. If he chooses to make a joke about something in the film that didn't work, that is his prerogative. It's your prerogative not to whine publicly about it.
    Really? Thats your feedback to me? Just quit, aye?

    I love criticism, why do you think I entered in this contest if I knew there would be some? This is my third entry, I am used to critiques. I was simply saying to keep it constructive. There is no reason to tell me to give up on something I am passionate about because I asked ONE person to tone it down.

    either way I am done bickering, no one is getting anywhere. Sorry I even mentioned anything.
    Last edited by JaceBrownlow; 08-20-2012 at 04:33 PM.


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