Opening

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Frownland Reviews

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February 21, 2012
Anyone with self-knowledge can relate to this movie. The main character has difficulty in being understood after years of having people shut him up or ignore what he says. He intermittently breaks out of this and is then totally clear and I think mainly correct in his judgments of his situation and those around him- that is he is quite 'normal'. The main female character is very separate and isolated when in the presence of others- and is a cuter. The roommate is a self-absorbed musician of digital sorts who is aggressively nasty to the main character. The girl and musician use him. By the way, the socks are hers and quite dirty. He tries to help her and cheer her up but is again rejected in his actions/intent/speech. The world is cruel. Too bad the average person is so devoid of self-knowlege and therefore films like Empire whatever in 3D are box office hits and this film isn't. Or is it that the average person knows just how fucked life in the "wasteland of the free" (N Griffith) and everywhere else is too; particularly if one is disturbed and not 'normal'. Cassie222.
MisterTuttle
January 1, 2009
If you combine the films of James Fotopoulos and the original Texas Chainsaw Massacre you'd kind of get this film.

What makes this film watchable is Dore Mann. I'm not sure if this is who he really is as a person or if he's acting. It's hard to tell because he's so fucking believable as Keith a disjointed and pathologically insecure door to door salesman who struggles with being who he is. Nobody likes him. He even doesn't like himself.

The way some people treat him because of how he is is very unsettling. Sometimes you can't blame some of these people and the way they treat him, but other times it's unfair. I guess what else could you expect from someone who is very volatile. Keith could explode. Just like Travis Bickle.

This film doesn't exactly have a plot. It's more about Keith and the other people who inhabit "Frownland". It will test your patience, may even piss you off. Either way it's still a very sobering experience and I loved how it was directed. The musical score has an 80's slasher movie quality that when it plays in a scene where Keith is just walking made me feel creeped out.

This isn't a horror movie. Not really a drama. Boarders along dark comedy territory, just a tad. If anything it belongs in that undefined category. Kind of like the way Eraserhead is.
January 9, 2011
This was an exhausting but incredibly fascinating movie to watch. Not for most people.
SaxophoneScone
December 18, 2010
bizarre and odd. severe panic attack. it is engrossing tho if one has the patience.
Brody M

Super Reviewer

December 23, 2010
With the horror movie soundtrack I kept waiting for Keith to snap but he never did.A weird but good film
lancewex
September 15, 2010
I give this the highest rating for being what it is without apologies. It is so far from a "Hollywood" movie that many people raised on such fair will have no way to digest it. It is a small slice of the life of a man who is barely functional. Seemingly with a touch of autism and without any family, the main character struggles with his day to day life. He can barely communicate due to his racing thoughts and an inability to express a thought without interrupting himself. He is unpleasant to be around because he is so caught up in being accommodating and desperate to connect with others; he is his own worst enemy. It is this paradox-- that such an unpleasant person to be around is inherently a really good person--that the movie is about. I have seen reviews that call this a dark comedy, but I think that's way off. It's a harrowing story of struggle against yourself. Psychological difficulties are often misunderstood, and this movie shows the lonely life of a person doing the best he can with heavy limitations. The individual uncomfortable moments and quotidian worries throughout this movie in the end reveal an unpleasant truth about how people are marginalized. Mann's performance is so natural and raw that you'll squirm. But if you're able to empathize you'll be rewarded with real insight the life of those with unfortunate circumstances. Not all art is pretty.
Harlequin68
Harlequin68

Super Reviewer

August 27, 2010
In "Frownland," Keith(Dore Mann) has been struggling in his job going door to door raising funds for a charity. Some of this might have to do with his shaky relationship with his girlfriend Laura(Mary Wall). For instance, one night she shows up on his doorstep crying. They go to a store and he manipulates her into returning. Things take a turn for the worse when it turns out she is allergic to his pillows and he is impaled on a thumbtack. And I do not care what Laura says but I like the hand puppets which are sadly the highlight of this roughly produced, low budget film that seeks to get into the face of the viewer with its socially inept protagonist. Like some of the characters, I also find Keith annoying, as the movie also soon tires of him, deciding to follow other characters for lengthy periods of time. But then it wanders back to rejoin the pursuit of the payment of an electric bill which is what the movie is all about. Sure, lots of people worry about how they will pay their bills but that should not be their entire life nor a complete motion picture either.
Patrick R.
April 27, 2010
The "acting" is so fakey, so hokey, it's embarrassing. I saw a screening a MOMA, and by 20 minutes into the film people were moving up the aisles to the exit. In the row in front of me, 3 people were sound asleep. Supposedly this guy has trouble articulating his thoughts, but his stammer is so forced... I could do it better than that. He is so obviously a capable guy who is trying to stammer, that you feel like you should give him some pointers. I couldn't take it after 30 minutes, and left. Critics say this is supposed to be a comedy, but I never heard so much as a titter from the audience. I myself didn't find anything even remotely amusing.
Tyler Rubenfeld
April 27, 2010
[color=black]Rarely do I write lengthy reviews of movies I really enjoyed, mostly because it gets boring when you're using all the same adjectives. It's much easier to write about a bad movie and make ridiculous metaphors. However, I feel it is my duty to my lack of readers to tell you about three great movies, one that will most certainly be at a theater near you in the next few weeks, one that might in a few months, and one that probably won't. New York has definitely been good to me in the way of movies. (Incidentally, I'm attending the New Filmmakers/New Films festival screenings of "Momma's Man" and "Ballast" this weekend. If they're as good as I've heard, I'll let you know). [/color]
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[color=#000000][b]Snow Angels [/b][i]Warner Independent [/i]March 7, 2008[/color]
[color=#000000]Over the past few months, I've really taken a shine to David Gordon Green's work. This is surprising considering, before March 7th, he'd only released three movies--one that was great ("George Washington"), one that frustrating but well-done ("All the Real Girls"), and one that wasn't great ("Undertow"). I was mostly going by the fantastic trailers for this, as well as his work as a producer on the amazingly underrated "Great World of Sound." Let me tell you, "Snow Angels" is right up there and surpasses "George Washington." Despite the flashier cast, the dialogue is as naturalistic as "ATRG," and the scenes feel authentic--which makes the plot of the film all the more chilling. Though Sam Rockwell and Kate Beckinsale certainly deserve the accolades that are coming to them for their work in this film, for me, the standout in the cast was Jeanetta Arnette, who played Michael Angarano's long-suffering mother. A veteran actress who's most famous work was six seasons of "Head of the Class," her performance was the highlight of the most underwritten thread of the film. For some really effective drama (and a bit of comedy thrown in for good measure), check this shit out.[/color]
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[color=#000000][b]Frownland [/b][i]Frownland, Inc. [/i]March 7, 2008[/color]
[color=#000000]The film that won the 2007 Gotham Award for "Best Film Not Playing at a Theater Near You" never did find a distributor...which these days is most definitely a good thing. Movies like "Little Miss Sunshine" find distributors. "Inland Empire" won't. So, director Ronald Bronstein decided to screen the film for a week at the IFC Center, in all its unforgiving glory. And let me tell you, I haven't seen a more promising debut in a long time. Just when I was beginning to get disillusioned with the mumblecore scene and their similar storylines featuring pretty indie-folk, here comes a movie that embraces what's good in DIY-filmmaking while also pissing over their predilection for the Soy Chai Latte crowd. (Anyone still following me?) It's an unflinching portrait of a babbling, self-aware "New York troll," portrayed incredibly by non-professional actor Dore Mann. In fact, he and Bronstein were at the screening I attended and I was shocked to see how normal this guy was in real life. I thought they just peeled some psycho off the street. The film itself is quite haunting, in a John Cassavetes meets David Lynch sort of way, but it's not for everyone. ...Actually, if it's not for you, you're a pussy. Go watch "Four Eyed Monsters" instead.[/color]
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[color=#000000][b]Shotgun Stories [/b][i]International Film Circuit [/i]March 26, 2008[/color]
[color=#000000]Further proof that everything David Gordon Green touches (with the exception of "Undertow") is gold, "Shotgun Stories" is the second film he's produced but not directed. This one's directed with equal amounts fire and restraint by newcomer Jeff Nichols, and--boy howdy--does it pack a wallop. Most of the film rests on the shoulders of character actor Michael Shannon, who's been gaining more attention these days from high-profile roles in "Bug" and "Before the Devil Knows You're Dead," (watch for him in Sam Mendes' "Revolutionary Road" this December, in a role that has the pedigree to grant him a Best Supporting Actor nod). He speaks in terse little grunts and his mouth barely moves. He's the kind of actor that is destined to star in a Cormac McCarthy adaptation. And he's absolutely amazing here as the eldest Hayes brother, a clearheaded man blinded by revenge. "Shotgun Stories" is, without a doubt, an incredibly made thriller. Incredibly shot, acted, scored...everything. If you enjoyed any of DGG's work, or "No Country for Old Men," seek this one out.[/color]
January 9, 2010
Someone described the lead as being the 'anti-Woody Allen' and that's a good way to describe him. It's a fantastic document of the ugly side to living in New York and shits all over Allen's wet dream about Manhattan. To be frank the two shouldn't even be mentioned in the same breath. This was a stunning work.
March 12, 2008
Blistering schizo masterpiece.
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