Frownland - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

Frownland Reviews

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½ May 14, 2016
I liked this way more than I thought I would. For some reason I thought it'd be irritating and poorly made and stupid, but it's really well done and kinda feels like a live-action underground comic or something. Definitely worth seeing.
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.
½ March 22, 2011
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.
½ January 9, 2011
This was an exhausting but incredibly fascinating movie to watch. Not for most people.
½ December 28, 2010
bizarre and odd. severe panic attack. it is engrossing tho if one has the patience.
Super Reviewer
½ December 23, 2010
With the horror movie soundtrack I kept waiting for Keith to snap but he never did.A weird but good film
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
Super Reviewer
½ 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.
July 5, 2010
Entirely unadorned - the film stock as grainy as the actors are blotchy and spotty - "Frownland" most closely looks like a reaction to the mumblecore spirit of peppy togetherness: that sense one gets in the films of Bujalski et al. of friends clubbing together, killing time (here, it's time that's killing Keith) and muddling through, behind the camera as in front of it. Here, both camera and characters move with maximum passive-aggression... If Bronstein is keen to evoke anything, it's the sensation everyone's having better conversations, better sex, better *lives* than you are, but it's the way the film panders to this insecurity that concerned me: at one point, we see the putative girlfriend taking a craft knife to her own flesh, but the film has already long since established itself as a tool of self-harm; it needs a health warning, not a certificate.
½ 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.
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]
½ January 16, 2010
American Independent films have gotten too cute. Personally, I think it all climaxed with Garden State, but started in the 90's with three dickheads named Dick, Kevin, and Quentin. They all made cute little indie films that looked ugly but come on. The ugliness has been missing since the 80's, especially with NY based movies. Well. Here's something ugly and unpleasant. Roger Ebert does a pretty good job of summarizing this. Why on earth would anyone want to watch this? Who knows. I love torturous films and this tested my patience. But this is officially being added to a list of films or "movies" that de romanticize New York, and living in New York. Because it still needs to be done. All of the characters are self loathing, hateful, and it's not long before our hero is reduced to a babbling drooling mess. Take that mumblecore indie film movement! So yeah, this hits close to home. If you've ever wondered what it's like to live in NY take a gander at this hateful film. It opens with ten minutes or so of crying! And sock puppets. Well a brief glimpse of sock puppets. It makes me glad that people are making movies like this, and that the films or "movies" are getting out there, but most people don't want to be reminded of how unpleasant life is. Especially New Yorker. Don't tell us that life isn't friends, sex in the city, bored to death, hipsters, fine and dandy like sour candy because we're all reduced to incoherent messes screaming out whatever that guy is screaming about in the movie and I'm not going to let them take me there and again and let me make sit down in the chair and watch the thing that i promisedmyselfthatiwouldntgodownthatroutewiththebloodagainandthedoctorand.....
January 14, 2010
A disgusting look at life in New York that doesn't seem to belong in one era of time. It's one of those films that just made me feel dirty for most of my viewing. A lot isn't explained and the lead is an incompetent mumbling fool who rubs his face more than I've ever seen one person touch their face. It's grainy, the people are mostly odd and selfish, and the score sounds like it was lifted from an 80s slasher film.

I liked it for how different it was and for how oddly involving it is, but I would probably never watch it again purely to save myself from that gross feeling I got while watching.
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.
January 9, 2010
Although was some humor in this movie over all it was terrible. It was totally boring, pointless, meandering: FAIL. Kind of reminded me of Julien Donkey Boy only nowhere near as good.
½ December 20, 2009
Some weird shit.

This is my first foray into mumblecore, and despite my hatred for this adjective, this film can be described by one word: awkward.

That, and uncomfortable. It's like a neurotic Taxi Driver.

It's about this guy who can't get through one sentence without stuttering into oblivion, or apologizing into a puddle.

It claims to be made in 2007, but it looks at least 100 years older than that, which is pretty cool.

The director defies normal filmmaking conventions, such as eyelines, headroom, commonly accepted frame compositions, and things being in focus.

These "rule-breakings" are for one of three possible reasons:

1. He knew these rules and broke them intentionally, to spite those who actually criticize movies based upon these conventions.

2. He knew these rules and broke them for an aesthetic purpose: to reflect the schizophrenic nature of the characters, and their behaviors which defy normal conventions.

3. He simply does not know normal filmmaking conventions.

One could make a strong case for all three of these reasons, and I believe that if it was for reason #1, then this guy is smug. If it was reason #2, then this guy is a genius. If it's #3, then it's heartwarming.

Anyway, the narrative frequently gets distracted from its stuttering main character to focus on at least three other supporting characters who do nothing but go about their daily lives. These tangents offer nothing to the main story, but I think they're necessary in order to distract us from the sheer discomfort we get from watching the main guy stutter himself into a stupor.

I suppose I wasn't really ready for this type of ultra-independent filmmaking, but that's okay. I also wouldn't want to sit through this again, simply for how uncomfortable it was to watch.

Seriously, this is almost more uncomfortable than Irreversible. And the only things that happen in this movie are conversations.
½ October 2, 2009
Frownland is at first revolting, then addictively fascinating, and in the end leaves you wondering whether you have discovered an entirely new cinematic universe or have simply suffered through a horribly incompetent mess. I vote for the former, though Bujalski does mumblecore better.
August 16, 2009
i don't think i could live without this movie.
½ April 24, 2009
Wow! This film is quite the experience. It has a strong power to pull the audience into the pov of the main character, which becomes every bit irritating, annoying, confusing and intense. I was thoroughly impressed.
April 4, 2009
I got to see Ronald Bronstein do a Q&A after seeing this movie: very interesting guy. This movie is extremely good at what it does; that is, frustrating and exasperating the audience to the point that you can feel the insecurity of the main character. Though it's not always the most entertaining film, it captures raw, gritty emotion better than any movie I've seen in a very long time.
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