Reviews

  • Dec 14, 2018

    Odd little film with good performances.

    Odd little film with good performances.

  • Apr 22, 2017

    This film reminded me of a number of quirky independent films of the 80s, like "Earth Girls are Easy," "Bagdad Cafe," or "Six String Samurai," though unfortunately this one was nowhere as good. The film boasts a strong director in Mark Romanek, who disowned the film and would later go on to make "One Hour Photo" and the brilliant "Never Let Me Go," and also a strong co-writer/star, Keith Gordon, who'd follow this film up with his directorial debut "The Chocolate War," then "A Midnight Clear," and the very underrated "Mother Night." Despite that pedigree, this oddballs story of Gordon inventing a machine that is supposed to allow people to see picture of heaven, although most people only see static except for Gordon. The quirky story is complimented with a quirky cast that includes Amanda Plummer and Bob Gunton, but the story seems pretentious, obvious in it's metaphor, and simply not all that entertaining. I did like the soundtrack though, which featured Elvis, to Johnny Cash, to OMD, to Brian Eno, to the film's especially good kickoff playing The The's "This is the Day." Not much to recommend here outside of some 80s nostalgia, which I'll admit was enough to hold my interest.

    This film reminded me of a number of quirky independent films of the 80s, like "Earth Girls are Easy," "Bagdad Cafe," or "Six String Samurai," though unfortunately this one was nowhere as good. The film boasts a strong director in Mark Romanek, who disowned the film and would later go on to make "One Hour Photo" and the brilliant "Never Let Me Go," and also a strong co-writer/star, Keith Gordon, who'd follow this film up with his directorial debut "The Chocolate War," then "A Midnight Clear," and the very underrated "Mother Night." Despite that pedigree, this oddballs story of Gordon inventing a machine that is supposed to allow people to see picture of heaven, although most people only see static except for Gordon. The quirky story is complimented with a quirky cast that includes Amanda Plummer and Bob Gunton, but the story seems pretentious, obvious in it's metaphor, and simply not all that entertaining. I did like the soundtrack though, which featured Elvis, to Johnny Cash, to OMD, to Brian Eno, to the film's especially good kickoff playing The The's "This is the Day." Not much to recommend here outside of some 80s nostalgia, which I'll admit was enough to hold my interest.

  • Nov 27, 2016

    was drawn to this movie b/c i like 80s movies in general. overrall a interesting movie.

    was drawn to this movie b/c i like 80s movies in general. overrall a interesting movie.

  • Nov 08, 2014

    This is a deep story (that i just cant reveal) and an interesting visual composition, with a casting that nails exactly waht these caracters has to do. The main flaw is in the rythm; not all the time, but some times, it draws itself out at the wrong moments.but I do understand that the desert feel is important to how these caracter vibrates, and it has to be established. Apart from that, this is good drama with some cynical but tender laughter, The whole bus sequence is surreal and pretty unforgettable. I like that this movie tells a very unusual stroy, and treats it respect. And kookiness too.

    This is a deep story (that i just cant reveal) and an interesting visual composition, with a casting that nails exactly waht these caracters has to do. The main flaw is in the rythm; not all the time, but some times, it draws itself out at the wrong moments.but I do understand that the desert feel is important to how these caracter vibrates, and it has to be established. Apart from that, this is good drama with some cynical but tender laughter, The whole bus sequence is surreal and pretty unforgettable. I like that this movie tells a very unusual stroy, and treats it respect. And kookiness too.

  • Mar 20, 2013

    A most intriguing and heartfelt quirky dramedy, the kind that is almost like, I dunno, maybe an odd 80's new-wave cross between Herzog (the dreams and ambitions of someone who may be insane, or just lost) with the idiosyncrasies of a Wes Anderson or something. But really it's still all Romanek - see his 2nd film, which I now mistakenly thought was his first, One Hour Photo, for another display of a story of a man who is really screwed up, but we know why and it makes it all the more painfully awkward and awful. In this case Keith Gordon isn't quite the actor that Robin Williams was there, but he fits for such a character who is genuinely likable and can get someone to believe him - until they see his invention, with their own eyes. What makes his story so heartbreaking, and this is taking aside the climax (or the resolution of it) which takes a turn into a WTF moment that I'm still not sure how to process as good or bad for the film, is that this character has genuine talent, after all he spent two years making a specialized antenna with a TV set. But it's all due to trauma that no one around him - certainly not bug-fuck crazy cousin Bob Gunton (Warden Norton from Shawshank Redemption, a fantastically nutty performance if one-note), or even his very understanding and warm girlfriend Julie (who has an odd moment at the very start of the film where she quits a new-wave band for... what reason, I guess to go back to Ernie, but it seems so sudden as to not really be necessary, despite being well-shot and musically interesting). It's at its most compelling as a study of this guy who has never fully processed his loss... or maybe he has, and is using this invention as a way of finding his way of getting back. Or, with this invention that projects on TV heaven, it's the Herzogian line: these are not just my dreams, they are yours as well. Is heaven a place on Earth, or just a bunch of white noise? It's an odd little marvel, imperfect but charming because of them (like that whole sequence on the bus, which is so absurd it's hard not to laugh, even if it's difficult to not see the old ladies as anything but genteel types, why not one old lady on the bus who is like 'oh gimme a break'?) If you want to find something truly obscure but sweetly deranged with a backbeat of Elvis and Brian Eno, look no further - as if most of us are looking for those things anyway. That it should have received a DVD release already is a major understatement, if only due to the at least known quantity of Keith Gordon and Amanda Plummer, or Romanek, who (somewhat) sadly remains the more underappreciated filmmakers from the music-video pack that came from the 90's (i.e. Fincher, Jonze, Gondry, etc).

    A most intriguing and heartfelt quirky dramedy, the kind that is almost like, I dunno, maybe an odd 80's new-wave cross between Herzog (the dreams and ambitions of someone who may be insane, or just lost) with the idiosyncrasies of a Wes Anderson or something. But really it's still all Romanek - see his 2nd film, which I now mistakenly thought was his first, One Hour Photo, for another display of a story of a man who is really screwed up, but we know why and it makes it all the more painfully awkward and awful. In this case Keith Gordon isn't quite the actor that Robin Williams was there, but he fits for such a character who is genuinely likable and can get someone to believe him - until they see his invention, with their own eyes. What makes his story so heartbreaking, and this is taking aside the climax (or the resolution of it) which takes a turn into a WTF moment that I'm still not sure how to process as good or bad for the film, is that this character has genuine talent, after all he spent two years making a specialized antenna with a TV set. But it's all due to trauma that no one around him - certainly not bug-fuck crazy cousin Bob Gunton (Warden Norton from Shawshank Redemption, a fantastically nutty performance if one-note), or even his very understanding and warm girlfriend Julie (who has an odd moment at the very start of the film where she quits a new-wave band for... what reason, I guess to go back to Ernie, but it seems so sudden as to not really be necessary, despite being well-shot and musically interesting). It's at its most compelling as a study of this guy who has never fully processed his loss... or maybe he has, and is using this invention as a way of finding his way of getting back. Or, with this invention that projects on TV heaven, it's the Herzogian line: these are not just my dreams, they are yours as well. Is heaven a place on Earth, or just a bunch of white noise? It's an odd little marvel, imperfect but charming because of them (like that whole sequence on the bus, which is so absurd it's hard not to laugh, even if it's difficult to not see the old ladies as anything but genteel types, why not one old lady on the bus who is like 'oh gimme a break'?) If you want to find something truly obscure but sweetly deranged with a backbeat of Elvis and Brian Eno, look no further - as if most of us are looking for those things anyway. That it should have received a DVD release already is a major understatement, if only due to the at least known quantity of Keith Gordon and Amanda Plummer, or Romanek, who (somewhat) sadly remains the more underappreciated filmmakers from the music-video pack that came from the 90's (i.e. Fincher, Jonze, Gondry, etc).

  • Oct 24, 2012

    It is a powerfully told story, with the eccentric elements that painfully board on humour, and the man who just wanted to see heaven. An incredible low-budget achievement.

    It is a powerfully told story, with the eccentric elements that painfully board on humour, and the man who just wanted to see heaven. An incredible low-budget achievement.

  • Apr 14, 2012

    An offbeat, quirky little surreal comedy about an recently fired worker who seems to have invented a device that allows people to see heaven, while his friends and family doubt his sanity. A unique, wonderful little gem from the 80s that's also beautifully shot and quite funny with its surreal execution of such a quirky story. Hard to find but really worth a look. B+

    An offbeat, quirky little surreal comedy about an recently fired worker who seems to have invented a device that allows people to see heaven, while his friends and family doubt his sanity. A unique, wonderful little gem from the 80s that's also beautifully shot and quite funny with its surreal execution of such a quirky story. Hard to find but really worth a look. B+

  • Jun 01, 2011

    This film should be titled, 'Epic Fail'. It plays off as a satire, and for some odd reason the film has a small cult following but has yet to be released on dvd. It's a rare film I heard about through lists on IMDb. Basically the acting here is not that great but continuely consistant. There is also some pretty funny moments and of those which belong in the dry humor category. I can't say this is entirely memorable, but it is worth a one time look for any fan of satire.

    This film should be titled, 'Epic Fail'. It plays off as a satire, and for some odd reason the film has a small cult following but has yet to be released on dvd. It's a rare film I heard about through lists on IMDb. Basically the acting here is not that great but continuely consistant. There is also some pretty funny moments and of those which belong in the dry humor category. I can't say this is entirely memorable, but it is worth a one time look for any fan of satire.

  • Apr 19, 2011

    Mark Romanek shouldn't have disowned this. It's an adorable fledgeling effort. Really. Artfully shot and sincerely interesting. WARNING: AWESOME DEFORMED CRUCIFIX COLLECTION MAY MAKE AMASSING YOUR OWN IRRESISTIBLE.

    Mark Romanek shouldn't have disowned this. It's an adorable fledgeling effort. Really. Artfully shot and sincerely interesting. WARNING: AWESOME DEFORMED CRUCIFIX COLLECTION MAY MAKE AMASSING YOUR OWN IRRESISTIBLE.

  • Apr 18, 2011

    I'd forgotten how ace this is.

    I'd forgotten how ace this is.