Well, add me to the growing list of people who are baffled by the hype. I just got home from the 11:30am showing of this mess of a movie, and I agree with the reviewer. For the record, I don't know the filmmaker, and have nothing "personal" against him. I am not a film snob, as I go to action, sci-fi, arthouse, indie and comedy films, to name a few genres. This was 100 pages of the same scene over and over. In good storytelling, first of all, there's a story. Even with fairytales and allegories, story and character development must exist. The shaky camera was indeed distracting, as was the low-res grainy texture to some scenes and not others. If you're going to have a distinctive visual element, be consistent. This movie was all over the place, as if it didn't know what it wanted to be. The young girl's "performance" was 98% voiceover. There's nothing worse than something that is art for art's sake, and I believe that this is another case of the Emperor's Clothes. I saw previews that had more storytelling than this entire movie.
Can I assume you're using the word "Yahoo" in its Swiftian sense, Ima?
So I see CP continues its use of the Yahoo business model: print any contoversial opinion crap just to fill the comment boards.
Mr. Weeks, perhaps you should take yourself and your elitist opinions to the closest shanty-town and cover yourself in mud while living off chicken gizzards and cat food for a while. Then perhaps you will develop a shred of human compassion. Obviously you are not emotionally equipped to evaluate a film that requires more thought than Step Up Revolution. I'm sure you loved that one. You are a disgrace to humankind.
As others have pointed out, the review seems too much of a personal attack on Benh and his perceived background, more so than a review of the actual movie. And while I have yet to see the movie (and will refrain from commenting on it without any backing to support my views), I will say that Benh is a person who you (Mr. Weeks) are completely mistaken about. Though he is from the north, he has spent many recent years living in New Orleans, adopting the city as his home and helping the city recover from the effects of Katrina. He is actually making a difference in the city (and I'm not talking about film making) and forming strong bonds within the New Orleans community. Needless to say, this is the first (AND LAST) review of yours that I will ever read.
For those of you who enjoyed Benh's movie, I would strongly suggest viewing a short film he directed several years ago. I think it is just beautiful. View it here - http://www.court13.com/gloryatsea.mov - if you are interested (and I hope you check it out too Mr. Weeks)
I have never commented and reacted to a review that has played at our theater....but.. this review irked me. Not for being negative , but for an approach that appeared prejudice and biased ---
This film is an amazing, original vision --- a refreshing change from the Ted's and some such of the summer sequels and prequels.
To not like a movie is one thing, -- we get plenty of negative reviews... but to talk of "oozing " and "terrible editing" and disparaging comments on television ( I think?) , is simply put, off base and unfounded. The acting is perfect to the story , and wonderfully cast. The editing is eloquent and speaks to the acting and the directors vision is clear and uncompromising.
To my credit, The Avengers was the only film you mentioned that had been released at the time of this article. I also liked all 4 films mentioned, although I had issues with each.
And explain the wet rag and rat bits for me, if you don't mind.
Oh I get it now--none of that artsy-fartsy, poetic, circle of life stuff for you with little black girls that make you go 'ugh' whenever they are onscreen. This is true cinema right here! Frisky fantasy teddy bears and men suffering from emotional arrested development. Bongs and bodily function humor win your high praise. A Moray, I agree (wet rag!)--watch out for those droppings...
I love dissent but I also think there is a missing element to the personal criticism of the filmaker. (And for a review this does seem oddly personal)
This film was based on Lucy Alibar's stage play (Benh is actually a co-writer) entitled "Juicy and Delicious". She is from the rural South - Southern Georgia. The film, at its core, is based on her relationship with her father and her difficulty in coming to terms with his mortality. So, I think the depictions of this specific community may have less to do with Benh's "guilt" and more about amplifying Lucy's personal experience married to whatever research was done by both writers for the film adaptation.
I wonder how you might have reviewed this film if the depiction of rural people didn't come across as offensive to you. If the theme and story of the piece would have popped more and have allowed you to comment on that aspect.
Obviously, it's fine if you don't like the film because of the technical or creative elements. Or the story itself even. It was a first effort on many counts for the filmakers, cast and crew. I think that is what also added to the excitement of it for me as a viewer. If you are looking for a specific type of structure I simply don't believe that the goal was to make a 'neat' film. I wouldn't recommend it if you are in need of a tight script with a traditional arc.
The overall through line that I got was that life is big and messy. The complications of dealing with life, death and survival are messy. Be prepared for the ugliness of those compilations. Having said that I didn't think that the father was a 'bad parent' at all. He was both protecting her from the inevitable and preparing his daughter to survive in the world without him. I saw so much love in this film. Love for the fact that human beings, just as any other "beasts" of the world share in the delicate balance of the world. That we are a piece of a bigger picture. And love of a father and a daughter.
What you sound like Mr. Weeks is an uncreative coward and Southern elitist. In making art, no one has a copyright on their heritage to only be able to tell their story. Steven Spielberg directed the "Color Purple", was he an African-American from the South? No. Spike Lee directed "Summer of Sam", was he Italian American from the Bronx? No. So your qualms about he is "not really connected to the South" are hogwash. The people are correct, you are sounding quite uneducated.
You are also saying the people who are rich cannot talk about people who are poor. Why not? What law in the United States says rich should not be able to talk about the poor? If this was the case, where are your articles attacking the Republican Party, FOXNews, and every other Ayn Rand disciple who says "it is the fault of the poor for their situation!" Is this not the rich having a very strong opinion on the poor? It seems that you have a subtle hatred for the poor by evening saying how creating "The Bathtub" is somehow making the characters of these people less than human. The only person who seems to feel that way is you! So who is the real elitist here?
Finally, is this not a movie!! This is not reality! This is not a documentary! Yes, I am attacking your lack of imagination and creativity! A fictional work is supposed to take us to a new place in our minds apart from the reality in which we exist. Everything you reviewed about the film basically is saying "this does not make sense!" Correct. What about making sense or being factual is interesting! Peter Pan and the Lost Boys does not make sense, Lord of the Flies does not make sense, Heart of Darkness does not make sense! Are you even still connected with your creative side as a human? You seem to be missing something integral in your life that is not allowing you to see beyond the things and allow you to appreciate your feelings. Everyone who commented before knows you felt something very powerful that touched your core - but like many Bullheaded Westerners, you got scared and thus wrote such an angry review about a tragic story of love between a father and daughter! Dude, this is a film about a daughter losing her father! I mean if you are angry with that, then yes, you have serious internal work to do. Yes, I reviewed you with this commentary.
Hi everyone, Isaac Weeks here; it seems that I have flustered quite a few of you by daring to write a negative review of a film that was purported to be great. I thought I would clear up a few things:
a)Does Benh REALLY have a strong connection to the South? Yes, his mother is from Darlington, but he was raised in Queens. While I'm sure he has been offered a piece of cornbread at least once in his life, I would think it takes more than a summer vacation to Myrtle Beach to make someone understand the South.
b)Yes, I am well aware of City Lore. Behn's parents make a pretty damn good living wage off of their positions at the non-profit. Also, I am well aware of his car accident and the tale of his medical bills. I don't care how wealthy you are, a hospital stay can wipe you out. As a independent filmmaker, I'm not shocked that he was uninsured.
c)I never really touched on the acting in the film, as I had more than enough complaints to fill out the review to begin with, but that being said, I just DO NOT understand the praise that Wallis is getting for her performance. If you go into it thinking, "Well, she's six, you can only expect so much," you won't be disappointed. I found her voice-over work to be adequate, but at any point that she was on the screen...ugh.
d)I'm not a movie snob. I like what I like. I love Anderson as a matter of fact, but didn't care THAT much for Moonrise Kingdom. I'm a riddle in a puzzle, my friends.
e)I have absolutely zero problem disagreeing with the majority of critics, and awards don't weigh too heavy on my mind. I was one of the few in the local film community last year that hated DRIVE, and I'm fine with that.
Also, I have read a book or two in my time, thanks for asking.
f)My supposed "aversion to poverty": I come from a long line of poverty-stricken farmers. It wasn't until I filled out my student loan application to go to college that I realized just how poor my parents were. That being said, they managed to raise us without resorting to hand-fishing catfish, throwing whole chickens at us kids, or making us fend for ourselves by eating catfood (all shown in BEASTS).
To borrow a line from Pulp's song "Common People": Everybody hates a tourist. That is the main problem that I have with Benh's approach to the subject matter here. Every child must be covered in mud at all times, eating chicken gizzards and chasing yard dogs.
I'm not looking an argument here, I'm just trying to clarify my opinions expressed in the article. The final thing that I will say is, for anyone on the fence about seeing BEASTS, by all means go see for yourself and then come back and leave your comments. The Terrace appreciates the business, I'm sure, and I appreciate the page hits.
Can someone please explain to me the necessity of astroturfing every single negative review that shows up in this paper?
I agree wholeheartedly with the above comments. Benh Zeitlin couldn't be a more humble person .He's from a quite modest background. This movie is a beautiful folktale.This is not a movie about glorifying poverty.The inhabitants of "the Bathtub" if anything feel rich .They do not aspire to have a life on "the other side of the levee". All I can say is that I pity the readers who miss this awesome film because of this snob's review. They will miss an astonishing performance by a 6 yo first time actress, Quvenzhane Wallis,who is absolutely a force of nature, and most likely a future Oscar nominee. Dwight Henry is also on many people's list as a best actor candidate.Look at Oscar predictions and you will see this film on just about ever list as a Best Picture nominee.The score is mesmerizing. The film will stay with you for weeks,if not forever. It is frankly,one of the best movies I have ever seen
Isaac, If it were me, I would think real hard before panning a film that won top awards at Sundance and Cannes, a film that received rave reviews from major publications (New Yorker, Wall Street Journal, New York Times, Entertainment Weekly, etc) and reviewers such as Roger Ebert who compared it to Faulkner. If it were me, I would think maybe it was me--- maybe I missed the boat. Have you never read a book? A poem? Mythology? What I get from your article is an a priori aversion to poverty and any compassion for same; an aversion to the aftermath of natural disasters; frankly, an aversion to anything different from your world view. Watch it again and let your love of great story telling, your love of the dimensions of humanity in its infinite variation of forms lead you.
2012 is a lackluster year in film? Really? REALLY? Thank goodness Ted was there to help the Avengers, Spider-Man, Batman, and even Wes Anderson pull this summer out of the abyss. Also, thank goodness we didn't have to hate another wet rag. Hmmmmm, me thinks I smell a rat.
I read your article...apparently you have not learned how to use google. Open Google type Benh Zeitlin. Click the first link, and tahdah, your homework is done. But since you probably wrote this article on the back of a napkin with a dull #2, I googled for you. Tahdah. His parents run a non profit called City Lore in New York. "City Lore documents, presents, and advocates for grassroots cultures to ensure their living legacy in stories, histories, places, and traditions." Also, he was in a bad car accident and was uninsured. Friends collected money to help him pay his medical bills. Yep, rich kids have to do that all the time. Actually, those filmmakers you referenced were experimental, but quite innovative. Also, regardless of your take on the movie, the acting was inspiring. Quvenzhané Wallis is a force on camera, and I could not believe she was only six. Dwight Henry was also phenomenal. Zeitlin's work is refreshing and beautiful. If I were just going to jostle about with crazy notions I had pulled out of my nethers, I would speculate that you are a postulating movie snob who has watched one too many Wes Anderson films for his own good. But then I would be skipping that whole research thing. Eh, how about a joke? Lena Dunham, her useless degree, and Woody Allen walk into a bar.
except that Benh isn't rich, and has a strong connection to the rural South- South Carolina, in fact. Do your homework, Mr. Weeks!
"Over-the-Top True Story"
You obviously did no research about this movie. The entire story is based off of his claims, which no one has EVER been able to verify...not even one. Uday's own men deny ever seen him or having any knowledge of Uday having a double. This is simply film analysis which would get a passing grade in a film studies class at community college. Bravo!
No thanks. Sittin on 10,000 of my own. Want to buy mine? hahah Most of the books are at least very fine and nothing new. I quit buyin them in 83.
Depends. Want to buy my collection?
Some of us Centrists are also regular people.
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