rocky who likes comedy movies is annoyed by some comedy movies and those who make them.

here’s a poorly written yet passionate thing i wrote about the state of comedy films these days and voices that i think need to do better/stop/more. 

thelawnwrangler:

listen.

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ROCKY’S MID 2014 FAVORITE FILMS

thelawnwrangler:

Top 10 so far:

  1. Boyhood
  2. Locke
  3. The Double
  4. The LEGO Movie
  5. The Grand Budapest Hotel
  6. Snowpiercer
  7. Only Lovers Left Alive
  8. They Came Together
  9. Nymphomaniac
  10. Jodorowsky’s Dune

Not placing yet: 

  • Edge of Tomorrow
  • The Rover
  • Obvious Child
  • 22 Jump Street
  • Joe
  • The Immigrant
  • Ernest and Celestine

Saw, liked, but won’t make top billing:

  • Grand Piano
  • For No Good Reason
  • Chef
  • Captain America 2: The Winter Soldier
  • Alan Partridge

Not seen yet:

  • The Raid 2 (I know.)
  • Under the Skin (I KNOW.)
  • Enemy
  • Cheap Thrills
  • Happy Christmas
  • Willow Creek

So yeah… tell me if I’m missing something. Seen it or not, I’ll talk back! Because it’s a slow 4th of July. Basically catching up on movies. I’m in the middle of Life Itself. It’s interesting.

Let’s talk about movies, friends!

Some thoughts about Frances Ha, my favorite film of 2013.

thelawnwrangler:

I’m so embarrassed. I’m not a real person yet.

My favorite thing about this movie is how it doesn’t linger on too many things, especially moments where an amateur like myself would have a scene of, like, Frances crying or pondering the depressing things about her life. I mean I wouldn’t actually do that, but you know what I mean.

Instead, the film just keeps going. We only see the heartbreak and the public result where Frances desperately tries to look like everything is okay and she’s on her feet. She lashes out maybe once, and has one or two scenes where she’s alone and quiet, wallowing in something missing, but they’re immediately undercut by pain and anger (the pan) or her mother trying to get into the bathroom while Frances is half submerged in the tub.

That moment is very special to me because it says a lot. After being independent for so long and being back home with your parents. The space they displace in your life can feel very invasive, or at least make you feel like you’ve got less of your own. Privacy is respected but also less of a thing. As well, the scene calls to mind what I think Frances Ha is all about, to myself at least; life will not stop for you. The film moves at such a surprisingly fast past, allowing us only glimpses into moments and conversations sometimes, and not being afraid to use montage to get us places (and getting us there with great style).

Frances trying to have some time to literally soak in all that bothers her in life is being interrupted by a force treating things like there is absolutely no time. Frances just has to get out and go. She’ll find time to think in the future, but it might be short time as well, because things just keep going. You can plan, but like the film instates over and over again, shit fuckin’ happens. You just have to learn how to act when it does happen, so you don’t, you know, go on a trip to France in the stupidest decision possible.

These are the final images of each season 3 episode of Moral Orel, also including the final image of season 2’s “Nature”, which kicked off the following season’s whole arc. - Part One

Season 3 of Moral Orel turned the Adult Swim show (originally a darkly comedic and satirical sitcom taking the claymation style of Davey and Goliath, spinning those religious morality play roots into insanity) into a sprawling, non-linear, multi-perspective narrative full of strong character development and a penchant to get dark and sad without hesitation (fun fact, one episode was written by Academy Award winning screenwriter Charlie Kaufman.) Still dark and hilarious, but in a more thoughtful and challenging way, the show was cancelled after its 4th episode, entitled Alone, was deemed so depressing and non-fitting with the Adult Swim brand.

Starting with the final episodes of season 2, a 2-parter entitled Nature, Moral Orel turned into a fascinating beast that is highly admirable for trying to do something memorable and special with its 11-minute format. The animation style ramped up into full-on cinematic impressiveness (one great example is a drunken, first person staggering through a depressing scenario while “No Children” by The Mountain Goats plays violently into the day in the season 3 premiere episode entitled Numb), complimenting the witty yet non-passive narratives and arc-based writing. The show was cut short of 6 more episodes, which would’ve fleshed out the Moral Orel story so much to its other characters that it would’ve been renamed “Moralton”, which would’ve made the whole town in which the show takes place the main focus.

And yet, the Moral Orel legacy ended quietly, and yet with a slightly open door. In 2012, a 30 minute long special episode, a prequel to the entire series entitled Beforel Orel - Trust, was released and continued the show’s streak of brilliant and careful comedy writing, as well as delving deeper into the world of the characters’ past, seeing how things got so messed up in the first place for our beloved little Orel. Showrunner Dino Stamatopoulos never officially put the nail in the coffin for the show, but Adult Swim and other factors haven’t been kind in letting him bring back the world of Moralton in full effect. Perhaps some day we’ll get to see Orel struggle to grow older in a world full of unhappiness and strife, where we’ll laugh and cry in equal stride. 

To watch Moral Orel, head to the Adult Swim page.

Part Two of the Photoset.

-Intern Rocky for The Final Image


The Rover (2014) - directed by David Michod

The Rover is an ingeniously practical approach to telling a story about a world that has ended. Within its setting and framework lies a subtle character study so bleak and violent, yet driven by intrigue. Director David Michod’s visual handle on the barren wasteland that is post-apocalyptic Australia is cold, calculated, and brooding, complete with perfectly handled cinematography and pitch-perfect tonal pacing. That said, this comes second to the performances of the lead actors, Guy Pearce and Robert Pattinson. Pearce’s intensity and minor deconstructions of his determined performance is unnerving in such a way that makes you yearn to learn more from and about him. Even more successful is a surprising and impressive Robert Pattinson, who is slowly starting to prove his worth as an actor with projects such as this and David Cronenberg’s Cosmopolis. His character Rey is of a slower, unique cloth that requires a performance of specificity, detail, and nuance, and Pattinson delivers in making him a well rounded and very tragic being as opposed to something even slightly lesser. Pattinson plays it naturally and yet manages to give you a lot to think about without going too far, and it’s damn impressive, and can dig deep just as much as Pearce’s grittier performance.
Generally quiet and brooding, when The Rover winds up the tension and action, it borders on horrifying and sometimes so tense that it’s unbearable- this is a compliment, truly, to the expert filmmaking at hand, delivering a dark but incredibly human tale of consequence and determination. I’d draw it akin to something like Nicolas Winding Refn’s Drive, where the action isn’t constant, but when it happens, it’ll have you on the edge of your seat, and when things are building up, the inner context is just as thrilling and intriguing, even when you’re just watching something like a man zoning out with flies buzzing around his face for about a minute- it actually ends up being some incredibly thrilling cinema that isn’t worth missing.

The Rover (2014) - directed by David Michod

The Rover is an ingeniously practical approach to telling a story about a world that has ended. Within its setting and framework lies a subtle character study so bleak and violent, yet driven by intrigue. Director David Michod’s visual handle on the barren wasteland that is post-apocalyptic Australia is cold, calculated, and brooding, complete with perfectly handled cinematography and pitch-perfect tonal pacing. That said, this comes second to the performances of the lead actors, Guy Pearce and Robert Pattinson. Pearce’s intensity and minor deconstructions of his determined performance is unnerving in such a way that makes you yearn to learn more from and about him. Even more successful is a surprising and impressive Robert Pattinson, who is slowly starting to prove his worth as an actor with projects such as this and David Cronenberg’s Cosmopolis. His character Rey is of a slower, unique cloth that requires a performance of specificity, detail, and nuance, and Pattinson delivers in making him a well rounded and very tragic being as opposed to something even slightly lesser. Pattinson plays it naturally and yet manages to give you a lot to think about without going too far, and it’s damn impressive, and can dig deep just as much as Pearce’s grittier performance.

Generally quiet and brooding, when The Rover winds up the tension and action, it borders on horrifying and sometimes so tense that it’s unbearable- this is a compliment, truly, to the expert filmmaking at hand, delivering a dark but incredibly human tale of consequence and determination. I’d draw it akin to something like Nicolas Winding Refn’s Drive, where the action isn’t constant, but when it happens, it’ll have you on the edge of your seat, and when things are building up, the inner context is just as thrilling and intriguing, even when you’re just watching something like a man zoning out with flies buzzing around his face for about a minute- it actually ends up being some incredibly thrilling cinema that isn’t worth missing.

I saw Jaws for the first time and liked it quite a bit! Watch me talk about my admiration for Spielberg’s filmmaking and storytelling abilities.

thefinalimage:

A new episode of The Past Picture Show! 

This week, Intern Rocky watches "Jaws" for the first time, and liked it quite a bit! 

For more episodes, check out our Vimeo page.

For more from Rocky, check out his writing blog and Vimeo page.

What to Watch! Theatrical Releases for The Week of June 13, 2014

finalimageintern:

Summer 2014 is slowly starting to ramp up, with this week gradually continuing the climb of quality in content that started last week with Edge of Tomorrow, Obvious Child, and in a good majority of circles, The Fault in Our Stars. Say what you will about John Green, but that story touches a lot of people! I get it… I think I get it… 

Anyway, this week seems to be more consistently interesting with a little something for all, especially in terms of taking a break from straight-up actions films. Two franchise sequels full of promise and apparently well-received fervor from critics lead the pack, and are followed by independent releases with individually interesting hooks to them.

Here are your theatrical releases for the week of June 9-13, 2014:

*Ratings and Scores stand as of June 12, 2014 

22 Jump Street – IMDb: 8.1*, MetaCritic: 76/100, Rotten Tomatoes: 93%

imageHow to Train Your Dragon 2 – IMDb: 8.8*, MetaCritic: 74/100, Rotten Tomatoes: 92%

imageHellion – IMDb: 7.6*, MetaCritic: 54/100, Rotten Tomatoes: 63%

imageThe Rover – IMDb: 7.3*, MetaCritic: 61/100, Rotten Tomatoes: 78%

imageThe Signal – IMDb: 7.3*, MetaCritic: 49/100, Rotten Tomatoes: 45%image

The 21 Jump Street reboot was received by all with heavily positive and open arms, rightfully so. Phil Lord and Christopher Miller stretched their directorial hand even farther from the success of Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs to prove that they’re capable of making audiences of all ages laugh. They’ve been on a hot streak ever since and fingers crossed it never ends, or at least extends through 22 Jump Street, which based on early buzz, is the case. Their metaphysical tendencies and smart filmmaking decisions combining to tackle the idea of sequels in general, with a lovely blend of college observation seems like something I can easily get behind. (As of 6/12/14, I’ve seen the film, and here’s my review!)

Though I still haven’t seen the 2010 smash hit How to Train Your Dragon (sorry, please don’t hurt me), I’ve heard nothing but great things, and the same goes for its sequel, despite the fact that I really don’t enjoy the trailer making the rounds. Who thought that TJ Miller’s voice could be used as a weapon of annoyance (sorry, TJ.) But who am I? Critics and crowds are giving their united thumbs up, so maybe it’s a good time for me to join the people on the love.

On the independent side comes an exciting feature by David Michod, the man responsible for Animal KingdomThe Rover stars Guy Pearce, Scoot McNairy and Robert Pattinson (in a role that, along with his turn in Cosmopolis, proves that he has some real chops worth considering) in a sure to be violent and fascinating approach to a somewhat dystopian backdrop and tale. Word has been generally positive, though it seems like a film with a certain dramatic heft that desires to be seen at least once.

As well, a dramatic independent feature entitled Hellion starring Breaking Bad’s Aaron Paul and some dirt bikes is coming to a small amount of theaters. It’s a bleak affair about bad parenting, shot by the same cinematographer who did Short Term 12, so based on that, I feel like the film’s already got its audience. I don’t mean to be dismissive- the advertising and tone of the film I’m getting reminds me heavily of Spencer Susser’s Hesher, a film I was very fond of in concept, more so than execution. Anything described as “explosive” is definitely on my radar. 

The one film I’m not too familiar with on this line up is The Signal, which apparently premiered at Sundance this year. While the critical reception isn’t the strongest, the consensus I’m noticing is that it holds a lot of promise for its filmmakers, even if the ambitious concept of the film isn’t completely fulfilled in execution. I like a good admirable, independent effort as much as the next guy, so I’ll definitely give this a shot purely out of morbid curiosity… or regular curiosity.

IN CONCLUSION…

The haul this week has a lot of promise and variety! The mainstream releases have a lot of good will and positivity behind them, so consider getting yourself to the theater this week! Heck, bring a friend. I mean I’m not forcing you, but with 22 Jump Street and How to Train Your Dragon 2, it seems like a very chummy and exciting weekend for film.

See you at the movies!

-Intern Rocky (thelawnwrangler) for The Final Image


22 Jump Street - Directed by Phil Lord and Chris Miller

22 Jump Street as a film is a clever, metaphysical treat of action-comedy that is constantly surprising around every corner. 22 Jump Street as a sequel exploits it, explores it, and nukes itself to oblivion while making you potentially piss yourself laughing. Directors Phil Lord and Chris Miller have gotten so good at what they do that when I try and describe their style to people, like what sets them apart from the rest, the only thing I can think to say is that “they’re just so good that you can’t pin them down.” Somehow they manage to catch you off guard with the biggest and smallest details of comedic pacing, framing, or any other trick in the comedy filmmaker’s book, which they seem to know so well that they practically set it on fire using it to their full advantage.

Running along with this quality consistency, their return to this universe is entirely self-aware, and is more enjoyable for it. The script (by the killer trio of Michael Bacall, Oren Uziel, and Rodney Rothman) and direction call attention to itself in the most clever ways without actually winking at the camera, and the fun never feels trite or uninterested, and if it is, it’s for a good purpose. There’s so much going on here that the film practically demands a second viewing to catch all the Arrested Development-like inside jokes, gags, and puns. Like its predecessor, the film is just exhaustingly funny and full of life. 22 Jump Street has that energetic, yet sweet center that audiences knew and loved from the first film, but just like the comedy, plot, cast of actors firing on all cylinders in both big and small roles (along with Hill and Tatum, shout out to Ice Cube, Marc Evan Jackson, Jillian Bell, Peter Stormare, H. Jon Benjamin, Patton Oswalt, and so many more), and overall absurdity, they ramped it up to a higher, but reasonable level that is nothing short of impressive and worthy of applause.

22 Jump Street - Directed by Phil Lord and Chris Miller

22 Jump Street as a film is a clever, metaphysical treat of action-comedy that is constantly surprising around every corner. 22 Jump Street as a sequel exploits it, explores it, and nukes itself to oblivion while making you potentially piss yourself laughing. Directors Phil Lord and Chris Miller have gotten so good at what they do that when I try and describe their style to people, like what sets them apart from the rest, the only thing I can think to say is that “they’re just so good that you can’t pin them down.” Somehow they manage to catch you off guard with the biggest and smallest details of comedic pacing, framing, or any other trick in the comedy filmmaker’s book, which they seem to know so well that they practically set it on fire using it to their full advantage.

Running along with this quality consistency, their return to this universe is entirely self-aware, and is more enjoyable for it. The script (by the killer trio of Michael Bacall, Oren Uziel, and Rodney Rothman) and direction call attention to itself in the most clever ways without actually winking at the camera, and the fun never feels trite or uninterested, and if it is, it’s for a good purpose. There’s so much going on here that the film practically demands a second viewing to catch all the Arrested Development-like inside jokes, gags, and puns. Like its predecessor, the film is just exhaustingly funny and full of life. 22 Jump Street has that energetic, yet sweet center that audiences knew and loved from the first film, but just like the comedy, plot, cast of actors firing on all cylinders in both big and small roles (along with Hill and Tatum, shout out to Ice Cube, Marc Evan Jackson, Jillian Bell, Peter Stormare, H. Jon Benjamin, Patton Oswalt, and so many more), and overall absurdity, they ramped it up to a higher, but reasonable level that is nothing short of impressive and worthy of applause.


Grand Piano (2013) - by Eugenio Mira 

Grand Piano is a film that tends to deny its own strengths, thus depriving itself from being a truly ingenious, clever, and memorable thriller. The premise alone sells the tale quite well, though in execution, slow tendencies drag down the greater parts of the whole piece. Director Eugenio Mira had a great handle on the high concept at hand, especially visually, and in capturing 2/3 of Damien Chazelle’s clever script, but outside of that, he has issues getting to the juicy core of it all. The build up is unbearably slow and doesn’t leave a good impression, and outside of Elijah Wood and especially John Cusak, the performances range from stale to embarrassing. The saving grace of the film, other than the music and well-crafted dialogue from Chazelle, comes from Grand Piano’s overall beautiful look from Cinematographer Unax Mendia. Mendia’s clever eye makes this thriller exciting and an overall gorgeous piece worth admiring alone for his craft, from the second act and onwards. The good manages to balance with the bad for Grand Piano, making it a serviceable thriller with B movie tendencies. If you can look past its unfortunate missteps as a film, when you see it at its best, you’ll be glad you’ve seen it at all.
The concept is simple: Tom Selznick (Elijah Wood) is one of the world’s greatest pianists, despite having a meltdown on stage some years ago. In making his return, someone named Clem (John Cusak) has a gun focused on him and his wife Emma (Kerry Bishe.) Clem will shoot the two of them is Tom does not play all of the correct notes on tonight’s playbill, thus instilling a stake-raising, somewhat absurd and yet intense scenario that plays out mostly in real time. Screenwriter Damien Chazelle, whose film “Whiplash” excited audiences at Sundance this year, took this clever concept and wrote it well. The dialogue between Tom and Clem creates a fascinating rift between two smart, highly emotional people at hectic odds with one another. The action between the two cleverly replaces standard action film intensity with classical music orchestration and performance. Looking back on the film’s finest moments, it really does have something special under its sleeves, and delivers well upon it about 2/3rds of the time.
Where Grand Piano loses me is at a very poorly timed place, which is in its opening moments. The set up to this whole event takes about 22 minutes, including a pretty yet unnecessary opening credits sequence, and plot/character exposition that could’ve been better delivered in a shorter amount of time. Considering the rest of the film’s fast and furious pace and energy, the first act of the film feels like a complete wash without purpose. It feels quite sloppy overall, and doesn’t hold up as well as the rest of the film. The film starts out ringing toward the melodramatic in a campy sense. The thriller aspects at hand are lightly touched upon, though feel weak through bad foreshadowing, forced exposition delivery, and the meeting of key characters, even if they’re stiff or annoying for the most part.
It doesn’t help that the performances outside of the leads don’t really impress. A friendly couple to Tom and Emma, played by Tamsin Egerton and Allen Leech, feel like they’re playing a goofy odd-couple straight out of Tommy Wiseau’s “The Room.” Their inclusion in the story adds tension, but otherwise, their presence is more annoying than entertaining. The excellent Bill Preston himself, Alex Winter, makes an appearance as a security guard who assists Clem on the ground floor. Winter isn’t exactly menacing, but he tries his best with intense dialogue and action, so it’s merely a partial treat seeing him in the film. Kerry Bishe, god love her, doesn’t do much in this movie other than provide a loving presence for Elijah Wood’s sweaty, nervous Tom. She does just fine, but her character is basically a device. Save for her and Don McManus as a friendly conductor, everyone and everything other than the dilemma between Wood and Cusak (both of whom pull off anxiety and intensity with a lovely dynamic between them) feels like a distraction from what Grand Piano is best with.
I feel like I’ve maybe been harping on Grand Piano a bit much here. There are parts that just don’t work for me, sure, but as mentioned before, they’re only at certain points and can easily be shrugged off as cheesy if you’ve got the patience. My last point I want to touch upon is how absolutely well made the movie is, especially once things start going with the piano, sniper, etc. Unax Mendia’s camera is lively and crafty, practically zooming around the main location that is a concert hall. The usage of reflections, specific framing, and movement that takes the storytelling into its own hands with ease, the visual style is practically the star of the movie here. There’s a new visual trick and surprise at each cut, which helps set the mood concerning the tone of music being performed, as well as the high stakes situation going on in the background. Suddenly, the performers aren’t so crappy under this excited lens and tonal shift, and the film begins to shine under a new, very unique limelight, full of genuine excitement and surprising craft. 
By its end, after the fun and games, the film scrapes by with its plot actually feeling somewhat unearned, and unfinished. There is some character resolution in a very small, unspoken way, but Grand Piano sneaks away with my enjoyment by developing a very good thriller concept and making it as exciting as it deserves. The best moments can easily be boiled down to the film’s middle hour, driven by beautiful cinematography, intense music, and strong thriller writing. That alone impresses in a way that most mainstream cinema has failed to on standard occasion. It’s not an amazing film, but a fun experiment that feels fitting on something like Netflix’s Instant Streaming catalog. It should make a lovely home for itself there, where it’s absolutely worth checking out once, and enjoying once. Grand Piano seems to love what it sets out to do. In terms of working with a thriller concept and trappings, when it is in the prime of its work, it works the best and actually is quite good. In looking past the goofier, borderline mediocre aspects of cinematic bookending, and just having an open mind in general, Grand Piano offers up quite a good time.
Grand Piano is now available on Video on Demand… also it’s streaming on a site like Putlocker or something, if you’re a scumbag like me. Yay movies.

Grand Piano (2013) - by Eugenio Mira 

Grand Piano is a film that tends to deny its own strengths, thus depriving itself from being a truly ingenious, clever, and memorable thriller. The premise alone sells the tale quite well, though in execution, slow tendencies drag down the greater parts of the whole piece. Director Eugenio Mira had a great handle on the high concept at hand, especially visually, and in capturing 2/3 of Damien Chazelle’s clever script, but outside of that, he has issues getting to the juicy core of it all. The build up is unbearably slow and doesn’t leave a good impression, and outside of Elijah Wood and especially John Cusak, the performances range from stale to embarrassing. The saving grace of the film, other than the music and well-crafted dialogue from Chazelle, comes from Grand Piano’s overall beautiful look from Cinematographer Unax Mendia. Mendia’s clever eye makes this thriller exciting and an overall gorgeous piece worth admiring alone for his craft, from the second act and onwards. The good manages to balance with the bad for Grand Piano, making it a serviceable thriller with B movie tendencies. If you can look past its unfortunate missteps as a film, when you see it at its best, you’ll be glad you’ve seen it at all.

The concept is simple: Tom Selznick (Elijah Wood) is one of the world’s greatest pianists, despite having a meltdown on stage some years ago. In making his return, someone named Clem (John Cusak) has a gun focused on him and his wife Emma (Kerry Bishe.) Clem will shoot the two of them is Tom does not play all of the correct notes on tonight’s playbill, thus instilling a stake-raising, somewhat absurd and yet intense scenario that plays out mostly in real time. Screenwriter Damien Chazelle, whose film “Whiplash” excited audiences at Sundance this year, took this clever concept and wrote it well. The dialogue between Tom and Clem creates a fascinating rift between two smart, highly emotional people at hectic odds with one another. The action between the two cleverly replaces standard action film intensity with classical music orchestration and performance. Looking back on the film’s finest moments, it really does have something special under its sleeves, and delivers well upon it about 2/3rds of the time.

Where Grand Piano loses me is at a very poorly timed place, which is in its opening moments. The set up to this whole event takes about 22 minutes, including a pretty yet unnecessary opening credits sequence, and plot/character exposition that could’ve been better delivered in a shorter amount of time. Considering the rest of the film’s fast and furious pace and energy, the first act of the film feels like a complete wash without purpose. It feels quite sloppy overall, and doesn’t hold up as well as the rest of the film. The film starts out ringing toward the melodramatic in a campy sense. The thriller aspects at hand are lightly touched upon, though feel weak through bad foreshadowing, forced exposition delivery, and the meeting of key characters, even if they’re stiff or annoying for the most part.

It doesn’t help that the performances outside of the leads don’t really impress. A friendly couple to Tom and Emma, played by Tamsin Egerton and Allen Leech, feel like they’re playing a goofy odd-couple straight out of Tommy Wiseau’s “The Room.” Their inclusion in the story adds tension, but otherwise, their presence is more annoying than entertaining. The excellent Bill Preston himself, Alex Winter, makes an appearance as a security guard who assists Clem on the ground floor. Winter isn’t exactly menacing, but he tries his best with intense dialogue and action, so it’s merely a partial treat seeing him in the film. Kerry Bishe, god love her, doesn’t do much in this movie other than provide a loving presence for Elijah Wood’s sweaty, nervous Tom. She does just fine, but her character is basically a device. Save for her and Don McManus as a friendly conductor, everyone and everything other than the dilemma between Wood and Cusak (both of whom pull off anxiety and intensity with a lovely dynamic between them) feels like a distraction from what Grand Piano is best with.

I feel like I’ve maybe been harping on Grand Piano a bit much here. There are parts that just don’t work for me, sure, but as mentioned before, they’re only at certain points and can easily be shrugged off as cheesy if you’ve got the patience. My last point I want to touch upon is how absolutely well made the movie is, especially once things start going with the piano, sniper, etc. Unax Mendia’s camera is lively and crafty, practically zooming around the main location that is a concert hall. The usage of reflections, specific framing, and movement that takes the storytelling into its own hands with ease, the visual style is practically the star of the movie here. There’s a new visual trick and surprise at each cut, which helps set the mood concerning the tone of music being performed, as well as the high stakes situation going on in the background. Suddenly, the performers aren’t so crappy under this excited lens and tonal shift, and the film begins to shine under a new, very unique limelight, full of genuine excitement and surprising craft. 

By its end, after the fun and games, the film scrapes by with its plot actually feeling somewhat unearned, and unfinished. There is some character resolution in a very small, unspoken way, but Grand Piano sneaks away with my enjoyment by developing a very good thriller concept and making it as exciting as it deserves. The best moments can easily be boiled down to the film’s middle hour, driven by beautiful cinematography, intense music, and strong thriller writing. That alone impresses in a way that most mainstream cinema has failed to on standard occasion. It’s not an amazing film, but a fun experiment that feels fitting on something like Netflix’s Instant Streaming catalog. It should make a lovely home for itself there, where it’s absolutely worth checking out once, and enjoying once. Grand Piano seems to love what it sets out to do. In terms of working with a thriller concept and trappings, when it is in the prime of its work, it works the best and actually is quite good. In looking past the goofier, borderline mediocre aspects of cinematic bookending, and just having an open mind in general, Grand Piano offers up quite a good time.

Grand Piano is now available on Video on Demand… also it’s streaming on a site like Putlocker or something, if you’re a scumbag like me. Yay movies.