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Me And Orson Welles

 
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Me And Orson Welles - 6/12/2009 9:43:52 PM   
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Me and Orson Welles - 6/12/2009 9:43:52 PM   
R W

 

Posts: 339
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Director: Richard Linklater
Screenwriters: Holly Gent Palmo, Vincent Palmo Jr
Starring: Zac Efron, Christian McKay, Claire Danes, Ben Chaplin, James Tupper, Eddie Marsan

Synopsis
In 1937ís New York, teenager Richard Samuels (Efron) is cast in the Mercury Theatre production of Julius Caesar directed by a young Orson Welles (McKay).

Review
At the very beginning of this year came the release of Danny Boyle's masterpiece Slumdog Millionaire which later won eight Oscars (woo-hoo!). When it came out, one critic's quote on the film's UK poster that said "the feel-good film of the decade", in which if you've watched the film, not true due to its dark content. This sort of comment is echoed on the poster of Me and Orson Welles, which has been quoted as "the feel-good film of the year". Again, not true but like Slumdog, you will feel good afterwards.

From his breakthrough indie works like Slacker to mainstream hits like School of Rock, director Richard Linklater has been able to change his direction successfully while choosing stories featuring protagonists that seem to be outcasts trying to avoid everyday life. In Linklater's latest, nearly all the characters work in the Mercury Theatre so at first it would've been a story about their professional lives, but in this theatre and specifically this production, they are under the wings of the man who will become Charles Foster Kane.

For those who are familiar with the work of Orson Welles whether it is radio, theatre or cinema, there are a few clever references during the course of the film. For example, the "Me" character played by High School Musical's Zac Efron, becomes friends with Joseph Cotton who not only starred in Welles' production of Caesar, but collaborate with him again in future projects. Also, during one conversation with the director, he talks about Booth Tarkington's novel The Magnificent Ambersons. Despite these little moments which are cleverly placed, the Palmos' script works as a wonderful encounter between the factual Orson and the fictional Richard.

As being his first period piece since The Newton Boys, Linklater's latest will be a mainstream hit with the help of one teenage heartthrob, but there is also a reflection of his earlier work as the film features a number of sequences in which Richard talks to Zoe Kazan as a young female writer. Though this subplot is of no importance to the main story, these scenes bring out a great aspect of Linklater, in which he knows how to bring such sweetness towards one-to-one conversations, which reminded me of the dynamic chemistry of Ethan Hawke and Julie Delpy in Before Sunrise/Sunset.

I haven't seen many films featuring Welles as a character as the one that really stands out was Vincent D'Onofrio's small but brilliant portrayal in Tim Burton's Ed Wood. Christian McKay, on the other hand, may not have the facial similarities of the man, but brilliantly captures his mannerisms, such as his deep brooding voice and even captures Welles's iconic eyebrow twitching.

I can honestly say that I am not a fan of Zac Efron though he was terrific in the 2007 musical Hairspray, but not only does he succeed in this as a serious performer, but his screen presence from his musical years shines and fits well into the period of the film. Claire Danes doesn't play a one-dimensional babe as she has enough charisma to tackle with both Efron and McKay, but her character becomes the device of a love-triangle that is too conventional in this film with an indie sensibility.

Verdict
Richard Linklater has perhaps directed his most mainstream hit as the presence of Zac Efron will bring forth screaming fans, but it is Christian McKay who will be getting the critical praise for his portrayal of the great multitude of a man.

< Message edited by R W -- 6/12/2009 9:45:24 PM >

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Me and Orson - 8/12/2009 4:18:42 PM   
moviemaniac2


Posts: 525
Joined: 17/9/2006
this film wasnt too bad- great performances all round . Just didnt find the whole Ceasar production very interesting

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Me and Orson - 8/12/2009 4:18:46 PM   
moviemaniac2


Posts: 525
Joined: 17/9/2006
this film wasnt too bad- great performances all round . Just didnt find the whole Ceasar production very interesting

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Good Pefomances But Not All That. - 25/4/2010 9:48:49 AM   
joanna likes films

 

Posts: 987
Joined: 27/10/2007
From: Bexhill
I was really looking forward to seeing Me And Orson Welles, they didn't have it at my local cinema so I waited for it to come out on dvd which I rented and watched it last night. Teenager Richard (Zac Efron) longs to become a part of the acting buzz so when he's hired by Orson Welles (Christan McKay) to be a part of the latest production of Julius Caesar, he's overjoyed but soon realises that maybe this isn't really thing after all. Meanwhile, he catches the eye of Sonja (Claire Danes) and a young hopeful writer (Zoe Kazan). Good pefomances from all the cast especially Efron and McKay. But it wasn't all that. The play didn't really grab my attention, it was a little overlong and sometimes the characters got on my nerves after a while. It's a good one to check out if you are intrested but I'm glad to have rented it instead of buying it.

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Good Pefomances But Not All That. - 25/4/2010 9:48:52 AM   
joanna likes films

 

Posts: 987
Joined: 27/10/2007
From: Bexhill
I was really looking forward to seeing Me And Orson Welles, they didn't have it at my local cinema so I waited for it to come out on dvd which I rented and watched it last night. Teenager Richard (Zac Efron) longs to become a part of the acting buzz so when he's hired by Orson Welles (Christan McKay) to be a part of the latest production of Julius Caesar, he's overjoyed but soon realises that maybe this isn't really thing after all. Meanwhile, he catches the eye of Sonja (Claire Danes) and a young hopeful writer (Zoe Kazan). Good pefomances from all the cast especially Efron and McKay. But it wasn't all that. The play didn't really grab my attention, it was a little overlong and sometimes the characters got on my nerves after a while. It's a good one to check out if you are intrested but I'm glad to have rented it instead of buying it.

(in reply to Empire Admin)
Post #: 6
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