Will Reading is a bit smaller, maybe one of the smallest that we have reviewed, and so that comes with its own challenges. I think the biggest challenge I found was the sound had a tendency to ebb and flow with the scene - as an amateur filmmaker I know that at times you may dub over dialogue with a better sounding one, but you cannot continually perform that or else your film loses some of what is natural.
However, I think my impressions were that the film would be humorous, with some camp acting, and some true independent filmness.
What did you think about the film Shannon?
Shannon: I’d have to agree with everything that you’ve said so far. It’s obvious that is a low budget film and it indeed has true independent filmness, but still the film had a good story and a good plot. The thing I didn’t like was how each time a person spoke, the camera panned over to put just that person in the picture. I’m sure it was just something to do with it being a smaller film with I’m sure a low budget, but every once in awhile I would have like to maybe see the entire table?
The beginning was a little slow and boring for me, I have to say, but once the will was actually read it started to get a little exciting - I do love a good scavenger hunt. I thought the dialogue was good and the acting wasn’t bad either. The thing I liked most about the film were the different character personalities for everyone at the dinner party. The widow, the brother, the psychiatrist friend, the lawyer (and wannabe lover), and the comic store owner. David, what did you think of the characters and how they developed as the film progressed?
David: I think that is something a lot of young filmmakers fall into - the architecture of a shot. Just because someone is speaking, doesn’t mean they have to be center stage. It’s something that you fall into the more that you film, but a lot of it may also have to do with the sound I mentioned before. If the camera is focused on you, it’s easier to pick up the sound.
I really liked the plot of the film, even if the twist was a little easy to see coming. I also liked the different jokes that continued throughout the film (lower your voice!). It’s a testament to the actors that the different pop culture references worked so well. I really, really liked the Golem reference outside with Tom, and I LOVED the random song that dropped in the center of the film. It’s gutsy to do things like that, because they can go so very, very wrong, but here, everything worked together.
The humor was pretty quaint throughout - particularly if you looked at Dave, played by Dan Conrad. He is given the most responsibility in dialogue, and he does a good job with it. There’s a few times the jokes fall flat, and some of that may have been delivery, but overall he’s very good. I really liked all the distinct characters. At no point was I wondering who was who, and that’s good because movies like this could get confusing. Everyone is immediately given a job, a reason they need money, and then we go with it. I enjoyed it a bit.
Are there any things that worked really well for you Shannon?
Shannon: Will Reading doesn’t have the type of humor that I find funny. Yes, there were some one liners (particularly from Dave and Tom) but other than that I was not laughing out loud. I definitely was not a fan of the song, I felt like it was out of place and just too random to make sense. I’m glad that you liked it though, it’s different for everyone, and I’d bet that this was another “humorous moment” that I just didn’t find funny. I did however love the “fight” scene in the basement, I thought that was hilarious.
<SPOILER> The ending, honestly I did not predict, but kind of liked. The fact that Will’s brother knew about the money ahead of time and took it before the will could be read was genius. The whole time the four are looking for this hidden money (and figure out where it is - or should I say was). <END>
What did you think about this ending? And what about the actions from the wife? I get why she wanted the money for herself, but I felt like it was somewhat disconnected from her actions and the way she was portraying herself. Was this just me?
David: I thought it seemed a bit disconnected too. Though Wendy (played by Katie Weigl) was good at portraying a lot of things, had some decent monologues, and sold being the love object of at least three men, I felt like the stuff with her daughter wasn’t connected enough to everything else. I also think it was meant to be a bit humorous and pop culture to have her go off and try and get everything for herself. Kind of like a female Scrooge McDuck.
I liked the ending, but I didn’t love the ending. I could have used a bit more information about the brother. I felt like it was obvious because otherwise what would have been the point of him being in the film? Besides for the director himself to show up, of course.
Finally, I agree with you on the fight scene. I thought it was excellent, if a little bit overdone - maybe a bit more choreography is necessary for the next one. The bit with the table was comedic gold.
So Shannon, what would you like to rate Jamie’s film?
Shannon: I think I’m going to go with an “okay/liked it” rating on this one, since it’s in between for me and I can’t decide.
David: Well, I think the comedy struck a little harder with me, so I’m going to go with a “B”. A little cleaner, and I think the film moves upward a bit. Let me close us by saying thank you to Jamie for submitting the film - I think you should check it out if you can.
David and Shannon write about movies.