Blog: Movie Reviews by FAQs
Q: What’s the movie about?
A: A teenager (Zac Efron) is cast in the 1937 Broadway production of Shakespeare’s “Julius Caesar” and comes of age in the shadow of actor/director Orson Welles’ genius.
Q: Who’s in the movie?
A: Zac Efron, Claire Danes, Christian McKay, Ben Chaplin, Eddie Marsan, James Tupper, Zoe Kazan
Q: Is this movie worth the price of admission?
A: Proceed with Caution. You might try not to pay full price for it. Although, I guess this film could pique the interest of various fans, so here’s a handy guide. Screaming insane tween female Zac Efron fans: stay away and re-watch the High School Musical trilogy on DVD. Forty year-old gay men: sorry, Zac never goes shirtless, re-watch 17 Again. Orson Welles fanatics: it’s an interesting insight into a week of his life, pre-Hollywood filmmaker genius mode. Richard Linklater fans: I don’t know what to tell you, no one gets high in this film and Jack Black is nowhere to be seen.
Q: Will this movie make me laugh?
A: Yes. The overall tone of the movie is light and there is good wordplay and joke set-ups that pay off with nice chuckles. The funniest revolves around “the Quadruple Space,” but I won’t ruin it for you with an explanation in this review.
Q: Will this movie make me cry?
A: No. And it’s not built for it anyway so don’t hold that against it.
Q: Will this movie be up for any awards?
A: Nothing obvious. But depending on how it plays, a buzz could begin to circle for British stage actor Christian McKay’s portrayal of a young Welles... especially when they realize that he has never acted in a movie before.
Q: How is the Acting?
A: It’s all first rate if not spectacular. Christian McKay steals the show as a 22 year-old Orson Welles putting his budding genius on show. The performance sneaks up on you and builds into something completely authentic. Zac Efron might not blow you away, but there’s no denying his youthful charisma, perfect eyebrows and freakishly long eyelashes. He both naturally seduces and is seduced in a role that doesn’t call for much more than that.
Q: How is the Directing?
A: It’s serviceable and works on the relatively low budget the film was shot on. It doesn’t look cheap, but it doesn’t look expensive either. The period detail is all there, but it’s mostly done in medium and close-up shots, which undercut the grandeur of the period. Otherwise the whole thing skips along at a nice pace and never bores.
Q: How is the story/script?
A: Probably the biggest problem and the main thing holding the film back from a green light. Zac Efron’s character ‘Richard’ is the dual lead with Orson Welles and it’s an unfortunately underwritten part. Its purpose is for us, the viewer, to see Welles’ genius through the eyes of an everyman, but one can’t help wishing that we knew more about Richard and what he wanted out of life and his experience working in the theater. There also isn’t much conflict as Richard easily gets everything he wants up until the very end. There’s nothing glaringly wrong or bad with the movie, but as good as it is, it’s not hard to imagine how it could have been so much better with another script rewrite.
The Cinema Arts Festival Houston got off to a sensational start with Richard Linklater’s "Me and Orson Welles", followed by a Q & A with the director and the festival’s opening gala held at the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston.
Linklater himself walked the red carpet, alongside fashion designer Chloe Dao, Houston socialite Joanne Herring, Alley Theatre actor Todd Waite and festival organizers Richard Herskowitz and Franci Crane.
29-95 got a chance to speak to Linklater on the red carpet, and he said of the festival, “I like the notion of the Cinema Arts Festival because it’s not just film, it’s all cinema arts, and that encompasses so much. Cinema is an art form. I’m just really excited and honored to be here and participate in this.”
When asked why he chose to adapt Robert Kaplow’s novel by the same name, Linklater said, “You know, why do any project? You feel compelled and drawn to the story. I love this story, and it was a really difficult film to get made, but I’m thrilled with the how the film turned out.”
The film was shown in the Brown Auditorium of the MFAH, and Linklater said of Houston, “I grew up here, my grandmother lived a couple blocks away in Montrose, and I spent so much time in this museum. I’ve seen so many great films in this very theatre.”
"Me and Orson Welles" is a charming, breezy period romp focusing on Welles’ famed production of Julius Caesar as seen by the eyes of a young actor, played by Zac Efron. The film is a blast, and its success is due largely to Christian McKay, whose portrayal of the larger-than-life Welles is dead-on. His arrogant, theatrical delivery had the audience laughing uproariously with nearly every line, and his physical resemblance to Welles is eerie. McKay was simply perfect.
Linklater said of the idyllic casting, “I thought, ‘I’m not gonna do the movie if we can’t cast the right Welles.’” And boy, did they.
After the screening, film lovers hobnobbed in Cullinan Hall of the MFAH, drinking Welles-inspired cocktails (called The Third Man, Touch of Evil and Rosebud) and enjoying the original music of string ensemble Two Star Symphony.
The evening made for a grand commencement to the Cinema Arts Festival Houston, and there’s plenty more gaiety in store!
The movie was wonderful, set in the 1930’s, recreating the events behind the scenes in Orson Welles’ New York production of Julius Caesar. It stars Christian McKay, Claire Danes and Zac Efron. It is sweet, funny and gives you a real sense of Welles’ powerful personality.
Also an article discussing Christian McKay's Oscar chances here.
November 16th: TheWrap Filmmaker Screening Series Presentation in LA (Richard, Christian)
November 18th: UK premiere (all presumably)
November 19th: Picturehouse at Notting Hill Gate screening with Q&A (Zac, Claire, Richard);
This event will be simulcast to other Picturehouse theaters
November 21st: Isle of Man premiere (Zac and Richard)
November 22nd: St. Louis International Film Festival screening
November 23rd: The View (Zac, Claire)
Apple Store Soho Event (Richard)
NY premiere (all presumably)
November 24th: David Letterman (Zac)
November 25th: Limited release in NY and LA
November 30th: Austin, TX prem (Zac, CM, RL per here, tix on sale 11/10)
December 4th: UK Release
Limited US expansion (per BOM)
Austin, Boston, Chicago, Dallas, DC, Houston, Louisville, Philadelphia, San Diego, SF (per twitter)
December 6th: British Independent Film Awards (Christian)
December 11th: Canada Release
Another US expansion (per BOM)
BBC Switch Radio Show (from ZAAngels)
The One Show on BBC 1 at 7.00pm, date unknown (Zefron forums)
Movie Mom interview
InStyle December 2009?
News of the World