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Apr 26th
07:24 pm
'At Any Price' Reviews  
As you can see, I'm trying to catch up on posting what I've missed the past week or so being overwhelmed with work. And here are some reviews! I've included some from the earlier film festival screenings since it's been awhile. Zac's mostly been praised for his performance in 'At Any Price' which is awesome!

Rolling Stone, Peter Travers
Efron, who's been proving himself a capable actor in films such as Me and Orson Welles and The Paperboy, gives a vibrant, resourceful performance powered by an inner strength. His scenes with Quaid are electric. There's a palpable tension between them, and also an abiding love.

The Observer, Rex Reed
Under the influence of writer-director Ramin Bahrani, Mr. Efron moves another step in the direction of mature psychological complexity and several miles further away from his frivolous fan base of teenyboppers who hark back to his High School Musical days.

NY Times, Stephen Holden
The hot-wired performances by Mr. Quaid and Mr. Efron drive them home in a movie that sticks to your ribs and stays in your head.

Film.com, William Goss
Subtlety is hardly at home here, with Quaid’s especially earnest performance a well-suited mask for Henry’s desperation that nonetheless amplifies the phoniness of the entire enterprise. Efron does a better job of conveying his long-stewing resentments with nary a word spoken, but every bit of dialogue that does come out of his mouth is similarly keyed into obvious angst.

NPR, Ella Taylor
All muscled up and blue of eye, Efron does a dandy sexy-sulky imitation of that other Dean.

LA Times, Sheri Linden
When the story works, it has a dark power that draws shrewdly upon his two leads' screen charisma…

Playing well off each other, Quaid and Efron inhabit a fine tension between possibility and despair.

Paste Magazine, Tim Grierson
As for Efron, anyone who saw him in Richard Linklater’s underrated Me and Orson Welles recognizes that the former High School Musical star has some depth beneath his boyish good looks. Dean is an ideal vehicle for Efron’s talents.

THR, David Rooney
Efron does equally strong work. Continuing to distance himself from his origins as a pretty-boy teen idol, he brings an intense, brooding stillness to the screen here, simmering with the frustrations of small-town entrapment.

Variety, Justin Chang
Starting with a montage of faded homevideo footage that casts Dennis Quaid and Zac Efron as members of a heartland family, this well-acted slice of rural Americana feels like a unique marriage of studio polish and neorealist sensitivity…

The two leads are in fine form here: Quaid poignantly reveals the jumble of insincerity and good intentions beneath Henry’s boisterous exterior, while the callow streak that Efron has often displayed as an actor has never felt as raw, vital and emotionally explosive as it does here. Before it reaches a full-blown Sturm und Drang pitch, the tense father-son dynamic feels believably rooted in a long history of resentments and misunderstandings, yet it’s also complicated by Dean’s willingness to defend his dad against those who seek his downfall.

Twitch, Eric Snider
Quaid's giant grin makes him perfect to play a salesman, but it's his skill as an actor -- and this is one of his best performances -- that makes it so impactful when the chickens come home to roost and Henry's smile and forced positivity fade away. Efron is likewise praiseworthy as a sullen second son who feels left behind.

Film Journal International, Kevin Lally
Quaid and Efron (once again branching out impressively from his teen-idol roots) are each unafraid to show the less savory aspects of their characters’ small-town charisma.

Alex Billington, First Showing
It's beautifully shot, tremendously acted (by Quaid and Efron) and honestly, very affecting.

Bahrani's cast in At Any Price, despite containing some of the first well-known actors he's used, like Zac Efron, Dennis Quaid, even Heather Graham and Clancy Brown, all melt into their characters, delivering powerful performances. Quaid gives one of the best performances he's ever given, and newcomer Maika Monroe (as Efron's young girlfriend) also stands out quite a bit, along with Efron. Believe it.

Kim Voynar, MCN
Efron, meanwhile, continues to impress as an actor of real note, leaving his Disney ''High School Musical'' roots far behind with a compelling and textured performance as a young man who desperately wants not to be the man his father is, while making many of the same questionable moral choices.

Kenji Lloyd, HeyUGuys
Quaid and Efron are brilliant in the leads, [...] Efron, too, is stellar as the young Dean, giving further proof of what a fantastic actor he’s becoming, and an indication of where his career will be heading in the years to come.

The final third of At Any Price features an entirely unexpected turn of events, which lead to a power-house display of emotions on both Quaid and Efron’s parts. Ultimately, the film rises on their shoulders – it is very much a character study of this family, and the recent state of the American farming community, and with Quaid and Efron putting in such strong performances, there is much brilliance to be found here.

ScreenPicks, Brad Liberti
Of course, it helps that in Quaid and Efron, Bahrani has found two talented, dedicated actors to bring his story to life…

Also effective is Efron whose boyish features perfectly resemble those of a younger Quaid and who excels at showing us the lasting emotional scars inflicted by years of nothing but expectation and neglect. Dean reps a generation left orphaned by their parent’s mandatory 24-7 struggle to stay afloat; only to be readopted when it’s time to inherit the back-breaking yoke of the farmstead. With Bahrani’s help, Efron gives his most complex, fully realized screen performance to date, ably demonstrating the unmoving chip on the youngest Whipple’s shoulder that unfortunately brings about disastrous consequences.

Reel Reactions
Equally as impressive is Zac Efron, who follows up his solid work in Lee Daniels’ wacko The Paperboy with his best performance yet as Dean, Henry’s son with racecar dreams that interfere with his father’s vision of keeping the family in farming. Fresh-faced and handsomely muscular, Efron brings all of his trademarks to the role, but it’s his unnerving sense of fear that really elevates this performance to memorability.

Brave New Hollywood
Quaid and Efron deliver strong performances as characters that might have otherwise ended up as clichés encountered in a Nicholas Sparks novel-turned-movie…

The charismatic Efron delivers an energetic, powerful performance toe-to-toe with the crafty Dennis Quaid.
Mood: busybusy
11 11 comments Comment
annabelle83 on April 28th, 2013 10:12 am (UTC)
Zac has been consistently good/great in his roles. Problem is that his movies are usually bad and they sink his performances. Being talented is not enough to make one successful. You need a lot of luck.

As Elle magazine recently said, Zac is a big name actor who hasn't had a great movie or a genuine hit. I really hope Zac lands a big role this year and his upcoming movies do very well commercially and critically. I don't think At Any Price will achieve any success because not only the movie itself is a hard sell, but also it was barely advertised. Zac and Dennis doing a couple of talk shows is not enough to generate interest among the public.

Edited at 2013-04-28 10:13 am (UTC)
countessm3countessm3 on April 28th, 2013 04:36 pm (UTC)
To quote Oscar Wilde, "Art is the most intense mode of individualism that the world has known. Now art should never try to be popular. The public should try to make itself artistic."

What did Wilde mean by that? Quite simply, he placed the burden of an aesthetic education on the masses, not on the artists themselves. It is not the artist's responsibility to enlighten the public regarding line, form, color, concept, metaphor, symbol, montage, etc.; it is critic's role to bring these to the public, although critics are often laden with prejudices and preferences that create bias. Ultimately, however, it is up to each man to teach himself how to examine art.

Now Wilde and friends (unlike Kant, the philosopher who heavily influenced Wilde's personal brand of aestheticism), happened to think that the masses are stupid and unable to learn. For this reason, they suggest that mass approval is actually a sign of bad art (oh how our society is plagued and ridden with bad artists these days!)

Why am I telling you this? Simply because your post seems to place the responsibility on Zac to find popular roles to increase his popularity, and I am positing that what Zac considers personal success may not, in fact, have anything to do with being a famous actor. For him, it might all be a matter of choosing roles that speak to him personally and selecting parts that he believes in. And in my opinion, his worst performance (The Lucky One) had everything to do with being uninspired. When he's inspired, you can't find a better actor...
rain2013rain2013 on April 28th, 2013 10:39 pm (UTC)
AMEN. as long as ZAC is satisfied with the roles that he chooses. well then who are we to complain about it? I dont care what roles or what movies he act in, as long as i get to see his handsome face in them. he can be in a movie where he just coughs the whole time, and i will still go and see it. yeah i Know am crazy like that.
annabelle83 on April 28th, 2013 11:35 pm (UTC)
In recent interviews, he said he wants to make good movies and he shares the concern with producers that the movies need to make their budget back. He seems to be under a lot of stress. At Any Price underperforming at box office will put more pressure on him.

Zac really wants to have a long career in Hollywood, but he can't have that without delivering money at box office. Some actors keep getting works despite of box office failures, but that's because they're highly respected actors and they have a lot of industry connections. I honestly think Zac needs to do popular roles. Even his fans are not interested in seeing movies like At Any Price or The Paperboy.
Miranda gives everyone a chancemirandagirll on April 29th, 2013 03:49 am (UTC)
Zac said he wanted to make good movies. He never mentioned anything about making movies in regards to the money aspect.

If "fans" don't want to see a movie like At Any Price or The Paperboy, but will see a movie like "The Lucky One" then maybe those aren't the right type of fans. Personally, I'd rather watch At Any Price or The Paperboy versus a studio film like The Lucky One or even 17 Again. There were some fans on twitter who were actually saying they preferred Zac being in indie movies versus studio films because indie movies are better. Just my two cents.

Also, At Any Price isn't "under performing" I think the "goal" for the weekend for AAP was $15,000 and it made $22,000. In only 4 theaters. Hardly under performing.

Edited at 2013-04-29 03:51 am (UTC)
kleth on April 29th, 2013 07:39 pm (UTC)
AAP's box office performance is beside the point, since it will only be screened in 136 theaters. It simply cannot earn back its cost with that kind of "selective" distribution.

As long as Zac keeps getting parts, he can continue to test and prove himself in these different indie roles. But every so often, he needs to star in a passable "hit."

I want to live long enough to see Zac Efron's name above the title on a movie that is released to 3,000 theaters and wins the top spot on opening weekend. Then I can relax.

I don't care what Zac wants; I want him to be rich and famous and highly respected, so he can make any movie he wants to appear in. Staying sober and hard-working would be a bonus.
countessm3countessm3 on April 29th, 2013 09:11 pm (UTC)
I know I don't represent his fan base, but I much preferred him in The Paperboy than in The Lucky One. I'll have to wait for Netflix for the rest.

Indies tend to have more substance, which is why I like them, but I understand what you are talking about regarding money. I just feel that if he keeps working and makes enough money to live off of while doing films he chooses, then he'll be happy.

I don't think he likes fame at all.
kleth on April 30th, 2013 06:58 pm (UTC)
"if he keeps working"

That's the catch. There are 50,000 actors looking for parts in movies. I'm just concerned that if he doesn't have an occasional success (financial as well as artistic) he will stop getting parts. I could produce a long list of actors who have had an early success, then dropped down the ladder to appear in two or three indies, then quickly disappeared.

Of course, he provides his own secret weapon. Bahrani confirms again that Zac sold himself in a personal meeting. Bahrani had looked at M&OW and liked what he saw, but it was at the face-to-face that Zac turned on his superpowers and sealed the deal.