NOVEMBER 5, 2008
I can’t remember who sent me a screener copy of Shadows Light, but can I please send it back? It’s not listed on the Secondspin site, which means I won’t get any tradein for it. And I wouldn’t want to bore any of my friends (or enemies) with it by giving it to them for free. Also, I couldn’t even get through the writer/director commentary track (I got 46 minutes in before self-administering heavy doses of Hinder to resuscitate me), so the ones with the “actors” and producer certainly aren’t enticing.
This is the kind of movie where it’s obvious that the writer had a story he really wanted to tell, but just didn’t have any of the resources (save for some fairly decent monster makeup effects) to tell it properly. Not that the script is a masterpiece by any stretch, but if it had good actors, production value, maybe a better editor, and nudity, it would at least be passable entertainment.
On the nudity note, I should point out that one of the characters is a stripper. This leads to a nudity-free strip scene. What the fuck is the point of that? It’s the O’Douls of movie scenes. Either cut the scene and shed some running time (a far too long 95 minutes) or hire an actress who would be willing to show her cans.
Sadly, No Tits one of the better actors in the movie. She’s still bad, but you can see that she’s at least trying to emote, even if it often sounds like someone trying to dub another language and keep their lips in sync anyway. The hero is OK too; he has zero screen presence but he can at least deliver dialogue in a manner that sounds natural. Everyone else in the movie though; Christ. Worst is the villain, who makes porn actors (actually, guys PRETENDING to be porn actors in regular movies, doing generic “I’m the milkman...” type shtick) look good. I’m sorry, but a movie of this type (bad guy wants to take over the world type crap, at least I think; the actor was so bad I couldn’t even focus on what he was actually saying) rises or falls on the strength of its villain. You know, take End of Days: not a very good movie, but its watchable thanks to having a guy like Gabriel Byrne play the Devil. But this guy? He wouldn’t cut it as Henchman #4 in a DTV Seagal flick.
Then again, why bother trying to act when you have dialogue exchanges like this in your movie?
Someone: “A limo?”
Girl: “Yeah, a long black one!”
(As opposed to all those short white limos driving around?)
The dialogue isn’t the only aural insult in the movie. The film seems to have been recorded with the camera’s microphone, or maybe a mic that was simply taped to the camera. Either way, whenever someone is far from the camera, you get two results: obvious ADR or inaudible dialogue. The sound editing made me sick as well; particularly during one of the two lightsaber duels; the audio kept popping and clicking with each cut, because the editor didn’t bother to put some damn crossfade over the audio tracks. Totally amateurish, and insulting when you consider that this movie is commercially available. I put more effort than that into the free videos that I edit for Bloody Disgusting (and I don’t even get paid for those!).
Back to the two lightsaber duels; it almost seems like this movie is actually a pilot and then an episode of a (boring) TV series. The first duel occurs right around the halfway mark, and then all of a sudden, our hero works for a different church, a new character is introduced (and we’re supposed to consider her an important character, so all of a sudden our hero won’t shut up about her, despite never bringing her up once in the first half of the film). Its really jarring, and my suspicions were furthered when the end of the film found our hero and his new buddy going off to walk (well, drive) the Earth after taking part in the obligatory lightsaber duel. I kept waiting for Ben Murphy to show up with some Tripolotine.
The only thing I liked about this movie was the director’s idea of heaven, which is apparently a world where your loved ones appear composited over some blown out shots of the Grand Canyon. Seems nice.
Like I said, the commentary was dreadful, so I shut it off halfway through. Director Stephen Zimmer was either narrating the onscreen action or pointing out how great all the actors are and where he found them (to hear him tell it, it seems as if Lexington, Kentucky is a hotbed of amazing acting talent). There are two other tracks, but I’m not that much of a nihilist (I say that as a man who once watched/reviewed 5 movies in one day). There is also a 15 minute interview montage with the actors, who are all badly composited in front of grade school class photos backgrounds, and an overlong look at the FX which is actually kind of interesting, since the FX were occasionally decent; and since its long enough to have some depth, it may be of some use to budding makeup artists.
What say you?