16 May 2007


Speaking of which, here's teaser number 2, brought to you by my sheer exhaustion with spending all of yesterday fixing a mistake by going frame-by-frame throught a shot (damn my perfectionist tendencies)

that first shot? yeah, I know, it looks like it's taken out of the L'Attente (2006) playbook, doesn't it?


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Anonymous said...

Does anything actually happen in this "movie" or is it just a girl looking sad in an apartment? Looks almost as exciting as L'Attente.

lucas mcnelly said...

why do i get the feeling i'm being anonymously insulted? show yourself dammit!

of course it isn't just her looking sad in her apartment. she also looks sad at her job.

I'm kidding, obviously. there's more to it than that. just be patient.

on second thought, there isn't enough in that teaser to indicate an actual plot? really?

Anonymous said...

your teaser perfectly epitomizes what's wrong with independent 'filmmakers' today.

instead of wasting all day perfecting a really mundane camera shot, why not spend some time coming up with an actual STORY?

a sad-looking girl wandering around her apartment isn't a movie. it's footage. subtract her hotness and you'd end up with uninteresting, unwatchable video. i.e. that coffee shop thing.

it's also inherently disingenuous (and more than a little obnoxious) to refer to a seven-minute, story-free piece of video as a "film."

you're not making films, not by any stretch of the definition, nor certainly your imagination.

mike sarti
director, A Stupid Movie For Jerks

p.s. that last comment wasn't mine.

lucas mcnelly said...


speaking as a critic and not a filmmaker, it's really in poor taste to make assumptions about a 20+ minute film based solely on a 30-second teaser.

personally, I would never do that. I might take the teaser as a reason to not see the full project, but I would never say "that film has no story" based solely on that. it's a pretty idiotic leap to make, really.

I'd argue that while the story behind L'Attente is a thin one, sure, but a story all the same. as for unwatchable video...well...it's a French New Wave styled film. what did you expect the footage to look like?

it may just be that your definition of "film" vs. "movie" differs from mine, and that's perfectly fine.

in short, chill the fuck out. save your judgments until you've seen the whole thing. if you then want to come on here and rip it to shreds, be my guest. If you want, you can email me your in-depth critique and I'll post it here. But only if you've put some actual thought into it, rather than just resorting to short, adjective-filled blurbs.

Also, send A Stupid Movie For Jerks in to the uber-indie project. Prove you can take criticism with the same spirit you give it.

Anonymous said...

i'm sorry for using adjectives to describe your work. in my language (english), those are the words we use to describe things. maybe you can recommend some words from your language to use instead. oh, wait, you speak english, too, despite that coffee shop thing being entirely in french for some reason.

leaping to the assumption that Gravida will be devoid of plot isn't "idiotic" (your adjective), given the other videos featured on your website. also, your own descriptions of it don't bode well for its narrative possibilities. however, i'll refrain from further judgement until i see it.

speaking of which, i'd love to know when and where i can see the thing. and while i won't be sending my movie to your 'uber indie project,' i'll happily send you an invite to our screening in maryland, and look forward to reading what will surely be a highly critical review.


lucas mcnelly said...


nouns and verbs, man, nouns and verbs. what i meant by that was i don't consider stringing 5 adjectives in front of a noun constitutes anything close to thoughtful criticism. it's lazy.

the story of gravida is one I've intentionally kept under wraps, although from the 2 teasers it should be easy enough to discern part of it, but people don't tend to pay that much attention.

obviously, I'm not going all the way to Maryland for a screening of a film I could just as easily see on DVD. that's a disingenuous offer and you know it.

L'Attente was entirely in French because i made the choice that a French New Wave style was the best way to tell that "story". the text was utterly meaningless to the overall film. if that choice didn't work for you personally, well, there's not much I can do about that now, is there?

I'm not sure why you'd assume a critique of A Stupid Movie For Jerks would be highly critical. If your movie is good, it'll get a good review. If it isn't, it'll get a bad review. It's a pretty simple process, really. Just because you didn't like my film doesn't mean I'll give yours a bad review, just to get even. That'd be pretty petty and immature of me.

re: the "other videos on my website". I've made 8 films in my life. 2 of them are short enough to be on-line. From that you're making assumptions about the other 6?

lucas mcnelly said...

is it possible that I might not like A Stupid Movie For Jerks b/c I am not, in fact, a jerk?


sorry, i couldn't resist.

Anonymous said...

why would you open a film with utterly meaningless text?

i've watched both Gravida teasers, and from what i was able to discern, the lead character is lonely, and is likely missing somebody -- probably the male figure appearing behind her in one shot.

that's not a story. it's a situation. what is the story inherent to that situation?

my offer was not disingenuous. and i never suggested you'd review my film badly. a "critical" review is a thorough, thoughtful one -- two adjectives i'd use to describe your reviews. i especially loved your write-up of Sujewa's movie, by the way. i only wish you'd applied the same critical analysis to that coffee shop thing before i had to watch it.


lucas mcnelly said...

why would you open a film with utterly meaningless text?

by text i didn't mean the title card in the beginning, but the dialogue. the text has meaning, but mostly we put a big title card up there as a joke to mimic the sort of thing they'd do in the 60's. it says something about the searching for the meaning of God, which, of course, has nothing to do with the film itself. but that's the sort of title card people used to put up, so we figured it'd help capture that mood.

i can't really say publicly what the story of gravida is, but there is one. i know that sounds arrogant and obtuse and a bunch of other things, but that's the way it is. it's a character-driven film, for sure, but there's more to it than you think.

now, whether or not it actually works, that's something I'll have a better idea of when the final edit is done. but, hey, that's filmmaking, right?

i gave L'Attente quite a bit of critical analysis, actually. it's almost entirely in the editing, but there's a protagonist, 2 antagonists, a character with hurdles to overcome and goals and all sorts of stuff like that. half the film is taking place in his head. edits (both visual and audio) are designed down to the exact frame they happen.

still it's not for everyone. i realize that. i'm also not so arrogant to think it couldn't be better, but within the parameters it has, i don't know how much better it could be without being a completely different film. and, hell, it was shot in 3 hours for $15.

sorry, for some reason i thought you knew i was in pittsburgh, which is several hours (at least) from Maryland. traveling that far for a screening is pretty extreme with gas prices such as they are.

and here i thought you were going after me partially because of my review of Date Number One. I've gotten a decent amount of grief over that one.

Anonymous said...

wow, date number one. thank god you wrote that review. somebody needed to do it. can i ask what kind of grief you got for writing it?

i understand about the travel thing. i didn't realize you were so far, and gas prices are criminally high again.

i'm looking forward to Gravida. i'll keep an eye out for it in the coming weeks.

mike sarti

lucas mcnelly said...

well, let's just say there's been a number of less-than-complimentary emails which i won't go into detail about, and Sujewa doesn't seem to be talking to me anymore, and if you ask me, this whole controversy about the Hannah Takes the Stairs review has a lot to do with my review of Date Number One, unless I'm just imagining things again. it wouldn't be the first time.

yeah, pgh to maryland's a bit of a trek at $3/gallon. i'd probably have to take out a loan or sell some Criterion DVDs or something. but if you want to send me a copy, i'll gladly review it.

Anonymous said...

I don't have any special insight about the content of the film, but based on the content of the teasers and the title, based on the fact that the main character appears to be a woman, I would guess it has something to do with a pregnancy. That would be my guess.

As far as the teasers having any content/plot/dialog by which to judge a film, I don't know that this teaser is all that different from some others I have seen. I remember seeing the teaser for the very first Spiderman movie. It was a bunch of webs shooting around the screen. That was it; that was the whole trailer. So, whether or not you did it purposely, if you teaser doesn't give anything away about the film/movie, its just a tease. But you are in good company.

Evan E. Richards

lucas mcnelly said...

as we say in Maine, that Evan is right wicked smart

evan, your review is coming. promise.

Anonymous said...



Anonymous said...

Its funny. One time, as sort of a social experiment, I made up a word for a title of a short experimental film I was working on. It wasn't a word that was really close to any real word. I think it was something like "Pholenstrom". I showed the film in class. The was printed on the DVD case, and there was a title card at the beginning of the film but not one single person asked what it meant; including the professor. Very interesting I thought.


johanna said...


what does Pholenstrom (or something like it) mean?

Was it, by chance, inspired by Videodrome?

(just curious. but that could be a function of the current word verification word: "cxiuri")

Anonymous said...

It doesn't mean anything. I was just interested to see if anyone would ask "What does this mean" or look it up and realize it was nonsense. They did not.

johanna said...

well, that's the plain truth, at any rate.

oh well. a girl can continue to hope for an explanation to "videodrome" ...

lucas mcnelly said...


that's the problem with Wikipedia and the dictionary, it doesn't come to you. People have to actually make some effort.

and as we all know, people are lazy

David Lowery said...

I must admit, this review conundrum is endlessly fascinating to me, and all the moreso if it stems from your DNO piece. I still haven't seen Sujewa's film, but I've enjoyed reading all the various responses to it, many of which seem to dance around various topics you hit head on. But I won't say anything else until I see it...

lucas mcnelly said...


i never was good at dancing anyway

(you're review is also coming...i swear)