Monarch Movie Minute: ‘Raiders! The Story of the Greatest Fan Film Ever Made,’ ‘Slow West’ and ‘While We’re Young’
‘Raiders! The Story of the Greatest Fan Film Ever Made’ (2015) | NR | 106 min. | 🎬🎬🎬🎬🎬
After seeing the 1981 classic “Raider of the Lost Ark,” three young boys set out on a passionate journey to shoot a shot-for-shot remake of the film. What was originally meant to be a way to fill in the time during a summer vacation turned into a seven-year-long experience. As they got into their senior year of high school, the boys decided to part ways. They ended the long winded production of their film, despite the fact that they only had one scene left to shoot.
Years after putting an end to their film, a video of the remake found its way into the hands of fans of the original Spielberg movie, who were all blown away by it. This documentary follows the story of the three boys, now grown men, who reunite to film the last scene of their movie.
Anyone who has ever attempted to make a movie knows that it can be a grueling task. There is a lot of work that has to go into articulating every scene and every shot in order for the process to work. There has to be a true love for the process in order to artistically express something through filmmaking and “Raiders!” captures that struggle perfectly.
Viewers will be left stunned over moments of sheer idiocrasy that capture how these boys reproduced some of the scenes from the original film (including lighting one of their friends on fire). However, there is a story in “Raiders!” that capture three boy’s love for filmmaking and the personal and domestic struggles that came with holding onto that childlike magic.
This film is available on Netflix.
‘Slow West’ (2015) | NR | 84 min. | 🎬🎬🎬🎬
In this fairy tale western, “Slow West” follows the character of Jay (Kodi Smit-McPhee), a young and naïve man, as he journeys through the harsh landscape of the wild west in order to reunite with the love of his life, Rose. As he stumbles his way through his quest, Jay finds himself being chaperoned by Silas (Michael Fassbender), an outlaw that has no problem putting down anyone in his way.
As Jay and Silas cross paths with some unruly entities, they both constantly find themselves in positions where they have to dip their hands in the cold-blooded darkness of the west. This leads to a bond that Jay and Silas share as Silas begins to show Jay the ways of being a murderous outlaw. However, Silas may be hiding an ulterior motive for helping Jay that could change everything.
The western genre has been in desperate need for a revival, and if the recent success of the “Magnificent Seven” remake has proven anything it’s that there is interest in this form of storytelling. A movie like “Slow West” is a western that not only encapsulates the grittiness and adventure of the genre but also visually elevates the western in ways that will please art house film fanatics.
Director John Maclean and cinematographer Robbie Ryan take great advantage of their New Zealand set to capture beautiful shots that make the film look like a painting at every turn. With a criminally short runtime, “Slow West” is able to capture the bloody fun of a western film while showing it through a beautiful lens that’s very reminiscent of a Wes Anderson film.
This film is available on Amazon Prime.
‘While We’re Young’ (2015) | R | 97 min. | 🎬🎬🎬
Both entering their 40s, documentary filmmaker Josh (Ben Stiller) and his wife Cornelia (Naomi Watts) begin to fear the impending process of getting older. All of their friends are beginning to have children, settle down and begrudgingly accept life for the way it is. Josh and Cornelia are trying to figure out a way to avoid the change and remain happy together.
Things begin to change for them when they befriend Jamie (Adam Driver) and Darby (Amanda Seyfried), a much younger hipster couple who attempt to invite Josh and Cornelia on many liberating excursions. To the confusion of their older friends, Josh and Cornelia join their new young friends in order to try to feel young once again. How far can they go before reality sets in?
Director Noah Baumbach reunites with Ben Stiller (who previously worked on 2010’s “Greenberg”) to tell a very relatable story about generational gaps and the fear of aging. The entire cast (including Driver, who gives a great performance) are very likable and make “While We’re Young” a very enjoyable experience….at least for the first half.
The ultimate problem with the film is that Baumbach decides half way through to drop what made the first half of the movie so good. Instead, he focuses on a subplot that involves a filmmaking war between Stiller and Driver’s characters. The problem with this is that it comes in so awkwardly and by the end has no repercussions. The film is aided by an interesting premise and great cast, but overstays its welcome.
This film is available on Amazon Prime.
🎬 — Straight to DVD.
🎬🎬 — Well, there goes 2 hours of my life!
🎬🎬🎬 — Add to my queue.
🎬🎬🎬🎬 — A must see.
🎬🎬🎬🎬🎬 — Mind blown!