A blog from Tonto Books, featuring musings from the publishing world and some occasional special guest appearances.

Friday, January 25, 2008

Rocketbelt movie - more reviews

Lots more reviews for Pretty Bird, a movie based on the Rocketbelt Caper story, which premiered at Sundance this week:

Cinematical puts it into the 'Good Sundance Movies with Rotten Titles category'. 'Loosely based on actual events, Pretty Bird is a darkly amusing look at the American Dream... [Paul] Schneider's screenplay dabbles in both broad humor and dark comedy, and the three leads seem to be having a lot of fun with this somewhat strange material... Toss in a typically amusing supporting turn from Kristen Wiig, and a few really unexpected plot contortions, and you've got a fine indie flick that's definitely worth a look.'

The Cinematical review also explains that in the movie Paul Giamatti plays Rick Honeycutt (the 'Larry Stanley' character, for those who have read the book), Billy Crudup plays Curt Prentiss (the 'Brad Barker' character), and David Hornsby plays Kenny ('Joe Wright').

The Boston Globe says the movie 'certainly looks good on paper [Yes, on 224 sheets of paper, bound into a lovely cover and available from all good bookshops!], with its hip cast and oddball story line about a deluded entrepreneur (Billy Crudup) and a rage-aholic aerospace engineer (Paul Giamatti) building a rocket belt... Except that the movie doesn't hit one note that doesn't feel strident or forced... In its own small, overbaked way, Pretty Bird feels like the death of indie cinema.' Ouch.

Hollywood Reporter says 'Pretty Bird flaps one comic wing and one dramatic wing, but this slight-framed bird never soars and ultimately crashes under the weight of its excessive thematic ballast. Intermittently amusing, this light comedy is a get-rich-quick story gone bust. Unlikely to navigate successfully as a theatrical, Pretty Bird should flap straight to video.'

Film Threat says, 'When this movie first started, I was very intrigued about the possibility of a greasy marketing man, a rocket scientist, and a mattress salesman getting together and making a dream a reality... The first part of this film is excellent... Yet as Pretty Bird went on, all dreams and hopes of this movie being great crashed and burned... even if this film is based on true events like it is said in the beginning.'

Mike D'Angelo at The Screengrab says, 'Schneider based his screenplay on a true story, one that takes a surprisingly dark turn. Major characters wind up dead, kidnapped and imprisoned. And yet the film's tone never really wavers from goofball geniality... File this one under Fascinating Failure.'

Erica Stern says the movie is 'just a crazy, all-over-the-place, "yes this is your first feature" comedy that makes you wonder why Paul Giamatti was so adamant on its production that he would act and produce the film.' Oddly, she also says, 'Unfortunately, new friend Craig, told me an awful story about how the idea (one of the best parts besides the actors) was taken from a good college friend Zene...' Erica, tell Craig to read this.

All Eyes All Ears says, 'I liked it for the most part.'

LAist says, 'Up until the moment of the first successful rocket belt flight, I was captured by the strange imagination of the story... After the rocket belt flight, though, the movie took a dark turn which felt completely out of sync with the rest of the film. Paul Schneider was actually at the screening and mentioned that he wanted to make a film that explored the dark side of ambition. Pretty Bird certainly does that, but in doing so sacrifices the wonderful sense of whimsy and invention that the first part of the film so expertly created.'

If you'd like to know what that dark turn might be, you really should get hold of The Rocketbelt Caper: A True Tale of Invention, Obsession and MURDER as soon as possible.


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