Comments on watching and making films.

Friday, September 12, 2008


Baghead is the second feature film by sibling director team Jay and Mark Duplass. Their first film, The Puffy Chair, was met with critical praise and did fairly well for an extremely low budget indie film (I think I read somewhere that the budget was around 70 grand, an extremely low amount for most professional films). Their follow up, another low budget indie, shows that the Duplass brothers are a serious force in the independent film making scene.

Baghead stars Ross Partridge, Steve Zissis, Greta Gerwig, and Elise Muller as a group of actors who, after seeing a mutual friends idiotic film receive praise at a film festival, decide to escape to a cabin in Big Bear, California, and write a script that they will all have parts in. As their time passes at the cabin, though, the sexual tension between the four causes some serious problems. The problems, though, take a back seat when a visitor, wearing a bag over his face (which just happens to be exactly like the villain in the script their writing), shows up and starts messing with the group.

I really liked the fact that Baghead was almost an anti-horror movie. You were never quite sure whether or not the threat was real, it always kept me guessing up to the reveal. The acting was great as well, and the Duplass brothers did a great job picking out their actors (Greta Gerwig is always a reliable stand by, which is, of course, why I tried to get her for The Definers). The only problem that I had with the film, and it was a pretty BIG problem for me, was the cinematography. The film was shot very sloppily, with a lot of quick zooms, out of focus shots, and poor lighting. It was a surprise to see the difference between Baghead and The Puffy Chair. Puffy... had a lot more of a professional look to it, as though they had hired someone who seemed to know what they were doing. Baghead looked like it was shot by a sixth grader who had just put down a couple of Monster's. If it wasn't for that, I think Baghead would have been a really great indie, but it ends up coming off as a great story, that's executed in a technically poor fashion. 

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