Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
|Me Orson Welles|
Actors: Ben Chaplin, Claire Danes, Zac Efron, Zoe Kazan, Eddie Marsan
Director: Richard Linklater
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Member Movie Reviews
Douglas F. (dougf) from AURORA, CO
Reviewed on 11/5/2010...
I never heard of this movie in the theaters, but saw the DVD in the store while browsing. It is an excellent movie! If you like live theatre it is an must see. It goes behind the scenes in putting together a live theatre production and all the ups and downs that go along with it. Christian McKay portrays a young Orson Welles flawlessly.
Roger Ebert is "wrong" about this film
Gerard D. Launay | Berkeley, California | 09/27/2010
(3 out of 5 stars)
"I respect Roger Ebert's written opinions...he often will pick an interesting movie that I might have missed. He is an eloquent reviewer of cinema. But when he said "ME AND ORSON WELLES is one of the best movies about the theater I've ever seen" it is hard to believe him.
There are truly some magnificent movies about the theater, and this is NOT one of them. My number one choice would be "The Dresser" with Tom Courtenay. Another good choice is "The Entertainer" with Laurence Olivier. And the role of theater in the lives of amateur performers is very well told in "Shakespeare Behind Bars" or "Trust - Second Acts in Young Lives." And there are all the wonderful extras on DVD with interviews of the greats: Richard Burton, Laurence Olivier, Sir Alec Guinness, or Claire Bloom. Another top choice might be the mini-series: "Playing Shakespeare". Now these films DO HONESTLY teach us about the theater. "Me and Orson Welles" does not.
I will concede that Christian McKay gave a standout performance as Orson Welles. There were moments when I could not tell him apart from the real actor. He deserves a great amount of credit for his excellent characterization. But the film as a whole? Well, Zac Effron's acting was lukewarm, at best. He seemed to be just another "pretty face" on the screen. When he voiced Shakespeare, I cringed.
Another problem with the movie is that the random moments of "Julius Caesar" acted on screen show nothing of the genius of the play as produced by Orson Welles. Was Welles' genius just selecting Italian Fascist costumes for the actors? Obviously it was much more. All the readings of "Julius Caesar" in the film were flat. Nothing touched the soul. I understood more about the theater when I watched the DVD 'Julius Caesar" with James Mason, Marlon Brando, and other exceptional actors.
Other reviewers have argued that there is lot more to Orson Welles than presented in the film. Manipulative...he must have been. But Orson Welles actually comes across as mean spirited in the film. Self centered - yes - but mean spirited? I am not prepared to go that far.
Different reviewers have different tastes. I would miss this one."
McKay nails his part perfectly
Roland E. Zwick | Valencia, Ca USA | 09/19/2010
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Based on the novel by Robert Kaplow, "Me and Orson Welles" takes place in 1937, just as the theatrical and radio wunderkind is mounting a bold new stage production of "Julius Caesar" - set in modern times - with his recently formed troupe, the Mercury Theater Players. Richard Samuels (Zak Efron) is a cocky, 17-year-old aspiring actor who charms his way into the company and Welles' good graces - to the extent that such a thing is possible, that is. A serious conflict develops between them, however, when the boy, inexperienced in the ways of love and how the world really works, crosses swords with Welles by foolishly losing his heart to Sonja Jones (Claire Danes), a production assistant who takes the lad to her bed, but who's also not above sleeping her way to the top, even with the maestro himself (David O. Selznick is her next intended target).
As a work of historical fiction, "Me and Orson Welles," written by Holly Gent Palmo and Vince Palmo and directed by Richard Linklater, is less intriguing for the story it tells than for its behind-the-scenes glimpse into the theatrical world of 1930s New York and for the way in which it captures the pulse of its era (even though the interiors were largely filmed in England). The real joy of the film lies in the performance by Christian McKay, who, as Welles, perfectly nails the look and sound of the pop culture legend without once resorting to mimicry or caricature in his effort to do so. Through McKay's work, we get to see Welles for the eccentric and multi-faceted genius (and all-around pain-in-the-ass) he really was - a natural-born entertainer, a smooth-talking ladies man, a raging megalomaniac, and an unforgiving taskmaster, who, through a canny combination of hard work and good, old-fashioned showmanship, turned himself into a household name. Yet, McKay also portrays Welles as a man whose shrewd awareness of his own pomposity played a key role in carefully crafting that larger-than-life image that would become such an essential part of his public persona. Yet, Welles could also be a devoted mentor to those he felt had potential and talent, "God-created actors," as he called them - at least up to the point where he felt one had contradicted or betrayed him, and then all hell could break loose, as Richard, much to his everlasting regret, eventually learns.
An impressive supporting cast, a witty script and fine period detail also contribute to the fun of the piece, but it is the amazing Christian McKay who makes "Me and Orson Welles" a must-see event."
Kona | Emerald City | 09/15/2010
(2 out of 5 stars)
"It is 1937, and high school senior Richard (Zac Efron) dreams of being an actor. A chance meeting with 22-year old Orson Welles (Christian McKay) results in a bit part in Welles' groundbreaking, modern-dress version of "Julius Caesar" soon to open on Broadway. During a week of rehearsals at the Mercury Theatre, Richard is befriended by the cast and crew including Welles' assistant, Sonja (Claire Danes) while he tries to understand his flamboyant and temperamental boss.
I think this movie was meant to bring Zac Efron out of teenage musicals and into more serious roles, but it doesn't succeed. His character is bland and forgettable and he lacks charisma. His Mr. Cool-speech and smirky mannerisms are so contemporary that he looks out of place in the thirties. His love interest, played by Claire Danes, is also colorless and boring and more than a bit annoying. Nothing that happened to or between Richard and Sonja was interesting or memorable. On the other hand, Christian McKay looks and sounds so much like the larger-than-life Welles that one forgets he's not the real thing. Showing Welles' arrogance, theatricality, and brilliant wit, he's a dazzling, shining star and he is the entire show.
The plot is tedious and, with the exception of Welles, the characters are dreary, so I recommend this movie only to fans of Welles."