Monday, August 20, 2007



On The Lot (OTL) is going into its final episode (Fox, Tuesday 8/21, 8:00), The Finale!

There are three finalists, Adam Stein, Will Bigham, and Jason Epperson, one of whom is going to be the grand prize winner of a $Million dollar development deal at DreamWorks.

Each of the contestants made a series of films. I'm posting my reviews of several films of the three finalists, and, later perhaps, some other directors as well, notably Zach Lipovsky who was the #5 finalist, and may have been the most gifted, proficient, and original director of them all.

Here are reviews of the films of Adam Stein. As of now, when this post is posted, these films can be seen by going to On The Lot, looking at the tab marked CONTESTANTS and selecting Adam.

AUG 7, 2007

Army Guy

Starring: Dan Gauthier, Heather Vandeven, David Burtka, Stuart McLean, Ian Bodell, Ariel Winter

On first watching, I found most of the action uninteresting and too silly. It did not work for me moment-to-moment. It had a nice ending. Typical of the directing/editing errors was the girl pointing correctly to the girl on our left, but not accurately pointing to the girl sitting down at our right.

Knowing the punchline, the movie makes sense and is a lot of fun on second viewing. (Someone pointed out that on second viewing they realized the "pointer" was a stewardess and she was doing what stewardesses do when they point to the exits.) It's an interesting "theoretical" issue -- is it "good filmmaking" to make a film that can not be understood until the second time you see it. (I've seen a lot of French films made like that.)

More to the point, in this case, is whether the number of voters that like the film well enough on first viewing, plus the voters that watch it twice and like it, are enough to carry Adam to the next round, and then to DreamWorks.

JULY 31, 2007

Driving Under The Influence

Starring: Tatyana Ali, David Burtka, Patrick Kerr

This was a joyous romp. However, the dancing at the end didn't seem quite right; and kissing the cop as the finale is not a resolution to the driver's traffic problem: What happens when the music stops?

JULY 24, 2007

Girl Trouble

Starring: Fred Koehler, Travis Wester, Patrick Kerr

This was really dreadful and painful to watch. It wasn't funny. It wasn't well acted or look very good. It didn't make sense. If Trent (Guy-2) knows a guy from a girl then he knows a guy from a girl... It was obvious that when he opened the door it was not going to be a beautiful girl: that would not have been funny. So it had to be something else. But another guy??? Doesn't make sense. Maybe if it was a gorilla, or a sheep...

JULY 9, 2007

Worldly Possessions

Starring: David Burtka and Janet Varney

This has the best story of the week. The magnifying glass setting fire to the tree is a brilliant little stroke. I agree that the destruction of the entire neighborhood is a bit much, but it's completely consistent with the set-up in the story. I wasn't too fond of the acting, especially of the wife.

JUNE 26, 2007

Discovering the Wheels

This film was OK. The acting was sort of iffy. The device of making the car appear and disappear with a click of the remote got old very quickly. The final stranding of the caveman did not resolve any story point. And I did not understand how the caveman was able to drive so well (even better than the stunt driver they talked about in the intro). There were a few good jokes. I liked the square wheel (but that idea never got developed), and the picture of the horse. Product placement hell, by the way (sponsored by Ford).

JUNE 5, 2007

Dough: The Musical

I'd have liked to see Adam do something that was not a dance/musical. It was a bit like a new-fangled-type broadway/off-broadway show. The singing wasn't great. (Other notes: Lip sync didn't always work. He sings out loud just when she comes in the store -- but there's no soliloquy convention, so why can't she hear him?) However, the lyrics and the story concept were very clever. It was the one cast I'd like to know more about. It had a great spirit. All in all, it was the most original, most ambitious, and most interesting of the shorts.(The strongest film of the night.)

MAY 29, 2007

Dance Man

Fun. (This film was actually made after Dough. Dough was a submission film, made before Adam was selected as a finalist.)


Time Out

Excellent -- Best film of the night.

The 24 hour films were each made in twenty-four hours by a team of three directors, in this case:

Zach Lipovsky, Sam Friedlander, Adam Stein

Sci-fi/drama/FX --

A conflict makes time stand still. Great! Coherent story. Nicely shot. The special effects work perfectly.

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