So I just finished watching the film by our fellow Vortexer and these are my thoughts. I'll try to be as gentle as I can as I know you've probably poured a lot of yourself into this.
Being that the film appeals to me through 2 different fronts, being a film lover, and a automotive enthusiast it is difficult to seperate those 2 opinions from each other sometimes so I'll do my best to give feedback seperately.
As a film, I was thoroughly impressed. I've never seen any of the writer, or the directors other films and from their IMDB pages it seems like this is their first full length feature film in those respective roles. For being a straight to retail film, it was very good. I have spent wasted hours watching straight to DVD, or straight to TV movies and most of them are generally hot garbage with bad acting, ****ty sets, bad film quality, and many more things that really take you away from the atmosphere.
I watched this on my iPad and granted everything on Netflix app looks good, it looked really good. There weren't any times that I noticed the shot was out of focus, even slightly. The camera work was really well done. The angles were great, some were even pretty genius. The stop slo-motion at certain points was great. Helped to highlight some aspects that normal people probably wouldn't know about. The lighting was great. A lot of times if I watch stuff on my iPad during the day and its night shots in the movie its usually very difficult to see whats really going on. Had no issues with that. Also didn't notice any noise which is a really good thing because I'm a stickler for high quality visuals in movies.
The costume department also did good. Nothing outrageous or stupid, but they definitely did a good job giving the actors a proper feel of their age with those stupid bright colored high tops, and typical high schooler clothes (i.e; hoodies, button ups, skinnies, etc.)
Product placement was done well. It wasn't really done in an obnoxious way. If one was, I'd have to say it was Pep Boys, but thats for reasons that I'll explain in the "Car Guy" aspect of the review.
The soundtrack was fitting to the film as well. The songs chosen really fit around their respective scenes well to help set proper atmosphere. The sound editing was overall not bad. I had a few gripes about some sounds edited in...but thats "Car Guy" complaints. Sound effects, actors, and ambient sounds were all in check.
The settings were nice, I did enjoy them. From the canyon's to the small city streets at night to the school to the race track. All relatable nice locations which definitely helps add that sense of realism to possible past experiences.
Holy **** dude, for a small film they have a good enough budget to wreck some nice cars. Not to mention the quality of cars in the film, they're really nice, but the Mustang wreck is one of the best wrecks I've seen in a very long time. I'd go as far to say as it trumps the FnF1 charger wreck. There aren't any visible cables or anything so I'm guessing it was actually driven by a person...balls of f*****g titanium! GREAT JOB ON THAT SHOT!!
Now comes time for one of the films bigger let downs, some of the acting. Before anything is said, I'd just like to say F***. Danny's mom (Sherry Stringfield) is a cougar and a half! His girlie is hawt as phuck as well. Back to the acting though, there were times where it felt forced and not fluid. One example in particular is his asian friend in the beginning Mikey. The entire time he's telling Danny not to race it feels very unnatural. The scene at the locker after Danny meets Jessica is another one. It feels like Danny is forced to say half his lines.
Some of the mannerisms some of the characters do (primarily Jake's blonde friend) seem way over the top. I don't know if he's suppose to be, but most of the time when the camera pan's across and you see his face he it seems like he's having a full retard moment.
Now the fight scene with Danny and Jake was bauce, because for once the protagonist finally BEATS THE **** out of the main rival/villian. Oh man that was great.
For being a small budget film, there were certainly some decent actors. Father was one of the best, with Jake coming in a close second at playing an excellent douchebag. I must admit, as soon as I saw Jake roll up in the rustang he looked like a James Franco Jr with a pineapple express face. I lol'd. But that was only after I saw this mothertrucker...lololololol.
So back to the cast, good choice, though I hate how now a days it seems that every high schooler depicted in a movie or on tv looks like they're a college senior.
Understanding that the film needs to appeal to a broad audience, I though it was good. It does its best to appeal to both audiences, and I can't take that away from it. My only wish is that it was a bit cleaner in its transitions from scene to scene. Some jump abruptly and while it is expected that that will be the next scene, you're caught off guard with how sudden it just changes.
Overall, I enjoyed the film. If I had to grade it on a scale of 1-10, 10 being Shawshank or Empire(Star Wars Ep VI for you film n00bs), and 1 being Speed Racer or Red Tails (The people responsible for these films, especially Red Tails, should given cancer, or an equally horrible terminal illness)...well I can't. To borrow Spill's rating system for a minute, I'd say this film easily deserves a Matinee at the very least. Watching that Mustang bite the sh*t at the end alone is worth the 6 bucks to me. Absolutely awesome wreck.
Congratulations on your full length feature ICIN. I hope you get to make many more as you are substantially more skilled than a lot of rejects (**** you Anthony Hemingway and John Ridley) that are given millions upon millions of dollar budgets to make films that are an insult.
This took a lot longer than I thought it would, and I'm at work so I'll try to get to the 2nd half, the "Car Guy's" point of view tonight if not tomorrow. Again, .