Friday, March 18, 2005

Movie Review: Phil the Alien

If you go into this movie expecting a well polished, Hollywood type production you will be very let down. If, on the other hand, you go in expecting a good, Canadian type production, you will only leave feeling a little let down.

'Phil the Alien' doesn't even pretend to be something it's not. From the intentional over the top acting, to the odd assortment of characters (how many movies do you know where a Beaver is a central character) it is a Canadian home brewed comedy all the way.

Story-wise, it jumps around a lot. Normally that would be a hindrance, but here it kind of works by putting us in Phil's shoes; lost in a strange world never quite sure what's going to happen next. Of course a little more structure wouldn't have hurt the movie.

As for the acting, like many of our homemade movies you will recognize a fair number of the cast, even if their names don't immediately jump to mind. Of the entire bunch though, I think Boyd Banks deserves special mention. Without him as 'Slim' I don't think this movie would have been half as enjoyable as it was. While there were some other good performances mixed throughout the movie, his was the glue that held the movie together. Always popping in at the right times to add just the right touch of humour.

If anything, the biggest drawback for me was Rob Stefaniuk's overuse of the close-up. Almost every scene is made up of a series of facial zooms with very few wider angle shots where we can see all the participants of a given conversation or even much background (with one obvious exception which is so set up it is almost painful but still funny). It's like watching a bad 'Pan and Scan' version of a half decent widescreen movie.

While I don't see any Oscars in 'Phil's' future, I hope it does well. Just go in with reasonable expectations and you should come out with a smile on your face.

3 out of 5 (with a full 1 point of that due to Boyd)


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