My plug for Primer - out April 19th.

Discussion in 'DVD' started by Doug R, Apr 12, 2005.

  1. Doug R

    Doug R Supporting Actor

    Joined:
    Oct 26, 2000
    Messages:
    786
    Likes Received:
    0
    I noticed an ad on HTF for Primer, released on DVD on April 19th.

    I wanted to encourage any HTF member looking for a unique independent, sci-fi film to check out Primer. Don't read much about it; it's better viewed knowing as little as possible. If you enjoy sci-fi or "discussion" films like Memento or Mulholland Drive then it's worth your while to give Primer at least a rental.

    I know the DVD has two commentary tracks but I'm not sure what else. I saw the movie in a theater months ago. It was made for just $7,000 but it's quality far exceeds its absurdly low cost.

    After viewing the movie (twice preferably), check out the forum at the official site (primermovie.com) where the two leads post frequently and the film's discussion continues.

    Anyhow, if you like something different, enjoy independent films, like sci-fi, and don't mind thinking about what's going on in the movie a bit, give it a chance!
     
  2. Chris Parham

    Chris Parham Stunt Coordinator

    Joined:
    Mar 13, 2004
    Messages:
    72
    Likes Received:
    0
    This title was released last week in Canada. I rented it on the weekend and ended up watching it three times! I sift through tons of garbage films - hollywood, foreign, arthouse and indy- just to find hidden gems like this. It makes this hobby ( obsession) worth it.
     
  3. Chad E

    Chad E Stunt Coordinator

    Joined:
    Feb 2, 2001
    Messages:
    166
    Likes Received:
    0
    As Chris mentioned, Primer is already out in Canada. I picked it up today, but haven't yet opened it. Something struck me as odd on the packaging, though... the AR is listed as "16x9 Widescreen 1.78:1 DVD Screen Format" (emphasis mine). I don't recall this particular phrasing before. Is this DVD OAR? (I'm assuming it is, but I guess you can never be too sure...)

    On a side note... Canada gets a number of releases later than the U.S., but this is the first one I've personally come across where we get it a couple of weeks earlier! [​IMG] (Although I'm sure it happens; just going from my own experience here.)
     
  4. TonyD

    TonyD Who do we think I am?
    Supporter

    Joined:
    Dec 1, 1999
    Messages:
    17,295
    Likes Received:
    473
    Location:
    Disney World and Universal Florida
    Real Name:
    Tony D.
    i just watched.

    i know there was a very smart and fascinating story there but it went right over my head.

    it was wide screen and looked like 1.85 or 1.77.1 anamorphic.
     
  5. Carl_G

    Carl_G Stunt Coordinator

    Joined:
    Dec 29, 2004
    Messages:
    142
    Likes Received:
    0
    Great story, but just as it was spinning into amazing I lost exactly what was going on. Not in a good way. Will have to re-watch it again, but there came a point where the chopped shots, overlaid dialog, etc made me lose what was obviously a very convoluted set of acts. This was one smart film, really felt like 'reading a great book', until it all just kind of exploded in the end. Exploded in a great way, but yet not filmed in a great way.

    That said, it is clearly the best $7K spent in ages!
     
  6. Chris Parham

    Chris Parham Stunt Coordinator

    Joined:
    Mar 13, 2004
    Messages:
    72
    Likes Received:
    0
    There's any number of theories and explanations as to what is going on in the film on the Primer website so I won't bog down this forum with my take. I will say that the fact that a movie can spark such endless debate and discussion is what makes it great for me. Watching the film with the director's commentary reveals that even he admits that there are an endless set of combinations and permutations as to what is going on due to the nature of the subject (which I won't reveal as I don't know how to use spoiler tags - Anyway just watch the movie already!!)
     
  7. Paul D G

    Paul D G Screenwriter

    Joined:
    Dec 25, 2001
    Messages:
    1,781
    Likes Received:
    79
    I saw this in the theater and I, too, got lost in the final few minutes. But I thought of the film constantly over the next several days and some things started to make sense. Can't wait to see it again. i just don't know when I'll have the time.

    -paul
     
  8. Elijah Sullivan

    Elijah Sullivan Supporting Actor

    Joined:
    Jun 18, 2004
    Messages:
    665
    Likes Received:
    2
    Just watched it this afternoon and was blown away.

    I spent over a year participating in a screenwriting collaboration with many smart people trying to polish a film with a time travel theme
    . After about eighteen months, we avoided many pitfalls and succumbed to as many more. This film avoided all the same pitfalls -- all of them that I know of -- and then succeeded to invent far beyond what we had conceived.

    Bravo.

    Also, in respect to the $7,000 budget, I'm again, astounded. Truly inspiring for someone who wants to make low-budget features. I mean, heck, I've got more than that much in the bank...

    In short: recommended highly! [​IMG] [​IMG]
     
  9. Jon Martin

    Jon Martin Cinematographer

    Joined:
    Sep 19, 2002
    Messages:
    2,219
    Likes Received:
    1
    Watched it last night from Netflix.

    Wanted to love it. Loved the story behind it. (Made for $7,000 in a garage)

    But, I didn't like it at all. Didn't work for me and, with all its technospeak, I found it virtually unwatchable. I honestly could not get through it. And I wanted to love it.

    I guess if you are a fan of David Cronenberg films or DONNIE DARKO, this may be for you. I'm not a fan, so I really disliked the film.
     
  10. PeterMano

    PeterMano Stunt Coordinator

    Joined:
    Jun 8, 2004
    Messages:
    182
    Likes Received:
    0
    I think the film has received many generous reviews due to its bare bones budget. But, the photography is atrocious. Half the film is out of focus. The acting is improv rehearsal level. Lots of technobabble. But for me, the true disappointment is how generic the storyline is. Its been there, done that. To call this sci-fi is a real stretch. It qualifies, but If you're a sci-fi buff, there's not much here. I applaud the filmmaker for a first time effort, but a film like PI is far superior and blows Primer out of the water and as a sci-fi concept is far more compelling. True, PI had a much bigger budget, comparatively speaking, but it's a more polished, substantial product. I consider PI a film, Primer is like a work in progress experiment. It reminds me of the Blair Witch Project. Lots of hype, but where's the film?
     
  11. Jon Martin

    Jon Martin Cinematographer

    Joined:
    Sep 19, 2002
    Messages:
    2,219
    Likes Received:
    1


    I agree. I LOVED PI. It was also low budget though, shot using 16mm reversal film. I think it was in the $20K range.

    But even for a $7K film, I think EL MARIACHI was a lot more inventive and well shot.
     
  12. Mick Wright

    Mick Wright Second Unit

    Joined:
    Mar 10, 2000
    Messages:
    346
    Likes Received:
    0

    There is no such thing as a $7,000 releasable film. The $7,000 version of El Mariachi was printed, edited, and mixed on video. After Sony bought it, RR had to go back to the original elements and reconstruct the film from scratch. The version that played theaters had over a million dollars invested in it. I'm willing to bet Primer is a similar situation. The cheapest movie that existed on film (that I'm aware of) when it was picked up for distribution, is Clerks at a cost of slightly less than $27,000. The version of Clerks that ended up getting released was revamped just like Mariachi.

    I'm excited to see Primer, and I'm a big fan of indie cinema. It just bugs me to see those low numbers thrown around about a film that ended up costing a lot more than $7K.

    Then again, perhaps I'm missing the point. [​IMG]
     
  13. Elijah Sullivan

    Elijah Sullivan Supporting Actor

    Joined:
    Jun 18, 2004
    Messages:
    665
    Likes Received:
    2
    Peter, the film was not out of focus. They were using rather low-ASA color 16mm stock in dim lighting (they couldn't afford lights, clearly). This resulted in an exceedingly "soft" look which is the next-worst thing to being out of focus, and is certainly not ideal for watching on a large screen.

    However, I forgive them, because if you can get you film in the can for $7,000 grand then you are doing everything right from a budgetary standpoint.

    Pi cost nearly ten times as much ($60,000 est., according to the IMDB), and considering that both films shot on 16mm, I would say that Pi was better-looking. However, Darren Aronofsky could afford a lighting kit, which dramatically increases the quality of your work, especially if you are filming indoors, which most of the both movies do. Pi was also high-contrast black-and-white, which is much easier to shoot and cheaper to process.

    Primer doesn't rely on editing gimmicks and a thriller subplot to make it more interesting, so right away I'm giving it more credit. And Carruth's storytelling ability in Primer is much stronger -- witness Aronofsky's constant need to use voice-over to explain everything when, in reality, the story is rather straightforward. Primer has a much loopier plot and it is handled in a way that did not insult my intelligence. Pi spoon-fed the plot in over-processed morsels that I found truly irritating.

    On the other hand, Primer is almost too far towards the other end of the spectrum: underexplained. I know this bothered a lot of people, and I can understand that. Personally, though, I'd rather the director gave me too much credit than too little.

    Just an opinion, of course, as always. Cheers.
     
  14. Jean D

    Jean D Screenwriter

    Joined:
    Mar 8, 2004
    Messages:
    1,329
    Likes Received:
    0
    I watched this last night. Granted, it made me feel dumb cause the twists were played out so fast, but maybe thats because I was sort of pre-occupied with the crying and feeding of my child. I love Time travel movies that are well played out and this film blew me away, I Had no idea it was a time travel film until they first showed them at the storage facility. and as soon as I saw his other it dawned on me. Right there it kept me interested. Im probably going to watch it again either tonight or this weekend, and Im going to search the forums for theories. I recommend this film to any one who likes a movie to make them think and who can forgive the ugliness of cheap budget films.
     
  15. Kevin Sharp

    Kevin Sharp Stunt Coordinator

    Joined:
    Oct 1, 1998
    Messages:
    53
    Likes Received:
    1
    I've seen this twice now and like it a great deal. That said, there is one area I am completely confused about.

    What's the deal with the girl's father? How did he move back/forward in time? Why was he comatose? And what ended up happening to him?
     
  16. Doug R

    Doug R Supporting Actor

    Joined:
    Oct 26, 2000
    Messages:
    786
    Likes Received:
    0
    Kevin

    The writer/director Shane Carruth (who plays Aaron) says in the commentary he intentionally kept it vague why Granger was back in time because Abe and Aaron also had no idea since it happens in their future. The panic causes Abe to use the failsafe and reboot the timeline. Shane does go on to say that if he did reveal it, it probably would be something regarding his daughter and that she was hurt in their future by the ex-boyfriend.

    Jean D, go to www.primermovie.com and check the forum out there. There are a few good "full disclosure" posts.
     
  17. Vincent-P

    Vincent-P Second Unit

    Joined:
    Jan 19, 2004
    Messages:
    336
    Likes Received:
    2
    In response to Chad's question about OAR, I asked Shane Carruth, the director, and he told me that he composed for and shot the movie in 1.78:1, so the DVD aspect ratio is correct. It was matted to 1.85:1 in the theaters, so that may be why the packaging does not say "theatrical aspect ratio".
     
  18. Micah Cohen

    Micah Cohen Screenwriter

    Joined:
    Jun 8, 2000
    Messages:
    1,153
    Likes Received:
    0
    Whelp, I'm booting this thread back up because I just watched the film. And I'm with PeterMano & Jon Martin here; worth watching, excellent effort, but not as all fired up great as PI or (my favorite) EL MARIACHI. I am entranced by the "time travel" theme, the loops of time and missed opportunity and such, and PRIMER was one of the best time travel films I have seen in a long time. (In fact, it made me want to watch Soderberg's SOLARIS remake again. Themes, themes.)

    Interestingly, I recently read a book called "The Time Traveler's Wife" by Audrey Niffenegger. The book was okay in a tedious, first-novel way, but what I didn't like was the sudden introduction of this concept of seeing yourself in another time, a doppleganger.
    It just seemed too against the rules. PRIMER made it a little more clear for me, and I might actually recommend this book to you if you enjoyed PRIMER. The moment when Abe shows Aaron their double for the first time is a "sit up and take notice" film moment.


    Thanks for the recommendation! Now I'm time traveling off to sleep.

    MC
     
  19. Oswald Pascual

    Oswald Pascual Second Unit

    Joined:
    Jun 30, 1997
    Messages:
    299
    Likes Received:
    0
    This is indeed a gem of a sci-fi flick! Very glad I did a blind buy on this. I did 3 viewings of it and enjoyed it more and more each time. This is a great breakout film for new director and writer Shane Caruth.

    Ozzie
     

Share This Page