No Way Jose full movie review - A visual catastrophe
I'm writing this while the movie is running on Movie Central in Canada.
Gosh, this is terrible, terrible, terrible. I'm not talking about story or plot or acting: Just what the picture looks like. Yes, it's a low budget movie, but I've seen better -- much better -- visual quality in undercover documentaries and home movies shot on iPhones and GoPros. The framing of the shots in 16:9 is worse than bad (sometimes, half of the actor's heads were cut off horizontally -- one can tell that common top for concurrent release in 4:3, 16:9 or 1:2.35 formats was never a consideration), and often out of focus (ever heard of depth-of field or lighting control?). Shots and counter shots in dialogues lack integrity in terms of color, contrast and focus -- and, if it weren't for actors wearing the same cloths through the shots, one would guess that different scenes were hacked together.
In inside shots, one can see the overhead microphone boom reflected in the glass of the patio door -- which wouldn't be all that bad if the mike position was static, but one can see how the mike was pointed at the actors as the dialogue moves along between actors, and seeing such visual artifacts totally took me out of the movie. Yuck.
Oh, yes, and then there's tripod shot contrasted with jittery hand- held shots without steady-cam. It must be cool to say FU to an audience that is supposed to make work commercially viable.
As I said: Terrible, terrible, terrible. But, hey, if you happen to be a visual masochist, you actually may enjoy a movie that looks like a failed high school project. I hope Goldberg gets a chance to make more movies -- but he needs (and deserves?) much better people behind the camera and in the editing room, specifically, he needs people with a sense of aesthetics, and enough trained skills to create visually pleasing images. For all I know, it's eye candy that sells movies even if the story is bad, but the lack of eye candy kills any good story. Else, it's just a radio play.
In a nutshell: I believe that the people handling cameras and managing post owe it to the actors to make them look as good as possible -- which certainly hasn't happened here. That being said, nobody looks as bad (or out of focus) as much as Goldberg himself. The movie leaves me guessing if he wanted to commit visual suicide. Bad as it is, there were some (but not enough) good shots in the movie: The underwater shots in the pool consistently were very nice quality and better than the movie as a whole.
OK, the movie's over. Here are the culprits listed in the credits:
'A' camera operator: Mark Putnam
'B' camera operator: Jonathan Bruno
1st assistant 'A' camera: Michael Gonzales
2nd assistant 'A' camera: Alicia Pharris
1st assistant 'B' camera: Ludovico Isidori
Additional 'B' camera operator: Monika Lenczewska
Additional camera operators:Greg Cotten, Ian Benham, Nich Musco, Adam Goldberg
Additional 1st Assistant camera operators: Tyler Harrison, Justin Kane, Adam Dorris
Underwater camera operator: Boyd Hobbs (Kudos! As mentionend above).
Digital Imaging Technician: Michael Halper
Video Assist: Lou Spadaccini
Additional Video Assist: Jorden Kadovitz