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That said, I didn't just like the first half-hour of this film, I loved it. Any movie that begins with the massively-talented and criminally under-utilized Alison Pill is automatically ahead on points. (She can do things with her eyes and glasses that many actresses cannot even do with dialog.) The fact that the setting for the opening scenes is a shop that makes sex dolls also was an interesting hook. I have seen a lot of movies -- arguably, too many -- but had never seen that trope before. Clever! As the story progresses, and Pill's character -- who makes sex dolls are a living -- is driven by a co-worker's callous comment to seek bigger breasts, well, again, clever and interesting and quirky as Hell.
So far, so good.
However, after a great beginning, the script takes a sharp segue into that whole "life imitating art imitating life" thing and, to be frank, which is the reviewer's job, none of that added to the power of the film, it only detracted.
To some extent, this reminded me of the classic 1976 Allegro Non Troppo (recommended if you can find a copy!!) where once again the story tries to define the thin line between reality and non-reality.
However in Allegro, there was a constant upbeat sense of joy and wonder to the film, which gave it power. In Zoom, all the cross-arcs -- the egoistical film director, the supermodel who simply wants to be respected as a writer -- actually remove power from the impact of the production.
By the end of the story, when Pill's character suddenly finds herself in the middle of a "drug deal gone bad," I had to conclude this was a classic example of a good film which -- HAD THE SCRIPT SEEN ANOTHER FEW REWRITES -- could have been really great.
The idea is quite fresh: this Brazilian model is writing a book about a girl that works in a sex doll factory and who is writing a comic about the man of her dreams who is a famous director directing the movie in which the lead character is the Brazilian model. The whole plot is a metaphor on the toxic loop in which we live our lives.
The individual stories were interesting enough, each touching on human vanity. Motifs like the role of the woman in society, our obsession with looking different from what we are, whether it is about the size of tits or penis or whether we are perfectly attractive and resent being seen as sex objects, and how the things we do in life come back to haunt us are everywhere.
I did like the film a lot because it was self referential while zooming in on the viewer and their own effect on themselves and everybody else. I recommend it highly.
If you can wrap your brain around the strange narrative (and don't mind the sight of bare breasts, which the actual director seemed rather preoccupied with), this movie's thoroughly entertaining. Without question, the standout segment is the artist's, which kicks off the film and forms the backbone. The movie hangs firmly on Allison Pill's shoulders, and she exudes a lovable charm which engages you as her situation goes from kind of odd to downright bizarre. The director's segment ranks a distant second, but the entire thing is rotoscoped (filmed and then animated) which gives it a surreal beauty. The weakest link is the novelist's portion, though it certainly isn't the fault of any of the actors - the problem is that this third vignette is entirely devoid of the overt humor which pervades the other two stories.
It's sort of a shame that there IS a weak link here, because this film is completely unique and has so much going for it. It's not perfect but it's one of those movies where it feels like everyone involved was pouring their heart into it, so the result is kinda magical. The performances are excellent across the board, the animation has a wonderful hand-drawn feel to it, the cinematography is exquisite, the music perfectly accompanies the visuals, it's well-paced and feels like a much bigger-budget film than it actually is. And then there's that ending. I literally had a big, dumb grin on my face all throughout the climax... though I recognize that what so greatly amused me could easily be off-putting to others.
The bottom line is that if you're the type who prefers offbeat indies to cookie-cutter Hollywood crapfests, there's a good chance that you'll love Zoom.
The animation looks like it's the same as A Scanner Darkly, possible done by the same animation team, but in A Scanner Darkly it seems like the animation was a bigger arch.
It's an interesting circle about three people. Emma who works at a Factory that makes sex dolls, draws pictures of herself being a beautiful busty femme fatale, an image that the guy she's sleeping with finds absurd. In retaliation, she draws her dream guy, Eddie, a hot Spanish action film director who's doing a film he plans to use to take himself serious, but comes across a little problem when Emma, unhappy with her new boobs decides to get rid of the "package" that made him a hot commodity in Hollywood, and effects the making of his film about Michelle, a Brazilian model tired of being judge on her looks, who goes home to write a novel that just so happens to be about Emma.
It's a nicely layered story and becomes very surrealistic, as all three story tellers take us through their creative process, and if anyone knows anything about the creative process, the story goes through constant changes which switches the tone in order to make the story work.
It's a very unformulated movie that goes from the tame to the outrageous, and keeps me captivated with some very interesting personas moving on the screen.
It is a multi layered story with an absurd look at sex. The opening scene is the story of Emma who works in a factory painting sex dolls and has sex with co-worker and boyfriend at lunch. Emma wants a cosmetic procedure to have bigger breasts. When she has them they turn out to be too big she gets attention for all the wrong reasons.
Too make her boobs normal will cost her money which she does not have, she and her boyfriend get involve in a scheme that involves transporting stolen drugs inside one of the sex dolls.
Emma is also a comic book artist and she has created a story of a bombastic action film director, Edward who is about to hit the big time with a big budget film and he is a babe magnet to boot. This part of the story is animated . However Edward has confidence issues when in anger Emma reduces the size of his manhood. Now his first cut of the movie is too arty, he upsets the female film executive and his dinky is too little to satisfy women. Edward is ordered to go to Brazil to shoot the climax of his movie.
The movie is that of a Brazilian model, Michelle with aspirations of being a novelist. Her boyfriend tells her that people only say good things about her writing as they fancy her. When her publisher is impressed with her writing she goes off to Brazil for inspiration.
Eventually all three strands come together in a circular fashion as the characters realise that they are all influencing each other.
The ending is chaotic and contrived. The film is off beat but also messy and the characters are too one dimensional.
Very creative. Mixing animation with real life and a movie. Took me a minute to wrap my head around it but then I was off on such a wonderful ride.
The narrative moves forward quickly but you won't get lost. The music is delightful and energetic, and the doll factory is amazing.
The special order guy from Buffalo is definitely creepy, but you'll love him, and you'll really love how changing one story makes changes in the other two at the same time.
Definitely an unusual piece of movie making and well worth your time.
The acting, cinematography, and the art style of the drawn sections were good, but not enough to overcome the fact it feels like a porno trying to disguise itself as art. I kept watching hoping for improvement; I should have watched something else entirely.
I recommend Stranger Than Fiction (2006) or The NeverEnding Story (1984).
Inkheart (2008) and Pixels (2015) are more rewatchable than Zoom.
To conduct three parallel developments is a plus
and I recommend the film to everyone. Jean-Pierre DE Villers, U of Windsor. Go see it JPdV
Despite having a somewhat serious message it has a high dosage of comedy and moves on at a refreshingly fast pace as well (these sort of experimental movies usually doesn't).
With some entertaining performances from the likes of Alison Pill, Tyler Labine, Michael Eklund, Jason Priestley and and albeit I didn't recognize him: Gael Garcia Bernal (as the animated Eddie).
Pill and Labine's characters work at a sex-doll facory specialising on the most realistic looking dolls in the business and there are a lot of sex references which might be a little too much for some people but I found it all fairly fun.
Overall if you are looking for something different than this will definitely do the trick.
I loved it.
Zoom has an original plot, great acting, and was just confusing enough to keep me guessing.
The international story line helped shine a light on the meme of Hollywood's usual containment of creativity. Art for the sake of art becomes representative of the interwoven lives of us all.
It would be easy to write this off as another experimental film but I predict it will become an iconic piece studied and used as a barometer for creative license.
Finally, it was just simple fun.
Had heaps of potential. Very novel idea - the story-within-a-story- within-the-first-story - very Christopher Nolan-esque.
However, even from the beginning the movie doesn't really live up to its potential. Only the Emma story was engaging. Edward's story is mildly interesting but not exactly compelling viewing. Michelle's story was pretty dull.
Moreover, when the three stories are tied together it is in chaotic, random fashion. The last few scenes feel clumsy and contrived, and the connection between the three stories is ultimately not used effectively. This largely leaves you with three separate, independent stories. So the novelty is wasted.
Overall, not a total waste of time, but quite disappointing considering the movie's potential.
If you're a writer, illustrator, screen writer, film maker, artist and Bowie fan, which I am, you're going to love this.
I usually feel like I'm not the target audience, but for this one it was so bang on, I am wondering whether I just imagined it as a movie tailor made for me.
Top marks to the writers and director, they got together and created something truly delightful. A bright star among the usual cliches, handled with a wonderfully light touch and real intelligence. Absolutely loved it.
What hooked me from the start was the always gorgeous, mostly hilarious Tyler Labine. (Stopping. For. A moment. "Mostly" means he is sometimes not required to be either funny or the comic relief, but that doesn't discount that he makes me laugh when he's allowed to be himself.) And that this was billed as a "comic-book," sometimes animated film. Sorta like a Roger Rabbit of today's time. Well. That's how it was told to me and even with that hook including Labine, I still thought: I will see it for those two aspects and probably hate it, nonetheless. Labine, as much as he makes me laugh and I lust over him, isn't known for starring in quality pictures.
I was wrong. I LOVED this movie. I loved the creative genius. I love the twists, the art direction (literally,) the acting, the pacing, the humor, the drive and the overlapping. I haven't seen an original, independent movie in a while that really pushed the boundaries. Especially the adult-themed ones. No holding back, this is 100% an adult and unapologetic film. Thank you.
Abstract as my review so far is, that's how I feel after watching this classy, carefully constructed and clever cinema experience. Lots of seas there. Let me try and explain the essence of what you'll see hopefully spoiler-free
The movie surrounds the watcher with three separate stories of good/bad folk in seemingly different universes and global locations. But, of course, there's a link or more so that you know that you're watching one movie.
Story 1: Sex shop lovers battle over breasts. Story 2: A Scanner Darkly sequel. Story 3: Writer's block the bad. Each one is fun within itself and the links and cuts make you want more of each.
I love a no holds barred, no studio interference vision. I see this as an imaginative force that no one stopped. For good reason. The above synopsis and all I said is probably only three percent of the great experience this is. You should know this: send the kids away, open your mind and experience real cinema that can't be bought by the major studios.
This is for film lovers. Watch it now.
Final thoughts: These were just my collected thoughts tonight. Again, I will be watching this all over again tomorrow night. This kind of pleasure of cinema only comes around every couple of years, if that and cannot be contained to just one viewing.
It is shown various kind of personalities. There are shy girl, geeky co-worker, creepy buyer, charming self respecting film creator and so on. Full pallet of colorful personalities.
Soon actions starts jumping from reality to imagination. And later it becomes unclear, what is reality. It turns out, there is closed circle - imagination becomes others persons reality.
In short, in is nicely done dementia type film. I very recommend to watch it.
I personally liked a lot the art style used on the animated sequences. I found it to be quite elegant and pleasant to look at, with a lovely use of colors.
Even if the overall result isn't as memorable as Ari Folman's "The Congress," "Zoom" is still an interesting, cleverly done experience worth of recognition, especially in times like these, where mainstream cinema seems way too afraid to take any kind of risk at the moment of defying the conventional forms of narrative.
The acting is great, the cinematography is excellent and the script is tight. The whole time I was watching I just couldn't believe more people did not tell me about it! So very clever! Do not hesitate! Watch it!