Movie Review: Bubble (and other thoughts on this HD film)

Last night was the "Day & Date" premiere of HDNet Films, 2929 Entertainment and Steven Soderbergh's new HD movie "Bubble". For those that don't know, "Day & Date" means they release the movie in theaters, on DVD and on HDNet on the same day.

I Tivo'd the movie and watched it last night after I got home from happy hour. It was probably a good thing that I had a few beers...

The movie was "interesting". Not bad-bad, but I would definitely say, not good. Some people I'm sure will HATE the movie. Especially the first half. It is very slooooooooowwwwwww.

The story follows two friends who work in a doll factory, and how each of them reacts to a new girl who is hired to work with them. That's really the entire plot for the first half of the film - and it was BORING. Now, the second half of the film did get better. Without giving away any spoilers the story turns into a murder mystery - although there really isn't much mystery.

I've heard rumors that Soderbergh used real people from the town in Ohio (where he shot the movie) as the actors. I believe it. The performances are very flat. Reminded me of the acting in college movies where you get your friends to act for free.

At times it almost felt like we were watching a documentary with these lingering shots of the characters working in the factory and discussing mundane topics like.... well, I can't actually remember!!! But trust me, they were mundane! :) Thankfully the movie's runnng time is only 75 minutes - yes that's right - only 1 hour and 15 minutes long (that's a short movie by most standards).

Now to the complimentary part of this review - Steven Soderbergh is my role model as a Hollywood director. He can jump back and forth between "Oceans 12" and small indie-style movies like "Full Frontal" and "Bubble". No other A-list director comes close to having this flexibility (or desire) that I can think of (Robert Rodriguez is close, but his "indie" efforts aren't near as experimental or risky as Soderberg's).

Soderbergh has a six picture deal with HDNet Films and 2929 Entertainment (via Mark Cuban and Todd Wagner) - each movie has a budget of $1 million and has to be shot on HD (high definition video). This is a GREAT idea! I love the fact that Cuban & Wagner are willing to roll the dice and fund these small movies. I do question however where the $1 million went on "Bubble"??? No name talent. No special effects. No exotic locations. They also shot on HD and this saves a lot of money. And Soderberg (for those that don't know) directs, shoots and edits his own movies. He uses aliases for the DP and editor credits. Of course I know that $1 million is nothing for Hollywood (catering budgets on some films), but in the indie world it's a descent chunk of change and it was not on the screen at all in "Bubble". But I digress...

I applaud Soderbergh and company for this "experiment" - not only from shooting on HD, but for the "Day & Date" release strategy. I personally think it's the wave of the future. The movie theaters are of course very resistant to this model (although Cuban has some ideas on how to make them happy with percentages of DVD sales and selling DVD's in theaters, etc.), but ultimately it's going to happen - sooner or later - and so everyone needs to embrace it (just look at the web right now with the Video iPod and Google Video taking off - people want access to the content now and at their fingertips).

So in the end I did not like "Bubble" as an entertaining piece of cinema - but I LOVE the idea behind the project and look forward to the next five HD movies from Soderbergh and company. I just hope they are better movies!!!

-Blake


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Who Am I?

I'm a filmmaker who's produced & directed five feature films including the comedy SPILT MILK (available on iTunes), the new horror/thriller PHOBIA (on iTunes) and the action/thiller KILLING DOWN (which you can buy or rent at pretty much all the usual places).

I also created the Streamy and Webby award-winning web series PINK, which to date has been viewed online around 10 MILLION times at places like YouTube, Hulu, Koldcast and TheWB.com. And speaking of TheWB.com, I also produced and directed an online thriller for them called EXPOSED. It was released summer 2010. And most recently I created a new online sci-fi series called CONTINUUM, which is part of the online indie TV network JTS.tv - Just The Story and NOW available via VOD through indie platform Distrify.

Oh, and I don't shoot weddings. Thanks for asking though.

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