Old Joy (Kelly Reichardt, 2006)
Apparently a lot of critics enjoyed it, as I saw it on a lot of best of the year lists in 2007. To me it looks like they took a ten page script and forced it into becoming a 75 minute film, barely meeting the criteria to be considered a feature. Although I like Will Oldman, the acting is disappointing, and I especially disliked the other actor. The director seems to be going for a serene and meditative kind of film, where the soundscapes and scenery creates a mood, but the dialogue makes it play more like a terrible mumblecore film and the forest imagery just seems like filler due to lazy writing. Furthermore the camera work is pitiful. Pretty scenery isn’t an excuse for poor compositions, lack of proper coverage, and varying exposures. It looked like they were just pointing and shooting with the camera on auto focus at times. I feel too many low budget filmmakers try to be Terrence Malick or Werner Herzog and think they can get away with capturing nature, and distract the viewer with montages of pretty images to hide a poorly developed story.