Escape from Tomorrow
Directed by Randy Moore
In a world of fake castles and anthropomorphic rodents, an epic battle begins when an unemployed father's sanity is challenged by a chance encounter with two underage girls on holiday.
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★★★★ review by Matthew L. Brady on Letterboxd
A park filled with dreams and wonder to many, but also your nightmares as well.
The film is about a middle-aged American husband and father of two learns that he has lost his job. Keeping the news from his nagging wife and wound-up children, he packs up the family and embarks on a full day of park hopping amid enchanted castles and fairy tale princesses. Soon, the manufactured mirth of the fantasy land around him begins to haunt his subconscious.
Escape from Tomorrow is one of those films that you have to wait about two days after seeing the film, to get all my thoughts of the film to come together it's basically like solving a jigsaw puzzle. I tried my best to dissect the hell out of this movie by it's story, it's different and new style and the movies uncomfortable tone. I found out a lot of interesting things of this movie and the fact that they didn't have Disney's permission to film and get away with it, blows my mind how they pulled it off.
I enjoyed Escape from Tomorrow, I enjoyed it in a way that it feels like a guilty pleasure for me and overall I think this movie is weird, messed up, but still a well done film from a first time director. What the movie does so well is putting you in the main character shoes and showing you the anxiety and what it can do.
The cinematography in this movie are some of the best and perfect shots I have seen in a movie. I love the black and white look to it, it made the movie more sinister and nerving to watch, which worked so well. I kept thinking to myself of how they didn't get Disney's permission to film but still got away with shots that I have no idea how they got away with, Moore you are a genius.
Randy Moore first time film and straight away I want to see him doing other films, because he went for it and it didn't back fire on him.
Some people may be put off by the weirdness of the film and it's style and it's laughable moments, which is fine because people can like what their want to like, but what the movie dose so well and I think so people might agree on and that is Randy Moore made DisneyLand look like a place to avoid.
Overall I enjoyed watching Escape from Tomorrow and I'm not going to give it the perfect rating, because I don't feel that this movie is "amazing" or "the best movie of century", no but the movie is still worth checking out.
★★★★ review by Hentai Cop on Letterboxd
Audaciously brilliant in its own way; the chiaroscuro lighting and black and white was an excellent technical choice, which makes the film feel a lot more legitimate than it actually is. The narrative feels a little aimless and poorly paced in places, but this only adds to the nightmarish atmosphere and the you-cannot-leave feeling of the film. I thought that the Oedipal relationship between the father and son was great, and the portrayal of Jim's midlife crisis was absurdly terrifying. Now I just really want to see a making-of documentary, because I cannot believe how they got away with some of those shots.
★★★★ review by Bram Bramsky on Letterboxd
Right away, this exact type of film that needs to be admired, if not loved. And I too can understand the hate this movie is getting, but I don't want people putting it down. This style of guerilla filmmaking should be encouraged, they beat the system.
The Disney Company represents a false sense of happiness. It would benefit the experience if you follow my lead by doing research on all incidents at Disney parks. To learn that so much has happened at Disney over the years really shines a light on how they sweep any sense of darkness under the rug.
I have a lot of problems with this movie that I expect would be cleared up with multiple viewings. The pacing in the first hour is quite slow, where literally in the last half hour is where all the crazy appears and is awesome. I love the final 10 minutes and the opening credits. Also, great score. It would also seem that scenes were improvised on the fly according to how the park was that day. It's hard to be harsh towards the film, considering the filming conditions.
The green screen stuff is so bad, but thats a nitpick. The black & white cinematography is surprisingly beautiful, just like Frances Ha this year. I want people to shut up about the actors. They're functional when it comes to everything else but drama. I thought the dad demonstrated great hamming-it-up.
You owe it to yourself to see this film especially if you ever had a negative experience at a Disney park. Like it or hate it, you must appreciate it.
★★★★½ review by Lee Morgan on Letterboxd
I really like this movie, it's a hell of a trip. Like some kind of fever dream. I love the way it takes this thing that feels safe and familiar to so many of us and turns it on it's head so that it becomes something dark and twisted.
Roy Abramsohn does a great job in the lead role and filming the whole thing in black and white somehow adds to the dreamlike feel of it all. More like a nightmare really though.
★★★½ review by Simon Ramshaw on Letterboxd
"It's a giant...testicle." - Jim
Escape from Tomorrow is not only an interesting experiment in seeing how far you can take guerilla filmmaking, but it's also a new spin on satire. Randy Moore's oddity of a debut feature is less ripping Disney a new one and more crucifying it and twisting its limbs into disturbingly contorted shapes to make something resembling the Mereenese signposts in Game of Thrones. What logic Moore has behind his dissection of America's hottest tourist destination is unknown, but it sure makes for one hell of a compelling ride.
The events of the disjointed film are almost like if David Lynch took the directorial reigns from Harold Ramis for Vacation and actually made Wally World open instead, with our 'hero', Jim, playing it rather like Chevy Chase on LSD. His escapades venture into lusting for underage Parisian girls, and the hallucinogenic consequences are rather indescribable, bar simply saying "It's like riding on It's A Small World for the very first time". Immense credit must be given to Moore and DoP Lucas Lee Graham for structuring their guerilla shoot into a delightfully incoherent sensory experience around Epcot and Magic Kingdom, as well as horrific episodes in hotel rooms and a claustrophobic swimming pool.
This is a paranoid yet confident film, always shooting within the limits of the law yet being as overt and offensive as possible in their cynical blindsiding of the world's most powerful entertainment corporation. Moore runs the risk of being nasty, which his film is, but there's a type of gleeful justification and lampoonery that courses through the film, taking pot-shots at midlife crises, the economy and alcoholism.
They might not be cuttingly intelligent pot-shots, but the delirium of the structure and the sheer subversion of well-known landmarks within the theme parks is a constantly amusing ride. One segue into demented sci-fi is a hoot, while the body-horror finale is something not unlike what a hybrid of David Cronenberg and the Farrelly Brothers would spout out. The experience is fleeting and refuses to leave a thought-provoking satire behind, but the result is admirably bold in its own duration, making for a sly, revolting 90 minutes.
Moore might think he's going to change the world with this. He's not. His adversary is too powerful and popular to be fully sullied, but that is almost what makes Escape from Tomorrow the guilty pleasure that it is: a petty shot at a superpower that believes fully in its own invincibility.
When watched in the midst of The Interview furore, it becomes even more interesting...
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