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Prince Avalanche [Blu-ray] [Import]

 R (Restricted)   Blu-ray
3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
List Price: CDN$ 32.17
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
By Tommy Dooley HALL OF FAME TOP 10 REVIEWER
Format:DVD
This is an American indie film from film maker David Gordon Green. His chequered career has seen him bring us ‘Pineapple Express, ‘Your Highness’ and the rather good ‘Undertow’; in this film he has taken inspiration from an original story by Icelander Hafsteinn Gunnar Sigurosson. He has relocated that to the fire ravaged forests of Texas in 1988. We meet the two main protagonists in Alvin (Paul Rudd – ‘Role Models and ‘I Love you man’) he is working out his demons by working on the road painting service. His only companion is the brother of his girlfriend Lance, Emile Hirsch (‘Into the wild’ and ‘Milk’). He considers Lance to be a loser.

Now very little actually happens, they paint the road, erect some signs , meet an aged truck driver and an elderly woman who is searching her burnt out home to salvage memories . This lady was really doing that and was asked if her story could be put into the film – which is a nice touch. The idea was that this would be an absurdist, minimalist tale where the two main characters would slowly reveal their real characters – both strengths and weaknesses by just being together or alone with their own thoughts, and some alcohol and heart ache.

So does it work? Well a lot of people seem to think so with a 6.4 rating on IMDB this is certainly no turkey. It is also supposed to be a ’hilarious’ comedy; well I felt amused a couple of times but this is not even in the foothills of being funny. The characterisation is good and some of the absurd themes sort of work, but overall I felt under whelmed by this film. It is only 90 minutes long and the scenery is often beautiful. The score is from ‘Explosions in the Sky’ and ‘Loosley Tight’ and that also really works, I would give 6 out of ten which roughly equates with 3 stars. That is not meant to be harsh but to ignore the areas where this does not work would, I feel, be disingenuous. Still if you like absurdist, minimalism then this could be one you will want to see.
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Amazon.com: 3.4 out of 5 stars  53 reviews
13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Reap the rewards of solitude Aug. 30 2013
By C. Sawin - Published on Amazon.com
Format:DVD
Writer and director David Gordon Green has kind of lost his way over the last five years or so. Known for making independent dramas that were genuinely well received by critics, Green made the jump to R-rated comedy in 2008 with "Pineapple Express" which went on to gross $87 million domestically on a $27 million budget. Green would stay in the R-rated comedy game for a while with "Your Highness" and "The Sitter," both of which either flopped or barely made a profit. "Prince Avalanche" seems like a return to form for Green and while it isn't groundbreaking, it's definitely an experience worth having.

"Prince Avalanche" has some amazing cinematography. The film opens with fires damaging acres and acres of land as you helplessly witness a sea of trees burn to the ground. As you're watching it, you can't help but feel the devastation of the fire, the extreme loss, and the severe sense of hopelessness. At the same time, it's kind of beautiful in a sorrowful kind of way. Little things become extraordinary with fantastic camera work: pushing a wheelbarrow over a hill as dawn breaks, water trickling through rocks in a stream, a caterpillar slowly crawling towards its destination, and close-ups of paint staining the asphalt and rain adding moisture to various surfaces.

As you watch Alvin and Lance paint lines on the asphalt, hammer poles into the side of the road, and glue down street reflectors, you begin to realize how lonely it must be and yet how absolutely liberating it can feel at the same time. The two men camp out under the stars every night, live in a tent, and eat and drink at the cusp of nature at all times. They're alone out in the middle of nowhere and only have each other to keep one another company.

The humor of the film mostly lies within two men craving what they can't have. Lance just wants to get laid and is amusing nearly every time he opens his mouth. His weekend story is downright entertaining. Alvin seems a bit more reserved. He's so in love with Lance's sister Madison that nothing else really matters to him. There's one amazing scene where Paul Rudd walks into the remains of a burned down house and pretends he's coming home to a loving wife in a two story home who's fixing dinner for the two of them.

While the film does a fantastic job portraying the relationship between Alvin and Lance, "Prince Avalanche" doesn't really go anywhere when it comes to the story. By the end of the film, the two men are closer than they were at the beginning but there's little resolve otherwise. The alcoholic truck driver (Lance LeGault) and the woman searching for her pilot's license in the ashes of her former home (Joyce Payne) were interesting characters to encounter, but also didn't really have much impact on the overall story.

"Prince Avalanche" is a beautifully filmed dramatic comedy with exceptional performances from Paul Rudd and Emile Hirsch. Paul Rudd should get bonus points for his Daniel Plainview-like appearance. While the story may have weak legs, the relationship between Alvin and Lance is strong enough to make "Prince Avalanche" a lonely road worth traveling.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars If you find this movie boring then you probably aren't diving deep enough to understand and enjoy it. Feb. 8 2014
By Shawn - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Blu-ray|Verified Purchase
The only reason I even watched this movie was because Explosions in the Sky did the soundtrack to it. I wasn't expecting a whole lot because it sounded rather dull in the synopsis: two guys painting lines on a country road in Texas. So I watched it and it was fantastic. It was definitely slow at points and certain shots (the two of them driving without talking, the shot of the road passing by, etc.) may have you wondering why nothing's happening and what it even has to do with the story--but it does! If you find this movie boring then you probably aren't diving deep enough to understand and enjoy it.

After completing the movie I found the old woman to be the one character that ties together the whole movie and she wasn't even added until they began filming and found her going through the remains of her old house (her role is completely true, authentic and she's not even an actress!)

I myself enjoy solitude and would probably love a job that involved camping out every night. To see Alvin (Paul Rudd) running into solitude supposedly to financially support his girlfriend Madison (Lance's sister) gave the first clue to who he is (or was!) as a person. Lance (Hirsch) on the other hand is the complete opposite; he's obnoxious, loves to talk, listens to loud music, etc. You also meet a fourth character, an old man driving a truck on this desolate road. Come to think of it, he is the *only* person you see driving on this road.

(Spoilers Ahead)
After reading a review by Thomas Lewry on Letterboxd for this film, it becomes apparent who these characters represent (or who they might represent): the four people who lost their lives during the wildfires back in '88. The old woman gets out of, and back into, the truck with the old man at two separate points in the movie but the old man can't see her. We're never told *why* this is but we are left to assume that maybe they are all ghosts; maybe each one of them had actually died in the wildfires. We'll never know for sure, which makes this movie's replay value very high.

I specifically love movies and television shows where the main story isn't nearly as important as the message beneath the story. I watched this on Netflix and ordered the blu-ray right after. I can't wait til it comes in so that I may watch it again and find clues to the underlying theme to better understand and enjoy the story!
9 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Sincerely original Oct. 27 2013
By Blake - Published on Amazon.com
Verified Purchase
Not only was the movie and it's story good, but Explosions in the Sky added just the right tones of musical scores for the movie's developments.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Absurdist and minimalist but far from being a conventional comedy. Feb. 20 2014
By Tommy Dooley - Published on Amazon.com
This is an American indie film from film maker David Gordon Green. His chequered career has seen him bring us `Pineapple Express, `Your Highness' and the rather good `Undertow'; in this film he has taken inspiration from an original story by Icelander Hafsteinn Gunnar Sigurosson. He has relocated that to the fire ravaged forests of Texas in 1988. We meet the two main protagonists in Alvin (Paul Rudd - `Role Models and `I Love you man') he is working out his demons by working on the road painting service. His only companion is the brother of his girlfriend Lance, Emile Hirsch (`Into the wild' and `Milk'). He considers Lance to be a loser.

Now very little actually happens, they paint the road, erect some signs , meet an aged truck driver and an elderly woman who is searching her burnt out home to salvage memories . This lady was really doing that and was asked if her story could be put into the film - which is a nice touch. The idea was that this would be an absurdist, minimalist tale where the two main characters would slowly reveal their real characters - both strengths and weaknesses by just being together or alone with their own thoughts, and some alcohol and heart ache.

So does it work? Well a lot of people seem to think so with a 6.4 rating on IMDB this is certainly no turkey. It is also supposed to be a 'hilarious' comedy; well I felt amused a couple of times but this is not even in the foothills of being funny. The characterisation is good and some of the absurd themes sort of work, but overall I felt under whelmed by this film. It is only 90 minutes long and the scenery is often beautiful. The score is from `Explosions in the Sky' and `Loosley Tight' and that also really works, I would give 6 out of ten which roughly equates with 3 stars. That is not meant to be harsh but to ignore the areas where this does not work would, I feel, be disingenuous. Still if you like absurdist, minimalism then this could be one you will want to see.
4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars david gordon green is back in form Nov. 29 2013
By adamKS - Published on Amazon.com
Format:DVD
after departing from the minimalist quirky drama side of film with 2008's "pineapple express" and the 2 not so great that followed "your highness" and "the sitter', david is appreciatively back in form with "prince avalanche". similar to the innocence and cinematography beauty of George Washington and with the buddy humor of the likes of Pineapple Express, prince avalanche should appeal to anyone of DGG's previous work. it's truly a sad thing to see all these premature, negative reviews for a gem of a movie like this. I assume people were looking for obvious, loud humor and a cohesive conventional plot but were disappointed to find a movie with 2 main characters, who we know very little about except that they are different human beings and that they are painting lines on roads that surround a devastated forest and community in texas that was recently destroyed by a fire. we have no clue what these 2 do back in the city when their not working, we only get a glimpse of who they are but as the film goes on we start to see subtle characteristics and personality rise to the surface and we see these two guys for who they really are or who they strive to be. the movie is an unraveling of emotions and character and possibly a start of an impossible, blooming friendship between 2 polar opposites.

anybody who has seen and liked david Gordon greens previous work before pineapple express, will not be surprised or bored with this movie. the man has a unique style of storytelling through film that uses subtle shots of nature and unconventional characters to bring forth organic human expression. and like his first 4 films, prince avalanche is no different. maybe a lot of the negative reviews are people looking for another pineapple express stoner comedy like film or just from seeing the great comedic actor paul rudd on the cover or trailer. this is not another paul rudd comedy, although paul rudd's comedic genius is seen throughout beneath that 80's moustache and clothes in the self-assured but flawed Alvin character, only in a more subtle way. also, emile hersch's character "lance" is very likeable and relatable and reminds me a bit like james franco laidback, clueless character in pineapple express. I think paul rudd's acting in this one is deserving of an award or at least an nomination. his reserved comedic presence along with drips of dramatic acting really shine here.

this is the kind of movie that is only going to hit a niche spot for movie seekers who ask more out of their movies than just cheap laughs and conventional plots and pacing. this is a special kind of movie for special film viewers and that's ok. why else would david Gordon green make such a minimalistic, spontaneous buddy dramedy in a desolate burnt forest in the middle of texas with only 4 total characters/actors in the entire movie? I think he made this more for himself than anything just to get back to what he enjoys about making movies and to not be restricted by big budget or marketers trying to make his film be something else.

as goes the saying, "we all go back to where we belong" or "we all always return to our roots". .and this is exactly the case with "prince avalanche". this is david making movies the way HE likes making movies and it is clear that this is the man's unique "talent/gift" on this planet.

keep em coming david, i'll keep watching.
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