Movie: One of the cool things about being a reviewer at DVDTalk is that I get exposed to a lot of lesser known titles that I wouldn't otherwise have heard about. While movies like the latest Terminator, Lord of the Rings or Finding Nemo, are talked about in every form of media and have huge advertising budgets to promote them, little independent movies often slip under the radar screen. Unless you attend film festivals or try to rent from an incredibly well stocked video store on a stormy Friday night, you will probably miss out on a variety of entertaining, offbeat and quirky movies unless you really, really know what to look for. While Paramount, MGM, Warner, or any of the other "major" studios drop huge bucks on promotions, smaller companies simply can't do this so word of mouth is important. Wellspring, Vanguard, and Film Movement are but a few of these smaller companies that release a great many movies that show more imagination, more creativity, and manage to entertain at least as much (often more) than the over hyped Hollywood blockbusters their big-dollar counters are known for. From the folks at Wellspring comes a dandy little gem called Bug.
The movie is a collection of short bits that humorously show how all things in life are connected. In a sense, it seems to prove the multitude of theories and philosophies that center on karma, chaos theory, and the cosmic laws of cause & effect. It started out with a small boy stomping a cockroach. A man sees him about to do it and tries to intervene. By doing so, the guy leaves his car at the parking meter without putting money in it, whereupon a meter maid gives him a ticket. The ticket causes him to act in a particular way, which causes a chain reaction that impacts other people and so on. I could detail the twists and turns the events make but suffice it to say that if you blink, you'll likely miss some comic bit that relates to the next bit. In short, it's not only a comedy, but it's a thinker's comedy.
This movie had a lot going for it. Many of the actors were character actors from a variety of TV shows, movies and cable which lent an air of familiarity that a completely unknown cast wouldn't have had. While that sounds unimportant, it establishes their credentials as well as added to the "feel" of the movie. It also made the acting well above average for a low budget film-the budget was reportedly under a million dollars (okay, it wasn't an ULTRA low budget release but it looks like it cost a lot more).
The movie also tackled the subject matter really well. It would've been far easier for Director/Writers Matt Manfredi and Phil Hay to take the cheap road and focus on a single character but instead they used more of an ensemble approach which allowed them to skillfully weave several stories into one-all tied into the stream of events based on the theme. While those looking for car chases, shootouts and explosions will not be thrilled with this one, those looking for a well made movie that gets you thinking will truly appreciate it a lot. Add in some solid production values and you'll know why I rated this one Highly Recommended.
Picture: The picture was presented in 1.85:1 ratio widescreen color and looked very clear for an independent movie. There was a bit of grain from time to time but the fleshtones and other colors were accurate, with some solid detail.
Sound: The audio was presented with a choice of either English 5.1 Dolby Digital or a 2.0 track with no subtitles. The vocals were quite clear and the music was simple yet added to the overall effect. Well done.
Extras: trailers, filmographies, and weblinks. (no paper inserts)
Final Thoughts: Bug is one movie that embraces Calvinism yet shows that we are all bound by our personal choices. I think it's a great date movie but also one to watch when you're in a reflective mood. The combination of acting, screenplay, directing, and production values made this one a lot better than standard Hollywood fare if you're in the mood for a quirky little treat.