Directed by Joe Swanberg
USA
2006

“LOL” is about three men who are way too attached to their electronic devices. Tim, who does some kind of work via computer, alienates his girlfriend Ada by never closing the damn laptop. When it is closed, his ear is fixed to a cell phone. When the two actually speak to one another, Tim seems lost and confused. Alex is a musician (more on that later) who is so fixated on a girl he’s met through an adult website, he simply cannot relate to a real-life girl named Walter who really seems to dig him. Then there’s Chris. Chris has moved to Chicago for work and has left behind girlfriend Greta in New York. As the two try and keep a spark alive through cell phones and cell phone photos, they become increasingly lonely and detached from one another.

Through that description “LOL” might seem like a lame satire on “the information age.” However Swanberg’s simplistic technique makes the film more of a thesis about how technology may bring people together from all around the world, but it also starts to make one feel less personally connected. Along with the common narrative structure, “LOL” also features some extremely cool “Noisehead” videos sprinkled throughout. The videos are close-up shots of people from all over making different mouth noises. The film’s composer and star Kevin Bewersdorf combines them through interesting screen captures and loops certain noises together to make music. He then runs them like a song that’s been created onscreen…it really has to be experienced to be understood.

Excerpt from filmthreat.com located HERE

Poster

Theatrical Release: March 13th, 2006 (South by Southwest Film Festival) 

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DVD Review: Benten Films / Ryko Distribution - Region 0 - NTSC

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Distribution Benten Films / Ryko Distribution - Region 0 - NTSC
Runtime 1:20:42 
Video 1.33:1 Aspect Ratio
Average Bitrate: 7.18 mb/s
NTSC 720x480 29.97 f/s

NOTE: The Vertical axis represents the bits transferred per second. The Horizontal is the time in minutes.

Bitrate:

Audio English (Dolby Digital 2.0) 
Subtitles English, None
Features

Release Information:
Studio: Benten Films / Ryko Distribution

Aspect Ratio:
Original Aspect Ratio 1.33:1

Edition Details:

• Director commentary, with scene specific contributions from Kevin Bewersdorf and C. Mason Wells
• Cast commentary with Joe Swanberg, Kevin Bewersdorf, C. Mason Wells, Greta Gerwig, and Tipper Newton
• Hissy Fits: a short film made as a test for LOL
• Kevin-Casts: video podcasts documenting the making of LOL
• Complete Noisehead Videos
• The Artwork of LOL
• Tipper Newton Casting Interview
• Additional Kevin Bewersdorf performance footage
• 4-page liner notes with It's Not You, It's MySpace, a new essay by GreenCine Daily editor David Hudson

DVD Release Date: August 28th, 2007

Keep Case inside cardboard box
Chapters: 12

 

 

Comments:

Very impressive. These guys are quite young.... but really know what they are doing and have a keen sense of modern techno-sociability. My expectations weren't exceptionally high but LOL is one of those rare film experiences that reinforces the hopefulness of indie cinema. The inability to 'connect' in today's environment is certainly not an original concept but Swanberg's unique vision exporting both pathos and satire is extremely refreshing.  

The dual-layered DVD also has some real positives - the 1.33 image (purposeful for a documentary 'feel') is progressive excepting a very few certain scenes that are meant to have an inferior 'digital' look (they are interlaced). It is not exceptionally sharp (limitations of the camera) but this encourages the film's concept. Lighting and colors are quite acceptable. Sound is not dynamic by any standards but is clear and audible - perfectly suitable to the indie production.

There are many extras including 2 commentaries - a 'technical' one where director Swanberg, Kevin Bewersdorf and C. Mason Wells have a great conversation on the technical direction of the film - off-the-cuff but still it's a pleasure to hear such frank and intelligent points being made. The second commentary (called 'cast') has Joe Swanberg, Kevin Bewersdorf, C. Mason Wells, Greta Gerwig, and Tipper Newton being a little less formal and discussing more from the acting viewpoint among other issues. There are also some trendy filler-type supplements including Hissy Fits: a 7-minute film made as a test for LOL, Kevin-Casts: a ten minute video podcast documenting the making of LOL, Complete Noisehead Videos (10 minutes), The Artwork of LOL, a 7.5 minute Tipper Newton casting interview, 2.5 minutes of additional Kevin Bewersdorf performance footage and finally a 4-page liner notes leaflet with It's Not You, It's MySpace, a new essay by GreenCine Daily editor David Hudson.

Overall the price is kind of high but I do think it is worth it. This is such a unique and professional work - it certainly deserves a wide audience. It is all at once kind of 'cool', poignant and simple as some of the best works of cinema tend to be. Recommened!    

Gary W. Tooze

 

 



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Distribution Benten Films / Ryko Distribution - Region 0 - NTSC




 

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