by Michael D. Sellers4011041010aFor anyone interested in an incredible piece of unique film-making razzle dazzle, there is an extraordinary movie out there in a few cities now, and it will be going wider as the summer moves along. It’s called “Day Watch” — the second film in a projected trilogy by visionary (and I mean visionary) Russian director Timur Bekmanbetov. This film is like “Matrix” meets “Underworld” — but with a soulful slavic brain and an acute, ironic post-Soviet Russian humor. It’s a bit confusing at times, but never boring. Here’s a link to the trailer….check it out.It’s also a fascinating business story. Made for $4.2 Million dollars, it delivers all the special effects and energy that you see in films like Pirates of the Carribbean — but delivered with a kind of unrepressed glee that is just infectious. I’m good at getting a lot of production value for each dollar spent — but I have to confess I’m in awe of what’s been accomplished here. I’m not quite sure I believe all the reports that they really did this for $4.2M …. but there is enough out there on the web confirming this that I think it’s probably true. (And — as an aside — if they can do this for $4.2M then there is an extraordinary opportunity for any enterprising US producer who can create a story that can be shot over there using the same production team …. wow – what a value.)Now — here’s the most delightful part. They released this on January 1, 2006 in Russia and it very quickly became the alltime top Box Office hit in post-Soviet Russia. Two million people saw it in the first weeks and it has earned $31M to date in Russia. The US release (limited) was on June 1 and it’s rolling out to more cities now.In recommending this — I’m conscious of the fact that it’s got all the thrills and action of the big Hollywood movies — but those movies bore me to death. My wife had to keep poking me to wake me up during Pirates III; I made it through Spiderman 3 without nodding off but was decidedly restless; and I just couldn’t bring myself to go see Fantastic Four: Silver Surfer. But this movie just mesmerized me, using many of the same techniques but employing them not in some corporate America overkill way–but instead, employing those techniques in a kind of rebellious, underground, indie-spirited, whack-job way that is a strange and compelling delight.

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