Writer/Director of Ben Banks, Bryce Clark, was kind enough to send through a screener of the movie ahead of its home video release due sometime over the coming months. The movie stars Ben Banks (as Ben Banks) and essentially explores a few odd scenarios that end up re-igniting a sense of ambition in this stoner guy who had spent many years coasting along. Mischa plays Amy, a coffee shop employee with a sordid past.
Ben Banks has some great qualities and some not so great qualities. If you’re used to general Hollywood movies, then like me, you’ll probably find the movie a little disconnected. There are a few storylines and several characters going on that don’t really merge together. There is also a religious undertone to the film which is a bit of a head scratcher. Having said that, in some ways it works because the movie is being told through the eyes of Ben Banks so we’re supposed to experience his life the way he’s living through it.
Moving on to the highlight of the movie, which, no surprises, is Mischa’s chemistry with Ben Banks. I did see one review that called them “uncomfortable” which I guess is true, but it’s precisely that awkwardness that makes their on screen relationship all the more charming. Their scenes together are warm and endearing. And Mischa as an actress has always had that girl-next-door vibe about her, which works a treat especially in the context of this movie as you see why Ben Banks would be protective of her despite the revelations of her past. Plus, there are a few cute little details like Amy writing Ben’s name on his coffee cup accompanied by a little smiley face.
The other highlight of the movie is how beautifully it’s shot. I don’t know anything about technical film-making jargon, but there is something in the colour saturation and the sharpness of the image that is stunning. Some of the shots are truly breathtaking, especially the outdoor work. If this weren’t a movie, it could easily have been a tourist commercial for Utah.
One of the other highlights of the movie is seeing Melora Hardin pop up – who you might know from The Office. Her presence gives a little extra kick of life into the movie and it would have been great if she had a few extra scenes.
Movies work best when you have your lead actors with all the other supporting actors and their scenes working to service and enhance the leads. In this instance, I found myself struggling to understand if the movie was an indie rom-com, a stoner comedy or a small town conspiracy theory expose because I wasn’t sure who the leads were. It then becomes apparent that there is only one lead – Ben Banks – so it makes you realize that Amy is also just a supporting character. That, however, leads me to question the ‘why?’ of it all. Why Ben Banks? A song has a chorus to hook you into listening, a character needs to hook you too and I don’t know that a set of unusual circumstances is catchy enough. I think Ben the regular guy colliding with Amy the not-so-regular girl is a much more effective hook – the story of them, not just the story of him – but that could just be my Mischa bias showing. I’m not saying we don’t get the story of them in the movie, I think it just would have benefited from re-focusing the tone to Ben and Amy as equal leads so that she’s involved with the stoner friends and the small town conspiracy too.
I’m sure you guys will enjoy Amy – she’s a great character with a lot of heart, so for that alone, I hope you’re able to check out Ben Banks when it lands on DVD or VOD in the near future.
If you’ve already seen the movie, let me know what you think by hitting the comments.
Check out the new trailer for Mischa’s upcoming movie Ben Banks. The film opens in limited release from December 7th in select megaplex theaters in Utah. Visit the Ben Banks Facebook page for details.
Ben Banks is finally making its way to limited release in the US where it will screen in select cities. Visit the Ben Banks Facebook page for updates. The movie is also currently available on DVD in certain European countries under the title Beauty and the Least.
Well, it’s been quite an adventure, longer than anyone could have anticipated, but we are finally getting a small theatrical release for Ben Banks. It’s all in MEGAPLEX theaters in Utah – we’ll see how it does, but at least the folks in St. George will get to see it in a theater.
After that, we’ll do the whole VOD, iTunes, RedBox etc. thing…
Here is where it will be playing starting DECEMBER 7th, 2012:
ST. GEORGE: WASHINGTON RED CLIFFS
CEDAR CITY: FIDDLER THEATER
SOUTH JORDAN (SLC): THE DISTRICT 20
Check out the cool new poster for the movie.
Bryce Clark took to the Ben Banks movie blog to fill us in on the situation with the changing titles of Ben Banks aka The Misadventures of Ben Banks aka Beauty & the Least. Here is the post:
There is a lot about the movie business that we are learning as we go through this process. We signed with an international sales agent and watching them sell the movie to overseas markets is eye opening.
They use different titles to attract different buyers from various territories… THE MISADVENTURES OF BEN BANKS and BEAUTY AND THE LEAST – it’s weird to watch. I mean I’m expecting to see the movie called SMOKING HIGH MAN FINDS LOVE…
No I’m kidding!
We’ve had to let go a little bit as first time filmmakers – but not one frame of the movie has been touched. It is the movie I made. It’s the movie I wanted to make. It’s just being packaged and sold in a way that is in line with what attracts foreign buyers. And I get that. Usually this happens after a movie’s North American presence has been established, but we’re doing it in reverse (as I guess more and more indie movies are doing)
It is cool to see the movie getting out there…
When the movie is released in North America it will be BEN BANKS!
Here is the revised poster for Beauty & the Least aka The Misadventures of Ben Banks.
Finally we have some promotional material for Mischa’s upcoming romantic comedy titled Beauty & the Least. Most of us will know this movie under the old title of Ben Banks or The Misadventures of Ben Banks.
GENRE: Romantic Comedy
CAST: Mischa Barton (TV’s: THE OC)
SYNOPSIS: When they say “love is blind,” they must have been talking about Amy and Ben. Amy (Mischa Barton, TV’s “The O.C.”, “Apartment 1303 3D”) is a beautiful young woman with a mysterious past. Ben (Ben Banks) is a scruffy slacker, whose only ambition seems to be avoiding growing up. However, Amy seems something in Ben that Ben doesn’t see in himself, which gives Ben the confidence to make something of his life. The power of love (and a beautiful girl!) shows Ben that being a grown-up isn’t such a bad thing after all.
All information and media via Spotlight Pictures
Chris Saul, cinematographer of one of Mischa’s upcoming films, The Misadventures of Ben Banks, has added a bunch of promotional material for the movie on his website. Most significantly is a trailer to showcase the cinematography of the movie (so there is no dialogue) but it does represent the first ever vision we’ve seen of the movie. And if this sample is anything to go by, it’s clear that the film is shot absolutely beautifully. Check out the video below.
I’ve also added captures from the trailer which you can view in the gallery.
Additionally, some extra behind-the-scenes have been added.
According to Cinando, Ben Banks has had a title change to the more catchy The Misadventures of Ben Banks with a new tag line: “A fairy tale about beauty and the least.” They have also added a new synopsis for the movie which you can read below:
Ben Banks is the Forrest Gump of the slacker generation. He’s a young man without much drive or ambition, who stumbles into a series of strange and fascinating (mis)adventures. When he falls in love with a beautiful girl (Mischa Barton) with a mysterious past, he begins a journey that makes him discover being a grown-up isn’t so bad after all.
In other movie news, Eleven Arts (a movie sales company) have featured a revised poster for the Roland Joffe directed movie, You and I.