Combustible Celluloid
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With: Roy Abramsohn, Elena Schuber, Katelynn Rodriguez, Jack Dalton, Danielle Safady, Annet Mahendru
Written by: Randy Moore
Directed by: Randy Moore
MPAA Rating: NR
Running Time: 90
Date: 10/11/2013

Escape from Tomorrow (2013)

2 1/2 Stars (out of 4)

Mouse Trap

By Jeffrey M. Anderson

Randy Moore's Escape from Tomorrow earns huge points for audacity. It's already one of the most legendary guerilla movie shoots in history. This black-and-white surreal nightmare was shot almost entirely at Disneyland in California and Disney World in Florida -- without permission. The filmmakers correctly deduced that with millions of tourists taking photos and shooting videos in the park, no one would ever guess that someone was actually shooting a scripted feature film.

It tells the story of a middle-aged man, Jim (Roy Abramsohn), visiting the theme park with his wife Emily (Elena Schuber), and two kids (Katelynn Rodriguez and Jack Dalton). Jim becomes obsessed with two gorgeous teenage French girls (Danielle Safady and Annet Mahendru) who keep appearing nearby, and begins to get reckless, losing his kids, getting drunk, and leaving fairly obvious evidence for the wife to find. Eventually it comes out that something much larger and more sinister is going on and that Jim is merely a pawn.

The movie references several real-life Disney myths, such as the turkey legs actually being emu legs, and there's a definite thrill in the beginning as the surroundings overwhelm us. But eventually, we're asked to hang our attention on Jim, who began to irritate me, mainly because, as a father, I couldn't forgive him for his carelessness. And as the plot kicks into high gear I found that it just didn't click. It doesn't make sense as a plot, and it's too literal to be very surreal. I think the movie wanted to find the dark underbelly -- or at least invent one -- for the happiest place on earth, but the gimmick itself eventually outweighs any other attempts it makes as art or entertainment.

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