Click to Skip Ad
Closing in...
'Rogue One: A Star Wars Story' Might Be Shot In Panavision 70 'Rogue One: A Star Wars Story' Might Be Shot In Panavision 70 Make It Happen Weinsteins: David Robert Mitchell Wants To Have Beer With Quentin Tarantino And Talk 'It Follows' Make It Happen Weinsteins: David Robert Mitchell Wants To Have Beer With Quentin Tarantino And Talk 'It Follows' Eddie Redmayne & Alicia Vikander In The Beautiful First Posters For Transgender Drama ‘The Danish Girl’ Eddie Redmayne & Alicia Vikander In The Beautiful First Posters For Transgender Drama ‘The Danish Girl’ Ridley Scott Says 'Prometheus 2' Is His Next Film Ridley Scott Says 'Prometheus 2' Is His Next Film Joaquin Phoenix Reteams With M. Night Shyamalan For New Film Joaquin Phoenix Reteams With M. Night Shyamalan For New Film Watch: Honest Trailer For 'Mad Max: Fury Road,' A Handcrafted Masterpiece Of Death And Destruction Watch: Honest Trailer For 'Mad Max: Fury Road,' A Handcrafted Masterpiece Of Death And Destruction Bruce Willis Exits Woody Allen's New Film With Kristen Stewart, Jesse Eisenberg, And More Bruce Willis Exits Woody Allen's New Film With Kristen Stewart, Jesse Eisenberg, And More Watch: Clickhole's Hilarious 'The Dark Knight' Video Essay Parody Watch: Clickhole's Hilarious 'The Dark Knight' Video Essay Parody The Essentials: The 10 Greatest Jean-Pierre Melville Films The Essentials: The 10 Greatest Jean-Pierre Melville Films New Image From 'Star Wars: The Force Awakens' Plus J.J. Abrams Talks About First Seeing 'Star Wars' New Image From 'Star Wars: The Force Awakens' Plus J.J. Abrams Talks About First Seeing 'Star Wars' Is There Still Life In The Franchise? 'Terminator: Genisys' Sets Record For 4th Biggest Debut Ever For A U.S. Movie In China Is There Still Life In The Franchise? 'Terminator: Genisys' Sets Record For 4th Biggest Debut Ever For A U.S. Movie In China Kirsten Dunst May Reteam With Sofia Coppola For A New Movie In 2016 Kirsten Dunst May Reteam With Sofia Coppola For A New Movie In 2016 'Batman v Superman' And Why Early Screening Reports Need To Be Taken With A Grain Of Kryptonite 'Batman v Superman' And Why Early Screening Reports Need To Be Taken With A Grain Of Kryptonite The 25 Best Sci-Fi Films Of The 21st Century So Far The 25 Best Sci-Fi Films Of The 21st Century So Far The 10 All-Time Best Episodes Of 'Parks And Recreation' The 10 All-Time Best Episodes Of 'Parks And Recreation' The 25 Best Horror Films Of The 21st Century So Far The 25 Best Horror Films Of The 21st Century So Far Watch: 3 Graphic, Very NSFW Clips From Lars von Trier's 'Nymphomaniac Vol II — Director's Cut' Watch: 3 Graphic, Very NSFW Clips From Lars von Trier's 'Nymphomaniac Vol II — Director's Cut' The 20 Best TV Shows Of The 2013/2014 Season The 20 Best TV Shows Of The 2013/2014 Season 20 Survival Films That Will Take You Into The Abyss 20 Survival Films That Will Take You Into The Abyss All The Songs In 'Pitch Perfect' Including La Roux, David Guetta, Azealia Banks, Nicki Minaj & More All The Songs In 'Pitch Perfect' Including La Roux, David Guetta, Azealia Banks, Nicki Minaj & More

Review: Shot In Secret, Mind-Melter 'Escape From Tomorrow'

The Playlist By William Goss | The Playlist October 10, 2013 at 4:27PM

We’re not sure why writer/director Randy Moore decided to come swinging out the gate with a first feature like “Escape from Tomorrow,” and frankly, we’re not entirely sure how he got away with even making it in the first place. Much of this dark, utterly bizarre comedy would appear to be covertly shot on the property of Orlando’s Walt Disney World, and despite Moore’s strident avoidance of the dreaded D-word, there’s little doubting that the Mouse House and all it represents is in his sights.
0
Escape From Tomorrow
"Escape From Tomorrow."

We’re not sure why writer/director Randy Moore decided to come swinging out the gate with a first feature like “Escape from Tomorrow,” and frankly, we’re not entirely sure how he got away with even making it in the first place. Much of this dark, utterly bizarre comedy would appear to be covertly shot on the property of Orlando’s Walt Disney World, and despite Moore’s strident avoidance of the dreaded D-word, there’s little doubting that the Mouse House and all it represents is in his sights.

On the last morning of a Florida family vacation, Jim (Roy Abramsohn) receives a phone call, telling him that he’s been let go from his job. He keeps this information to himself, content with simply rushing his wife (Elena Schuber) and kids (Jack Dalton and Katelynn Rodriguez) out the door for another day of brutal humidity and endless lines. Amid the mind-numbing grind of making memories stroll two young French girls, giggling and gallivanting around the park, clearly causing Daddy to pine for a visit to Lolitaland.

Escape From Tomorrow

However, things seem slightly off to Jim. He starts to see demonic figures on the rides. He keeps losing his children and running into the same scooter-bound cretins. The park nurse seems awfully sensitive about the possibility of visitors contracting “cat flu.” What is it with the Asian businessmen hitting on all the princesses? And just what are those turkey legs made out of anyway?

Moore’s movie may not seem to make much sense – visitors unwittingly look into the camera, green-screen work is used to duplicate the park experience, and the story is frankly bugnuts throughout – but he does set up bits at the beginning that do come to pay off in ridiculous ways, and cinematographer Lucas Lee Graham pulls off the commendable feat of shooting the film with some margin of legitimate composition in spite of the crew’s apparent guerrilla antics. Furthermore, composer Abel Korzeniowski (“A Single Man”) was somehow enlisted to contribute a score of unlikely grandeur that suits the surreal aesthetic contrasts of squeaky-clean Disney and middle-aged madness nicely.

Escape From Tomorrow

Thrust smack in the middle of most every scene, Abramsohn handles the story’s unlikely demands with aplomb. Looking like the missing link between Ciarán Hinds and Ken Marino, he has a suitable everyman appearance and few apparent qualms about performing to an unwitting public. Whether his character is shit-faced at Epcot or leering shamelessly at the aforementioned teens in the Magic Kingdom, he conveys appropriate amounts of realistic parental panic as easily as he does oversized outbursts, maintaining just a sliver of haggard determination along the way.

As for how this nightmare unfolds, well, you’d hardly believe us if we tried to describe it. Beyond the simple absurdity of a courtesan screaming out “Find my hidden Mickey!” during sex or the slap-in-the-face timing of an intermission, the Polanski-like madness of 'Tomorrow' clearly stems from some of the very real frustrations that families are met with in the face of overwhelming corporate homogeneity. This potential cult classic may be a bit on the sloppy side, but it’s fairly clear to us that Moore very much gives a damn about not giving a fuck. [B+]

This is a slightly edited reprint of our review from the 2013 Sundance Film Festival.
 

This article is related to: Reviews, Review, Escape from Tomorrow


The Playlist

The obsessives' guide to contemporary cinema via film discussion, news, reviews, features, nostalgia, movie music, soundtracks, DVDs and more.


E-Mail Updates