Kaveh and Raul are two b-movie co-writers who have suffered a bitter falling out. Kaveh's lost his girlfriend, and spends his days getting high in his apartment, while Raul is off studying at Columbia University. But when one of their films ("Islama-rama 2") is accepted by a film festival, the two ex-friends are forced to tentatively re-connect in order to pitch their script to the mysterious producer, Yukio Tai (James Hong). Along the way, they will have to brave brutish bod... (Full plot summary below)
Kaveh and Raul are two b-movie co-writers who have suffered a bitter falling out. Kaveh's lost his girlfriend, and spends his days getting high in his apartment, while Raul is off studying at Columbia University. But when one of their films ("Islama-rama 2") is accepted by a film festival, the two ex-friends are forced to tentatively re-connect in order to pitch their script to the mysterious producer, Yukio Tai (James Hong). Along the way, they will have to brave brutish bodyguards, cutthroat colleagues, inept agents, romantic entanglements, prima donna actors, and the trials of their own bitter friendship.
Review & Comments
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The Playlist - 9/10 by Drew TaylorThe specificity of the documentary, staying within the walls of the boot camp for virtually the entire movie, is one of its biggest strengths since it is able to place you right alongside these kids.
Hitfix - 8/10 by Daniel FienbergWeb Junkie is a little sad, a little funny and a little scary. I'd say that I wish it had been a little more provocative.
New York Daily News - 8/10 by David HinckleyChina has classified Internet addiction as a clinical disorder, calling it the single most dangerous threat to the health and well-being of Chinese teenagers.
That’s a tough superlative to achieve, considering the levels of air and water pollution in China.
Village Voice - 8/10 by Katherine VuThe slow (albeit unevenly paced) unveiling of the boys' stories is persuasive and chilling.
Slant Magazine - 8/10 by Steve MacfarlaneWithout a frame of footage nor a single interview presented from outside the camp, the documentary shows a capitalist nightmare that accords its victims zero wiggle room.
The Hollywood Reporter - 7/10 by Duane ByrgeFilmmakers Shosh Shlam and Hilla Medalia probe this phenomenon, jarring viewers with an inside look at one of these “reform” centers, as well as shedding light on the mindset of these Internet “addicts.”
Variety - 7/10 by Dennis HarveyWith filmmakers Shosh Shlam and Hilla Medalia granted extraordinary access to one facility, they make for a bizarre and entertaining documentary.
Time Out New York - 6/10 by Joshua RothkopfBarreling toward its rapidly modernizing future, China takes Internet addiction more seriously than most nations: To watch Web Junkie, an often scary yet half-realized documentary, is to see a society trapped in its old solutions.
The Dissolve - 6/10 by Scott TobiasShlam and Medalia haven’t constructed the film particularly artfully—it’s sluggishly paced, and the two boys at its center aren’t vividly drawn—but Web Junkie is a case where the access is so unexpected and revelatory that it’s a wonder just to have the footage.
The A.V. Club - 6/10 by Mike D'AngeloIt’s clear that these kids have a genuine problem, and a more probing film might have questioned the cultural factors that contribute to it, as well as the efficacy of more or less kidnapping errant youths and trying to coerce them back into productivity. Web Junkie doesn’t do much probing, however.
New York Post - 6/10 by Farran Smith NehmeBrief and timely, this documentary directed by Shosh Shlam and Hilla Medalia is also frustrating.
The New York Times - 6/10 by A.O. ScottThe film lacks either the immersive intensity that would galvanize emotions or a context that would provide enlightenment. Its brief tour of an unpleasant corner of reality feels less revelatory than voyeuristic.