Sybil Temchen

Sybil Temchen

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Floating Review


Excellent
It might be wandering, it might be inconsistent, and it might have questionable editing (that's putting it mildly), but dammit I enjoyed Floating. This dark coming-of-age story has a lower-class underachiever (Norman Reedus) dealing with a crippled widower father (Will Lyman), stoner friends, and the new rich kid across from the lake where they all live, with Reedus's Van trying to make sense of his future during another wasted summer after highschool. The title isn't just a reference to Van's swimming ability, it's a metaphor for his life, and the movie doesn't take the easy way out in helping him out of his rut. Very interesting if you're a patient viewer.

Nice Guys Sleep Alone Review


OK
Stu Pollard's indie feature Nice Guys Sleep Alone suffers from the same problem as his main character Carter (Sean O'Bryan): It's too nice and sweet. I kept waiting for romantic loser/hero Carter -- to paraphrase Vince Vaughn in Swingers -- to be the "rated R guy, the guy we're not sure if we like yet." When he finally becomes that guy, we're too far gone down this road, a road which wants to tell us something about friendship and love intermingling, and how although "nice guys" typically get the shaft, it doesn't always pan out that way.

Pollard has a good sense of comic timing (and the good sense to adapt a novel instead of writing his own original story). His film pans out in Louisville, with frequent visits to the track and other interesting locations. (How many indie romantic comedies are shot in two locations: someone's apartment and a bar!? Ugh.) He even gets actors like Morgan Fairchild and William "This is my other brother Darryl" Sanderson. Pollard obviously spent a lot of money too, shooting on 35mm (if not, he fooled me) and staging some big-budget scenes, including period-piece dream sequences and real-live horse races.

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Body Shots Review


Grim
Again, Hollywood has taken creative marketing to new heights with Body Shots. Judging by the trailers, the ads, even the tagline ("There are movies that define every decade!"), one would be led to believe that Body Shots is an incisive drama/comedy about twentysomething relationships, emphasis on the comedy.

Body Shots is not that movie.

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Ten Benny Review


OK
A bizarre conflagration of GoodFellas, Moonstruck, and The Brothers McMullen, Ten Benny's story of three men coming of age in New Jersey is all over the map. At times it's good, at times it's unwatchable. As a whole, it's fair. The plotlines of gambling addiction and mob tyranny are pretty old, but like I say, it's not a horrible movie. Just not a great one.

Lip Service Review


Grim
With amusing insidery comments about attending "that sucky arts college in the Bay Area," Lip Service starts off as funny but quickly becomes unlikely and dull as it degenerates into a female version of The Odd Couple. Jami Gertz and Sybil Temchen play old college roommates who reunite years later in Temchen's upscale furniture store. The catch: Temchen feels guilty for selling Gertz's chair as her own design so she takes her in. The catch: Gertz is a slut, a drunk, and generally anti-social. And Temchen is the opposite. Hijinks ensue as they learn about life from each other or until you fall asleep, whichever comes first.

Restaurant Review


Good
They might as well have called this movie J. T. McClure's, which is the name of the "restaurant" where all the film's characters work. That would have at least helped to add a little mystery and some flare to such a pitiable title. Thankfully, the film itself is a whole lot better than the name might indicate. Restaurant, directed by Eric Bross, spins the story of a group of young twenty-somethings struggling to reach their dreams of fame, while working at an upscale bar and grill in Hoboken, New Jersey. It's got that sort of Swingers humor and mentality, mixed with a diverse cast and much more serious themes.

Our protagonist is the restaurant's bartender, Chris Calloway (Adrien Brody - Summer of Sam, Six Ways to Sunday), a struggling playwright weaving his real life problems into his first play -- a work in progress that he can't seem to finish. When he meets the newest waitress Jeanine (Elise Neal - Mission to Mars) and they hit it off, he's faced with his second interracial relationship (the first being Lauryn Hill, who we see mostly as a picture on the refrigerator). Chris can't figure out why he likes black women so much, especially after his Italian father raised him to be a bigot. This dilemma is portrayed in his unfinished play, which is the story of a white man that can't deal with the external pressures of having a black girlfriend, even though he's madly in love. As he tries to make sense of his feelings, he gets caught up in the past when his ex (Hill) shows up at a friend's wedding. Because his relationship with her ended on such a bizarre note, he can't put it behind him, which prevents him from devoting his heart to Jeanine, and finally, thwarts him from finishing the play. Whew!

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Body Shots Review


Unbearable

Don't be fooled by the marketing campaign for "Body Shots" -- it's not a cool, funny, sexy romp or the defining document of life as a modern, twentysomething hipster, as the advertising has the audacity to proclaim.

In fact, this self-important, superficial ensemble piece opens unpleasantly in the minutes following an alcohol-induced rape, then -- after dropping that one shoe -- rewinds to the night before and makes you wade through an hour of shallow, soap operatic constipation with unbelievably one-dimensional characters before meandering back to this one element of the movie with any emotional hook whatsoever.

The bulk of "Body Shots" revolves around an octet of generically pretty, largely blonde, yuppies-in-training who talk incessantly to the camera, over-analyzing their sex lives and the difference between men and women in some of the most trite monologues in movie history.

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