Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
Actors: Nancy Bell, Kevin Chamberlin, Joe Mellis, Kit Pongetti, Michael James Reed
Director: Adam Watstein
Genres: Comedy, Drama
Studio: Vanguard Cinema Release Date: 11/25/2008 Run time: 96 minutes Rating: Nr
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A Delightful Surprise
Matthew P. DeMella | New York, New York | 12/20/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Five Hollywood players attend a cocktail party hosted by a director who has been attracting attention after his first festival-winning film.
The dialog was entirely improvised around objectives given to the actors before shooting. When the partygoers arrived, their ambitions were masked behind dodges and small talk. By the evening's end, they confront each other in ways that are outrageous and heartbreaking. The actors were drinking real martinis throughout filming and we watch their inhibitions slowly disappear as they flatter, manipulate, demand, and threaten to get what they want.
Nancy Bell plays Blake Barker, a monstrous, pretty starlet obsessed with landing a part in the director's new project. Her real life husband, Michael James Reed, plays her boyfriend, action star, Sam Ransom. Ransom's character wonderfully satirizes the puffed up but cunning celebrity actor, short on acting chops, but managing to stay in the public eye with one lousy hit popcorn movie after another. (I will also say that his costume choices, which I understand were his own, were a stroke of genius. Just exactly who shows up to an evening party wearing orange tinted sunglasses and a knit beanie cap?) James Tupper (Men In Trees) is quietly charismatic as the film's moral center, having attended the party only to say goodbye to the other guests as he leaves Hollywood to return to his home town to become an acting teacher. The party's host, Jason Grant is played by Joe Mellis. Partway through the film, Blake Barker pays Jason yet another disingenuous compliment, and he responds to her with the driest of facial expressions and says....nothing. It is one of my favorite moments in this film.
This movie tragically illustrates what people are willing to give up and live with for a chance at success. It is telling that all of the women in the film are drawn to Tupper's handsome, gracious character, but that they all in the end, choose Hollywood instead. The film's sad heart lies in this decision to live among those we dislike or despise, and what we lose in the process.