Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
Curious Essay At Romantic Melodrama Lacks Needed Structuring
rsoonsa | Lake Isabella, California | 11/16/2006
(2 out of 5 stars)
"Mackinac Media provides some engaging DVD releases, including those of an Ottawa based production company named Distinct Features that sponsors, among others, films created by director Derek Diorio that efficiently utilize private financial support and meagre budgets, such as in the case of this piece with which a viewer might well wish to spend time, although its entertainment value is only seldom, and then but moderately, apparent. The script, contributed in the main by Dan LaLande, who also performs in a page of the late action, flirts upon occasion with Magical Realism, yet is most effective through flashes of satire. The plotline essentially involves two women along with the men who are courting them within a setting of the Canadian capital's Preston Street Little Italy district. Additionally, there are several subthreads within the tale that depict tribulations undergone by a struggling actor and his agent; a sardonic barkeep who enjoys tormenting a non-paying tippler; and others; each connected in some manner with the targets of the would-be swains. These ancillary subjects are too many, it might be thought, to maintain an orderly narrative. All shooting is in Ottawa, a good deal of it set in the Byward Market region, and includes footage of some locals as extras, notably those from the Ottawa Valley's Astronomy and Observers Group that is to be seen focussing attention and telescopes upon the scenario's significant conjunction of planets Jupiter and Venus, a titular gambit not well explored and an example of shortcomings that mar the film throughout. The script swings eccentrically between poles of romantic hyperbole and utter tastelessness, a condition requiring more than strong acting to bind this material into a semblance of unity. Despite skilled performances by most of the players, some casting miscues are evident, in particular a monochromatic Sarah Van Diepen as an object of desire, and a manifestly diminutive Michael Mancini as her prospective lover who must needs be (literally) looking up to her if he wishes success from his amourous suit. The DVD is a generally well-produced and widescreen edition, and included upon the disc is a gallery of production stills and a set of useful cast biographies of Canadian actors. Visual quality is excellent and editing is crisp but there is trouble with sound transferring, as the pleasingly piquant thematic scoring intrudes at times upon dialogue.