Wintering the Storms of Hollywood
Bisco | Los Angeles | 05/13/2001
(4 out of 5 stars)
"When I was first ihnvited to a screening of Tony Winters' feature film RETIRING TATIANA during a meeting of black writers and producers last year, I accepted the invitation with mixed feelings. I was excited about hobnobbing with young, black artists who were blazing their own trails through Hollywood's ironclad doors. On the other hand, I was a little jaded at viewing what I initially thought to be just "another black comedy." The first fifteen minutes into RETIRING TATIANA, and I was hooked. It's the story of an eternal bachelor, Drew (played by Tony) who is forced to bring a date to his father's retirement party. The date is Tatiana (played with diva-like precision by Nikki Crawford). Here was an intelligent romantic comedy featuring a strong, yet slightly outlandish, black woman and the havoc she wreaks on the lives of those around her."
Appealing Romantic Comedy
Ibochild | Los Angeles, CA USA | 11/01/2001
(3 out of 5 stars)
"Winner of the audience award at the 2000 Pan African Film Festival in Los Angeles, RETIRING TATIANA is an appealing romantic comedy. It features a cast of largely unknown actors, but most give at least credible performances. The real stand out is Nikki Crawford as the title character. It is so refreshing to see a woman of color play a character that does not fit into a familiar "type." Some might call her character a "diva," but she's not the same old diva.The story involves Drew (Anthony Winters, who also wrote the screenplay), an avowed bachelor from Los Angeles, who brings Tatiana (a woman he hardly knows), to his father's retirement party in Detroit. His main motivation for bringing a date is to make Cece (Kellita Smith), his old flame jealous. Tatiana, a jazz singer, turns out to be a lot more than Drew bargained for. In a word, Tatiana is a "nut."While the film has a certain amount of charm, like many recent black films, it is weak on plot. Tatiana doesn't quite stir up things as much as you would expect. Instead the filmmakers (Thom Steinhoff directed) chose to play it safe and not dare to be really bold or outlandish. On a positive note, the film is competantly photographed and is populated with characters that seem like real people.But is it entertaining? Yes, particularly when Crawford comes on the screen. She does quite well with what she has to work with. One could only imagine what she would do with a richer script. Crawford's work so far seems to be primarily in the theatre (she did PLAY ON! which aired on PBS from a Pasadena Playhouse production), but amazingly little film or television. This is a shame, because even in this little film, she is so much more interesting than 90% of the young actresses out there. Hopefully, Hollywood will soon take notice.If you're looking for something light that doesn't tax your brain too much, RETIRING TATIANA is it. This is particularly true on those weekends when all the "hits" have been rented at the local video store. Take a look and depending on your taste, you may be pleasantly surprised."