|Index||3 reviews in total|
A slick film with a visual style from a first rate director. The performances are good, especially Justin Louis as "Duke" and Peter Ornorati as "Charlie." Tamara Braun of "General Hospital" fame shows she's more than a soap opera queen as "Jenny." The relationship between the "Romano Brothers" is believable and moving. Ron Cosentino directs the film at a fever pitch and his use of imagery and locations (shot throughout the streets of Hollywood and L.A.) makes this an enjoyable viewing experience. Honorable mention is given to veteran actress Karen Black as the hard working waitress mother of the Romano's whose dreams for her boys are drowned in her barfly persona. Carmine Giovinazzo is also good in the lead as Frankie Romano. I hope to see more films from Cosentino in the future.
And at least one of them lives in Waterloo, Iowa. I recently watched
Cosentino's directorial debut and while the film definitely has some
problems, I found it ambitious, cinematic, and at least a slight homage
to the new york based dramas of the 1970's. It was also quirky and
tragic, and once I got used to slower pace of the film, I threw myself
in and went for the ride. Where some found cliché, I found irony. I
like the NY vibe of the film, set somewhat askew by its LA setting.
It's like a live action Tom Waits song...a mixture of tones with some
really rough edges, some great moments, and a little all over the
I also like that the story stayed true to the characters and their relationships, and didn't get bogged down in that NY vs LA thing. The characters were good and the performances were strong across the board. Sure, the script could have been tighter and taken a few unexpected turns, but for what it is, Cosentino's Fallen Arches is a solid first effort.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
The phrase "necessity is the mother of invention" is nowhere more true
than in the world of Hollywood. From the story of how Stephen Spielberg
kept the audience waiting in fear and anticipation for the appearance
of the shark in Jaws because the mechanical fish wouldn't work to
brilliant indie scripts written so they could be made on a budget that
wouldn't feed a family in sub-Saharan Africa, limitations of all sorts
have come together to produce movie magic. Writer/director Ron
Cosentino apparently never heard the phrase because his obviously
limited means presented him with a golden opportunity to do something
and it went over his head like a rocket to the Moon. Maybe
he would never have made a good film but his amazing obtuseness led him
to create something almost unbearably dull.
Fallen Arches is about a set of New York City stereotypes transplanted lock, stock and barrel to the streets of LA. There's the working class brood where dad's in jail, mom (Karen Black) is a drunk, the older brother (Justin Louis) is a two-bit tough and the younger brother (Carmine D. Giovinazzo) is the family's hope and light. He's the one who's going to get out of the neighborhood and make something of himself. But when the younger brother gets caught up in a scheme to rob the local gangster (Richard Portnow), his elder sibling has to risk it all to save him.
Now, that plot I just described is so clichéd I could barely type it out without my fingers locking up on me with hysterical arthritis. This story would have been old hat in 1978. By 1998, it must have been practically mummified. There's not a reason in the world for this movie to have ever been made, except for the happy accident of Cosentino clearly not having the money to actually shoot this thing in New York. Taking such a quintessentially Big Apple tale and plopping it down in the decidedly different environs of LaLa Land presents such wonderful incongruities that any storyteller with a smidgen of talent should have recognized and exploited.
Ron Cosentino was without that smidgen. Even when he plunges into scenes about how the younger brother is the one person in the family who's going to escape their neighborhood, scenes that don't make a lick of sense when they involve a family that's already moved from one coast to the other, he never takes meaningful advantage of the geographic and cultural clash inherent in this motion picture. He never uses it for comedy. He never uses it for drama. He never uses it to send the story in a surprising direction. Cosentino gets his New York chocolate in his LA peanut butter and never takes a bite to find out how good it tastes.
The cast is fine, though watching them is more like looking in on videotaped excerpts from an acting class because their writer/director has no idea how generate tension or build any narrative momentum. Every scene is slack and monotone and feels like it lasts three times longer than it does. And even though there's moment where some gratuitous nudity would have been completely appropriate, Cosentino doesn't take advantage of that, either.
Other than Justin Louis, later to become Louis Ferreira, looking like the mini-me of Sylvester Stallone circa 1975, there's not a thing else here worth spending a single second on. You'd be better off getting a pedicure from a manatee than watching Fallen Arches.
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