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Attempting to impress his ideologies on religion, relationships, and the randomness (and worthlessness) of existence, lifelong New York resident Boris Yellnikoff rants to anyone who will ... See full summary »
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After spending the night together on the night of their college graduation Dexter and Em are shown each year on the same date to see where they are in their lives. They are sometimes together, sometimes not, on that day.
On New Year's Eve, Wilson, a twenty-nine-year old guy has just had the worst year of his life. He emigrated to Los Angeles, has no date, no concrete plans and every intention of locking the doors and forgetting the last year ever happened. That is until his best friend, Jacob, browbeats him into posting a personal ad on Craig's List. When Vivian, a strong-willed woman hell bent on being with the right guy at the stroke of midnight responds, a chaotic, sometimes hilarious, sometimes touching journey through the black and white streets of L.A. begins. In the waning hours of the year, emotional vulnerability and bitterly honest humor seem to be waiting around every corner. Written by
Independent Film Guide
If Wilson's mom is in Florida, she shouldn't be toasting the New Year at the same time as Los Angelenos. She'd be 3 hours late. See more »
Misanthrope seeks misanthrope. Honestly, if you respond to this ad then you are probably not the kind of woman I'd go out with. I guess I'm lonely and it's new years and I'm willing to embarrass the hell out of myself with this ad. About me: My girlfriends over the years have been intelligent and beautiful, in the end they have all broken my heart, whatever that means. My friend says I have to have a foto, so here it is. Talk to you soon. Wilson.
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It rambles, redeems itself, and ultimately works - and how it works!
Can love be found in the sparkle of damp streets? A soft-focus moment as desire is swept and sublimated into the tenderest kiss?
Do these scenes elicit warm memories for you? Or is it an emotional jack-off to a place you want to be in but can't?
In the last few days of each year, activity on sites like MySpace and Craigslist swells 300%. So many looking for love on New Year's Eve. Our ex-video-clerk (and award-winning film-maker), Alex Holdridge, has made them a movie. A dark, perverted, gritty, romantic comedy that, like a new relationship, comes with big indie warts-and-all. Then turns them around in an artsy, offbeat triumph.
Opening black-and-white photography of couples kissing exudes style. Tasteful snogging on sidewalks. Smooching by a river. Under neon. Christmas illuminations. Streetlights and shadows, and quiet corners. Sinatra croons "As Time Goes By" and a convenient voice-over says: "It's not just another kiss - it's all the hope of romance of the year culminating in just one moment."
But lets get real a minute. Our protagonist, love-luckless Wilson, is segueing the female half of one such scene into a private erotic fantasy. It features his best friend's girlfriend, Min. (Here the comedy plays to our discomfort). Determined to find him a life, Jacob and Min cajole him into placing an online dating ad. Vivian, neurotic blonde with openly cut-throat approach, soon 'interviews' Wilson as her potential New Year's Eve date.
Gutsy performances and shambolic production values keep Midnight Kiss rooted to some recognisable reality rather than the glossy romcom it could easily have become. Rambling dialogue is cringeworthy from the characters' awkwardness rather than lack of writing talent. What at first sight seems like an amateurish losers' mess, gradually earns its wings as human interaction shows Wilson to be more substantial and interesting than his tosser persona would credit; and Vivian to be more human than her pill-popping intro would have us believe.
Vivian's location sets were almost too realistic for the film's own good it seems. Twice, the cast and crew were threatened with police action when downmarket hotel managers were spooked by the sight of empty liquor bottles and prescription drug pill boxes. Much of the movie is made in downtown Los Angeles or Sunset Boulevard - surrounded by derelict theatres and decrepit hotels. But its verité style lovingly exposes both the city's decay and its beauty. Originally conceived as bitter critique, its ultimate appeal (like 'thelostshoeproject.com' that Vivian champions - 'everyone is searching for something') is one of jewels in the dust.
Pacing is adroitly achieved through abrupt changes in emotional resonance. From initial, self-consciously polished cinematography, we are thrown into Wilson's desultory world. And just as we want to lose patience with him, Vivian erupts into the dialogue, kicking ass all the way from Texas to L.A. A subplot involving Jacob and Min's romance distracts us long enough for the outcome of Wilson and Vivian's date to develop the needed tension. And perhaps the fact that the film doesn't sell out at the end persuades us to view the whole episode more kindly. The palpably low-budget allows the skills of the filmmakers to shine through - whereas a market-perfect production could well have glossed over them. Rather than a movie for couples out on a date, In Search of A Midnight Kiss is for all the people who wish they were out on a date. Or for couples brave enough to ask if they are any better off.
The film, for all its flaws, connects in a way that sanitised romantic comedy can not. Perhaps in idealising love it is all too easy to ignore the grubbier roots and miss what is in front of our eyes.
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