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Tangerine More at IMDbPro »

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80 out of 106 people found the following review useful:

What An Indie Film Should Be

Author: Alice Alveraz from California
1 February 2015

I saw this Premiere at Sundance 2015. This is what a Sundance film should be. You start watching at a distance. The subject matter of prostitutes, pimps, drugs, sex, homosexuality and gender roles is foreign to most and even repulsive to some. But that's the beauty. It draws you start to care about the characters, you start to laugh with them. You then admire their pluck. You feel their frustration, sadness and even shame. Then you identify with it. Then, eventually, you admire it. Finally, what you see are human beings with the same, or even better, values that you have. The music is cutting edge street sound that propels you along the LA sidewalks and, combined with the colors of the film (i.e. tangerine), it pulls you into the brash and jolting life on some of the worse streets of LA. The power of the film is that, in powerful ways, that street community seems a better home than you have in safe suburbia. This is what indie film should takes a different subject matter, perhaps something disturbing, draws you in and changes the way you view the world. Forever. Not just during the course of a film festival.

Even better, this film was shot entirely on three iPhone 5s. At the Premiere, the audience audibly gasped when this fact rolled on screen during the credits. Another thing an indie film should do...change the way you look at how films can be made. (I'm actually going to try to make a film this summer...seriously).

This film should have won the Sundance NEXT award....and probably would have if it was not by audience vote. This is not is an independent film. This film will change your life.

P.S. Both female leads were powerful and legitimate, in every sense of that word. But Kiki Kitana Rodriguez has screen presence and karma enough to fill Dodger Stadium one hundred times over. I could watch her for yours, and hope we all have a chance to do so again.

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51 out of 76 people found the following review useful:

Art in 2015: This is why we make and watch films

Author: Rob Killian from Seattle, WA
8 June 2015

Right up front let me tell you this is not an easy film to watch. It is vulgar, raw, painful and shocking at times. It is, however, going to stand for some time as this generation's example of how to write a story, tell a story, and create characters that are not only believable, but memorable. Tangerine, the gift we get on Christmas in America, is a story about people who live in constant chaos, in an unsafe and harsh America where not everyone get's sterling silver from the man in the North pole. It is a visually stunning achievement and reminds us that those of us who make art are first and foremost storytellers. Bravo to those who were brave enough to produce, act in and make this story come to our movie screens. Watch out Hollywood, the next generation of artists making movies has arrived.

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35 out of 54 people found the following review useful:

friends and family on an iphone

Author: David Ferguson ( from Dallas, Texas
13 June 2015

Greetings again from the darkness. It's hard to imagine a better choice for opening night of the 4th annual Oak Cliff Film Festival. After all, this year's theme is the "No Wave Movement" of the late 1970's, and writer/director Sean Baker's most recent film (and a Sundance favorite) is the perfect complement. Co-written with Chris Bergoch and filmed entirely on iPhone 5s' (with cinematic apps), this gritty, no-frills film spotlights real problems of real people on a real day … on the real streets of Hollywood and Los Angeles.

Personally, I haven't seen many (ok, any) films that focus on two transgender prostitutes (both, persons of color). However, the exciting thing is that the story pays little attention to the vocation of Sin-Dee and Alexandra, and is more a story of friendship, heartbreak, and the sub-cultures that make up a particular community of the L.A. area. This is not the glitzy/celebrity side of Hollywood, but rather the underbelly of a melting pot city where the paths of transgender streetwalkers and Armenian cab drivers intersect.

Sin-Dee (Kiki Kitana Rodriguez) and Alexandra (Mya Taylor) are opposite personality types, but clearly good friends as they chat while splitting a donut in the opening scene. We quickly learn that Sin-Dee is fresh out of jail after serving 28 days, and she doesn't react well to Alexandra's news that their pimp (and Sin-Dee's boyfriend) Chester (James Ransone) has been cheating with a "natural" woman (played by a very talented Mickey O'Hagan) while she was incarcerated. A woman scorned provides the energy of the film as Sin-Dee tracks down this mysterious girl whose name starts with a "D". It also provides new meaning for dragging someone all over town (kudos to Ms O'Hagan for the physicality and bruises).

The sassy banter is filled with brutal put-downs and smart-ass comebacks, as the three actresses play off each other as if loaded with short-fused fireworks. The story with taxi driver Razmik (Karren Karagulian) shows a family man drawn like a magnet to the world of Sin-Dee and Alexandra … he even finds a reason to skip out on Christmas Eve dinner with his family. His mother-in-law Ashken (Alla Tumanian) is most suspicious of his activities, and that leads to the frenetic and hilarious confrontation at Donut Time.

Many individual scenes are funny, while others are tension-filled. There is even a scene in Razmik's cab featuring veteran actor Clu Gulager ("The Virginian"), and Armenian celebrity Arsen Grigoryan plays another taxi driver. The acting throughout is strong and humanistic, and the iPhone photography is shocking in its depth and range … we would never suspect the "equipment" being used. This approach allowed for the organic feel of the street – think of Banksy making a movie … clandestine with no sets (or permits). Baker's style is reminiscent of John Waters and John Cassavetes, and that's quite a compliment. The film also features the pitch perfect description of Los Angeles: "a beautifully wrapped lie".

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27 out of 42 people found the following review useful:


Author: Shawn Sorensen from United States
22 August 2015

Glad to see the theater packed for this one. The way it was shot feels like a documentary, but the raw subject matter and unpolished acting were in-your-face in the best ways. There's no time to judge these fast-moving, trans-gendered prostitutes, and why would you? Everything's f***ed up. Family people are not what they seem, everyone's motivations are unique, people are desperate for acceptance, affection and enough money to make it to the next day. They play the hands they're dealt, like all of us, spinning around and around, trying to get answers and making stupid mistakes along the way. In the end, it's still a friendship movie, not a package with a shiny, redeeming bow. Sick of safe, sanitized, statistical NPR? Here's your movie.

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9 out of 11 people found the following review useful:

A brilliant indie film well worth watching

Author: Jennifer Lynx from United States
4 February 2016

Aside from being a thoroughly enjoyable film, "Tangerine" has the remarkable distinction of being shot entirely on an iPhone 5S. How such a feat was accomplished is beyond me for while it does appear to be a low budget piece it looks fantastic. Furthermore, maybe because of the unique film techniques, it feels very real, like you were just tagging along for the duration.

The story takes place over the course of about 12 hours, following the lives of two transgender prostitutes on Christmas Eve. Sin-dee has just been released from jail, and her best friend Alexandra lets slip that her boyfriend/pimp picked up with another women while she was away. This sets Sin-dee off on a rampage as she scours the L.A. streets looking for the new girl and her cheating man. The story weaves from Sin-dee's quest, to Alexandra picking up a few tricks throughout the day, and subtly follows a cab driver who has a thing for Sin-dee, while his family works out his proclivities. Through all of this, the film is not condescending, preachy, or insensitive to anyone. It is brutally honest, hilarious at times, realistic, even touching and sad.

I loved this movie. From the colorful characters to the perfect pacing to the creative cinematography, "Tangerine" is one film every lover of cinema should watch at least once. Oh, and a super soundtrack! I hope to add it to the collection one day.

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9 out of 14 people found the following review useful:

Surprisingly entertaining . . . and more than a bit all too real

Author: charles000 from United States
13 December 2015

A fabulous character study, gritty slice of life, walk on the wild side comedy . . . any variety of possible descriptions come to mind.

But no matter how one tries to frame this uniquely crafted work, despite its very low production budget (this entire movie was filmed with iPhones?), it's still surprisingly entertaining.

I could try to encapsulate the drama (and yes, drama, as in on the street, way over the edge drama) between the two main characters, and the meandering ill fated adventures that sprout up along the way, but actually, better that you simply watch and experience for yourself.

No spoilers, not even a hint . . . but what I will suggest here, the time spent to watch this will not be wasted.

Kudos to a very clever bit of street drama compressed into a simple but engaging journey into and through a collection of lives that are all too real out in certain sections of town, which in this case happens to be West Hollywood.

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13 out of 23 people found the following review useful:

Long and drawn out

Author: enchantedali
25 January 2016

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Not sure if this was really worth my time to watch. Very long and at times extremely boring - you're trying so hard to stay focused and keep your attention to see how the story progresses, when really there is barely a story. Spoiler Alert: A transgender hooker gets out of jail and goes looking for her boyfriend/pimp daddy after hearing that he may have been cheating on her with a 'fish' (a supposedly derogatory term for woman).

I don't know what is more frustrating, the horrible acting or the cheap script (some lines are meant to sound 'hood' or 'street' yet sound so cringe-worthy). The constant need to remind the audience that the protagonist (Sin-Dee) is so much 'drama'...that's exactly what this movie was, unnecessary and petty drama that leaves you alienated and not wanting to commit any time towards the story. Is this suppose to be a good representation for the transgender community? Emotions are not portrayed as genuine or authentic. It seems so cheap and shallow, lacking in any character depth.

Basically I would never recommend this movie. It leaves you feeling depressed over the way these people run their lives, yet you lack the connection to support or feel sympathetic to their problems. It's just a big loud mess of nonsense. The 2 stars I give is for Mya Taylor who seems to be the only competent actor in the whole film.

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1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:

Best movie I've seen this year...

Author: venusboys3 from United States
2 August 2016

My friend put me on to this, with no mention at all of what it was about... so totally unexpected. What I really liked about Tangerine is that it didn't pull its punches. None of the main characters are 100% hero or villain... everyone is sad/funny/cruel/kind at some point. I can't say I'd want to hang out with ANYONE in this movie... but they're all presented as complex characters, people, which is great.

I can see why John Waters liked it, it does remind me a bit of his earlier films with their various crazed characters in crazed worlds... though Tangerine feels much more real and gritty than any of those Waters films, which were heavy with fantasy.

Anyway, it's excellent... I hope it garners a huge following and we start getting more films like this and less superhero trash.

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3 out of 5 people found the following review useful:

Definitely seems like you're watching real people, doing real things!

Author: Hellmant from United States
14 January 2016

'TANGERINE': Four Stars (Out of Five)

Critically acclaimed indie flick; about a transgender prostitute, searching for her boyfriend (a pimp who cheated on her), in Hollywood, on Christmas Eve. The movie was directed by Sean S. Baker, and written by Baker and Chris Bergoch. It stars Kitana Kiki Rodriguez, Mya Taylor, Karren Karagulian, Mickey O'Hagan and James Ransone. The film was made on a budget of just $100,000; and it was shot (entirely) on three iPhone 5s smartphones! It's definitely a well made, and very memorable, movie.

The story takes place on Christmas Eve, 2014; in Hollywood. Sin-Dee Rella (Rodriguez), a transgender sex worker, just got out of prison; after serving a 28-day sentence. She meets another transgender prostitute, her friend Alexandra (Taylor), at a donut shop. Alexandra (accidentally) informs Sin-Dee, that her boyfriend, a pimp named Chester (Ransone), cheated on her; while she was in prison. Sin-Dee goes ballistic, and spends the rest of the day, looking for him; and his new mistress (O'Hagan).

Despite being filmed on iPhones, the movie is surprisingly beautiful at times; especially in it's most poignant, and very subtle, moments! It's dirty, and very disgusting, a lot of the time too; but it's also very moving. The two lead performances are impressive, and they're performed by openly transgender actresses (too); and the supporting cast is all good as well. The movie definitely seems like you're watching real people, doing real things; in a part of life, I'm not familiar with (which makes it all the more fascinating). It's an impressive little film!

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3 out of 5 people found the following review useful:

Unique? Somewhat. Good? Not really, but not too bad either.

Author: cheighlee
13 January 2016

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

This whole thing looks like someone thought "I should make a movie with an iPhone but I don't know what about". And then did exactly that.

While the visuals of the movie look surprisingly decent, then again, digital cameras evolved a lot in the past few years, so it's actually not that odd. These days a good performing smart phone, like iPhone or Android, can do a really good job for a filmmaker on a budget. And let's not kid ourselves here - many indie filmmakers of the days old, early '00s, '90s and before, would kill to have a hand-held devices like these that can do so much with so little money. That just proves that nowadays you pretty much need only an idea and some will (and around 500$ for a phone).

While the will is certainly there, idea, not so much. Yes, the premise is simple and sounds fun but in reality it's really, really drawn out and boring. There's a lot of furious walking and crappy music blasting over that, and while that can be a cool schtick in a fast paced movie, here it just becomes a bore after first few times.

Characters are non existent in terms of actual characterization, just like in real life :P But there are some good performances and those are done mostly by Mya Taylor that also has maybe the most fleshed out character in here.

One thing that kinda bothered me after watching this is that the movie is hailed like godsend. Not only because it was shot with an iPhone, but because it also had trans leading cast. While that's great, at the end I kinda thought about it a bit and it struck me that maybe the director basically did this: "Cool, I have two trans people, of color nonetheless, as leads, what shall I do with them? What kind of story will I build around them to better the status of trans and black people? Yes, I'll make them dumb, junkie prostitutes and bad people.".

But I honestly don't know and can't even remotely claim that as fact. Maybe he had it around, created this weak story and then just cast them. Maybe he didn't care about that at all and just wanted to create a real, boring, junkie pimps and hoes drama evening in the LA shot with an iPhone. I'm not from LA, or USA but I guess this is like every evening in LA, judging by this and other movies (primarily Death Wish 2!).

If this was half it's length, I would recommend it, just for the gimmick/proof of concept (whatever rocks you boat) of using iPhone and having trans leads, because if one place need some diversity, it's mainstream movies these days. But it's almost hour an a half long and it got me bored pretty fast. So, it's your time, do with it what you want. In the end, our end to be exact, as viewers, Tangerine looks like a movie, no matter what's used to shoot it, and with people doing some boring, very mildly entertaining stuff.

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