DORFMAN IN LOVE (2011)
Cute indie romantic comedy tells the story of Debbie Dorfman (Sara Rue). She takes care of her father (Elliott Gould), works for her brother Dan (Jonathan Chase) and has a massive crush on her brother’s friend Jay (Johann Urb). Her life isn’t going anywhere till she gets a chance to cat-sit and apartment-sit for a week for Jay at his new downtown L.A. digs. She decides to use it as a springboard to making big changes in her life and her big move on Jay, when he returns. Things get complicated when her brother dumps her widower father in her lap and she meets a charming artist (Haaz Sleiman) who is Jay’s neighbor.
Written by Wendy Kout and directed by Brad Leong, this is in many ways a typical indie rom-com, but leading lady Rue has charm and spunk and the film avoids the vulgar jokes that similar flicks seem to embrace today. Deb is a likable girl and it’s fun to watch her slowly come out of her shell and start to enjoy life on her terms, not the ones dictated by those around her. The supporting cast work well together and if the film stumbles, it’s when it shifts focus from Deb’s personal adventure to her getting caught in the middle of her brother’s infidelities. This sub-plot is dull and just drags Deb into someone else’s drama when we were fine with her story of personal growth. It sidelines the best part of the movie for almost a half hour and almost makes Deb a supporting character in her own story. The flick does get back on track and Deb makes some surprising discoveries about herself and real love. Cute movie with a charming leading lady.
This is a very brutal and unpleasant film set in the Balkans in 1996. It tells of a young girl named Angel (Rosie Day) who is kidnapped along with other girls by military personal to be forced into prostitution in a house run by a man named Viktor (Kevin Howarth) and military officer Goran (Sean Pertwee). Angel is a deaf mute and has a birthmark on the side of her face that saves her from the same fate as the other women. She instead is forced to care for the girls, which includes doping and prettying them up for ‘customers’. When one of her favorite girls is brutalized by a sadistic soldier, Angel takes violent revenge which sets off a chain of equally brutal events which may bring this house of horrors crashing down.
Directed by Paul Hyett from a script by he and three others, this is a well-made, but very tough movie to sit through. While it never exploits it’s story, it never shies away from the brutal realities either. These young women are kidnapped from their families and horribly mistreated in a land that has become lawless and empathetic to it’s own people. There are numerous and very unpleasant scenes portraying their abusive life and then, once Angel sets out to avenge her friend, the violence is quite brutal and effective. This is a very vicious and bloody film and while it never tries to make it’s harsh story into entertainment, it also is not a pleasant or easy movie to sit through. Well-done, but something you may only want to watch once…if that.