Friday, July 26, 2013

An "original" seeks distribution: Mark Lewis' funny, sweet and crazy WILD GIRL WALTZ

Every once-in-a-while a movie comes along that seems so quirky and odd, yet genuinely its-own-thing, that you're certain it's a shoo-in for festivals who claim to appreciate new approaches to film-making. When it's passed by, you find yourself thinking, "What were they thinking?" So it is with WILD GIRL WALTZ, a true original about a threesome of friends, two of whom are romantically connected, with the third still looking.

The perpetrator of this little gem of situation, characterization and (I'd call it) semi-improvisational style is a fellow named Mark Lewis (above), who has made but two films so far, including Baystate Blues back in 2009). In the first couple of minutes of his new movie, we get a surprise -- just as does one of our main characters -- that pulls us (and her) up short with a shock and then a laugh (from us, anyway; she's not too thrilled).

We notice very soon the natural flow of some very good dialog. "I feel like the floor of a movie theater," notes our girl, who gets a laugh from her friend. 

"Not funny," she frowns. 

"It is if you're me," says the friend. From funny, we quickly go to dirty, sexy, silly, and sweet, as the two girls decide to ingest a couple of "good time" pills one of them has been given by a co-worker, after which they go a little sweetly berserk and must be babysat by the third party (the boyfriend of one of the girls) until they come down.

That is pretty much the whole movie, which is all of 82 minutes long and a very easy sit. The goofy dialog, as any good dialog should, unveils a lot about character, situation and place. We stop for a drink, served by an old friend, above, and the discussion turns to Redskins and Redhawks, and then we have a moment and situation that is fairly old-hat (it was used, as I recall, as the punch-line ending of one of the better episodes of the Alfred Hitchcock Presents TV series) but  here it is played for comedy/surprise. 

Mr. Lewis has nailed a certain odd portion of American demographic in this movie and made it seem about as charming and real as you could want. And he's given us -- together with the help of his ensemble -- two wonderfully rich roles for women, which his two leading ladies, Christina Shipp (above) and Samantha Steinmetz (below), carry off with... I'd love to say "aplomb" but they're just too weird and crazy for that, so let's make it "utter credibility and fractured charm." As the babysitter, Brian, Jared Stern, shown one photo below, makes a smart, funny, even kind of sexy (because he's so confident and non-pushy) male overseer.

There's a scene here involving the recently baked pies of a friend of one of the girls' mothers that is hilarious and suspenseful, and there are a few other interesting ones, too, but mostly it's just the threesome, hanging in and out of a car and interfacing to beat the band. In his own special way, Mr. Lewis has nailed how men and women act -- together and apart, high and sober, mostly happy and occasionally sad. Wild Girl Waltz is a movie you will not mistake for any other.

So how do you view this little treat? Lewis says he's still hoping to get into a festival or two, and TrustMovies is hoping his film will, as well.  Meanwhile, since this blog doesn't like to cover movies that readers cannot actually see, the filmmaker has very generously agreed to send a DVD out to anyone who requests a copy. Simply go to the film's web site, click on CONTACT at the bottom, and send an email requesting your copy to the address on the screen. Be sure to include your snail mail address, and tell Mr. Lewis that TrustMovies sent you.

No comments: