Sunday, January 31, 2010

Life's Passing Me By

Film Review by Kam Williams

Headline: Single Girl Shares Sage Advice in Serendipitous NYC Drama

Dora Allen (Paula Wilson) is blessed with a special talent, namely, the ability to offer anybody just the right relationship advice they’re looking for. Even strangers, like a bus driver or another passenger, can sense that she’s a human whisperer of sorts, so they are prompted to dump their personal problems on her lap impulsively.

This state of affairs might be all well and good if only Dora’s own relationships were simultaneously flourishing. But she’s been so busy attending to the emotional needs of others that she’s neglected the disaster that her life has become.

First of all, she’s not on speaking terms with her sister, Karen (Julienne Irons), perhaps because of the incestuous mess she created by dating her ex-boyfriend, Kevin (Booker T. Washington). A product of a broken mixed-marriage, Dora doesn’t get along with her black mother (Sydney Chase) who’d like to bury the hatchet, or with her white dad (Clyde Baldo) who has a bad habit of making inappropriate comments. For example, he made her very uncomfortable to have to watch him and her best friend, Myra (Antonia Marrero), flirting with each other at Karen’s surprise birthday party.

So unfolds Life's Passing Me By, a delightful, character-driven sit-dram set all around New York City. The movie marks the feature-length directorial debut of School of Visual Arts grad Mark Cabaroy, who somehow shot his movie on a shoestring budget of just $700. Cabaroy coaxed a number of inspired performances out of a cast of virtual unknowns, starting with Paula Wilson who is nothing short of brilliant in the pivotal role of Dora.

The story is unpredictable and so engaging that you quickly forget the low production values as you become immersed in the plight of the members of the motley ensemble. Good enough to earn the #3 spot on my annual Blacktrospective’s Best Independent Films list last year, Life's Passing Me By is a flick well-deserving of a distributor for a theatrical run in 2010.

An alternately entertaining and thought-provoking, irreverent romp ultimately revealed as the sort of rare cinematic jewel which makes my job a joy.

Excellent (4 stars)
Unrated
Running time: 88 Minutes
Studio: iMarkFilms
Distributor: NewFilmmakers

7 comments:

Sydney said...

Thank you!! Mark really did an excellent job with all of us. And I am still in awe what he created with such a tiny budget. It was a fun project to work on and a great cast and crew to work with. It is a delicious gem in my opinion too.
Sydney Chase

Maria said...

Cabaroy's passion for filmmaking and for strong character driven stories is apparent in all his work. It is only a matter of time before his work reaches the wide audience it deserves to be in front of. Def someone to watch in 2010 and beyond.

george said...

Mark seems to really have a firm grip on what he wants and is clear on how to get exacally what is needed to arrive at his vision. I enjoyed the film and was shaking my head at what Mr. Cabaroy did on the budget he had available to him, i could'nt stop thinking what this man would be able to pull off if he had unlitimed funds at his disposal. Hopefully in the very near future I will find out as audience's world wide will as well.

ticiae1 said...

Life's Passing Me By is one of those movies that suck you in and make you feel like you're part of the experience. I think anyone that sees it will agree.

Mark is a director that seems to bring the best out of every actor or crew member he interacts with on a project. He's truly amazing! I can't wait for the rest of the world to experience his dynamic film making.

Paula said...

Wow! I wish I received reviews like that everyday! Thank you so much! I need to shrink you down Mr. Williams, put you in my pocket, and then whip you out on low self-esteem days to tell me I'm fabulous. Thank you for your continued support for "Life's Passing Me By". Mark is a fantastic director and I hope more and more people get to experience his work. Thank you again!

-Paula Wilson

Ryan said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Ryan said...

Thank you, Kam! It was an honor to be a crew member of the Life's Passing Me By. Director Mark Cabaroy, the entire talented cast and my fellow crew members contributed to a hard working yet warm family atmosphere, which made working on this special film a unique pleasure.
Ryan DeWitt