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So as you know, I stopped writing lengthy reviews on this site this year, keeping the blog as more of a film diary of sorts.  Lo and behold,...

Monday, February 01, 2016

Movie Review - Tangerine

Tangerine (2015)
Starring Kitana Kiki Rodriguez, Mya Taylor, Karren Karagulian, Mickey O'Hagan, James Ransone, and Alla Tumanian
Directed by Sean Baker
***This film is currently streaming on Netflix***

Tangerine is known on the cinematic landscape for two things:  1) it was filmed entirely on an iPhone 5S; and 2) it's one of the first films featuring real transgender actresses that's been widely praised and awarded by the indie circuits of Hollywood.  With a 96% positive rating on RottenTomatoes with over 100 Fresh reviews, I decided to check this one out and to this reviewer it's another case of rewarding something that's not necessarily deserving just because it places emphasis on people that aren't necessarily represented on film.

Just released from a 28-day stint in prison on Christmas Eve, Sin-Dee (Kitana Kiki Rodriguez) meets up with her best friend Alexandra (Mya Taylor), both of whom are transgender prostitutes, who tells her that Sin-Dee's boyfriend (and her pimp) Chester (James Ransone) has been cheating on her.  This sends Sin-Dee on pre-Christmas race through Los Angeles to find Chester and the girl he screwed while Sin-Dee was incarcerated.  Taking place over the course of a day, Tangerine is a bit of a monotonous one-note flick with a crazed Sin-Dee going nuts trying to find those who did her wrong.

A comedy, the flick feels like a one-joke wonder that would've fared better as a short film rather than a feature length one.  The acting is all over-the-top although Mya Taylor actually shows sparks of promise and is really the only person in the film who manages to display more than one emotion.  Director and co-screenwriter Sean Baker's film looks good -- it's surprisingly crisp and clear for being filmed on an iPhone and there are moments that feel truly "cinematic" (obviously in a basic sense).  Unfortunately, filming on the iPhone also shows that not everything one thinks should be filmed really should be -- and Tangerine probably shouldn't have been filmed (at least as a feature).  The universal praise heaped on this one seems as if the critics were trying to either "save face" or "seem cool."  It's plain and simple just not a great film.

The RyMickey Rating:  C-

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