Astoria

A young Greek-American man's difficulty in catching a piece of the American dream is unexcitingly dramatized in "Astoria," a muted coming-of-age piece that more often reflects rusty movie conventions than it freshly observes real-life struggles.

With:
With: Paige Turco, Rick Stear, Ed Setrakian, Joseph D'Onofrio, Geraldine Librandi, Steven J. Christofer, Yianni Sfinias, Gregory Sims, Stelio Savante, Chelsea Altman.

A young Greek-American man’s difficulty in catching a piece of the American dream is unexcitingly dramatized in “Astoria,” a muted coming-of-age piece that more often reflects rusty movie conventions than it freshly observes real-life struggles. Rehashing familiar ethnic inter-generational dilemmas positioning tradition and family loyalty against striking out on your own, Nick Efteriades’ feature debut lacks the originality and vitality required of an indie to make it in the real world.

Pushing 30, Alex (an inexpressive Rick Stear) has been working too long at Dad’s diner in the Little Athens section of Queens, N.Y., While dreaming of joining an archeological search for Alexander the Great’s lost tomb and becoming distracted by an unexpectedly sophisticated visitor from the old country (Paige Turco), Alex riskily places himself in the middle of a dispute between his debt-ridden father (Ed Setrakian) and some two-bit hoods, which results in an implausible card-table showdown followed by a soft, if realistic, resolution. Efteriades endows his little-known location with meager atmosphere or flavor, and needed to develop more unusual angles if his stock themes were to take on a life of their own.

Astoria

Production: A Marevan Pictures presentation in association with Astoria Partners. Produced by Athena Efter, Jamie Dakoyannis. Executive producers, Paul S. Mezey. Co-producers, Elsa Tsartsidou, David Marcellino. Directed, written by Nick Efteriades.

Crew: Camera (Duart color), Elia Lyssy; editor, Stuart Emanuel; music, Nikos Papazoglou; production designer, Jody Asnes; costume designer, Eden S. Miller. Reviewed at Santa Barbara Film Festival , March 10, 2000. Running time: 103 MIN.

With: With: Paige Turco, Rick Stear, Ed Setrakian, Joseph D'Onofrio, Geraldine Librandi, Steven J. Christofer, Yianni Sfinias, Gregory Sims, Stelio Savante, Chelsea Altman.

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