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The Tavern

Set in a Manhattan bar, "The Tavern" is a well-made but inconsequential debut. The trials and tribulations of running a small business are a thin enough thread on which to hang a feature, and pic remains too small in scope to break out of the fest circuit.

Set in a Manhattan bar, “The Tavern” is a well-made but inconsequential debut. The trials and tribulations of running a small business are a thin enough thread on which to hang a feature, and pic remains too small in scope to break out of the fest circuit.

Bartender and drifter Ronnie (Cameron Dye) and family-man best friend Dave (Kevin Geer) buy a successful Manhattan bar, cobbling together the money with help from relativesand friends. Things start off well, but initial crowds soon dwindle, and after a bad spell Ronnie and Dave add a top-class chef and music. Pic follows a seesaw pattern as the bar’s fortunes rise and decline, mirroring those of its owners: Ronnie loses new girlfriend Sharon (Kym Austin); Dave loses his day job. Story ends on a scarcely credible upbeat note after the “celebration” of a year in business. Less-than-engaging characterization plus thin storyline are inadequate to carry pic through feature length. Film is bolstered, however, by Kurt Lennig’s fine lensing and Bill Lacey and Loren Toolajian’s moody score.

The Tavern

(DRAMA)

Production: A Foote Speed Prods. in association with Redeemable Features. Produced by Walter Foote. Co-producer, Rene Veilleux. Executive producers, James Cooper, Lin Chen Tien. Directed, written by Walter Foote. Camera (color), Kurt Lennig; editor, Josh Apter; music, Bill Lacey, Loren Toolajian; production designer, Gonzalo Cordoba; costume designer, Lisa Padovani; casting, Jerry Beaver. Reviewed at Galway Film Festival, July 7, 1999. Running time: 95 MIN.

With: With: Cameron Dye, Kevin Geer, Carlo Alban, Kym Austin, Margaret Cho, Gary Perez, Nancy Ticotin, Greg Zittel, Steven Marcus, Frank Girardeau, Jennifer Harmon, Richard Petrocelli.

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