×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Lucky Days

An eccentric ride through the ethno-cultural amusement park of a conjured-up Coney Island.

With:
With: Angelica Torn, Federico Castelluccio, Marilyn Sokol, Tina Benko, Anne Jackson, Rip Torn, Will Patton, Luke Zarzecki.

An eccentric ride through the ethno-cultural amusement park of a conjured-up Coney Island, “Lucky Days” serves primarily as a showcase for the formidable talents of Angelica Torn, who wrote, co-directed (with brother Tony) and stars as a character who’s a mix of Cinderella, Jane Austen’s Elizabeth Bennett and Natalie Woods’ Daisy Clover. A limited theatrical run begins Aug. 6 at Brooklyn’s IndieScreen, and while general auds may be put off by the odd nature of the work, it should have a healthy, cultish afterlife for the very same reason.

Paul Newman, credited here as “producer emeritus,” apparently threw his moral/financial support behind Torn, the daughter of longtime Newman friends Rip Torn and Geraldine Page. One can see why the central character might have engaged the late actor: Virginia (Angelica Torn) is all things to all people, except herself. It’s she who cares for an extended family that includes her mother (an unhinged Marilyn Sokol), the mute Bobo (Rip Torn), her stripper sister Nina (Tina Benko, in a hot-pink wig) and Nina’s various children, including triplets (all played by Miranda Torn). Next door is Virginia’s putative fiance of 18 years, Vincent (Federico Castelluccio, “The Sopranos”) whose mother (Anne Jackson) hates Virginia, either because she’s a Russian Jew, or because she’s not Italian. Virginia’s Olympian efforts to be Italian include creating a marinara sauce that satisfies her would-be in-laws, which, as anyone might guess, is an exercise akin to rolling a big rock of parmesan up a tall hill.

Like the Coney Island in which it’s set, the film recalls the past — not just in the characters Angelica Torn has written, but in the shooting and editing; the abrupt cuts and isolated closeups that open the film evoke ’40s film noir as well as the faux-doc effects of Morris Engel (whose landmark “Little Fugitive” was also shot in Coney Island).

The style perfectly suits the film, which depicts a beach resort frozen in its memories, warped in its nostalgia and regressive in its thinking: Virginia is denied sex by her longtime noncommittal beau, who considers her too special to be defiled, but not too special to be slapped. The worldviews, rooted here in an Italian universe of princely sons and imperial mothers, verges on the anachronistic, but “Lucky Days” is a fable, and broad characterizations are the stuff of even morbid fairy tales.

Leading a top-flight cast, Angelica Torn is terrific as Virginia, who, driven by her traditional upbringing to view Vincent less as a man than as a mountain that must be conquered, lives for others, nursing a few unlikely dreams. She works as an attendant at a long-term care facility, for instance, but wants to be a doctor. And she maintains a self-discipline that reassures her she’s really not like everyone else in the ‘hood: She doesn’t drink, she pretends not to smoke and she doesn’t think about sex (and when she does, she takes an ice bath). She succumbs to all these vices by movie’s end, including a tryst with the long-ago boyfriend, Zeth (Luke Zarzecki), who comes back into her life and, as itinerant/romantic movie men tend to, knocks her off her unsteady perch.

Production values are uneven, but Christopher North’s music reps a notable asset.

Lucky Days

Production: A Seminal Films presentation in association with Torn Page Prods. Produced by Luke Zarzecki. Executive producers, Angelica Torn, Rip Torn, Jacqueline Guttman, Rui DaSilva, Mathius Mack Gertz. Producer emeritus, Paul Newman. Directed by Angelica Torn, Tony Torn. Screenplay, Angelica Torn.

Crew: Camera (color, HD), Nils Kenaston; editors, Los Tres Amigos; music, Christopher North; sound, Noah Mitchell, Richard Chardinsky; associate producers, Laurance W. Gay, Sky Heussenstamm, Barbara Ligeti. Reviewed on DVD, New York, Aug. 4. 2010. Running time: 103 MIN.

With: With: Angelica Torn, Federico Castelluccio, Marilyn Sokol, Tina Benko, Anne Jackson, Rip Torn, Will Patton, Luke Zarzecki.

More Film

  • 'The Dirt' Review: A Mötley Crüe

    Film Review: 'The Dirt'

    A long time ago, the words sex, drugs, and rock ‘n’ roll carried a hint of danger. The lifestyle did, too, but I’m talking about the phrase. It used to sound cool (back around the time the word “cool” sounded cool). But sex, drugs, and rock ‘n’ roll has long since passed into the realm [...]

  • James Newton Howard Danny Elfman

    New Trend in Concert Halls: Original Music by Movie Composers — No Film Required

    Movie and TV composers are in greater demand than ever for, surprisingly, new music for the concert hall. For decades, concert commissions for film composers were few and far between. The increasing popularity of John Williams’ film music, and his visibility as conductor of the Boston Pops in the 1980s and ’90s, led to his [...]

  • Idris Elba Netflix 'Turn Up Charlie'

    Idris Elba in Talks to Join Andy Serkis in 'Mouse Guard'

    Idris Elba is in negotiations to join Andy Serkis and Thomas Brodie-Sangster in Fox’s fantasy-action movie “Mouse Guard” with “Maze Runner’s” Wes Ball directing. Fox is planning a live-action movie through performance capture technology employed in the “Planet of the Apes” films, in which Serkis starred as the ape leader Caesar. David Peterson created, wrote, [...]

  • Zac Efron Amanda Seyfried

    Zac Efron, Amanda Seyfried Join Animated Scooby-Doo Film as Fred and Daphne

    Zac Efron has signed on to voice Fred Jones while Amanda Seyfried will voice Daphne Blake in Warner Bros.’ animated Scooby-Doo feature film “Scoob.” It was revealed earlier this month that Will Forte had been set to voice Norville “Shaggy” Rogers, while Gina Rodriguez would be voicing Velma Dinkley. The mystery-solving teens and their talking [...]

  • 'Staff Only' Review: Cultures And Values

    Film Review: 'Staff Only'

    Marta (Elena Andrada) is 17, from Barcelona and alternately bored and mortified to be on a Christmas vacation to Senegal with her estranged dad, Manel (Sergi López), and annoying little brother, Bruno (Ian Samsó). For her, the freedoms of imminent adulthood, such as the occasional poolside mojito, are tantalizing close but still technically forbidden, rather [...]

  • Rocketman

    Candid 'Rocketman' Dares to Show Elton John as 'Vulnerable,' 'Damaged,' 'Ugly'

    Elton John movie “Rocketman” dares to portray the singer’s personality early in his career to have been, at times, “ugly,” Taron Egerton – who plays the pop star – told an audience at London’s Abbey Road Studios Friday, following a screening of 15 minutes of footage from the film. It is a candid portrayal, showing [...]

  • Ben Affleck

    Ben Affleck's Addiction Drama Set for Awards-Season Release

    Warner Bros. has given Ben Affleck’s untitled addiction drama an awards-season-friendly release date of Oct. 18. The film, which has been known previously as “The Has-Been” and “Torrance,” is directed by Gavin O’Connor and stars Affleck as a former basketball player struggling with addiction, which has led to him losing his wife. As part of [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content