C47Houston Flix Review:

"Lap Dance"




A couple following their Hollywood dreams are forced to put things on hold when family comes first. When money becomes an issue, we do what we have to do to make ends meet and to pay the bills. For one woman it means dancing for men, alcohol, drugs and players.  Can this couple survive the lure of easy money, the mirage of an easy life and the strain it has on their relationship in this drama/romantic feature by Director Greg Carter titled "Lap Dance"?

Written by native Houstonian Greg Carter and based on a true account of his experiences prior to moving to Los Angeles in 2005, this feature motion picture follows Scriptwriter Kevin Shepard and Actress Monica Moore, a loving couple, newly engaged and following their dream of making it in Hollywood, California.

Packing up their belongings and with their life savings in hand, they decide to drive to California from Tallahassee  but stop in Houston to visit Monica's father, Patrick Moore.

Upon arriving to Monica's fathers home and finding it empty, they find that Patrick has had a relapse of a previous cancer and is now in the hospital and terminally ill.

Heart-broken about her fathers illness, Monica decides to postpone her venture to Los Angeles and her chance of landing an audition with the folks making CSI and to take care of her father. Kevin, decides to support Monica's efforts. When the doctors tell the couple that her father's insurance has been exhausted, the couple decides to help pay for the treatments using their life savings. 

Unfortunately, their savings can only go so far. With bills piling up they sell everything they have, when it rains it pours, they find the house being foreclosured on and the lights turned off.  Monica convinces Kevin that working, temporarily,  as topless dancer at a club called Hidden Treasures will get them the money they need and quickly.  Reluctantly, Kevin agrees but has restrictions and caveats (no drinking, no partying outside the club, no drugs, no sex and no fraternizing with "customers", among others.)

Slowly learning what it takes to be an exotic dancer and the tricks of the trade, not everything is as it seems. Money is flowing and a lot of it is being showered on the girls in the club. Kevin seems apprehensive, as one caveat after another is being broken and notices that Monica is "changing" with the lure of easy money, the glamour associated with it and the attention she gets for dancing. 

Month after month pass and still the couple is struggling to pay the bills despite the money being made. It seems like they can never get ahead. The stress between the couple strains their relationship and the couple, especially Monica, gets deeper and deeper into the world of drinking, drugs, sex and money with people that have other agenda's.  

The world of exotic dancing is all but glamorous. Who is really in control? Can the couple maintain a relationship and continue with their ulterior dreams of making it in Hollywood? Monica is changing, Kevin is unhappy, Monica's father is dying, VIP players are playn', the club owner needs more money, the strippers are fighting and scheming against each other and it seems everyone is lying. 

C47Houston's take on the story:  Mr. Carter's story was interesting. Basically, a story about a couple that is tested with adversity and thrown almost every tempting vice that man has created in front of them.  The dichotomy between an almost innocent love of a couple for each other with the sexual appetite of those who throw money around to appease themselves is quite noticeable. The story gave the audience a sharp contrast between two worlds and how easily we can be tempted to cross into the dark and wicked world where illusions are prevalent for a few pieces of silver and gold. Mr. Carter was able to tell a story that was captivating and entertaining. You could feel the frustration that Kevin was exhibiting as Monica becomes more involved with making money and less involved with trying to take care of her father and her relationship with Kevin. You could feel the antagonist nature of  Monica as she moves from loving fiancée to a woman dealing with constant barrage of men, who see her as only an object of lust.  Mr. Carter tells a good story and one that creates emotions. The audience will laugh, they will be frustrated with the characters, they will empathize with the characters, they will understand where the characters come from, they will cry, they will smile and leave the theater with a piece of Greg Carter's memory, a moment in time.

C47Houston's take on the Movie: Sitting in a theater watching a movie is not what we would like to do on a Sunday night, especially when we have so much work to do.  But, We have been following Director Greg Carter for some time and have seen some of his other projects AND, we wanted to support the fundraising efforts of one of Houston's top filmmaking organizations, SWAMP (The Southwest Alternate Media Project) www.SWAMP.org  The movie was about 80+minutes in running time, give or take a few minutes.  Beautifully shot by Cinematographer Chase Bowman "Lap Dance" was visually entertaining. There were some washed out scenes and we are not sure if that was on purpose or a lack of lighting attention. Did it take away from the story? Of course, not. Did it take away from the overall movie experience? I think it did. Technically, and if you want to create an audience base, your product will have to be something of a masterpiece, in that your attention to the nuances of filmmaking have to be adhered to. We, however,  have been hearing word that this may be a particular lighting technique. This is not saying that it was NOT a good movie, by far it was very well-made and not bad for a few hundred thousand dollars,  but if you look at big budget movies, you will seldom see this technique being used.  At times, there were some blurry frames and scenes but overall the movie was in focus and depth of focus was used as an appropriate use of blurriness. Editing was seamless, creative  and moved very smoothly from scene to scene and act to act. Camera work was creative. The cinematographer moved that camera around characters with ease, from set to set without trouble and giving the audience a very nice perspective of movement. What we didn't much care for was some particular shots near the end of the movie with Kevin and Monica. There they were talking and the shots were straight on, frontal and facial close ups and almost you had a feeling of surrealism which we didn't think worked considering that most of the movies was brilliantly shot and this scene wasn't. Just an opinion.  

Shot in a period of 14 days and with some pick-up shots after that, overall the movie was entertaining, moved very nicely from beginning, middle and end and contained a very good story, however, there were times where we were thinking that this movie could have been a little tighter when it came to the final product. There were several montages in "Lap Dance" and there were some superficial scenes that could have been left out and really didn't contribute to the overall storyline or sequence of events. Some of it was gratuitous nudity (and basic T&A) and some of it was a lengthy meeting of people at a party and some of it was just not needed. Saying that, the audience will not be confused by the addition of these particular scenes, the audience will nonetheless have to bear through the scenes to get back to the substance of the movie. 

Technically, sound was even and rich throughout the entirety of the movie.  Foley was decent, Lighting was exceptional, with the exception of wash-out, as stated above, cut and splicing was seamless and flowing, set-design was creative, camera work was outstanding, composition of framing was excellent, sound track was pacing  from one scene to another and setting the tone for the scene and movie. The directing was outstanding. We think Mr. Carter did a great job in getting a lot of emotions and some convincing performances out of the cast.   

 But, don't believe us, check out the movie for yourself. You can order the movie online and straight to your TV set. 

Using the Texas Standardized Independent Rating System (TSIRS), C47Hosuton News & Entertainment Magazine rated "Lap Dance" as a strong 4.8 Stars out of 5. 

Houston Premiere: Sunday, December 7th, 2014 

Premiere Venue: The Alamo Drafthouse - Vintage Park, Houston, Texas

Production Company: Gordon Bijelonic / Datari Turner Pictures, Imprint Entertainment, Datari Turner Productions, The Underwood Entertainment

Executive Produced by: Elizabeth Avellan, Robert Rodriquez, Reggie Carter, Steve Ware, Cain McKnight, Nenad Medic, H.M. Coakley, Corey Large, Alan Pao

Co-Executive Producer: Greg Carter

Produced by: Datari Turner, Michael Becker, Gordon Bijelonic

Line Producer: Camille C. Irons

Written by: Greg Carter and Datari Turner

Directed by: Greg Carter

Director of Photographer: Chase Bowman

Edited by: Corey Grant and Chris Conlee

Choreographer Glenise Barthwaite

Production coordinator (Houston) Melissa Blades

MUA: Jules Keppel, Brandie Johnson, Karla Alves, Anna Lola Gugliotta, Brandi Holtorf, Terry Walters

Sound: Marcus Ricaud, Ian Boyd and Shaun Burdick

Casting by: JC Cantu

Casting: Robert Hoffman as Kevin Shepard, Ali Cobrin as Monica Moore,   James Remar as Patrick Moore,  Mariel Hemingway as Aunt Billie , Briana Evigan as Tasha, Carmen Electra as Lexus, Datari Turner as Chicago,  K.D. Aubert, Lisa, Raye, Nia Peeples, Omar Gooding, Lew Temple, Omari Hardwick, Stacy Dash, Dennis White, Obba Babatunde and Wesley Jonathan in the titled roles.

Also cast: Kenny Wormald, Christian Keyes, Lynn Whitfield, June Hoang, Korrina Rico, Lisaraye, Terrell Owens, Parker Snow, Jalene Mack, Kristoffer Kjornes, Cat Tebo, Sexton Newby, Tammy Torres, Kenny Coplan, Zoe Norkiewicz, Ida Scipio, Ron Jeremy, Quinton Aaron, Keith Robinson, Jonathan Daniel Brown, 

IMDB: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt2392385/  

See a trailer: http://youtu.be/QQrA3vyJzDk  or http://youtu.be/SMaOKCKLzGI 

Written by Hector Luna, C47Houston News & Entertainment Magazine. December 8th, 2014  © 2014 All Rights Reserved.




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