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Full info on the official movie website at http://www.ladymagdalenes.com
Start with Star Trek's original "Uhura," Nichelle Nichols, in the title role as a New Orleans madam who after the hurricanes moves to Pahrump, Nevada -- where's brothels are legal -- and who -- behind the camera -- exec produced, wrote and performed original songs on the soundtrack, and did the film's choreography.
Add in a plot-twisty screenplay by award-winning novelist, libertarian journalist, and Twilight Zone screenwriter, J. Neil Schulman, who not only directed the film and wrote original songs for the soundtrack but played the supporting role of an American al Qaeda terrorist.
Mix well with a fresh cast of talented actors including alumni of the Groundlings and the London Drama Centre; a gorgeous Shakespearean actress whose hobbies include collecting swords; a stunning Persian pop superstar; a Calvin Klein male model who did all his own stunts; a Miss Teen All American (a title previously held by Halle Berry), and an actual Nevada "working girl" ...
And you end up with a one-of-a-kind independent film, defying all genre classification, which the producers have referred to as "a Jerry Bruckheimer tentpole made on an Ed Wood budget."
Following its February 2008 world premiere at the San Diego Black Film Festival Lady Magdalene's won the festival's award for "Best Cutting Edge Film."
After its September 2008 screening at Universal City's Cinema City International Film Festival Lady Magdalene's producers walked away with the statuette for Audience Choice.
It won the "Special Jury Prize for Libertarian Ideals" at the 2011 Anthem Film Festival/FreedomFest in Las Vegas.
If you're looking for obligatory nudity and sex scenes, explosions, F-bombs, and the usual low-budget exploitation, this just isn't the movie for you.
But if you're looking for a movie with a topsy-turvy plot you haven't seen a million times before, heroes and villains that defy the usual clichés, dialogue you might actually have to think about before you laugh, and a musical score spanning classical to original rock, jazz, gospel, and pop songs -- then this just might be the movie you've been waiting for.
Trekkies, baby-boomers, 9/11 patriots, gun-lovers, Congress-haters, feminists, music lovers, the ethnically and religiously tolerant, Discordians, the humor-unimpaired, and libertarians are especially welcome.
"A blend of Comedy Sitcoms of the 50's and 60's, with a 'Cold War' aura, given a 'terrorist' slant. Hilarious entertainment."
--Robin Rosenzweig, Beverly Hills Outlook
"An offbeat, sexy comedy set in a Nevada brothel that lampoons the IRS, Homeland Security, and Al-Qaeda."
--Lee Michael Cohn, Santa Monica Mirror
"If writers of the modern thrillers could come up with twists and misdirections even a quarter as clever as Schulman does here, I wouldn't find myself wondering if the thriller is a dead genre. Far more instances where the film is equal to counterparts with budgets ten times the size."
--Steve Miller, Rotten Tomatoes
"Action-humor reminiscent of a Bob Hope movie ... Casting is outstanding... The script had all the twists in the right places...powerful and so subtly written... It is purely character driven ... I was still thinking about it a week later."
--Bestselling Author Jacqueline Lichtenberg
"Humor, wit, political observation and sexiness. Nichelle Nichols provides an excellent center for all of the hijinks that swirl around her. Her performance reminded me a lot of Ruby Dee - charm, wisdom, love, experience - all held together by grit, determination and professionalism. Ethan Keogh: Solid, deadpan, believable, strong, natural. Susan Smythe had a kind of Carrie Fisher/Candy Clark quality. Claudia Lynx? Absolutely smoking hot."
--Charles Robert Carner, Writer/Director, Witless Protection, Louis L'Amour's Crossfire Trail
"I love seeing Nichelle in a more textured role."
--Tay Zonday, Singer/Songwriter, "Chocolate Rain"
"Six genres in a head-on collision!"
--Brad Linaweaver, award-winning author, publisher, Mondo Cult
Top customer reviews
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By comparison, I was recently watching the Independence Day sequel and having trouble halfway through keeping interest. With all that budget for actors and effects, it ended up feeling formulaic and contrived. Of course, you say, this isn't the same type of film. No. But my point is that even with a modest budget it is possible to write something that isn't totally predictable and that makes you think beyond simply enjoying the visuals.
Reading the plot didn't inspire me with hope but at the same time it offers potential. IRS Agent Jack Goldwater is demoted down to running a state-claimed brothel in Nevada when he racially profiles a Middle-Eastern man on a plane. However, when the same man shows up in the brothel he smells a rat and uncovers a plot that threatens America. With the help of the working girls and their colourful madam, he has to try to overcome political incompetence to save the day. As odd as it sounds, the basic idea offers the potential for what was advertised - a comedy built on action, zany light comedy and comic dialogue. Even the characters and their interactions offer this. So why then does the film so powerfully fail to deliver any of it?
The problems start with the script. There are simply too many lines and scenes that offer nothing but words - they don't add colour, they don't add to the speaker's characters, they aren't funny and they have no dramatic worth. They aren't terrible by any means but after a while it is hard to escape the feeling of people, standing in a room, saying......things! There is no content - just words. Attempts at humour mostly fall flat; there were one or two lines that drew a little "hmph" of appreciation from me, but mostly there simply isn't anything to laugh at in the same way as there are few words to care about. The occasional attempt at comedy (I presume) ranges wildly from physical comedy with two character handcuffed together, through to prostitutes spitting into a condom to make a drunken john think he has already climaxed; none of it works but so much of it is weirdly judged, with no consistent tone.
Speaking of which, the whole film suffers from this. So we have scenes in a brothel where girls are sexily introduced in a lightly comic fashion; scenes of running with guns; scenes of comedy terrorists; a gospel song performed on stage about Rahab; a dramatic (ish) murder scene and so on. None of them work individually but the combination of having them all beside each other while also feeling totally disconnected just undermines the film really badly. I have no problem with films trying to do several things, but it is hard to do them and be consistent - this film shows just how hard it is and how bad things can be when it doesn't work. Again I could see the potential for the wacky, the sexy, the dramatic and the comic to come together, but they didn't.
The budget doesn't help but I've seen so much more done with less - the problem I had was not the low-budget, it was the amateurish feel the film has. The direction is poor in terms of the cast and in terms of the shot selection. Cutaways are frequent and unnecessary, lighting (or maybe film stock?) changes give the film a different look within the same scene (although it is worst scene to scene). The musical score varies wildly from classical to "zany" music but it rarely matches the action and yet is always present. The editing is terrible - not technically perhaps but in terms of selection. Almost every scene is a few seconds longer than it should be and it makes the viewer feel awkward, like I was hanging around. Far too many shots were just "there" - the gun range was "there", lots of driving scenes are "there", lots of shots are just "there"; again it is hard to describe if you've not seen it but it feels very baggy indeed. And the irony is it doesn't need to - the DVD runs to 1h50m or so, far long that it needs to be (or can sustain).
The cast are very mixed. The big draw is Nichols but she is poor; she never finds her character and she overacts badly in most scenes - her first appearance is a wonderfully bad example of it. Against my worries Keogh was quite likeable, as was Smythe - they showed some relaxed charmed and chemistry, just a shame that the script kills them. Lynx is stunning and surprisingly natural while Wraith is again quite relaxed and a cool presence. Schulman is amusing in a Dom Deluise way and again I would have loved him to have had better lines as his character could have been very good. Beyond these it is really amateur hour, lots of people doing first performances and the scenes are full of "pause - now say dialogue" moments (and the pauses are left in for the viewer), very few people feel natural, although the poor dialogue is a big part of this. At one point my girlfriend walked into the room, watched 2 minutes involving the brothel girls and simply asked me "have any of these people ever acted before?" and I could see her point.
Lady Magdalene's is a mess. It has potential but it fluffs it all and what few promising aspects (I actually liked several of the leads) are smothered by amateurish aspects. Content is poor, laughs are absent, action is dull, dialogue is so clunky it even kills the "ok" performances, tone is all over the place and generally the direction is poor.
I didn't know that Nichelle Nichols could sing. She was good. And the violin playing was excellent.
I was surprised at the mainstream 9/11 theme, but it was used in a non-political, and humorous, manner.
The Star Trek references were amusing.
All-in-all a pleasant use of two hours and three dollars (Amazon's 7-day rental price).
Most recent customer reviews
Funny, well written dark comedy that showcases the great talent of Nichelle Nichols.Read more
This movie was terrible, pointless, and straight up boring...
Don't waste your time on this one folks...