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ReelTalk Movie Reviews
Mystical Connections
by Betty Jo Tucker

Finding true love forms the basis for many romantic movies, but Last of the Romantics may be the most unusual one ever made about this universal theme. Writer/director Vohn Regensburgerís haunting film emphasizes the power of mystical connections and beautiful music. With this feature debut, Regensburger -- who also composed the impressive score -- has created an artistic motion picture, one that will surely please incurable romantics everywhere.

Last of the Romantics follows Parker Graves (Chris Bruno) as he worries about what kind of legacy he will leave the world after heís gone. A talented composer/musician, Parker finds his life considerably less than satisfying. Heís now working on advertising jingles; his relationship with his girlfriend Sarah (Brittany Daniel) has gone sour; heís trying to rehabilitate an alcoholic jazz great (Ted Lange); and heís obsessed by a woman itís impossible to have.

Although he never met her, Parker canít stop thinking about Hope (Lisa Labriola), the beautiful ballerina whose funeral he recently attended. He sees visions of her every day as she dances or stands gracefully by the piano in his apartment, takes playful walks with him, or rises up soaking wet from a swimming pool at an important party.  He even visits Hopeís grave to be closer to her. Naturally, Parkerís best friend (Morgan Margolis), who has romantic problems of his own, tries to talk some sense into him -- as does Sarah. But Parker canít fight the powerful connection he shares with Hope.

Acting honors here go to the handsome Bruno for his sensitive portrayal of a man driven by forces beyond his control. Heís extremely watchable, so itís easy to be drawn into his characterís plight. Kudos also to Labriola, whoís introduced here. She manages to project an ethereal yet very real presence. Lange, too, deserves recognition. Heís practically unrecognizable as the homeless artist Parker befriends.  And Daniel does a fine job as the worried girlfriend, while Margolis excels as Parker's best pal.  

While watching Parker become more and more in tune with Hope, I was reminded of Laura, one of my favorite classic films, starring Gene Tierney and Dana Andrews. Parker falls for Hope in the same way the detective played by Andrews comes under Lauraís spell as he gazes at her portrait. Although both movies fascinate me, the suspense builds up longer in Last of the Romantics and becomes almost excruciating. Is there a happy ending? Maybe not a traditional one, but it definitely works for me! 

Viewers who enjoy films like The Fountain, Somewhere in Time and Kate and Leopold should put Last of the Romantics on their must-see list.    

(Released by Gymnopedie Films and Red Sands Production Co. Not yet rated by MPAA. For more information about Last of the Romantics, visit the filmís official site by clicking here.)

Photo: Chris Bruno as Parker Graves in Last of the Romantics.  

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