Charlotte Sometimes

Director: Eric Byler
Year Released: 2002
Rating: 1.0

Literate mechanic (what an oxymoron - I mean, who knew that the people that fixed your car could also read the manual, too?) is in love with the girl upstairs - who makes loud, nasty love to her slick boyfriend - but she doesn't think of him 'in that way' (she tortures him consciously/unconsciously by visiting after sex to watch anime or films); soon, he finds a woman in a bar that's too good to be true because she's concealing some rather lame - although Byler thinks it's earth shattering - secret. Tries for Tsai Ming-Liang-level of alienation and despair but is more of a wannabe: it mistakes lethargy for mood and loud music for emotion, is under the assumption it's extremely clever, and does not develop its characters beyond the most cursory level (the mechanic/landlord is a sad-looking loner, the boyfriend is a smooth operator, and the two girls are both crude and confused). In a reversal of the incessant gabbing and pop-references in 90's cinema, Byler forces his cast to speak the banal dialogue in near monotone in order to emphasize the 'seriousness' of the material.