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POWER GIRL: THE CLASSIFIEDS
Platform: online movie
Director: Chris R. Notarile
Cast: Tawnya Manion, Tony Dadika, Shlomoh Sherman, Dwayne Thomas
(Blinky Productions, 2006) Rated: Not rated
Release date: 18 February 2006 (online)  
by Kevin Garcia

                                You will believe a girl can temp


Ah, the Internet. Home to the ever-growing trend of viral videos,
spreading images of drunken party girls, geeky fanboys singing to their
favorite cartoons, and at least one unintentionally popular young
padawan.

In the midst of all this are diamonds in the rough. Films that, although
produced by nonprofessionals, are worth more than some big-budget movies
on sheer entertainment value. Power Girl: The Classifieds by Chris .R.
Notarile (he adds the extra period for some reason) strives to be just
such a film.

First a quick note. Power Girl: The Classifieds is a fan film, and as
such involves concepts and images that fall under the copyright of the
Time Warner subsidiary DC Comics. I'm not going to comment on the
legality of the concept here, that's for another time and place. This is
just a review of Power Girl: The Classifieds.

Disclaimer out of the way, let's jump into the nitty gritty. Power Girl
is, for the uninitiated, one of DC's superheroes. To be specific, she's
Superman's cousin. Or was. Or maybe she is again. Or maybe the DC
bigwigs aren't even sure, so you can just forget that and accept that
she's really powerful and is a slightly more grown-up version of
Supergirl. Kara, as her friends call her, also falls somewhere between
the "good" and "bad girl" styles: she shows a lot of cleavage while
fighting the good fight, but doesn't flaunt her sexuality by dressing
like a tramp. (Think Wonder Woman, but in white.)

Notarile's Blinky Productions took the idea of a beautiful, powerful
hero without a sense of direction, and threw her into a never-ending
battle: real world job hunting. A fun concept made all the more
entertaining by actress Tawnya Manion. She not only captures Power
Girl's... buxomness, but provides wit and charm while Kara seeks to fill
her life with a mundane nine to five (as suggested over the phone by
cousin Clark).

In fact, much of the acting is topnotch. I'm going to single out the
parts of Shlomoh Sherman and Dwayne Thomas, who play Power Girl's
employers. Like Manion did with the titular character, both take very
one-dimensional roles and add just enough personality to them to make
them believable people -- at least as far as fan films are concerned.

Which brings me to my next point: in no way should this short be held to
the same high standard as Spider-Man 2, Batman Begins, Sin City, and
other favorably reviewed comic book adaptations. But as fan films go,
it's alright. Certainly this is one of Notarile's better works (although
the ambitious Escape Big Trouble in New Jersey is fun on title and
concept alone). He uses clever concepts and topnotch cinematography to
draw the audience through.

Compared to Sandy Collora's Batman: Dead End or Superman/Batman, the
standards by which most DC Comics fan films are judged, this adventure
of Power Girl is not the best of the genre, but definitely fun.

The title seems to be an offhand reference to JSA Classified, the new
series recently spotlighting the young heroine and tackling her
convoluted origins (and why she wears such a low-cut costume). Aside
from the fact that, according to the director's website, the film takes
place between issues three and four of that series, it also makes
passing references to other bits of DC continuity. Justice League comedy
duo Booster Gold (Brandon Goins) and Blue Beetle (Notarile himself) make
brief cameos, as do a few other heroes named only in the credits
(including wife of the director, Niki Notarile, reprising her Catwoman
role from previous fan films). Booster even mentions his
superhero-themed restaurant Planet Krypton; although the reference might
be lost on casual viewers, random bits of comic book lore aren't needed
to enjoy the film. Accept it as a lovingly crafted film about someone
who's between jobs, and we can all relate. Superman's cousin or not.

25 April 2006