Her Name is Carla (2005) from Johnny Web (Uncle Scoopy; Greg Wroblewski)

This is essentially a four character play on film. In fact, to be more specific, it is structurally similar to some of Harold Pinter's plays in which mysterious strangers intimidate sedate households without making any outright threats, but just by exuding a vague malevolent presence.  Her Name is Carla is a tale of two couples. Carla and Bill, who seem to be settled and miserable, live near a small town on a remote stretch of beach. One day, while Carla is in town running some errands, she runs into the other couple, Jack and Molly, strangers who are stranded in town after his business meeting was cancelled. They start up a conversation. Carla volunteers that their boat has a broken motor, and Jack volunteers to fix it. Carla is reluctant to bring these people into her life, but a combination of their persuasiveness and Carla's loneliness seems to wear down her resistance. By the time they get back to Carla's house, they have wrangled an invitation to have dinner and spend the night. Bill is obviously uncomfortable with having strangers intruding into his life, but he can't seem to come up with any reason to disinvite his guests, so he tries to relax.

The evening starts out pleasantly enough, but the strangers gradually seem more menacing, and Bill is the first to notice that his guests don't have a credible back-story. Half of the time, when they are questioned about matters, they reply with some vague platitudes like "I had a thing with the financial guy," or "you know how it is." The rest of the time it is obvious that they are lying, because their stories are either  contradictory or just outright nonsense. (Jack is in the diamond business, but doesn't seem to know how diamonds are mined.) The couples have too much to drink and pair off without their spouses. Carla and Jack go for a walk, and are having sex almost immediately. Molly makes an attempt to seduce Bill, but he is becoming aware that his guests are plotting something malicious, so he is keeping his distance. Within a short while, Bill wants the guests to leave, but by this time Carla is infatuated with Jack and wants the strangers to stay. Bill is not the sort of man who keeps guns or uses force, and he might lose his wife even if he could force the strangers out, so he has no way to get the unwanted guests from his house. He ends up acquiescing to the presence of visitors for a night, although he is certain that their intentions must be malevolent.

Who are the two strangers, and why have they come to this household? That two-edged question is the essence of the film.

In the Pinter path, the psychological drama would continue to center around veiled menace involving undeveloped characters who meet more or less at random. The mystery usually remains mysterious. In this film, the Pinteresque portion is more or less confined to the set-up, and the second half of the film veers from the Pinter formula to become concrete. It provides the history of the characters and the connections between them, as well as a concrete solution to the mystery. In addition to the revelation of critical incidents in the past, it also includes a number of unexpected plot twists in the present. Things don't work out exactly as the menacing strangers had planned.

It is an extremely low budget film shot on digital video, and it relies entirely on the actors and the editing to develop and maintain its aura of suspense. The digital video work is dreary, although that works with the somber tone of the film. There is too little lighting in most of the indoor shots, and the outdoor shots on the water lose all definition, so that the water looks like it has been painted by Seurat. At times the sun's reflection on the water tends to bleach out everything on camera.

There is very little action. The one time when action is necessary, it is filmed so clumsily that it is does not communicate clearly what has actually happened. That scene, one of the most important scenes in the film, is so clumsy that I had to replay it a couple of times, wondering what the hell I had just seen. (As it turns out, the result of the scene can be determined from what happens subsequently, so the confusing edit didn't really matter.)

The director of this film is also the author, editor, and cinematographer. If he gets more money for his next project, he should consider keeping the other three jobs and hiring a professional cinematographer, because he has some talent elsewhere. Despite the fact that the film's overall appearance is no more professional than a home movie, it does have some emotional power. The director knows just how to use the right combination of hollow dialogue, silence, and music to make one's hair stand on end. By the way, the person I'm talking about here is Jay Anania, and he is the brother-in-law of Democratic former Vice-Presidential candidate John Edwards. (Anania is the younger brother of Edwards's wife.)



  • the transfer is widescreen, anamorphically enhanced (16x9)



Mina Badie - brief breasts

Julianne Nicholson - breasts

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The meaning of the IMDb score: 7.5 usually indicates a level of excellence equivalent to about three and a half stars from the critics. 6.0 usually indicates lukewarm watchability, comparable to approximately two and a half stars from the critics. The fives are generally not worthwhile unless they are really your kind of material, equivalent to about a two star rating from the critics, or a C- from our system. Films rated below five are generally awful even if you like that kind of film - this score is roughly equivalent to one and a half stars from the critics or a D on our scale. (Possibly even less, depending on just how far below five the rating is.

My own guideline: A means the movie is so good it will appeal to you even if you hate the genre. B means the movie is not good enough to win you over if you hate the genre, but is good enough to do so if you have an open mind about this type of film. C means it will only appeal to genre addicts, and has no crossover appeal. (C+ means it has no crossover appeal, but will be considered excellent by genre fans, while C- indicates that it we found it to be a poor movie although genre addicts find it watchable). D means you'll hate it even if you like the genre. E means that you'll hate it even if you love the genre. F means that the film is not only unappealing across-the-board, but technically inept as well. Any film rated C- or better is recommended for fans of that type of film. Any film rated B- or better is recommended for just about anyone. We don't score films below C- that often, because we like movies and we think that most of them have at least a solid niche audience. Now that you know that, you should have serious reservations about any movie below C-.

Based on this description, it's a C-. I think the film is unfairly rated at IMDb, perhaps because it looks so amateurish. It will not be confused with Citizen Kane, but it is not a bad little mystery, with a certain literary cachet, and a consistent tone. It's not bad for a no-budget independent movie.

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