Apartment 12 (2000) Poster


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Jackson Pollack He's Not ...
ruffrider2 March 2006
Alex is a painter, each of whose canvases is just one big window-sized slab of yellow (or red, or whatever color it happens to be). Not only his art but his life lacks inspiration: his one-man show is not to be, his girlfriend just walked out, he's moved into a building full of oddballs and he's back delivering pizza to pay the rent. I expected this flick to turn into a sitcom, but it got better as it went along, developing characters and relationships, especially the one between artsy liberal snob Alex and his new neighbor Lori, whose magnum pistol, martial arts skills and utter lack of sophistication generate the contempt he has for her, despite the fact that they're having a physical relationship. Throw in the wacky neighbors, like the bathrobe-clad Lothario/one-man Greek Chorus who wanders the halls and delivers his observations in Spanish, the super-nosy super, the big-busted strip-o-gram girl, the horny, man-devouring Biddie and a couple of others and you've got funny and touching portraits of a by turns lovable and unlovable loser and the colorful characters in his orbit. Don't know why, exactly, but this story reminded me a bit of Steve Buscemi's terrific "Tree's Lounge" - another indie about a loser and his odd pals. This one's cute and it's got a happier ending. For the price of your admission you get "early" Mark Ruffalo (2001) in an affecting role and cute, largely unknown Beth Ulrich, who's a find.
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Culinary art made avant-garde
jotix10010 May 2006
Warning: Spoilers
Alex, the aspiring artist who paints geometrical images on wood, seems to be highly influenced by Josef Albers, the abstract painter whose geometrical canvases were a rage in the fifties and sixties. Alex is not that lucky though. As the film starts he receives a rejection from the gallery owner who tells him, more or less, to keep his daytime job delivering pizzas.

To make matters worse, his girlfriend Yvette, dumps him. What's a struggling young artist to do when he is locked out of the place he had been sharing with Yvette? Well, finding a new apartment in Los Angeles proves to be an easy thing; luckily Alex doesn't live in crowded and pricey Manhattan. He gets a place in a building where Ray, the super, proves to be a friendly guy.

Next, we get to meet the neighbors, who include the whining Sylvia, a woman who loves to cook "junk casseroles" made with Spam, which Alex finds revolting. There is also a prostitute down the hall and a Latin gigolo who is much too cool. When apartment 11 becomes empty, a nice young woman, Lori, rents in. Alex, who is reluctant to get involved, at first, likes his neighbor and suddenly they are into a nice and cozy relationship.

Alex, unfortunately, runs into trouble when he misreads Lori's invitation to meet her parents. Things go worse when Lori starts seeing a lawyer from the building where she works. In desperation, Alex, who doesn't know what else to do, and feels the inspiration to paint escape him throws one of Sylvia's casseroles to one of his paintings and that gives him the idea about what road to take to sell his newly made avant-garde paintings. And yes, Lori comes back to him when it's clear they were made for one another.

Imagine a new director blessed with a dream casting! This must have been Dan Bootzin's coup in making this charming indie comedy. Mark Ruffalo, as Alex, is the main attraction for watching this neat movie. Having seen Mr. Ruffalo in the New York stage, as well as having seen most of his films, we were looking forward to watching this one. He doesn't disappoint! It appears the director had a nice rapport with his talented cast. Beth Ulrich plays Lori with a naturalness that surprises. Alan Gelfant is Ray, the intrusive super, and Mary Coleston has some excellent moments as the busy-body Sylvia.

It's a shame Dan Bootzin is not kept busy directing, as he shows he has a knack for the job.
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Having fun with the great Ruffalo
jpschapira12 March 2006
Recently I wrote about "Just like heaven" and talked about the great Mark Ruffalo; specifically about the comedies he's making these days so people can get to recognize him. I also said that I hoped he'd get back in track soon, to what he does best. "Life/Drawing" (or "Apartment 12") is a film every fan of the actor's got to watch. Ironically, it is a comedy (with a slice of drama), but it remains far away from the big studios.

Here they'll find Ruffalo at his best acting qualities; with the show all for himself, the camera right on his head, the simplicity in all its extensionÂ…An actor like Ruffalo looks for movies like this one, about frustrated artists and lonely human beings. This was four years before "Just like heaven", but his character also has a breakdown here, and stays in bed watching television and eating ice-cream.

Other than Ruffalo's fantastic character driven performance as Alex, there's nothing much interesting inside this picture. Directed by a now disappeared (did nothing after this) Dan Bootzin, the piece shows the lives of several person that inhabit the same building. Ray (independent figure Alan Gelfant), the manager who's a sexist scumbag; Sylvia, the crying neighbor who cooks and desperately seeks for love and the new girl Lori (Beth Ulrich), who captures Alex's heart.

A mysterious tall guy who speaks Spanish is always standing and wandering mumbling things in his own language that try to explain a lot. A prostitute who lives besides Alex goes out every night and does this with a different outfit (nurse, police officer). Bootzin observes quietly, slowly. His camera is omnipresent and not at all ambitious; it lays back, creates the environment, and moves faster in a very funny scene where every inhabitant does his thing rapidly. His edition is quick and easy; it leaves a lot to desire.

Bootzin's screenplay, which he wrote alongside a female colleague, is flexible as life itself. It allows us to watch his characters sitting down in the porch with a cup of hot coffee at 10 a.m. in the morning. It allows us to see how culture and education influence a relationship; because Lori went to the army and Alex paints, and Lori doesn't know how Jackson Pollack was. In fact, as Ray correctly observes: "Nobody knows who Jackson Pollack was".

This artistic side of the main character played by Ruffalo, which seems to be the core of the character piece, is not extensively developed. His painting is, as many say, "soulless"; or at least at the beginning, because then Alex finds the artistry inside his feelings.

Even when in the end every character has a big smile in their face, the music inspires happiness and the whole ride has been pleasant, there's a feeling of disappointment. A feeling related to things that could have been present but weren't; to a depth that was intended but didn't appeared.
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An indie romantic comedy that's a cut above
tomtomwww26 April 2003
The downside is that this is pretty much another indie romantic comedy about a backed-up artist who meets a girl and just can't quite get his act together.

The upside is that it's at times very funny, with quirky, well-drawn characters and terrific performances, particularly by a pre-"You Can Count on Me" Mark Ruffalo.

On the whole, it's worth checking out.
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Has its moments but falls short of being a must-see for romcom fans
inkblot1111 July 2019
Alex (Mark Ruffalo) thinks the world is his oyster at this moment. He is about to have an art showing at a Los Angeles gallery and he shares a beautiful home with a lovely lady. Alas, the gallery manager cancels his show just as Alex says sayonara to his pizza delivery job. Then, in short order, his girlfriend breaks things off by dumping his stuff on the street and leaving a note on the door. Scrambling, the struggling painter finds an apartment in a rundown complex with a wide variety of nutcase tenants. One of them brings a Spam casserole on his first night, ugh. Yet, Alex keeps painting and soon meets a fellow tenant, Lori (Beth Ulrich) who is quite cute but has interests totally dissimilar to his. They have a brief "thing" but are they truly made for each other? Then, too, at a low point, Alex gets an inspiration for a new style of painting. Will this result in his big break? This offbeat romcom has some great ideas which don't quite fully bloom. Ruffalo and Ulrich, nevertheless, and the unknown secondary cast are funny and charming. The seedy sets of LA contrast with the poshier places but the direction slows the pace too much at times. But, if YOU, like ME, get desperate for an unseen romantic comedy now and again, drop by Apartment 12.
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Pain/Painting !
elshikh410 May 2009
Warning: Spoilers
The Egyptian writer and intellectual (Ahmed Amen) said once that "our great pains make us great". This nice independent movie reminded me of this aphorism, extremely.

It's a very simple story about an artist who lives hard life; the worst of it is being insecure for all the time. The lack of success, the absence of self-confidence, and the stumbling to find the true unique art in him-pushes such a character to compel his love to leave him, as he got nothing to present to her. He had to face his pains ultimately to discover the real artist in him, to be close to the great that he longs for or already has.

For most of the time, I suspected that this fellow would find a magical lamp that could solve all of his problems. Or that the movie would sink under these problems horrifically. However, I was happily wrong. It delicately brings out the case of anxiety which young artist, like this, suffers from.

There is a sense of simplicity that overwhelms the whole movie beautifully. It shows its experience without a whit of intricacy or allegation. Actually, it attacks the allegation heavily; watch that carefully with the surprising confrontation of (Ray), the landlord, near the end, or through the character of the lead at one of the post-ending scenes. Look also at the 2 critics who just appear to speak about deeper changes while they do nothing but sitting and speaking! They miss the unstoppable chances to feel life and live its pains to discover themselves and recreate these pains into art / great changes. They're the deadest people that this movie exhibits, and the total opposite of its lead. It's what makes the movie, as a whole, one of few anti-allegation movies.

The comedy, and the romance; everything was sensitive and expressive. It had some truthful details, sweet atmosphere, and a lovable diurnal feel about it.

This cast did its job finely. I watched many independent movies where the performance was discreditable, but not this time. (Mark Ruffalo) understood his character; being between the desperate young artist and the slapstick performer (let's thank this script for some of the character's genuine funny moments). Observe well how he says "sorry" to his love at the final scene only by his eyes!

(Beth Ulrich) is an exceptional creature. OH MY GOD, she's god's gift to movies. There is poetry between her short tufts and her shoulders. In other words, she's too charming, giving this movie the magic it seeks, and most of all: talented. She was a delicious smile all the time, mirroring not only her character's loveliness but also ingenuousness and fondness of life, assuring that there are still people like that in our life! Also I loved the scene, after her lover turned his back to her, in which she goes and asks him to spend the night with her friends, and he just replays languidly through half-opened door; her face's reaction there was perfect as refusing, not understanding, and blaming his act all at once. Sure you'll ask yourself repeatedly where is such an actress in Hollywood movies or even else?!

Though, there are a few shortcomings along the way. For instance, the movie didn't use the building's diverse characters well enough. The lead's interaction with those characters, so what he would learn from them, wasn't well made, or made in the first place. The situation of "the lead delivering pizza and got mocked in the elevator" recurred tastelessly. Plus I didn't like the closing credits' shots; I think that was made to show the continuation of life after the events' end, as a factor that may fill it with reality, avoiding labeling it as just romantic dream. But they were mostly silly, and some of them had been done in sort of self-references that I couldn't understand!

The original title, (Life/Drawing), says it all. As if life is just pain and creation out of that pain; so no wonder when half of the word "painting" is "pain"! It's more profound and significant than (Apartment 12) which I believe the movie-makers accepted it as more commercial and inspiring; which gives you the feeling that it's a Horror or a Thriller!

Finally, while (Ruffalo) blasted off into Hollywood movies, making a decent career throughout the 2000s; the movie's heroine (Beth Ulrich), so the movie's director and co-writer (Dan Bootzin), didn't make anything after it (till 2009)!! Well, life is pain, they said it themselves. But I see that they lived that pain too much up till now!
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Average movie for an average rainy day
rlaustin178 February 2006
Slow and predictable because it ends like most movies in this genre. Beth Ulrich plays a surprisingly refreshing girl next door, but Mark Ruffalo plays a common role and does an average job at it. There is good chemistry between Ulrich and Ruffalo which really makes the movie worthy of being watched at least once. I think what's odd is this overall sense of dread that you get from the first 4/5ths of the movie. There are parts of this movie that will provide a bit of chuckle. Unlike some movies in this genre, it's not much of tear jerker. However, it should leave you feeling a little warm and fuzzy.

I would recommend this movie to anyone who has experienced heartbreak or just has a rainy day to spend away.
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