Synopsis: "Off Jackson Avenue" is an interwoven crime story set in New York City involving a Mexican woman (Jessica Pimentel) who has been tricked into sex-slavery by an Albanian pimp (Stivi Paskoski) and must find a way to break out; a Japanese hit man (Jun Suenaga) who is in town to do a job for the Chinese mob and must finish his assignment despite the fact that he is haunted by his recently-dead mother's ghost; and a local car-thief (John-Luke Montias) who must go on one last stealing spree to raise enough money to buy a tire store and go legit. A smack-bang tale of ambition, survival and fate, "Off Jackson Avenue" reminds us that there are still some parts of New York City that you won't find on any map. [Synopsis courtesy of film's MySpace page]
Round-up: After adulatory comparisons to Haggis's "Crash," Time Out New York's Andrew Grant says, "Impressively shooting in 16mm, Montias’s obvious talent as a filmmaker is sadly overshadowed by... his uninspired, cliché-heavy screenplay. Unless you’re a Queens-on-film completist, stay away." Likewise, Film Journal International's Ethan Alter flip flops on a comparison between this film and another ensemble cast film -- Iñárritu's "Babel." Of course, it's not entirely fair to hold a DIY indie production to the same kind of technical standard as a studio-backed movie, but the choppy camerawork and editing as well as the awkward performances from some of the cast give the movie an amateurish feel that limits its artistic and commercial ambitions." The Village Voice's Elena Oumano is surprised that she found so much enjoyment in the film: "Despite this tri-part farcical thriller's plot construction, some hackneyed dialogue and actorial mugging—the finest exception being Aya Cash's airily acerbic Slavic hooker—you can't help but eagerly anticipate the finale, when Montias brings his intersecting storylines together. Apparently, amusingly improbable coincidences can satisfy."