The Press

Codependent Lesbian Space Alien Seeks Same Press:

“A hilarious date movie for couples of all orientation. Tongue firmly in cheek, Madeleine Olnek’s lesbian sic-fi comedy lovingly spoofs the black-and-white B-movies of yesteryear. Sure to become a staple of festival midnight-movie programs” ~ Justin Lowe, Hollywood Reporter

“Sweet, funny, cleaver comedy seeks crossover” would be the Craigslist come-on for Codependent Lesbian Space Alien Seeks Same, and it may well come true via Madeleine Olnek’s wry homage to 50’s, sic-fi, urban dating and interspecies romance. Codependent could pass as a family film, given the right family. But small arthouse and huge DVD/VOD seem more likely… The pic’s seat-of-the-pants aesthetic recalls Invasion of the Body Snatchers and the interplanetary paranoia of its genre; the odd-couple romance (and a scene near the Queensboro Bridge) suggests Woody Allen’s Manhattan; the parallel storyline of two government agents (Dennis Davis, Alex Karpovsky) is a little bit X-Files. But Olnek’s sensibility is singular, and the work of the cast–notable the sweetfaced Haas and the hilarious robotic Ziegler–make for a movie that seeks, and earns, affection.” ~ John Anderson, Variety

In Codependent Lesbian Space Alien Seeks Same, Madeleine Olnek’s witty ode to urban love and shoestring sic-fi, a lonely Manhattanite and an exiled extraterrestrial find interspeicies contentment. On the Earthling side is Jane (a perfect Lisa Haas), a sweet, unlucky-in-love store clerk surviving on fantasies and regular therapy. About to realize those fantasies is Zoinx (Susan Ziegler), one of the three female aliens whose overabundance of ‘big feeling’ is believed to be destroying their planet’s ozone layer. Bald as eggs and with gills secreted beneath their Elizabethan collars, the aliens hope to save their home by getting their hearts broken–a task at which humans are thought to excel. Who know The Bachelorette was beaming into outer space? Photographed in crisp black and white by Nat Bouman, this enormously likable movie keeps sexual politics on the back burner and the universal search for connection front and center. The budget probably had trouble stretching to a box of tinfoil, but the film’s pleasures are in the details, like Jane’s causal warning to ‘watch out for the syringes’ when she and Zoinx ponder a Coney Island swim. …Ed Wood would have been proud.” ~ Jeannette Catsoulis, The New York Times

Click here to read more Codependent reviews.

Countertransference Press:

“Unforgettable…a comic goldmine.” ~ Filmmaker Magazine

“Madeleine Olnek’s short is originally hilarious.” ~ Bay Area Reporter

“I’ve yet to see Madeleine Olnek’s first Sundance kissed short Hold-Up, but if it’s even a shadow of the comedy Countertransference is, then no explanations are necessary as to why Olnek is racking up festival awards and screening selections like they’re going out of style.” ~ MarBelle, Short of the Week

“Perhaps the best performance featured in the festival, much less the shorts program, is by Deb Margolin in COUNTERTRANSFERENCE. She could well be THE female Buster Keaton or Woody Allen! This is a fabulously edited and shot, and apparently improvised script! I could have watched another hours worth of Ms. Margolin’s exceptional work and director Madeleine Olnek’s choice of “hiding” all of the characters who are Margolin’s foils and obstacles is near brilliant. Probably the best piece I have seen from this fest, yet!” ~ Life and Movies with Maxxx Blogspot

See video naming Countertransference one of Sundance’s 2009 Best Short Films.

“…twisted laughs…” ~ Eric Melin, BlogLive – Sundance Film Festival

“Olnek’s lates short made me laugh by the fifteen second mark and kept getting funnier from there.” ~ Michael Tully, Hammer to Nail

“[Countertransference is] The funniest short film made in the year 2008.” ~ Jenni Olson, Planet Out

“[Countertransference] is a funny, psychologically loaded film that’s well crafted and skillfully acted,” ~ Mona de Crinis, The Bottom Line Magazine

“A really unusual little gem of a film… It was brilliant… nicely shot and nicely written-very, very nicely written. I thoroughly enjoyed Countertransference.” Iris TV review, Wales, UK

“Addictively pleasurable… riveting… demented… a masterful haiku of hilarity and dread… viciously delicious comedy.” ~ Helen Eisenbach

I wish to tell you the my brother, Mike, and I loved this very special and sadly funny movie… It is really a unique picture about modern, human angst and quite funny in a touching way. I hope you make more. We were riveted to the screen and loved the performance!” ~ George Kuchar

Hold-Up! Press:

“If Madeleine Olnek’s ‘Hold Up’ were an SNL skit, it would be buzzed about at water coolers and on blogs across the country the next Monday… If only more movie comedies were this wry and skilled.” Baltimore City Paper

“Uproariously Neurotic Comedy.” New York Newsday

From NYC To Sundance: Madeleine Olnek, ‘Hold-Up’ ~ Movie City News Interview


“Director Madeleine Olnek Wins $5,000 Grant for Countertransference” from Women in Film (WIF)


“Hilarious… Olnek directs at a breathless pace.” The Village Voice

“A delightful playground of bizarre moments.” Time Out New York

“Funny, darkly obsessive, often fascinating… The work is disturbing, sexy and pithy, all at once.” Greenwich Village Press

“Madeleine Olnek is making incredible contemporary masterpieces.” Playwright Paula Vogel in American Theatre Magazine

Full review of “Countertransference” by Helen Eisenbach

“The world is a big, cold place, and most of us are just looking for a little happiness, a small patch of ground to call our own. For the people in Madeleine Olnek’s films, however, attempts to find even a few moments’ peace never quite go according to plan. Still her isolated souls soldier on, fiercely determined or forlornly hopeful as they brave often comically monstrous obstacles. Their innocence in the face of brutal forces — psychological terrorism, depraved indifference, outright lunacy — is at the heart of Olnek’s genius, which merges a poignant, childlike naiveté with almost viciously delicious comedy.

There’s always a twist in an Olnek tale — inevitably a twist of the knife. In the director’s debut, Hold-Up, a woman enlists her fiancé in committing a felony, but it turns out to be a front for seeing her elusive ex. (Some people really need to get closure.) Olnek’s next outing, Make Room for Phyllis, centers on one of the loneliest victims of the sexual revolution, lured with the promise of a ménage a trois by “lovers” who actually just want someone to do the cleaning.

With her latest work, the criminally entertaining Countertransference, Olnek turns her gimlet eye on the unanticipated perils of self-help and self-actualization. In 15 minutes — not one of them wasted — a beleaguered woman attempts to cope with a terrible job and even more dismal social life by trying therapy for the first time. Treatment yields undeniable results: she ends up far worse than when she started.

As the world’s unluckiest therapy virgin, Deb Margolin has a mournful deadpan to rival the young Woody Allen’s and a distinctive presence that somehow places her out of time; Olnek could not have chosen a better muse to channel her unique brand of understated absurdist delirium. Filling out a pitch-perfect cast are Rae C. Wright as the heroine’s used-goods-store boss, an unhinged despot over a tiny dominion; Dennis Davis as a mysterious patient unable to get an answer to a quite reasonable question; and Susan Ziegler as a riveting, demented therapist, a loaded weapon of “healing.”

Olnek’s most ambitious work to date, Countertransference layers its escalating dance of giddiness and torment with impeccable control and timing, achieving the heights of the best Christopher Guest improvaganzas. Aiming her skewed gaze at daily life-trials that will be sadly familiar to most of us, Olnek distills her familiar themes into a masterful haiku of hilarity and dread. Pain may be how we know we’re alive, but how do Olnek and her collaborators make it so addictively pleasurable?”~ Helen Eisenbach

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