Wednesday, March 14, 2007

In the Meantime...

Since I'm still reading/ re-reading a few Boom Comics, and since I just watched this, I figured I'd go ahead and talk about it first, excuse me if I'm a little rusty, it HAS been awhile-

Hollywoodland

One of the things that has always irked me about biopics like this are the liberties they take with the truth. But, while Hollywoodland did stretch some of the facts it didn't draw its own conclusions.

It reminded me a little of Auto Focus, and much more recently (actually, I think they came out at about the same time) The Black Dahlia. The exception being that Auto Focus and Hollywoodland are pretty good films, despite their liberties, and that The Black Dahlia was about as entertaining as a pile of manure, probably because of its liberties.

For those who don't know, Hollywoodland is the story of George Reeves' supposed suicide. The story is told in flashbacks, most of which come from the mind of Louis Simo (played by Adrienne Brody), a private detective who was hired by Reeves' mother to investigate the suicide. Simo collects facts about the case, and as he uncovers more pieces he begins to imagine scenarios that may or may not have happened.

Reeves is played by Ben Affleck, a man who takes a lot of abuse over his acting, something he and Reeves had in common. Affleck got a Golden Globe nomination for Supporting Actor for the film, a well deserved one I think. Diane Lane stars as Toni Mannix, Reeves' lover and wife of studio exec Eddie Mannix (Bob Hoskins). The scenes between the two of them play very much like a love story straight out of the '50s, sometimes stiff and awkward, and most assuredly melodramatic. But, when you consider that these snippets aren't being presented as fact, but as the conclusions Simo has drawn from his investigation it's easy to see why they play out that way.

Going back to Simo; a large portion of the film is spent examining his life, parralelling it to Reeves. It seems the more he uncovers about the actor the more truthfully he begins to see his situation. They are both men who desperately want to succeed, but they measure they're success by how much exposure they have, both find comfort in the arms of younger women and alcohol. For them fame equals happiness, and in the end, when it doesn't come, both are left sitting alone, looking back at the pieces.

The movie captures the feel of the era perfectly, right down to Reeves pinky ring and automobile. Occasionally the dialogue can be a little punchy, sounding like something out of The Maltese Falcon, but it never takes you out of the movie. The music, on the other hand gets to be a bit too much, especially in the more dramatic scenes. I remember reading once, the best musical scores are the ones that evoke emotion without ever making you awarre of it, but here the music is predictable and mostly uninspired.

Overall, it's at least an entertaining film, but those who know the story of Reeves' death certainly won't find anything new here.

-L

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