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Hollywoodland (R)

Release Date: September 8th, 2006 by Focus Features.
The Cast: Adrien Brody, Diane Lane, Ben Affleck, Bob Hoskins, Robin Tunney, Joe Spano, Molly Parker, Brad William Henke, Larry Cedar.
Directed by Allen Coulter.

BASIC PREMISE: Louis Simo (Brody) investigates the mysterious death of George Reeves (Affleck), the star of “Adventures of Superman” on TV.

ENTERTAINMENT VALUE: Hollywoodland has a great performance by Diane Lane, but ultimately gets bogged down by a convoluted, confusing plot. Adrien Brody gives a mediocre performance as Louis Simo, a private investigator who suspects that George Reeves’ suicide is actually a cover-up for murder. The deeper he gets into the tangled web, the more trouble he gets into, especially with Eddie Mannix (Hoskins), a powerful official from MGM. Eddie’s wife, Toni, played by Diane Lane in an Oscar-worthy performance, had an affair with George back in 1959. Screenwriter Paul Bernbaum includes many complex characters that may or may not have killed George, such as his greedy fiancé, Leonore (Tunney). Bernbaum awkwardly shifts the film too many times back-and-forth from the present time during the investigation to 1959 before George allegedly killed himself. None of the twists in the intricate plot will be spoiled here. Unfortunately, the plot’s nonlinearity gets too confusing and headache-inducing, so it gradually becomes more difficult to care about who killed George and why. Nonetheless, director Allen Coulter does a great job with the atmospheric cinematography and the overall production value. The costume and set designs both look outstanding as well as the appropriate musical score. If only the plot were more engaging and less confusing, the third act would have been much more powerful.

SPIRITUAL VALUE: Unfortunately, none.

INSULT TO YOUR INTELLIGENCE: A convoluted, confusing plot.


IN A NUTSHELL: Diane Lane delivers an Oscar-worthy performance. Expertly directed by Allen Coulter, but the convoluted and confusing script ultimately bogs down the entertainment value.


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