AGORA
: Dragged from her chariot by a mob of fanatical vigilante Christian monks, the revered astronomer was stripped naked, skinned to her bones with sharp oyster shells, stoned and burned alive as possibly the first executed witch in history. A kind of purge that was apparently big business back then.


CRITICAL WOMEN HEADLINES

4/24/09

HE SAID, SHE SAID....The Informers


A MACHO CRITIC FREE ZONE

SHE SAID....

In the buff naughty boobs 'n buns bad parenting sex and drug addiction romp. And a weird cry for help cinema probing wasted LA youth without adult supervision in sight. Though with sly hints about exactly where all those hallucinatory Hollywood plots in theaters across America may arise.

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HE SAID....


This is an ensemble film adapted from novel writer and co-screenplay writer Brett Easton Ellis' 1994 collection of short stories of the same title. He is best known for his past success with American Psycho and Less Than Zero.

Under the direction of Gregor Jordan, this adaptation is set in 1980's Los Angeles with a multi-strand narrative that unpleasantly balances an array of characters who represent both ends of the spectrum of the Hollywood environment. From a self-indulged womanizing movie mogul William Sloan (Billy Bob Thornton), his neurotic wife Laura (Kim Basinger) who enjoys sex with her son's friend Martin (Austin Nichols), and their deeply confused adult children Graham and Susan (Jon Foster and Cameron Goodman).

The list continues with a sexually perverted Rock Star named Bruce (Fernando Consagra), the love interest of William Sloan and TV reporter/weather person Cheryl Moore (Winona Ryder), and everyone's girlfriend Christie (Amber Heard). On the lower end of the scale is a "spaced out" doorman named Jack played by the late Brad Renfro and his ex-con uncle Peter (Mickey Rourke) who try their luck at kidnapping. All of the sequences of the movie are somehow connected to a circle of sexually active blonde men and women who are young, rich, spoiled, and drug inducing who party all night.

Genuinely, these are juicy topics and issues to get into on film. However, the tedious over-the-top and one dimensional dramatic character study is merely a sensationalized satire. The crisscross characters of this hyper-elitist social landscape are supposed to represent the trendy iconography of L.A. in the early 1980's. The film should have been fascinating, instead it's a joyless division of fractured historical perspectives.

The episode nature of the plot prevented me from being swept by the story and/or characters. I realized 15 minutes into the film, that there is no real momentum. Periodic stretches in the movie go by without anything of consequence occurring. The over-extended performances by the characters isn't the main reason to avoid this film - it is the incomprehensible way the material is played. The manic swirl of characters left me bored and exhausted.

It is outrageous that the only meaningful scenes regarding the subject of AIDS is only given limited time on screen. I would think that the orgy scenes would give the director and screenplay writer an idea to adapt this into the plot.

I find this flick to be an ultimately unsubstantial dramatization of the 1980's Hollywood.

Directed by: Gregor Jordan
Running time: 1 hour 38 minutes
Release date: April 24, 2009
Genre: Drama and Adaptation
Distributor: Senator Films
MPAA Rating: R

Film Rating: (D)

Gerald Wright
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