28 July 2013 3:00 PM, PDT | Variety - Film News | See recent Variety - Film News news »

The signature psychosexual perversity of director Paul Schrader finds its nearly perfect match in novelist Bret Easton Ellis, whose screenplay for Schrader’s “The Canyons” might just as soon have been called “Psycho American Gigolo” or “The Hardcore Rules of Attraction.” The first in the new wave of Kickstarter-funded features instigated by established old-media types, Schrader’s ultra-low-budget (reportedly $250,000) but handsomely made study of low-level Hollywood hangers-on has earned much prerelease attention for the casting of real-life porn star James Deen and the troubled Lindsay Lohan (also one of the pic’s co-producers). But the end result is hardly a joke, not least for Lohan’s fascinating presence, far closer to self-revelation than self-parody. Between VOD curiosity seekers and adventurous arthouse-goers, “The Canyons” is sure to see solid returns on its modest investment, while pushing Schrader back into the zeitgeist after a long fallow period.

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- Scott Foundas

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