Bohemian Alex Morrison has just finished directing his first feature length movie. In its previews, the movie is considered a critical, artistic and surefire commercial success. As such, ... See full summary »
Bohemian Alex Morrison has just finished directing his first feature length movie. In its previews, the movie is considered a critical, artistic and surefire commercial success. As such, Alex seemingly has his choice of what his next project will be. Alex has a few thoughts in his mind, such as a biopic of Lenny Bruce, or a movie about a black uprising in Los Angeles. As he makes the rounds both in the Hollywood community and European movie centers for ideas, he fantasizes about movie scenarios of those everyday situations he is in. These fantasies are influenced by his movie idols, some who he meets such as Italian director Federico Fellini and French actress Jeanne Moreau. Concurrently, he is considering what to do about his personal life. He, his wife Beth and their two daughters live a middle class lifestyle. He is wondering whether it makes sense to "move up", which means that movie making not only has to achieve his main purpose of saying something meaningful, but also has to be... Written by
Paul Mazursky co-wrote and directed this self-indulgent, though rarely boring, chronicle of an emerging movie director's quest to find a relevant, honest subject for his second picture. With reality and fantasy intermingling (often with a heavy hand), Mazursky is able to try out different filmmaking styles and techniques--some bold and some pretentious. This approach turns the picture into a series of vignettes, not all of which hold together, however there are wonderful individual moments amongst the dross. Donald Sutherland has a magical chance meeting with Jeanne Moreau in front of a book store, and there's an elaborate, surreal scene of war on Hollywood Boulevard (as seen through the jaundiced eye of a movie camera). A prickly bit of overstated authority on the U.S./Mexico border (with Sutherland singled out possibly because of his long hair and beard) is still topical today, however the circus folk and hippie longueurs probably looked embarrassing and dated only a year or so after the movie was released. An excursion to Rome seems included only to get a Federico Fellini cameo in the movie (Mazursky emulates Fellini's "8½" throughout, however the director's bit part is a gambit that fails to pay off). Everyday scenes of family life (house hunting, grocery shopping, etc.) are handled far too lackadaisically, although the depiction of Hollywood, California circa 1970 (wherein the Old Regime has been replaced with the avant garde New Wave) has a pointed preciseness which makes "Alex in Wonderland" an occasionally bracing document of its era. ** from ****
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