Bobby Platt is a mentally slow young man who escapes an abusive, hateful stepfather who has killed his pets one by one. To save himself, Bobby runs away and meets a strange old man who ... See full summary »
The sudden reappearance of his best friend Toni, after ten years absence, causes Chris to remember his past, to question some of his lifestyle decisions and to re-evaluate his life and marriage to Marion.
This re-telling of Hamlet goes back to the original Danish source material. The opening scenario remains the same: Hamlet's father murdered by his brother who then weds the widowed mother. ... See full summary »
New York City police detective John Shaft (nephew of the original 1970s detective) goes on a personal mission to make sure the son of a real estate tycoon is brought to justice after a racially-motivated murder.
Samuel L. Jackson,
In 1984, British journalist Arthur Stuart investigates the career of 1970s glam superstar Brian Slade, who was heavily influenced in his early years by hard-living and rebellious American singer Curt Wild.
Jonathan Rhys Meyers,
Newly graduated psychiatrist Sam and his fiancee Alex move to Los Angeles for Sam's residency and into Sam's mother's house in upscale Laurel Canyon. Only problem is, Sam's mother is still there, supposedly finishing up a record that she's producing for the band of her new boy toy, Ian. She seems more interested in smoking pot and drinking than actually working though. Alex doesn't mind but Sam is quite upset. Alex starts off focused on her work (finishing a dissertation on genomics), but is soon distracted by the rock-'n-roll lifestyle going on around her. Meanwhile, Sam is equally distracted by beautiful Israeli intern Sara. Written by
Jon Reeves <firstname.lastname@example.org>
The album-wrap party takes place in a suite on an upper floor of the Chateau Marmont (we see Ian order more champagne for the "penthouse suite", and the view from the balcony is clearly an upper floor). Yet when Sam storms out of the suite, then runs downstairs while arguing with Jane, they only descend one flight before reaching the lobby. There is a cut, but the dialog implies that no time was cut from their descent. See more »
"I'd much rather be in here than out there in that cold world..."
It has taken me years to get around to watching Laurel Canyon, even after having lived in Los Angeles and worked in West Hollywood for a year and a half. There is more about the southern California lifestyle to dislike than can ever be explained in less than 1,000 words, and this movie takes on really just a tiny, tiny part of it, but it paints a picture of show business life clashing with 'normal' life that matches the reality that I experienced there with astonishing accuracy.
Of course, a lot of the effect comes from the location shooting. Anyone from Los Angeles will instantly recognize many of the locations, particularly things like the Château Marmont hotel (where, incidentally, Lindsay Lohan lived for months and months in 2006 while she couldn't seem to stop partying enough to find a real apartment) and, more importantly, that charming cafe at the corner of Laurel Canyon and Kirkwood Drive, where I often used to go for coffee.
Jim Morisson's house, a few feet away, is sadly overlooked, which is strange since the movie is about the hectic world behind the scenes of the music industry. Christian Bale plays the part of Sam, a young professional, a psychiatrist already tired of his profession and struggling to start a life with his young wife, Alex. Kate Beckinsale is the perfect embodiment of a young bride horrified by the debauchery taking place around her, as she and Sam move into his mother's house to find, to their dismay, that she has not moved out as promised, but is still there recording music with some dirty, stoned musicians. It is truly remarkable how flawlessly Francisc McDormand fits into the role of the aging mother still stuck in a rock star lifestyle. She is truly one of our most versatile actors!
While the relationship between Sam and Alex is realistic and convincing enough (especially Sam's dismay at bringing Alex around his mother, and his clearly desperate need not to displease her - note the way he looks at her when he declines his mother's offer of a drink...), but the mother-son relationship is not believable in the slightest.
But this, however, is not something that I think the movie is shooting for. This is not a family drama, it's a comparison of different lifestyles, sort of a peek into the craziness of show business life juxtaposed with everyday American society (the educated kind, at least), and how completely different and unmixable they are. Unmixable? Is that a word? Anyway, you get the idea. Water and oil. It's nearly impossible to imagine a smart, well-balanced young man entering his career as a psychiatrist having come from the environment that Jane (McDormand) would have provided him during childhood, but the situational drama that comes from their relationship is revelatory about both lifestyles.
The actual neighborhoods and the style of the houses in that part of Hollywood are presented perfectly, thanks in no small part to the location shooting, but it also captures the attitude in many ways as well. I will say that I found the ending to be a bit sudden, but if nothing else, it's one of those movies that makes you think. You may find yourself imagining one lifestyle or the other, and comparing your own thoughts to how the people in the movie were living. It makes you think, and while I found some scenes and situations a little too far of a stretch (Sam's fascination with the darker lifestyle is interesting, but getting involved sexually with her husband's mother? Yeah RIGHT...), it's still an interesting and well-written drama.
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