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|Index||14 reviews in total|
This is Casper's best effort to date. The film is beautifully shot and
directed. While there may be a misstep here or there, they are easily
ignored given the level of acting.
Candy (Allison Lane) and Adam (Matthew Ludwinski) make a warmly klutzy pair of friends who met in film school and have eventually landed in Hollywood. Candy has an apartment, paid for by her boy friend, with a room Adam can crash in until he's got a job.
While some the story is cliché, much of it is original, based on Andy Zeffer's semi-autobiographical novel. Again, while some of the plot points about getting involved in the porn industry aren't particularly new, the tale of a love affair gone awry, with the hope of redemption, rings true.
I found the connection between Adam and John quite convincing. Judy Tenuta as Zinnea, an old friend of John's with secrets of her own, is particularly comical, if over the top in Judy's trademarked manner.
This is not a heavily dramatic story, but is sufficiently entertaining that I heartily recommend it. Having Bruce Vilanch pop in for a cameo was an inspired bit of casting.
I liked the movie for being mostly light-hearted, but still posing some
serious issues (coming out, entourage, drugs).
The film has its share of gay stereotypes, all in good fun. You have the fag hag, the gossipers at the bar, and the not-so-common hag-of-the-other- fag (more or less) which obviously starts on the wrong foot with the protagonist.
Still, the movie is not entirely predictable and the acting, while slightly over the top at times, makes it worthwhile.
It's not ground-breaking, yet not cheesy. A really good movie to watch at home on that day when you feel tired and need something to lift up your spirits.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Viewed at the Brussels Gay Film Festival
A very engaging story of lust, libido and love in LA.
The film was a very good take on LA - its quirky reliance on trendy remedies for modern woes, on drugs and on its special brand of eternally hopeful American aspiration as embodied in Candy and Adam - the one moving from opportunity to opportunity, the other sticking to some level of honesty, no matter how hard won.
The opening sequence of Adam driving through LA set the tone perfectly: brown skies, fabled landmarks, grungy strip malls and fabulous estates.
Candy and Adam - old film school friends - are each determined to make it big as actors, faced with the deadening reality of too many actors for too few roles. What they are really after, though, is family: they have their fraternal relationship, they long for a married one.
Matthew Ludwinski deserves a special mention for managing to be extremely sexy in a porn- fantasy way and at the same time extremely romantic in an honest way.
In this type of story it is often hard to see what the more successful character sees in the less successful character. But the film took the time to make Adam credible as an intelligent, interesting person and the chemistry between Adam and John was immediate and believable.
The film could have been a pat puff piece for the film industry, and the portrayal of the porn industry was a little soft-core: my one caveat. But the film it showed the downside of life in LA - drugs, hucksterism and sex - in a very real and sad way. The comment about not being able to come out of the closet because of the people whose livelihoods depended on a straight actor's persona, really touched a cord. The ending gained credibility from the gritty reality of the body of the film.
The audience - mostly European - roundly applauded the film.
The cast grabbed me so fast, I was hooked from the opening few minutes. Very funny,heart warming,perfectly acted,great production values and the cast of characters were real. I couldn't sleep because of a broken heart and found this movie on cable. Had no idea what it was about and thought it might cheer me up. It did more than that. Made me take a look at me and make some decisions about how I wanted to live my life, with the integrity in which Adam lived his. Don't settle for anything other than what you want and deserve in life. Live with integrity and strength of character. The characters in this movie acted the parts so well that they really made me think about issues like this. Not many movies have the power to do that. That is what a great movie should do.
Young hunky Adam (Matthew Ludwinski) moves from New York to California
to become an actor. He shares an apartment with a friend named Candy
(Allison Lane) but can't find work. Finally, in desperation, he takes a
job as a production assistant for gay porn movies. His good looks and
muscular body catch the attention of executives in the company and he
starts posing for nudes and eventually "graduates" into doing gay porn.
Then he falls in love head over heels with a closeted TV performer
(beautifully played by Michael Medico) but then tragedy strikes.
I think director Caper Andreas is very talented. I've seen most of his other movies and have (to varying degrees) liked them. This is very good. Not his best but still good. The script is tight and moves quickly. Ludwinski is an incredibly hot man and a pretty good actor. He has frequent shirtless scenes and there's quick flashes of nudity from him. Also Andreas plays Nick--a photographer--and him and Ludwinski have some very hot guy-on-guy kissing scenes. Also there's a small role by Andreas' regular Jesse Archer and Judy Tenuta and cameos by Bruce Vilanch and Perez Hilton. Despite the porn setting there's no full frontal nudity (except for once briefly) and no explicit sex. It all ends up in a big happy ending (which is totally unrealistic) and has good acting across the board. So it's worth catching.
....."Brokeback Mountain." ......(*Alternate title for this review: "I
Hear the Crabcakes are Excellent").
In its first near two-thirds running time, "Going Down in Blah-Blah Land," is the typical "Hollywood meat grinder" story about all those aspiring, young Newbies scrambling for a foothold, after arriving in the world's film capital. (WARNING: Beware those Gay video porn-mills!). ....Ah, BUT, then come the very best parts, where we start to see...(well, you'll find that out, below).
NOW TO OUR CAST: And saving the best for last, here's a glimpse at the major characters...beginning with:
- *Allison Lane, as the ditzy B(Girl)FF of the male Lead. Named "Candy", she is the supportive and often funny--yet sometimes tiresome--friend from back home. (Good for Allison...she gets more screen time than anyone other than our main star).
- Next, in a major (time-wise) supporting role, we have the Director, himself: Casper Andreas, playing a "User" of a guy, who we'll later see as the true scuzzball he becomes. (This viewer thinks Andreas would do well, in future, spending all his time BEHIND the camera....for I'm starting to picture him as he appears in his last scene---or is that just effective acting?).
- AND FINALLY: Let's speak to that "CHEMISTRY" mentioned above. RARELY, in an American produced Gay film, do we get to see such an emotionally deep relationship between two men. It was obviously developed by main actor, Matthew Ludwinski (as our gorgeous "Adam") and his co-lead, Michael Medico (as sweet, but closeted, "John") during their shooting time with one another. Their "few" scenes together will keep you RIVETED. We can a..l...most Touch what they burn off the screen at us. (And there's the shame of this movie: 56 and one-half minutes into it before we even see this couple together--except for a "prologue" of sorts). NEVERTHELESS, you tell me if the likes of this film relationship has been seen, in this country, since the days of "Brokeback Mountain"!
Oh, I had my doubts, well into this movie......but Matthew Ludwinski held me to it.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
I really enjoyed this movie. Even to this day, it seems like it's so
hard to find a gay-themed movie that doesn't end in some horrible
tragedy. I love the way this one ended! I think the director would be
better off staying behind the camera, but the other 3 stars of the film
(Candy, Adam and John) were great. As others have pointed out, the
chemistry between Adam and John was almost palpable. And Candy
practically stole the show; she was simply awesome.
Besides the ending, the thing I like most about this movie was how it didn't take itself too seriously. It was genuinely funny in many places and I laughed out loud a bunch of times. It's the first movie I've seen in a really long time that just left me smiling at the end. I will definitely watch it again, too.
I have been watching gay cinema for about two years now and its really
hard to find those decent movies. You have to go through tons to find
those ones that really are good. This movie is absolutely one of them.
Amazing acting and on screen chemistry between the actors make this a
move you would want to see over and over again.
The director starring in this movie was daring and works really well as I can not imagine seeing that character portrayed by anyone else. Candy, Adam and John are all amazing characters as well and they just jump off screen and its as if your watching real life and not something on the television or computer screen.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
I'll say this first: this movie, despite all it's qualities may not make it outside of the queer festival circuit. That said, any Gay and Lesbian festival that gets this Going Down in La-La Land will be doing it's audience a huge favour. I'll let others review the plot and socio-significance of the characters and such, what I will tell you is how well it's made and how successful it is in telling a story - even if it is just a fairy tale. What you need to know before you choose this American made movie over the growing stable of gay themed titles, is that this film will not give you nausea or make you regret not renting porn instead. It's Hollywood quality filmmaking with some great characters in a story that moves at a nice click. One of my favourite things about this movie is Candy, played by Allison Lane, who plays our hero's struggling-actor-best-friend-mentor. She holds her own despite the fierce competition by the lead's porn actor good looks - and the rest of the cast. Rare are female roles in gay male dominated films that don't fall sharply into soapoperatics. So watch this and see what you think and how it makes you feel... this move is safe.
Young Matthew Ludwinski becomes the Dirk Diggler of 21st century in
Going Down In LA LA Land. The obvious comparison for this film is with
Boogie Nights. Unlike the other film Going Down In LA LA Land as a gay
film gets up front an honest about the porn industry being a great gay
industry. And we have up front gay characters.
Ludwinski after breaking up with his boyfriend in New York decides to try to make it in Los Angeles as an actor. Of course he soon realizes that Los Angeles is the only place other New York where every other attractive young person is trying to make in film and television and its worse here.
Ludwinski sort of slides and glides into the porn film industry first behind then up front of the camera. Then it's a bit of escorting and then he hooks up with Michael Medico, a most closeted star of a G rated situation comedy. As it turns out Medico is a lonely man looking to express his love which in his case still not dare speak its name to Middle America.
What was interesting here is during the course of the film, Ludwinski could have taken any number of different courses professionally and romantically and his life could have been tragic or nondescript or any number of other life places. Go back over the film and see what I'm talking about.
Allison Lane plays his best friend who gives Ludwinski room and board while he's in Los Angeles. She's interesting and even though she betrays him, she's likable in her own way. She's obsessed with fame which is the problem.
I was involved with someone many years ago, attractive, but obsessed with fame. He never got anywhere near that because he failed to realize that people in theater do it because they love it. If fame comes, it comes, most will never see it, but those who stay with it love theater for its own sake.
Her role is small, but Judy Tenuta puts some real bite into her couple of scenes as a washed up has been actress who also drugged out on fame and celebrity.
Going Down In LA-LA Land is one interesting take on gay life among the aspiring on the west coast.
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