Hollywoodland

"Weak"

Hollywoodland Review


Who killed Superman?

George Reeves' death remains one of Hollywood's juiciest unsolved mysteries. After years spent clinging to the industry's fringe, the performer shot to stardom in 1952 when he hopped into Superman's red-and-blue tights for a Saturday-morning serial. The role made Reeves an overnight sensation, but also damaged any chances he had of becoming a serious actor.

Off camera, Reeves (Ben Affleck) reportedly wallowed in a directionless affair with Toni Mannix (Diane Lane), the two-timing wife of MGM executive E.J. Mannix (Bob Hoskins). Seven years after agreeing to play the Man of Steel, an unsatisfied Reeves was discovered shot to death in his Beverly Hills bedroom while his selfish fiancée, Leonore Lemmon (Robin Tunney), and a handful of strangers, partied downstairs.

What happened? Did Mannix have Reeves murdered? Could Lemmon have pulled the trigger? Or did the actor finally give in to his depression and commit suicide? During production, when the movie was titled Truth, Justice and the American Way, director Allen Coulter's modern noir biopic of the late Superman star looked like it was going to try and solve the mystery behind the actor's peculiar death. But the studio changed the title, opting for the generic Hollywoodland, and Coulter switched his focus away from Reeves and onto Louis Simo (Adrien Brody), the two-bit, ambulance-chasing private detective who latched onto Reeves' case.

The decision might have been paid off, save for the fact that Simo's pedestrian troubles are far less interesting than the ones plaguing Reeves. He's separated from his wife (Molly Parker), sleeping with his assistant, and too drunk to notice the emotional damage he's inflicting on his only son. Brody's defiant attitude slices through Coulter's glum, leaden atmosphere. His dull domestic issues aside, Brody proves adept at playing the amoral, borderline-sleazy gumshoe and almost wrings some suspense from Reeves' unsolved murder. It's not unheard of for a movie detective to be more interesting than the corpse he (or she) is investigating. This just isn't one of those times.

It's worth noting Affleck's presence after a self-inflicted exile. The general consensus around Hollywood is that the actor's professional career is dead, done in by a lethal combination of tabloid overexposure (not always his fault) and a string of underperforming duds (almost always his fault). So it's morbidly appropriate that the first time we see the Oscar-winning star in Hollywoodland, he's a bloated, blue corpse resting peacefully on the mortuary's slab.

Things gradually improve for Big Ben. Told in golden-hued reverence, Reeves' flashbacks involve corruption that stretches from the studio system to the front offices of the L.A.P.D. Affleck and Lane are puffed-up and stilted, presenting these figures as if the industry elite never stopped overacting in the '40s. I'm giving Affleck the benefit of the doubt, assuming his stiff turn is because he calculated Reeves' inabilities as a natural performer. Regardless, the Reeves-Mannix affair is bolstered by luscious nostalgia, and I longed for more scenes recounting the day-to-day happenings in America's dream factory.

So rest easy, Bryan Singer. Even though your summer blockbuster took a beating in the press for going over budget, Superman Returns remains the more interesting of the Man of Steel movies released this year.

Try to break this glass with your heat vision, Supe.



Hollywoodland

Facts and Figures

Run time: 126 mins

In Theaters: Friday 8th September 2006

Box Office USA: $14.3M

Box Office Worldwide: $16.8M

Distributed by: Focus Features

Production compaines: Focus Features

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 2 / 5

Rotten Tomatoes: 69%
Fresh: 123 Rotten: 56

IMDB: 6.6 / 10

Cast & Crew

Director: Allen Coulter

Producer: , Glenn Williamson

Starring: as Louis Simo, as Toni Mannix, as George Reeves, as Eddie Mannix, as Helen Bessolo, as Carol Van Ronkel, as Leonore Lemmon, Todd Grinnell as Times Reporter

Also starring:

Contactmusic


Links



Advertisement

New Movies

The Edge of Seventeen Movie Review

The Edge of Seventeen Movie Review

An unusually realistic teen movie, this drama gets deep under the skin of its characters,...

Bleed for This Movie Review

Bleed for This Movie Review

This is such a ripping true story that it can't help but grab hold of...

Moana Movie Review

Moana Movie Review

In a clear echo of Frozen, this Disney animated adventure centres on a fiercely independent...

Bad Santa 2 Movie Review

Bad Santa 2 Movie Review

The 2003 comedy Bad Santa is a holiday classic that skilfully mixes gross-out humour with...

Allied Movie Review

Allied Movie Review

There's a terrific script at the heart of this World War II thriller, with a...

A United Kingdom Movie Review

A United Kingdom Movie Review

Based on a powerful true story from the late 1940s, this drama is packed with...

Indignation Movie Review

Indignation Movie Review

Philip Roth's layered novels are a challenge for filmmakers (see also 2003's The Human Stain...

Advertisement
Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them Movie Review

Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them Movie Review

It's been five years since the last Harry Potter movie, and J.K. Rowling has been...

Dog Eat Dog Movie Review

Dog Eat Dog Movie Review

Yet another bonkers thriller starring Nicolas Cage, this trashy crime comedy comes from director Paul...

Iggy Pop - Post Pop Depression: Live At The Royal Albert Hall Movie Review

Iggy Pop - Post Pop Depression: Live At The Royal Albert Hall Movie Review

"Iggy Pop - Post Pop Depression: Live At The Royal Albert Hall" is a DVD...

Arrival Movie Review

Arrival Movie Review

This sci-fi drama has an enjoyably brain-bending plot that leaves the audience almost stunned with...

Elle Movie Review

Elle Movie Review

There's a boldly comical tone to this outrageous thriller that can't help but unnerve audiences...

100 Streets Movie Review

100 Streets Movie Review

A multi-strand drama set in London, this film is very nicely shot and acted, but...

Nocturnal Animals Movie Review

Nocturnal Animals Movie Review

It's been seven years since designer Tom Ford made a splash with his award-winning writing-directing...

Advertisement
Artists
Actors
    Filmmakers
      Artists
      Bands
        Musicians
          Artists
          Celebrities
             
              Artists
              Interviews
                musicians & bands in the news
                  actors & filmmakers in the news
                    celebrities in the news

                      Go Back in Time using our News archive to see what happened on a particular day in the past.