Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Jason watches THE CANYONS

Early in Paul Schrader and Bret Easton Ellis' anti-Hollywood Hollywood tale, Christian (James Deen...yeah, the porn star James Deen) looks directly into the camera and asks, "Are you for real?" Ostensibly he's talking to the actor who was just cast in the movie he's producing, and who is celebrating that casting with a double-date dinner out. See, this actor has the temerity to want to talk about the movie and his role rather than just play on his cell phone. But he might as well be directing this question right at the audience. This is a paradox of a movie, almost an anti-movie. It's a movie about how nobody makes or watches movies anymore. Christian produces movies because he has the money to do so (no word on where he gets the money) and he can use it as a vehicle for his sick psycho-sexual games with his girlfriend Tara (Lindsey Lohan.) But it's okay that he doesn't even try to make good movies, because nobody watches them anymore. The landscape is riddled with shuttered movie theaters, and everyone is just looking at their cell phones, anyway. There's a love triangle (or more sides, maybe a love quadrilateral...and come to think of it, there's not really much love, it's more like a sex quadrilateral) plot, backstabbing, cheating, deceit, and eventually murder (oops, SPOILER!) But I was more interested in the post-cinema hellscape.

It's either apropos or a shame that most people--if they watch it at all--will watch it at home on video on demand. And most people will watch it just to see Lindsay Lohan's tits or James Deen's cock (whatever's your preference.) And most of those people will be bored and say it's not worth it. And it isn't...if that's what you're looking for you can find Lohan's tits and/or Deen's cock on your smartphone.

But if you want to appreciate things like the genre shift near the end, or the use of colors (red and green feature heavily,) or the humor, or the detachment (the Canyons could be a setting, or it could be the gulf of true intimacy between any two people in the film,) or anything else that makes this a compelling piece of art...well, I think you need to see this in a theater. This is a movie directed by a master filmmaker and written by a master writer who had to beg, scrape, sacrifice, and compromise to get it on screen. You can tell it's written by people who love the art of cinema but hate the business of it, and they leave that all on screen. I don't know who the right audience is for this film, but I have a feeling if it finds that audience the reaction will be fear, depression, and admiration.

Running Time: 99 minutes
My Total Minutes: 337,043

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