A reclusive ex-cop is hired as a PI to help an alcoholic TV star accused of murder. Slightly baggy adaptation of Howard Michael Gould’s fun Hollywood comedy-thriller: casting is spot-on (though Mel Gibson could have done more to lean into his reputation), but flat direction means the zip isn’t there to make this fly.
A Los Angeles horse trainer thinks his ranch is home to a UFO. Splendid SF parable, playing with all sorts from Hollywood lives to obsession with spectacle and fame via an M Night Shyamalan-ish genre pastiche. Loads to appreciate, both on first and (especially) repeated viewings. Recommended.
Actor Jean Seberg struggles with her personal life, civil rights activism, and the pressures of fearing FBI surveillance. Decent biopic focusing on 1968-1970; a very solid cast and subtle direction help, even if the script doesn’t get us close to the protagonist. Lots to appreciate, not least the production design and performances.
A pop-culture geek finds true love and a suitcase of cocaine. A modern fairy story, an ode to the movies, and a movie nerd’s fantasy script come together; riffing on Malick’s Badlands and wearing its references on its sleeve, True Romance stands up well to this day, and has a cast of up-and-comers and veterans to die dor.
A biography of Rudy Ray Moore, focusing on the making of his film Dolemite. A swaggering movie with a heart, focusing – like its scriptwriters’ Ed Wood – on an upbeat try-hard outsider – with affection for the exploitation underbelly of Hollywood. As a star showcase, it reminds us how good Eddie Murphy is when he’s backed with the right material.
A documentary about Hollywood’s most recognizable stuntman and movie henchman. A crowdfunded production made with affection and respect for its subject. Inevitably for fans, but nevertheless fascinating, not least because the film gives a rounded picture of Leong’s work, life, and personal struggles. Recommended.
In 1969 LA, a fading action star struggles with his future prospects. A stunning evocation of late 60s Hollywood, packed with ideas, in-jokes, good ideas, and pop-culture geekery. A shaggy dog story that meanders, but which goes into some startling – and just-about justified – places. Recommended: later novelised by Tarantino.
A houseful of actors face the Apocalypse. Dumb-but-fun gross-out comedy with a bunch of moderately-famous people playing versions of themselves. Self-indulgent, but everyone is in on the joke and no-one gets harmed. Fine while it’s on.
Three silent movie actors are hired as gunmen to defeat a Mexican bandit. Inevitably patchy, but with moments of genius and genuine heart, this early Hollywood/Seven Samurai spoof passes the time admirably and is generous to its large cast.
A Hollywood fixer’s day from hell. Delirious Coen Brothers’ farce, affectionately spoofing 1950s movies, while spinning another of their noirish kidnapping-goes-wrong yarns. Tons of fun, with everyone concerned clearly having a great time. Recommended.