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Index of 2006

An Inconvenient Truth
Big Bad Swim
Brokeback Mountain
Cinderella Man
The Departed
The DaVinci Code
Eron: The Smartest
Guys in the Room

Good Night and
Good Luck

Half Nelson
History of Violence
Hotel Rwanda
Little Miss Sunshine
Journey from the Fall
March of the Penguins
Million Dollar Baby
Prairie Home Companion
Star Wars III:
Revenge of the Sith

Thank You for Smoking
The Three Burials of Melquiades Estrada
The Sea Inside
United 93
War of the Worlds
Walk the Line
World Trade Center


A Review by Tom Condon, OP
(St. Martin Province)

Film Synopsis
A private detective (Adrien Brody) investigates the mysterious death of Superman star George Reeves (Ben Affleck) and uncovers unexpected connections to his own life. The affair Reeves had with the wife (Diane Lane) of a studio executive (Bob Hoskins) might hold the key to the truth.

In the next few weeks, Hollywood will delve into its sordid past with two new movies about two notorious deaths. Brian de Palma has a new film about perhaps the most infamous unsolved murder case in Hollywood history: The Black Dahlia. The other case is that of George Reeves, best known as the actor who played Superman in the 1950’s television series. He was found dead from a gunshot wound in his bedroom on June 16, 1959, an apparent suicide. Or was it murder?

The new film Hollywoodland focuses on the George Reeves case. In this film Adrien Brody plays Louis Simo, a Los Angeles private eye who is hired to investigate the death of Reeves, played by Ben Affleck. Affleck does a good job with his part as the unemployed actor who wins the role of Superman. George hated the character of Superman, and longed for more serious roles. When the television series was cancelled, George celebrated by burning his famous costume, ready to move on to other challenges. Yet he has become so identified with Superman, no one will consider him for other roles. At the time of his death, he was even considering going into professional wrestling.

As his career declined, George’s personal life became increasingly complicated. For many years, he has been involved with Toni Mannix (Diane Lane), the bored wife of a powerful studio executive. Toni lavished expensive gifts on George, including buying him a house! Eventually, George wants to end the affair with Toni. After a trip to New York, George announces his engagement to the beautiful Leonore (Robin Tunney). Not surprisingly, Toni is furious when she learns of George’s engagement.

The elements are all present for a good “film noir,” complete with a private investigator, many suspicious characters, romantic entanglements, multiple motives, and an exotic locale. Everything moves along well for a while. However Hollywoodland eventually becomes bogged down in too many subplots and concludes with a baffling ending.

Directing his first feature film, Allen Coulter, does a good job recreating Hollywood at the twilight of its glory days. (Ironically, the film was shot in Toronto, not Hollywood!) Photography, sets, costumes, and music all transport us back to 1950’s Hollywood. However, the story loses focus. The film presents three possible explanations for George’s death, which become confusing. An additional subplot involving Lou’s relationship with his divorced wife and son only muddle things more. Just when I hoped for a resolution, none was forthcoming. I left the theater very frustrated.

At least we don’t have to wait long for the next “Hollywood Mystery,” as The Black Dahlia opens in a few weeks. I hope it’s more satisfying than Hollywoodland.

Tom Condon, OP

Genre(s) Dramas, Mystery/Suspense, Hollywood

Release Date Sept. 8, 2006

MPAA Rating R - for language, some violence and sexual content.

No rating yet from USCCB

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