When a young women finds herself with amnesia following a car accident on Mulholland Drive, she adopts the name Rita and joins forces with an actress named Betty to try and re-discover who she is and where she was going with a strange blue key and a bag full of money. Meanwhile, a filmmaker named Adam Kesher gets roped into a mob deal, and other characters are being stalked by a mysterious and terrifying figure. Doppelgangers, betrayed love and murder line the plot as bit-by-bit Rita makes connections to her memories. Blurring the lines between illusion and reality, dreams and wakefulness, David Lynch gets into the core of the human condition with this surreal mystery.
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Starting with the beyond-iconic framing number "New York, New York," which blasts out with unalloyed gusto just as the film's three sailors come tumbling off their boat with a mere 24 hours' shore leave to take in all the sights and sounds of New York, the film is an unapologetically muscular toe-tapper of a show. This is most clearly due to Adolph Green and Betty Comden's script and songs that come piling out in quick succession, practically elbowing each other out of the way with the help of Leonard Bernstein's score. The intended effect is to convey the feel of a bustling American city during all its phases (from the quiet, just waking-up opener "I Feel Like I'm Not Out of Bed Yet" to the nightlife epic "On the Town"), and it's nearly perfectly conveyed.
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The joy nearly leaps off the screen and begs you to join. In a charming introduction, family patriarch Grandpa Vanderhof (Lionel Barrymore, on crutches due to arthritis) meets a mousy accountant named Poppins (the appropriately named Donald Meek), a dreamer who'd rather make toys than punch meaningless numbers all day. With a simple tease of what could be, Vanderhof convinces his newfound friend to toss it all away and live with his family. And poof, as Poppins says, "the die is cast."
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Justifiably famous for a rapid-fire script jam-packed with barbed remarks and caustic retorts, the film makes you stifle your laughter so you don't miss the next oncoming zinger. At one point, an exasperated Terry Randall (Katharine Hepburn) says to the delightfully bitchy Jean Maitland (Ginger Rogers), "It'd be a terrific innovation if you could get your mind to stretch a little further than the next wisecrack." Indeed.
Continue reading: Stage Door Review
Christopher Null, not overly impressed
Continue reading: Mulholland Drive Review
I have only one complaint about the latest of David Lynch's B-movie noir flicks for cinema intellectuals, but it's a big one.
The first 90 minutes of "Mulholland Drive" give no hint where the story might be headed. Instead of sticking with his primary story -- about a pretty, fresh-off-the-bus actress getting mixed up in a dark, esoteric phantasm of a Hollywood mystery -- Lynch drags his feet by running several tangential subplots up the flagpole, then leaving them flapping in the wind.
The argument could be made that these episodes are for atmosphere. One dead-end thread unfolds in the ominous offices of a movie production company, where a cryptic, crippled, mobster midget (good ol' David Lynch!) manipulates the lives of susceptible industry denizens from inside a dark, velvet-flocked room. Another follows a cocky, arrogant young director (Justin Theroux) who is being forced by the midget's men to cast a particular blonde starlet in his next film. He crosses paths with our heroine, but only in a superficial way.
Continue reading: Mulholland Drive Review
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