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Factory Girl Review


OK
At the outset, Factory Girl looks like thin material for a biopic: It covers the life of Edie Sedgwick, a college dropout propelled to "it" girl status by Andy Warhol in the sixties, only to lose herself, as "it" people often do, to drugs and fresher faces. The movie starts with her leaving college, ends well before her death at age 28, and (intentionally or not) presents a convincing case that she didn't do much with the years in between.

But so many filmed biographies cram from childhood to old age, resulting in filmed Cliff Notes, or a mini-series at twice the speed and half the scenes. That Factory Girl doesn't have to cover an Edie Sedgwick comeback -- that she dies young and off-camera -- is a perverse relief. George Hickenlooper's brief, sometimes impressionistic film is most illuminating when showing both the allure and the casualties of Warhol's free but detached Factory scene.

Continue reading: Factory Girl Review

Wonderland (2003) Review


Good
It takes a bold filmmaker to splash the legend of John Holmes (aka porn star Johnny Wadd) up on the screen before his film has even started, giving the hard-to-believe basics of Holmes' legend (1,000 films made, slept with 14,000 women), and then say that the movie to follow isn't about all of that, it's about what happened to John afterward. One imagines many an aging porn connoisseur ducking out the theater door upon that announcement. But director James Cox has made a solid bet, for the events of the summer of 1981 on Los Angeles's Wonderland Avenue make anything that could have happened before in Holmes's life seem like the most inconsequential trivia.

On July 1 of that year, four people were savagely beaten to death in a Laurel Canyon apartment that had long been a party hangout and drug-dealing haven; a fifth person was put into intensive care. Holmes (Val Kilmer) was at the center of the tangle of paranoia, greed, and confusion that led to the massacre. Always hanging out at the apartment scamming drugs for his vacuum-like habit, Holmes incurs the enmity of the hard cases living there (played by Tim Blake Nelson, Dylan McDermott in a frighteningly unconvincing biker beard, and Josh Lucas). To make it up to them, Holmes acts as their inside man for a robbery of the palatial home of his buddy Eddie Nash (Eric Bogosian), who just happens to be one of the biggest club-owners in Southern California and a bona-fide gangster, to boot. Things go poorly after the robbery, to say the least.

Continue reading: Wonderland (2003) Review

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