Hollywoodland

"Weak"

Hollywoodland Review


Who killed Superman?

George Reeves' death remains one of Hollywood's juiciest unsolved mysteries. After years spent clinging to the industry's fringe, the performer shot to stardom in 1952 when he hopped into Superman's red-and-blue tights for a Saturday-morning serial. The role made Reeves an overnight sensation, but also damaged any chances he had of becoming a serious actor.

Off camera, Reeves (Ben Affleck) reportedly wallowed in a directionless affair with Toni Mannix (Diane Lane), the two-timing wife of MGM executive E.J. Mannix (Bob Hoskins). Seven years after agreeing to play the Man of Steel, an unsatisfied Reeves was discovered shot to death in his Beverly Hills bedroom while his selfish fiancée, Leonore Lemmon (Robin Tunney), and a handful of strangers, partied downstairs.

What happened? Did Mannix have Reeves murdered? Could Lemmon have pulled the trigger? Or did the actor finally give in to his depression and commit suicide? During production, when the movie was titled Truth, Justice and the American Way, director Allen Coulter's modern noir biopic of the late Superman star looked like it was going to try and solve the mystery behind the actor's peculiar death. But the studio changed the title, opting for the generic Hollywoodland, and Coulter switched his focus away from Reeves and onto Louis Simo (Adrien Brody), the two-bit, ambulance-chasing private detective who latched onto Reeves' case.

The decision might have been paid off, save for the fact that Simo's pedestrian troubles are far less interesting than the ones plaguing Reeves. He's separated from his wife (Molly Parker), sleeping with his assistant, and too drunk to notice the emotional damage he's inflicting on his only son. Brody's defiant attitude slices through Coulter's glum, leaden atmosphere. His dull domestic issues aside, Brody proves adept at playing the amoral, borderline-sleazy gumshoe and almost wrings some suspense from Reeves' unsolved murder. It's not unheard of for a movie detective to be more interesting than the corpse he (or she) is investigating. This just isn't one of those times.

It's worth noting Affleck's presence after a self-inflicted exile. The general consensus around Hollywood is that the actor's professional career is dead, done in by a lethal combination of tabloid overexposure (not always his fault) and a string of underperforming duds (almost always his fault). So it's morbidly appropriate that the first time we see the Oscar-winning star in Hollywoodland, he's a bloated, blue corpse resting peacefully on the mortuary's slab.

Things gradually improve for Big Ben. Told in golden-hued reverence, Reeves' flashbacks involve corruption that stretches from the studio system to the front offices of the L.A.P.D. Affleck and Lane are puffed-up and stilted, presenting these figures as if the industry elite never stopped overacting in the '40s. I'm giving Affleck the benefit of the doubt, assuming his stiff turn is because he calculated Reeves' inabilities as a natural performer. Regardless, the Reeves-Mannix affair is bolstered by luscious nostalgia, and I longed for more scenes recounting the day-to-day happenings in America's dream factory.

So rest easy, Bryan Singer. Even though your summer blockbuster took a beating in the press for going over budget, Superman Returns remains the more interesting of the Man of Steel movies released this year.

Try to break this glass with your heat vision, Supe.



Hollywoodland

Facts and Figures

Run time: 126 mins

In Theaters: Friday 8th September 2006

Box Office USA: $14.3M

Box Office Worldwide: $16.8M

Distributed by: Focus Features

Production compaines: Focus Features

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 2 / 5

Rotten Tomatoes: 69%
Fresh: 123 Rotten: 56

IMDB: 6.6 / 10

Cast & Crew

Director: Allen Coulter

Producer: , Glenn Williamson

Starring: as Louis Simo, as Toni Mannix, as George Reeves, as Eddie Mannix, as Helen Bessolo, as Carol Van Ronkel, as Leonore Lemmon, Todd Grinnell as Times Reporter

Also starring:

Contactmusic


Links



Advertisement

New Movies

Star Wars: The Last Jedi Movie Review

Star Wars: The Last Jedi Movie Review

After the thunderous reception for J.J. Abrams' Episode VII: The Force Awakens two years ago,...

Daddy's Home 2 Movie Review

Daddy's Home 2 Movie Review

Like the 2015 original, this comedy plays merrily with cliches to tell a silly story...

The Man Who Invented Christmas Movie Review

The Man Who Invented Christmas Movie Review

There's a somewhat contrived jauntiness to this blending of fact and fiction that may leave...

Ferdinand Movie Review

Ferdinand Movie Review

This animated comedy adventure is based on the beloved children's book, which was published in...

Brigsby Bear Movie Review

Brigsby Bear Movie Review

Director Dave McCary makes a superb feature debut with this offbeat black comedy, which explores...

Battle of the Sexes Movie Review

Battle of the Sexes Movie Review

A dramatisation of the real-life clash between tennis icons Billie Jean King and Bobby Riggs,...

Shot Caller Movie Review

Shot Caller Movie Review

There isn't much subtlety to this prison thriller, but it's edgy enough to hold the...

Advertisement
The Disaster Artist Movie Review

The Disaster Artist Movie Review

A hilariously outrageous story based on real events, this film recounts the making of the...

Stronger Movie Review

Stronger Movie Review

Based on a true story about the 2013 Boston Marathon bombing, this looks like one...

Only the Brave Movie Review

Only the Brave Movie Review

Based on a genuinely moving true story, this film undercuts the realism by pushing its...

Wonder Movie Review

Wonder Movie Review

This film may be based on RJ Palacio's fictional bestseller, but it approaches its story...

Happy End  Movie Review

Happy End Movie Review

Austrian auteur Michael Haneke isn't known for his light touch, but rather for hard-hitting, award-winning...

Patti Cake$ Movie Review

Patti Cake$ Movie Review

Seemingly from out of nowhere, this film generates perhaps the biggest smile of any movie...

The Limehouse Golem Movie Review

The Limehouse Golem Movie Review

A Victorian thriller with rather heavy echoes of Jack the Ripper, this film struggles to...

Advertisement
Artists
Actors
    Filmmakers
      Artists
      Bands
        Musicians
          Artists
          Celebrities
             
              Artists
              Interviews
                musicians & bands in the news
                  actors & filmmakers in the news
                    celebrities in the news

                      Go Back in Time using our News archive to see what happened on a particular day in the past.