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Los Angeles Premiere Of 'Couples Retreat' Held At Mann's Village Theatre - Arrivals

Natasha Gregson Wagner Monday 5th October 2009 Los Angeles Premiere of 'Couples Retreat' held at Mann's Village Theatre - Arrivals Westwood, California

Natasha Gregson Wagner
Natasha Gregson Wagner
Natasha Wagner

The Kingdom Premiere - Arrivals Held At Mann's Village Westwood

Natasha Gregson Wagner Monday 17th September 2007 The Kingdom Premiere - Arrivals held at Mann's Village Westwood Westwood, California USA

Natasha Wagner
Natasha Wagner

Stranger Than Fiction (1999) Review


Weak
I am beginning to detect a very strange associate with the surreal and the sub par. This is not to say that I have repented and become a born-again fanatic of American cheese-factory films and will worship John Hughes until my knees bleed. Instead, it is only to say that the last several films that I have watched that have had the intent of being surreal have ended up being sub par. For example, take The Sixth Sense, Naked Lunch, The Blair Witch Project and numerous other oddities that escape me at the moment, each film supposedly working off of the weird but instead going into the realm of the noddy viewer (or, in the case of The Blair Witch Project, the physical embodiment of a Pepto Bismol commercial).

The latest in this string of disappointments comes in the form of Stranger Than Fiction, a film which has countless plot twists that are not only predictable but come with predictable regularity. All one must keep in mind to crack this film open like the WWII Enigma cipher is that Stranger Than Fiction works off of the idea that Stranger Than Fiction does not bare any resemblance to actual life (aside from being a perfect demonstration of Murphy's Law) but instead goes more along the lines of every single B-movie mystery you have ever watched. With that implanted in your head, you will not have to sit through the boring second half of the movie which the narrator spends explaining what goes on.

Continue reading: Stranger Than Fiction (1999) 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

Stranger Than Fiction Review


Weak
I am beginning to detect a very strange associate with the surreal and the sub par. This is not to say that I have repented and become a born-again fanatic of American cheese-factory films and will worship John Hughes until my knees bleed. Instead, it is only to say that the last several films that I have watched that have had the intent of being surreal have ended up being sub par. For example, take The Sixth Sense, Naked Lunch, The Blair Witch Project and numerous other oddities that escape me at the moment, each film supposedly working off of the weird but instead going into the realm of the noddy viewer (or, in the case of The Blair Witch Project, the physical embodiment of a Pepto Bismol commercial).

The latest in this string of disappointments comes in the form of Stranger Than Fiction, a film which has countless plot twists that are not only predictable but come with predictable regularity. All one must keep in mind to crack this film open like the WWII Enigma cipher is that Stranger Than Fiction works off of the idea that Stranger Than Fiction does not bare any resemblance to actual life (aside from being a perfect demonstration of Murphy's Law) but instead goes more along the lines of every single B-movie mystery you have ever watched. With that implanted in your head, you will not have to sit through the boring second half of the movie which the narrator spends explaining what goes on.

Continue reading: Stranger Than Fiction Review

Another Day In Paradise Review


OK
And I thought they already made Drugstore Cowboy. Derivative right down to the cast makeup and survival rate, this story of junkies who use, abuse, steal, and sell has been done over and over. Woods and Griffith keep it fresh, but Larry Clark's (Kids) vision feels surprisingly retreaded.

Dragstrip Girl Review


Terrible
You could make a worse movie than Dragstrip Girl, but you'd really have to try awful hard. The story: Bad Hispanic boy (Raymond Cruz) falls for good rich white girl (Natasha Gregson Wagner), with tragic consequences that play out over a backdrop of 1950s amateur drag racing. Will their love be able to overcome the enormous obstacles -- namely, that he's a car thief and she's a cheerleader -- or will society crush their budding romance?

Who cares!? This movie is so bad that the ending (which, by the way, is just about the worst part of the film) slips out of mind as soon as the disc pops out of your DVD player. Made for TV way back in 1994 and only now getting its DVD and home video release because Wagner and Cruz have become minor stars, you won't see any hint of the performing ability you might find from them today, simply because the story is so poorly written it couldn't have been saved by Cary Grant. Just about the only joy to be found in the film is from a grizzled Traci Lords, playing the hooker next door whom our scruffy hero likes to spy on through the enormous hole in the wall.

Continue reading: Dragstrip Girl Review

Sol Goode Review


Terrible
I know what you're thinking: Balthazar Getty! Carmen Electra! Tori Spelling!? This movie's gonna rock!

From first-time writer/director Danny Comden, an erstwhile actor who has starred in some of Hollywood's biggest duds (Fast Sofa, Highway, Urban Legend), comes the oh-so-cleverly-titled Sol Goode, with Getty starring as an unemployed actor type by the titular name. Say it out loud.

Continue reading: Sol Goode Review

High Fidelity Review


OK
There's nothing more annoying than a music geek. You know, the kind of guy who hangs out in record stores reminiscing about Camper Van Beethoven, Stereolab, and the roots of Green Day.

As such, a movie full of music geeks may seem a little unbearable, and in a lot of ways, High Fidelity is. That it manages to often redeem itself is the biggest surprise in the movie, and not for the reasons you might think.

Continue reading: High Fidelity Review

Two Girls And A Guy Review


Terrible
Pretty hideous film about, well, two girls in love with the same guy. When they run into each other, a chaotic confrontation ensues with said guy... who I can't really fathom why anyone would even like in the first place.

Continue reading: Two Girls And A Guy Review

Quiet Days In Hollywood Review


Unbearable
Aka The Way We Are.... sadly, I know no one like these self-obsessed sexaholics.

Continue reading: Quiet Days In Hollywood Review

High Fidelity Review


Good

John Cusack plays the bitterness of being dumped with droll aplomb in "High Fidelity," an observant and acerbic dark comedy in which he is our overly-reflective tour guide through the farcical misery of a bad breakup.

Cusack adapted the screenplay himself from Nick Hornsby's underground best-seller about a London slacker who opened a used record store in his 20s and has employed it as an excuse to never grow up.

For the film, the action is moved to Chicago (the star/screenwriter's old stomping grounds), where Rob Gordon (Cusack) hangs out all day in his shop full of tattered record bins plastered with radio station stickers, composing musically pretentious Top Five lists (Top Five Side-One First Tracks, Top Five Formerly Great Sell-Out Musicians) with his equally idle and smug clerks (Todd Louiso and Jack Black).

Continue reading: High Fidelity Review

Wonderland Review


OK

Part "Rashomon"-like roundelay of dubious recollections, part "Boogie Nights" flashback, "Wonderland" recounts, with drug-addled stylishness, events leading to a brutal 1981 mass-murder in the Los Angeles hills made famous by its link to washed-up, strung-out ex-porn legend John Holmes.

Starring the charismatically glazy-eyed and understated Val Kilmer as Holmes and "Blue Crush" cutie Kate Bosworth as Dawn, his newly legal, foolishly co-dependent girlfriend, this film has a big comparison hurdle to overcome -- the riveting "Boogie" was loosely based on Holmes and some of these events. But for the most part it succeeds because sophomore director James Cox (his unreleased "Highway" premiered on video last year) bypasses the self-destructive smack-head's severed sex-trade ties except as they relate to his celebrity among lowlifes who supply him with drugs.

In fact, Holmes is just one of four characters around whom Cox constructs his story from several points of view in single-perspective segments.

Continue reading: Wonderland Review

Natasha Gregson Wagner

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