April 11, 2003 by

laurel canyon

1 comment

Categories: Movie Reviews

you like ‘sex, lies, and videotape’? than most likely you will like laurel canyon. that is the best comparison i can give it.

most of you, i am betting , have never even heard of this movie. i will give you a very short plot synopsis (i will not give away critical information).

sam (played by christian bale) and his girlfriend/fianc´┐Że, alex (played by kate beckinsale) move to california. He’s doing this medical internship where he meets Sara (played by natascha mcelhone) and Alex is going to work on her PhD thesis. they move into his mother’s (played by a young and hot-looking frances mcdormand) house in laurel canyon (north of LA a little). she’s supposed to be gone, but is still there working on a record (she’s a record producer) of her newest group (fronted by alessandro nivola). what ensues is a loss of innocence, a crumbling/rebuilding of the family structure, and a couple of pool parties.

this movie follows some of the dogma95 rules. the sound quality is often broken up by exterior noise. the lighting is relatively natural. the acting is so good that it’s not like they’re trying it’s more like they’re just BEING. case in point this scene between Alex and Jane (mcdormand) in the kitchen. Jane is trying to convince alex to come listen to the record and jane is flustered and trying to be polite while getting out of it. and the thing is that it was obvious that kate beckinsale for some reason had moved beyond trying to act like she was uncomfortable and unsure and was just actually being timorous.

the movie is also all dialogue. nothing else goes on. it’s just them talking, having relationships, evolving, which is sort of refreshing when you’re normally surrounded by action blockbusters! horror shymalan! ditzy teenagers!

christian bale’s eyebrows were funny looking, a small complaint but there all the same. alessandro looked amazing and could actually sing pretty well. admittedly the lyrics to the second song were atrocious (ellie attempted puking on them), but he didn’t suck. kate beckinsale looked gorgeous as ever. and frances mcdormand was a fucking revelation. i always thought of her, ‘eh, not that attractive.’ but holy sweet jesus she looked incredibly hot in this movie. and natascha mcelhone, she was good. i don’t know, she wasn’t as striking as the rest of them because she was pretty calm and not as psychologically fucked.

some favorite lines (speaking of which, the writing was great.):

“he’s a puritan. he quotes proust and wears tweed.” -said by alex about her dad

“i don’t need a green nightie to cover up my supple skin and eking soul in this barren wasteland.” -said by a completely naked girl in the psych ward

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