Wednesday, February 3, 2010

review: Ed Wood

A movie about the worst director of all time. Directed by the most eccentric director of our time, starring one of the most eclectic movie stars of our time, as well as a really interesting ensemble.
You can't go too far wrong actually.
I really like this movie. The acting is pretty darn good (except for the acting that is supposed to be bad). Depp is again, a completely unique character. He is totally commited and perfectly wonderful. Corky, odd, and endearing all at the same time. I guess I like him the most because I can see so much of in the character. He genuinely loves what he does. It doesn't matter that things don't always go as planned or that there's no money. He does what he likes and he makes films that he likes. No matter how bad everyone might say they are. He is content. And I love that about the character. It's kinda how I think many people feel. I mean, I think in terms of theatre, so this is a little different. But there are a million little companies putting perfectly hideous plays, but they're working hard and they are having fun, and that really is all their purpose. Sometimes it is hard to remember that in a time when we get so judgemental and critical about everything. OKay, that was a complete aside, but I think it is a thing worth mentioning.
Landau (as Bela Lugosi) is FANTASTIC! I'm not kidding, I was enthralled by his portrayal of the aging star. He is not a copy of Lugosi, but it is a great imitation. Especially the accent. Oh my gosh, he's just amazing! He also brings the power of Lugosi to life. If you have seen any of his work, you know - he is a classic trained actor, and he has such power in his speech. It has become iconicly corny, but seeing the original do it, it looses corny and becomes genius. Landau captures that. He also shows the side no one ever saw on film, including his addiction and his struggle.
Bill Murray (as Bunny) is something I wish I would have seen more of. I love Murray in this bit parts because he is fantastic in them. A little bit off the movie topic, but I have to include this: In Bunny's obituary in the paper he was quoted as saying "I was a little bit wild when I was young, darling, but I lived my life grandly" Isn't that gorgeous?
Everyone else is just fine. Sarah Jessica Parker and Patricia Arquette are wonderful as Wood's love interests. Parker is delightfully bad in her "bad acting" moments, but there is an interesting tug between her real life portrayals. At times, she seems like a stereotypical 50s housewifey, with just as much fake enthusiasm, but then you turn around as she becomes more and more irritated with Wood and his escapades, and she has this amazing break scene in the meat packing plant. So, I don't know if that was direction, or if she really wanted to be that way, or if it was the character putting on the act as well as she could, and then losing it with her patience.
Art wise, the B&W of the film is just perfect. It helps lend a classic horror and nostalgia to the film. I don't know how accurate the portrayal of the movies in the film are, but I'm okay with not knowing that. I love it. The costumes are wonderful, the sets are amazing, and there is a wonderful quality to a film that is all about bad quality films.
3 and 1/2 out of 5 stars

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