Bil’s rating (out of 5): B.5. USA, 2006. Paramount Pictures, , Ascendant Pictures, , VIP 3 Medienfonds. Screenplay by Robert Towne, based on the novel by John Fante. Cinematography by Caleb Deschanel. Produced by Tom Cruise, Don Granger, Jonas McCord, Paula Wagner. Music by Ramin Djawadi, Heitor Pereira. Production Design by Dennis Gassner. Costume Design by Albert Wolsky. Film Editing by Robert K. Lambert.
Incredibly dreary, uninvolving drama set in Depression-era Hollywood. Colin Farrell plays an Italian-American writer who shows up in L.A. in the hopes of chasing the dream, but finds only a major struggle to pay the rent. When he does start to achieve some success selling his stories, he ends up feeling an even deeper unhappiness at the love-hate relationship he endures with a gorgeous Mexican waitress (Salma Hayek) who longs to move up in the world. Eventually these two get together, since they’re the only really hot people in the movie (Justin Kirk doesn’t suit blond hair), but life has other plans for them. Despite the beauty of Caleb Deschanel’s perpetual-sunset photography, Chinatown screenwriter Robert Towne never excites any passion from either the story or the actors, both of whom are good but never make sparks fly together. The whole thing is just one long, drawn-out crawl to the finish, and you’ll be left completely unmoved by the entire process. Also features a memorable supporting turn by Idina Menzel and appearances by Eileen Atkins and Donald Sutherland. Filmed in South Africa.