Sooooo the microbudget Bret Easton Ellis-penned, Paul Schrader-directed film, The Canyons starring Lindsay Lohan and James Deen, had its premiere in New York last night; it also hits Video On Demand this Friday and cinemas on August 9, so naturally reviews are starting to roll out for it. Curious? We sure are! Here’s what the critics are saying about it so far:
1. Variety’s Scott Foundas gave both the film and LiLo a surprisingly glowing review; though he notes that the film “doesn’t gender much sympathy for its characters… the major exception is Lohan, who gives one of those performances, like Marlon Brando’s in Last Tango in Paris, that comes across as some uncanny conflagration of drama and autobiography.” Wait, what? LiLo and Brando? But wait, there’s more: Foundas continues, “Lohan may not go as deep or as far as Brando, but with her puffy skin, gaudy hoop earrings and thick eye makeup, there’s a little-girl-lost quality to the onetime Disney teen princess that’s very affecting. Whenever she’s onscreen, she projects a sense of just barely holding on to that precarious slide area in the shadow of the Hollywood sign.” Iiiiiiinteresting.
Foundas also praises James’ portrayal of Christian, described as “another in Ellis’ expansive gallery of spoiled brats who’ve never stopped wanting to get their way, even if they have to kill for it.” James, he writes, “is more than up for the challenge; he holds the camera captive with his chilly, privately amused star.” For Schrader and Ellis, he holds that the film is an “ultra-low-budget but handsomely made study” with echoes of David Lynch’s Mullholland Drive and Inland Empire.
2. Variety seems to be the exception, though; other reviews range from the mediocre to the outright embarrassing. John Hazelton of Screen Daily is perhaps the gentlest of the bunch of naysayers, writing that the film is “fitfully intriguing but ultimately aimless.” His big quibble is that for all the chatter about it, “there may not be enough style or substance here to keep audience interest going for long.” He also implies that Lindsay and Schrader are well past their prime; he somewhat conspicuously points out the fact that neither has done anything notable for a number of years, at one point qualifying Lindsay with “who hasn’t carried a hit since 2005’s Herbie: Fully Loaded” and Schrader with “whose last feature was 2008’s Adam Resurrected.” Ouch.