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ISSUE #107
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Features

ArrowGreat Gaffes Through the Ages
A comprehensive list

ArrowWhy ask Why?
Five years after 9/11, the question remains unanswered
Matt Taibbi

ArrowExtreme History Makeover
Lynne Cheney and the rules of history
Christopher Famighetti

ArrowYour Tax Dollars at Work
In Washington, another tale of waste and fraud unpunished
Matt Taibbi

ArrowBaby Suri Hates You, Wants You Dead
Scott Brochert and Josh Righter

Local BEAST
ArrowCON
Tom Reynolds, WNY’s human colostomy bag
Allan Uthman
Departments

ArrowThe Beast Page 3
Obscure Racial Epithet

ArrowKino Korner: Movies
Hollywoodland, The Black Dahlia, The Covenant, The Last Kiss, Gridiron Gang, The Protector

ArrowBEAST-O-Scopes
As divined by your ethereal guide

Arrow[sic] - Letters
Gentleman Be Trippin', Hot Girl on Girl Misogyny, Our Illiterate Correspondent and more

Kino Korner

 


Hollywoodland | The Black Dahlia | The Covenant
The Last Kiss
| Gridiron Gang | The Protector


The Black Dahlia

The Black DahliaWhen you’re younger you hear the words “the book was a lot better” thrown around a lot when someone’s talking about a movie. I never paid much attention to it because most of the books I read in my youth weren’t getting made into movies. I mean, those “Choose Your Own Adventure” books weren’t exactly screaming to be made into movies. But as time went on the lines concerning what I read and what I watched began to cross and sometimes even blur. This became increasingly apparent when I saw Interview with the Vampire at the theater about 12 times and felt compelled to read the novel.

Don’t ask me why I did either. I couldn’t tell you to this day.

But it was the reading of Anne Rice’s novel that initially pointed out to my how bad the film adaptation was. Maybe its flaws became more obvious with each viewing or maybe I just came to the realization that it was a pretty lame story to begin with, but it was at that point where I decided to see the movie first. And I’ve either been pretty lucky as there’ve been only a handful of novels I’ve read that have subsequently been made into movies by competent professionals. David Fincher and Terry Gilliam have done pure justice to Fight Club and Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas respectively, but I’ll be god damned if there wasn’t someone to come along and shit the bed sooner or later.

Which brings us to The Black Dahlia. If you’ve had the pleasure of reading James Ellroy’s convolutedly brilliant fictitious novel based around the notorious unsolved murder of aspiring actress Elizabeth Short, you know damn well that there’s no way in hell it’s going to make its way to the screen in one piece. Which means that you’re also aware that your only option as far as your enjoyment of the film version is to cross your fingers and hope for the best.

But as a friend once said, hope is like chocolate. It’s good, it’s just not good for you.

Director Brian DePalma succeeds in capturing the mood and the atmosphere of Ellroy’s novel, but that’s about it. The cast is great in theory but in execution they all should be…well, executed. Josh Hartnett’s delivers like a blind, inebriated UPS guy. and the hack in Hollywood who bumped Hartnett up to leading man status must have caught what the UPS guy has in a janitor’s closet tryst. The otherwise noteworthy Aaron Eckhart comes off like a used car salesman on cheap speed and someone should’ve told Hillary Swank that she’s not playing the Felicity Huffman role in Transamerica (and this chick has two Oscars.)And after seeing her in Black Dahlia, Scarlett Johannson officially wins my vote for Most Boring Woman Alive. I’ve come across pyramid schemes and e-mails from the President of Uganda that were more engaging than her performance. And the grannie panties they had her in for most of the movie didn’t help either. You can tell that DePalma and Lucas are old friends because neither of them knows how to direct a great actor.

This isn’t to say that The Black Dahlia isn’t entirely without its merits. Fiona Shaw turns out a pretty fun performance as Swank’s mother, but the whole thing comes off more as a poorly written love letter to film noir. Black Dahlia comes off more like Retarded Son of LA Confidential, which was also based on an Ellroy book. If you want to see this sort of thing done right, Confidential or Hollywoodland are in order.

 

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