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HOLLYWOODLAND

DVD Review by David Blackwell

DETAILS: 127 minutes, three featurettes, audio commentary, deleted scenes, previews

STUDIO: Focus Features/ Miramax/ Back Lot Pictures/ Universal

RELEASE DATE: 2-6-2007

The life of George Reeves has fascinated me since I read the book HOLLYWOOD KRYPTONITE about his death. Was it suicide or was it murder? No one will ever know for sure. HOLLYWOODLAND is on fire when they show bits from the life of George Reeves (Ben Affleck) and when private detective Louis Simo (Adrien Brody) investigates the death when George's mother hires him. However HOLLYWOODLAND grounds to a halt whenever the script turns it's attention to the life of Simo. the audience and critics could care less about Simo. Simo is HOLLYWOODLAND's kryptonite. The film can bounce off bullets when it shows us the life and death of George Reeves. Ben Affleck and the rest of the cast own this film where the screenwriter shouldn't have been so much in love with Simo's life.

George Reeves was the kept man of Toni Mannix (Diane Lane), the wife of MGM head Eddie Mannix (Bob Hoskins). Eddie and Toni have an arrangement. They allow each one to see other people, but Eddie still loves Toni. Did the ultimate rejection of Toni by George lead to George's death by the order of Eddie Mannix or was it at the hands of George's wife to be Leonore Lemmon (Robin Tunney)? Did Toni being hurt by the rejection lead to George's dreams of a movie producer being killed? It's possible. George wanted to be more than guy who played TV's Superman. That failure in his eyes could have lead to suicide, but so many unanswered questions surrounding his death creates a great mystery.

VIDEO: 1.85:1 (Anamorphic Widescreen)

The transfer isn't bad looking at all. It's beautiful, but I wonder how fantastic it looks on the HD DVD version.

AUDIO: English 5.1 Dolby Digital

Subtitles: English SDH, French, Spanish

SPECIAL FEATURES: I don't understand why the three deleted scenes were cut because I rather have them than the private life of Simo.

The three featurettes are brief and yet informative.

RE-CREATING OLD HOLLYWOOD- how they recreated the feel and atmosphere of Hollywood in the 1950s.

BEHIND THE HEADLINES- the actors talk about the characters they play.

HOLLYWOOD THEN AND NOW- How Hollywood was compared to what it is now. The 1950s was the beginning of the end for the studio system. Actors were groomed and had contracts back then where now they have so much more freedom with less chance of roles.

The audio commentary is with director Allen Coulter. It is on the tech side as he talks about he shot the film.

PREVIEWS: CATCH A FIRE, HOT FUZZ, MAN OF THE YEAR, HD DVD

FINAL ANALYSIS: HOLLYWOODLAND is a fascinating look at the life and death of George Reeves (while revealing the old Hollywood system). The only downside is the film should have focused less on Simo.

this review is (c)2-3-2007 David Blackwell and cannot be reprinted without permission (except for excerpts and a link to the review). Look for additional content at http://enterlinemedia.livejournal.com and send all comments to lord_pragmagtic@hotmail.com