(pace and plot get a negative
one star though)
D'Onofrio, Uma Thurman,
Sean Leonard, Steve
Zahn, Paz de la Huerta , Rosario
Whaley, Kris Kristofferson,
Natasha Richardson, Mark Webber, Guillermo Díaz,Greta Gaines,
Little Jimmy Scott, and Tuesday Weld
Directed By: Ethan Hawke
Ethan Hawke Interview
not going to be with the popular constituency here
it's that I got what the filmmakers were doing?
Is it a great film? No. So why 3 stars? For it's visual delivery
and glorious style! It's an "Art Film" folks. The story
(a play by Nicole Burdette) isn't exactly enthralling or riveting.
But, somehow, Chelsea Walls still manages to be a beautifully
dark voyeuristic film worth a cinephile's venturing out to discover.
Ethan Hawke has painted his film, literally. Yes, painted. The
story revolves around the infamous Chelsea Hotel in NYC. The one
time dwelling of some of America's finest (and broke) upcomers
and artistic types. Its halls have seen Jack Kerouic pacing
in a domestic dispute
Bob Dylan thinking about Blondes
Hendrix pick riffs and on and on. It's a colorful historical place
and Hawke chose to color each silhouetted story in an actual subtle
colored theme to reflect the mood of the scene; red room, gold
room, ashtray room, that kind of thing.
film's hubbub is it's another big celebrity turning to the oh-so-trendy
DV film world. Again, take it out of the spotlight. You're an
actor. You have a play you adore. You would love to see it made,
but with a certain edge. Give it to a studio and wham it's Schwatzenegwillisvandamme
blowing up the hotel FX laden festival of over done called "Chelsea
Falls" or something. With DV films the budget is much lower,
so if you have actor friends (or wives) willing to reduce their
high-powered incomes, you can shoot. You still have to edit and
package it-but I speak on a studio production level vs. the DV
Kristofferson, who's usually the kiss of death for a film (statistically),
plays a drunken writer Bud
yawn. BUT, he's brought a certain
soul to the part that made the character actually compelling.
Tuesday Weld plays his codependent lover, and it was a pleasure
to see here. Natasha Richardson also appears to be copulating
with the alcohol swilling vermin. Her role was confusing and muddied
Sean Leonard and Stephen Zahn have the most "action"
in the film as two songwriters, Terry and Ross, who have come
to Gotham to make it big
Whaley plays a great slithering "back-to-me" musician
and total ass boyfriend to Grace (Uma Thurman). Grace is a cellophane
girl. Calm and unobtrusive to the point of being nearly invisible.
Frank the resident painter (played by mansteak yumsicle Vincent
D'Onofrio a man I'd love to mockbreed with) awkwardly tries to
wiggle into Grace's solemn little world. The clumsy stumbling
of budding relationships is captured brilliantly.
the miss-matched couple (Rosario Dawson and Mark Webber) trying
to decide if they should stay together. I admit, these scenes
were the dullest. There was no charisma between the two and I
still have no idea where her child-like husband went off to with
the "hoodlum" friends
within the mystical walls of The Chelsea we also meet a the gambling
jazz musician (played by legendary Little Jimmy Scott). He has
one of those free spirit lives and seems to just plainly exist.
Hawk, who's directed this indie to the max film, is a Swiss army
knife of a chap. He does everything (except I imagine plumbing
and surgery). He's a novelist, actor, director, producer, and
candlestick maker. His first piece behind the lens is wonderful.
the stories are a tad dull on film, but as it is so visually enthralling,
the acting so well done, and the themes so compelling, I can forgive
the loitering script more.
who's this film for? Thespian mongers. There's no real plot to
be seen. The stories are slow and mundane. But it's still fun
to watch some of our finest working actors indulge in their craft
without a rat's toodleberry of who'll come see it. The cast is
delectable, if sometimes groggy. See it on a stormy rainy afternoon
when you're feeling all dark and cerebral. You know, that kind
of day when art-house bugaboo is just what the day ordered and
you'll sink into the nothingness of it and get the wonderfully
creativeness of it! It's not for everyone, and some will hate
it vehemently, others like myself will take it for what it is
the liberty of DV!
Pizza and beer