Friday, 18 July 2014



The number of films where you want to physically climb into the screen and punch every character in the face until your hand stops hurting is, with the possible exception of the seven hundred found-footage horror bores released in the last fortnight, thankfully low. Most film-makers realise that anti-heroic and unsympathetic leads still need to be interesting and/or charismatic individuals whose lives may be sewers of depravity, cruelty and moral bankruptcy but are still magnetically, hypnotically fascinating. The worst option is to make all your characters boring and stupid as well as morally and spiritually repugnant.

The Canyons is an insufferable slab of supercooled tedium in which a handful of tiresome idiots live meaningless and empty lives, have joyless sex with each other and whine a lot. Christian (porn star James Deen) is a trust-fund knob of the first water, supposedly a film producer along with his girlfriend Tara (Lindsay Lohan); their upcoming slasher is set to star Tara's dull ex Ryan (Nolan Gerard Funk) who also happens to be the current boyfriend of another of the film's producers. Despite being into casual group sex with strangers through internet hookups, might Christian's jealousy of Ryan's former relationship with Tara lead him to violence?

Paul Schrader's film starts and finishes with still images of abandoned and derelict cinemas, as if suggesting that The Canyons might hold some message about the death of cinema as an artform. I suggest it does: maybe cinema wouldn't be a dying artform if directors of repute didn't make absolutely terrible movies. Schrader wrote Taxi Driver and Raging Bull, he directed American Gigolo and Cat People; please don't tell me he's reduced to making utter drivel like this. It looks flat and bland, there's no spark of style or wit, it isn't exciting or erotic (Lohan does get her yappers out but to absolutely no effect) and nobody on screen is worth a wet fart. Total rubbish and most likely one of the three worst films of the year.


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