A couple of enfant terribles (Lindsay Lohan and writer Bret Easton Ellis), a director with a good grasp of the lengths people will go to in destroying themselves (Paul Schrader), a clutch of blank-faced performers, abandoned movie theater ruin-porn photography, and a bed-hopping Hollywood melodrama make up the cracked camp quasi-classic that is The Canyons.
My review’s at PopMatters; here’s part:
Everyone is exhausted in The Canyons. But even as Paul Schrader’s and Brett Easton Ellis’ wickedly unnerving satire offers the usual Southern California power games, it also shows how soul-sapping this constant contesting can be. Everyone knows the machinery is lubricated by tainted money, but this is all that anybody seems to know. Even the allure of Hollywood fame seems to have disappeared, leaving nothing in its wake. Terrified of standing still, the characters just keep pushing back the night. The frightening thing is, soon all they can see is more night…
The Canyons is playing now in very limited release, and is also available on VOD, where Schrader and company think most people will end up seeing it. The hope is that their micro-budgeted indie will get some free publicity out of Lohan’s still-considerable tabloid profile. Given that big-budget movies have crashed and burned with regularity all summer, and anything that’s not big budget can barely get released, The Canyons could serve as a harbinger for a new kind of movie future. One with a lot fewer theaters to overpay for popcorn at.