The Canyons (2013)

Nowadays, anyone can claim that they’re a photographer or film-maker. Technically, they are right, because modern cellphones have such amazing cameras that it’s possible to shoot wonderful video. However, that doesn’t mean they’re going to be quality photos and films. In Hollywood, film-making is always changing and the actors/actresses come in and out. We’re already witnessing acclaimed directors leaving film for digital, so is it crazy to think that we may start making movies on little phones?  Whatever the case, we can’t deny that Hollywood is changing.

Newly hired Ryan can't seem to keep Christian's attention.

Newly hired Ryan can’t seem to keep Christian’s attention.

Ryan (Nolan Gerard Funk) is a struggling actor in Hollywood who, through the help of a friend, managed to get an interview with a bit shot director. Christian (James Deen) and his girlfriend Tara (Lindsay Lohan) meet with Ryan one night for dinner and Christian spends the whole evening on his phone. His smug attitude towards the change happening in Hollywood is evident, yet he records his own home movies with Tara. The two carry a very open relationship that often involves other partners or added partners.

As Ryan spends more time with Tara, Christian’s jealous side grows and leads him down dark paths that he cannot return from. He begins spying on Tara and bugging her phone to hear and see what she’s saying. Knowing that Ryan needs money and a role, Christian toys with his lead actor and forces him to do dirty deeds to keep his role. Tara grows increasingly frantic when it’s discovered that she and Ryan are having an affair and Christian is pushed to his limits with how he handles the situation.

Tara soaks up the sun, as she contemplates her next move.

Tara soaks up the sun, as she contemplates her next move.

For those of you who don’t know, director Paul Schrader is the man who wrote Martin Scorsese‘s Taxi Driver and Raging Bull. Writer Bret Easton Ellis is famous for his twisted and descriptive novel, American Psycho. The combination of these two is not a pretty sight. Mysterious dialog and an odd direction style make for an upsetting and sometimes uncomfortable two hours.

The biggest thing that this film had going for it was the return of Lindsay Lohan. For the longest time she had been in rehab, but she swore she would come back. Personally, I think her arrival was a bit premature for numerous reasons. First of all, she looks and acts like she’s on drugs for the majority of the film. Her dialog comes off flat and there is little to no connection to form with her character. Lohan, sadly, is not the same girl we used to remember, going as far as having sex for this film. She bares all and loses any innocence that she had left. I wanted her to be good in this film, but she’s just not. It’s unfortunate to see someone with a lot of talent throw it all away.

Christian can be a very persuading man.

Christian can be a very persuading man.

James Deen also had a lot going for him going into the film. Being an adult entertainment actor, Deen wasn’t used to regular scripts and a full production. However, he had no problem stripping down in the movie and doing his other job. Despite never having actually acted before, Deen did a surprisingly good job with the content that he was provided with. His line recital comes off more human than everyone else and his devious character is more fully formed than the others. He doesn’t steal the show or anything, but he does a fine job regardless.

In the film, a lot of the sequences are edited poorly and the set-ups don’t add up. We get a sense of the degrading state of Hollywood, but it quickly fades away and then the film slows to a near halt. The film often deviates from its supposedly singular focus and drifts into the world of multiple partners and the odd things that they do together. Whatever the goal was with this film, if there ever was one, it’s really unclear. The story is weak and never elaborates on any of the characters or their pasts and the result is an unpolished happening of events that all have little to do with one another. Really, there’s not too much else to say. This movie is a bore and not even Lindsay Lohan’s one believable scene could make me enjoy the film. I’d suggest you skip this one and check back when anyone involved with this movie does something notable.

The Canyons Trailer

1 STAR!!!


1 / 5 stars     

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