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movie reviewmovie reviewvideo review out of 4 Movie Review: WOnderland

Starring: Val Kilmer, Kate Bosworth
Director: James Cox
Rated: R
RunTime: 104 Minutes
Release Date: October 2003
Genre: Drama

*Also starring: Lisa Kudrow, Christina Applegate, Joshua Lucas, Tim Blake Nelson, Eric Bogosian, Michelle Borth, Carl Ciarfalio, Chris Ellis, Carrie Fisher, Ted Levine, Dylan McDermott, Janeane Garofalo

Review by Susan Granger
1 star out of 4

The adult movie industry is thriving, churning out some 6,000 pornographic movies a year and allegedly grossing more than $4 billion, about the same as the National Football League. One of its legendary stars was John Holmes, who inspired the Dirk Diggler character in Paul Thomas Anderson's "Boogie Nights." Related in a feverish, frenetic style and told from different points-of-view, like Kurosawa's "Roshomon," this story traces how Holmes was implicated in a real-life, notoriously gruesome multiple homicide that took place on Wonderland Avenue in Los Angeles's Laurel Canyon back in 1981.

Well-endowed John Holmes (Val Kilmer) is depicted as a self-destructive, hedonistic, cocaine-addicted hustler who not only knew all the murder victims but was somehow involved with the violent revenge crime. Whirling within his sleazy circle are two women: Holmes' long-suffering, estranged wife (Lisa Kudrow) and his devoted teenage girl-friend (Kate Bosworth). And on the unsavory outside are the seriously nasty gangster Eddie Nash (Eric Bogosian), local drug dealers (Josh Lucas, Christina Applegate) and a bearded biker (Dylan McDermott).

Director James Cox and his multiple screenwriters seriously overestimate our interest in any of these contemptible characters, let alone who did what to whom and why. Cameos by Carrie Fisher, Janeane Garofalo and swimsuit-clad socialite Paris Hilton contribute little more than a distraction, while Michael Grady's gritty, hand-held cinematography and Jeff McEvoy's kinetic editing add to the frustration. On the Granger Movie Gauge of 1 to 10, "Wonderland" is a sordid, incoherent 2. Don't even consider wasting your time or money on these drugged-out losers.

Copyright 2003 Susan Granger

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