Movie Reviews

DVD Review: “Southland Tales”

(Sony Pictures Home Entertainment. 2008. 2 hours, 24 minutes. Rated R for language, violence, sexual material and some drug content. Written and directed by Richard Kelly.) Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson, Seann William Scott, Sarah Michelle Gellar, Nora Dunn, Christopher Lambert, John Laroquette, Bai Ling, Jon Lovitz, Mandy Moore, Cheri Oteri, Amy Poehler, Miranda Richardson, Wallace Shawn, Kevin Smith, Justin Timberlake. Music by Moby.

“This is the way the world ends” goes the tagline for this mostly-incomprehensible hodgepodge. It purports to be an ensemble piece set in the futuristic landscape of Los Angeles, as it stands on the brink of social, economic and environmental disaster. Action star Boxer Santaros (“The Rock”) is stricken with amnesia. His life intertwines with Krysta Now (Gellar), an adult film star developing her own reality television project, and Ronald Taverner (Scott), a Hermosa Beach police officer who holds the key to a vast conspiracy. The government has taken over broadcasting and cyberspace (calling itself “USIDent TV”), and there are various rebel factions, apparently populated by ex-Saturday Night Live stars, who are forwarding their own agendas. While all this is going on, Justin Timberlake has perched himself atop that bad restaurant (I’ve eaten there) at the end of the Santa Monica Pier and is narrating the whole shebang…but it doesn’t help. Filmmaker Kelly seems to have forgotten that one has to have at least one character that the audience cares about. Extras include a featurette and animated short.

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