Ivan Beckman, Hollywoods most sought after talent agent, the darling and crown prince of La-La Land is dead. How and why did it happen? Was it drugs, murder or excess, or perhaps something altogether more mundane? We begin with an ending and then catapult back a number of days to the apex of Ivans brilliant career as he bags international megastar Don West onto his companys books, and then charts the highs, lows (and they are so very low) and extreme excesses of his final days.
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A film has never made me cry more than this one. All the credits of themovie are in the beginning, so that at the end, it's actually "the end"andyou leave the theatre. Based on the plot, I found this to be incrediblyeffective. Not only is it about the coldness of Hollywood and how easilypeople are thrown away, it's largely just about cancer in general. Therehave been a ton of films about people suffering from cancer, but I wouldhave to say that this movie projected cancer in the most emotional wayever.The combination of film style and music is incredibly effective andenhances the sadness of the main character's illness.
right.read some of the other reviews and joined this site specifically to putmy oar in.basically this film is what u understand. if you can empathise withother humans' emotions and the intimidating world of showbusiness whichis dominated by ego, beauty and cerebral brutality then you should geta lot from this film.it opens with a long foreboding shot of a door shutting in what appearsto be a hospital. a pre-emptive eulogy if you will. a mood setting shotif ever i saw one. but somehow i think those of you more inclined torent 'xxx' than 'city of god' are going to miss the impact of such ashot. it lays down a feeling of intimidation and regret that,juxtaposed against the Hollywood career-scape evokes a sympathy for anycharacter not on top of their game as you feel they will be swallowedup. progression through the film demonstrates the directors skill atswitching between the glamorous and the seedy.this is a very intelligent film that can only really be appreciatedthrough understanding. if anything it is a study of power and howdestructive it can be.peter weller plays a tom cruise-esquire Hollywood bigwig obsessed withbelittling those who allow him to. And most do because he is soenormously famous. One particularly affecting scene involves him, hisagent and a room full of buxom women and cocaine. his typical chat islittered with non-specific put-downs and you realise the main characterhere is this ogre's agent. To work for a man like this...you have to have balls. and the film indirectly preaches about thedangers of such a great LOOKING lifestyle. conceptually great, butphysically annihilating, his agent does what he does while hiding aterrible secret.and thats where the perfection lies. epic like a shakespearian drama,the film leaves you with too many issues to put down on paper etc and ifor one felt privileged to have witnessed such a work of art. truthful,arresting, affecting and flamboyant, this film is one of the best i sawlast year.frankly if u think its rubbish u don't understand it. simple as that.try renting 'the punisher' next time.
This is one of the most powerful movies I've ever seen and Amazon was the only place I could find to purchase it. I saw it at the theatre in Los Angeles shortly after a very near death experience. For me, this movie really captures the true sadness of death. It also really portrays what it is like as an ICU nurse taking care of people dying, which is what I do for a living (and also helping them stay alive). I showed this movie to some friends who thought, "that movie was really f***ed up!". There is no sugar coating of reality in this film. It shows life as life can be, tragic. That's what makes this movie such a beautiful and meaningful piece of art.See the late sculptor Robert Graham in this film.
I love this film. Danny Huston, in a remarkable performance, makes you carefor a truly unloveable character. The film shows us the vile antics of thosecharged with maintaining the glam facade of Hollywood and the big studios.Let's have more on this theme. Some on these pages think this film smacks ofjealousy; that somehow Bernard Rose is envious of the morally bankrupt livesled by the likes of Ivan. He's not (how could anyone be?). When Ivan museson his fate and tries to find one, just one, memory that would make it allworthwhile, he comes up blank. It would appear to your average punter, who'staken in by the trappings of wealth and showbiz, that Ivan had it all. Inthe end, we see he has nothing. His death scene is one of the most movingever committed to celluloid, sorry, HD-V. Consider the response of hiscolleagues on hearing the news of his demise. Consider the response of hisformer clients. Those with a knowledge of the way these agencies work willknow that this film is eerily accurate. There are so many shocking,uncomfortable and perversely funny scenes in this film that you'll bethinking about it for a long time afterwards. Wow, a film about Hollywoodthat actually makes you think. How weird is that?
Rule #645: All films made in Hollywood, by Hollywood, about Hollywood, mustbe seedy. I should probably add Âfor Hollywood' to the above list, as thefilm is more or less a home movie. Like The Player, Sunset Boulevard andcountless others before it, it is a film that has been made by locals andjust happened to have been given a world-wide release; seemingly byaccident. It also takes great delight in detailing what a dreadful,decadency, drug and sex-fuelled level of hell it is. Personally, I can'twait to go there.Although based on an original novel, its structure is different and onlythecentral idea has been Âborrowed.' Danny Huston plays (and rather well) anagent who manages to land a big, starry client and discover that he hascancer, all in the space of a few days. It's all downhill from then on ashebegins to reassess his life, realises his girlfriend is just after hisbusiness connections and that he has barely achieved anything of worth inhis short life. To be honest, that really doesn't come through in the filmand feels as if it could have done with a few more scenes and some sharperediting. Despite some excellent scenes, the characters seem too much likeimprovised teaching studies and not well-written, three-dimensional people.Only Ivan manages to leap from the screen, and that is largely because ofDanny Huston's Jack Nicholson-like presence.Another thing to note is that the film was shot with digital cameras,although the sound seems to have been recorded with a Dictaphone. Thephotography is good, but is soft and jittery. This is because it was shotinterlaced and not in progressive scan. Given the quality of the camerasavailable, and its inevitable transfer to film, I'm not quite sure why.Techno-bore detail, I know, but still distracting.A good effort, but a home movie: 6/10
I went to see this film without knowing anything about it except that Iwasa fan of the director and while it doesn't rank amongst his best work itiscertainly engaging. After the longest opening credits I've ever seen (i.e.all of the film's credits are at the beginning except for the musiccredits), the film introduces us to the backbiting world of Hollywoodagents. Ivan is a self confessed 'weekend alcoholic' who 'lives in thefastlane' as he tells his psychiatrist. In nearly any other film we woulddislike this character as he takes drugs, has sex with other women behindhis girlfriend's back and only seems to care about his status. If I addedthat he just wants to be loved you might avoid the film altogether,howeverit is Danny Huston's subtle and involving performance as the leadcharacterthat hooks the viewer and keeps you interested. Coming across as acombination of John C. Reilly and Jack Nicholson, Huston is a greatcharacter actor and deserves a career as notable as hissister.I'm not a fan of digital video and certainly the lower constrast andflattercinematograpy here hasn't convinced me of the merits of the medium, butthedirector has said he wanted the film to look like a documentary and sothisapproach suits the film. The shots are at least typically well framed andalways contain something interesting.This is Rose's second adaptation of Tolstoy following Anna Karenina, andshows the writer holds up well when relocated to the present day. The leadcharacter is apparently also based on Rose's (late) agent which may be whythe film is still waiting for a release date. Stylistically the film ismostsimilar to Mike Figgis' Timecode (which also starred Huston) as theperformances here were also somewhat improvised but doesn't suffer fromtheamateur dramatics of that film as the actors in ivansxtc didn't have tokeepgoing for an hour and a half.At the London Film Festival where I saw this film, Rose commented that hewants to work with the same cast and format again and this isn't a badideaif he goes for stronger and snappier material next time. I enjoyed thefilm,but it took a while to get going and the undercurrent of homophobia (nodoubtedly present in that world) was slightly off-putting. The dovetailingof the images and soundbites in the opening credits with the last scenesofthe film worked well and the use of classical music throughout,particularily Wagner's Tristan and Isolde, creates the kind of atmosphereand gravitas (perhaps occasionally heavy-handedly) that you would get fromone of Bernard Herrman's Hitchcock scores.Overall I enjoyed it but it is more for the fans of Mike Figgis' filmsthanRose's. Having made two of the greatest horror films ever made I just wishhe would return to that genre.
Ivans xtc is shot with slow shutter speeds and no 'tripod', with the resultthat it looks like a documentary - but it's not.Add to that some superb acting performances and the result is an extremelycredible fiction film.One reviewer here complains of a lack of wisdom; I wasn't looking forwisdom.I was just watching a film about some very believable characters and whathappened in a short section of their lives. Yes, it was interesting andgripping.It was also supported by some magnificent music, including excerpts ofRichard Wagner's Tristan.I cannot recommend this film highly enough.
This film blew me away! I was expecting some Hollyweird Glitter story; but what I got was "in your face" reality. Danny Huston is fast becoming one of my favorite actors. He's one of those who can convey an endless number of emotions in one single shot. He's a much underrated actor, as this film will show. He's not afraid to put himself out there. I've seen many films in which he seems to have only small roles, but even those make an impact, and the films are that much better for his presence. He IS Oscar-calibre, if given the chance-hear me, Hollyweird! Ivan Beckman is a people-pleaser with many, many "close" friends-until he needs one. Stellar performance, stellar actor, excellent cast and story. I believe this film should be re-released and hyped to the max. Gritty, dark and cerebral-a MUST SEE.
Whatever by today's standards. I mean its an OK film yes, but itdownright fails to pass the test of time. And its the test of time thattells whats good and whats not at the end of the day, not thenominations it ought to have fit into that year when I first saw it.Let me be a bit more positive, the main actor was great, he's got thoseconvincing movements and especially them naughty facial expressionswhich really work here. However my point is that we long know by nowthe message of this film and the whole drug abuse(especially in thisHollywood working atmosphere) is a long gone clichÃ©. Thing is that thisguy did have human love around him, I don't believe in his excuses.
I liked the storyline when a saw this movie at the bottom shelves, abehind-the-scenes look at the life in Hollywood, based on an old Tolstoynovel. But this must be one of the most crappy movies ever made, with itÂ´spretentious tone but total lack of talent. It tries to be ultra-realisticbut fails totally on this point. If you want to make a movie as realisticand documentary-looking as possible, you shouldÂ´nt use softening lensesandoverdramatic music. It fails to be consistent and therefore it looks morelike a porno flick then a serious drama. Speaking of porn, the acting isawful. The only one who really pulls through is Danny Huston as Ivan whoreally puts his soul out there. ThatÂ´s about the only positive thing thereis to say about this mess because the dialogue is terrible and thecinematography doesÂ´nt even exist. My hope in finding a brilliantexceptionat the bottom shelves in the videostore has been demolished.
It's very interesting that the most positive review for this film iswritten by someone who used to work in the same industry. But it makessense, because to anyone else this film is just mind-numbingly dull.It's basically about a man who is diagnosed with lung cancer and sohides it from everyone and continues his usual life of hookers anddrugs. Its best redeeming feature is that it is short so you don'twaste too much of your life.Ivan is played by a decent actor, but quite a few of the others seemlike amateurs. Being shot with a hand-held camera just compounds thatfeeling, although it's different I guess. This film was so dull, thatfor the first time, IMDb has said my comments were too brief eventhough I can't think of what else to say.
It's a shame this sharp little film has been overlooked and practically forgotten. Saw it in a small theatre in Los Angeles and was pleasantly surprised. At the time there was a long article in LA Weekly singing it's praises and shortly thereafter it languished in the purgatory between small venue and dvd release. It's no wonder, seeing as that the title character (portrayed wonderfully by early career Danny Huston) was depicted as a CAA Agent (a power talent agency) with absolutely no values. Or rather, as he gathers some sense of moral self he is quickly degenerating and hedged out of position. The low-budget here actually feeds this slow dread and realisation by Ivan of a lost life.It has been specualted CAA, naturally, did not like the depiction of one of it's top agents as a coke snorting, whore-hound. (SPOILER hereafter)And even less so that the agency basically could care less that he had passed away. In fact, there was barely a heartbeat following his demise before the wolves were packing over the talent roster he left behind.Based on Tolstoy's novel, 'The Death of Ivan Ilyitch' this is a gritty, smart adaptation that should have been better heralded. But when you bite hands that powerful it's not a wonder where they place you.I am sure Tolstoy himself would be smirking at the poetic irony.
A realistic, but strangely unmoving, parable of Hollywood excess and lifeinthe fast lane. There is a central performance of great depth and subtlety,yet the rest of the movie felt heartless, overbearing, and obvious. Adisturbing experience nonetheless, as it conveys the meaninglessness oflifequite beautifully.
Loosely based on Tolstoy's 'The Death of Ivan Ilych' this searingindictment of Hollywood must be one of the most under-appreciated filmsof the last ten years.Danny Huston plays Ivan Beckman, a typically sleazy, coke-snortingTinseltown agent who is forced to confront the emptiness of his lifewhen he learns that he is dying of cancer. Amongst the many people withwhom he is surrounded but cannot confide in are hotshot director DannyMcTeague (James Merendino), gun-toting homophobic mega-star Don West(Peter Weller), and Ivan's girlfriend, Charlotte (Lisa Enos), who mayor may not be using him to further her own ambitions.IVANS XTC. actually begins with the news of Ivan's death, and apartfrom the first 15 minutes or so the story is told in flashback. Thisworks superbly because we immediately discover just how meaninglessIvan's life and career really were. Nobody really gave a damn about him(nor does anyone believe for a minute that he died of cancer ratherthan a cocaine OD), and his death merely serves as an inconvenience tothose involved in the film project he was trying to get started (Westand McTeague even have the insensitivity to confront each other in themiddle of Ivan's funeral service!).When Ivan learns of his cancer he tries to binge his way to redemptionthrough drink, drugs, and women, but there is none to be found. Nothingcan ease his physical or emotional pain. He can't even find an image ofbeauty or happiness in his head - everything he can think of is "shit".Ivan was already a victim even before the cancer took hold.Many films have successfully attacked the excessive yet soullessHollywood machine in recent years e.g THE PLAYER and SWIMMING WITHSHARKS, but IVAN's XTC. is perhaps even better (British writer-directorBernard Rose drew from many of his own bitter experiences). The film isshot entirely on DV (with oddly effective use of Wagner as musicalaccompaniment!) and this gives it a documentary-style realism (youreally feel you're in the back of that limo with West as he snorts cokeoff Charlotte's leg). It is also to the film-makers' credit that nopunches are pulled when it comes to conveying exactly what Ivan'scancer is doing to him (the visceral last reel is not for thesqueamish).The performances are first-rate all round, but Huston is especiallybrilliant and should have had an Oscar nomination. Although Ivan is anunpleasant individual - and Rose never dresses him up to be anythingbut - Huston manages to elicit the viewer's sympathy simply bydemonstrating Ivan's ever more desperate need for something to fill thecomplete void that is his quickly fading life. As far as the 'terminalillness' genre goes this film is ultimately far more moving thanblatantly manipulative stuff like TERMS OF ENDEARMENT and MY LIFEprecisely because there is absolutely no on-screen sentimentalitywhatsoever. Ivan's one moment of true tenderness comes not withCharlotte or with any of his friends or family... but with a nurse hedoesn't even know. The glorious closing shot is surely one the best inrecent film-making history.This is a disturbing film that is at times difficult to watch. Yet atthe same time it is so perceptive and involving that one feels itactually deserves several viewings. Highly recommended.
Again, we have a literary masterpiece "adapted" to the bigscreen(e.g., the recent "Bartleby"). Not a total success, in my opinion. Firstof all its transformed setting...the Hollywood scene...while the filmcreates its reality fairly well...is far from the originalcharacterizationof a public servant (a magistrate) and his powerful, reflective downwardpath to death. Secondly, the depiction of the movie business assuperficialand full of back=slapping and phony relationships is a rehash to the pointof cliche.That said, Danny Huston's performance as the high-living Hollywood agent,facing his imminent death is very convincing and even moving attimes...andcreates sympathy for an otherwisevacuous character. We are spared none of the grim details of his lastdayson earth...so be warned.
Knowing nothing about the techy side of things, the impact of the DV was tocreate an uneven viewing spectacle that worked very well at the intimate andpersonal moments. In the group and open scenes it seemed somehow shallow andamateurish. It did not capture the documentary feel for me properly. Was"Dog Show" done this way? It did feel like a documentary.I watched the film on a rainy Monday night in Bradford's wonderfulPictureville and the audience barely spoke on leaving the auditorium. Thisfilm had a powerful ending with the score working well. Certainly not a filmto see if you are feeling fragile or in poor health.The lead performance was just that, conveying the innocence,joy, optimism,charm and sleazy hedonism with great conviction. The remainder of the castand characters were far less substantial giving it an unevenquality.A film with flaws and not one of my favourites but one that I would not havewished to miss.
The box copy for this movie suggests some kind of mystery, but don't bemislead. This is a morality drama about Hollywood deal-making at itsmost soulless and cynical. Peter Weller gives an unflinchingperformance as a high-powered star who steamrolls people, talking overthem, repeating himself just in case the message didn't penetrate thefirst several times, making no effort to listen, and occasionallytrying to justify his actions but never apologizing for his arroganceor boorishness. Danny Huston plays his agent with a painted on smile,trying to make everybody happy to get The Deal to come together, andgreasing the wheels with cocaine and vodka. Huston is dying, but heputs on a happy front for the sake of the picture and knowing that theheartless, selfish people around him wouldn't care anyway. His deathleads to professional complications for his agency, but little actualmourning. Indeed, it is a moment of supreme irony when his sister takesthe large turnout at his funeral to be a sign of how well loved he was,while egos clash in the back of the church! The film is shot in a verydocumentary fashion: tight camera placements, roving camera, swish pansfrom one character to another. It plays like an episode of COPS, butwith Hollywood power brokers at its center rather than deputies, andthe look and the details of life at a big shot talent agency makes themovie seem convincing on a superficial level, but not particularlycompelling dramatically. There are few original characters orsituations here. The movie is good enough for its type but there islittle here that seems fresh or even all that interesting.
I saw this movie without any real knowledge of what it was about (otherthansome vague memory of having read a good review and quick peruse of thecoverat the rental store).The use of video tape (rather than conventional film), hand held work,somerough cuts and supports acting that treads a fine line between jarringandbeing naturalistic all took soem time to tune in to (too used to slickHollywood narrative style!).But it was certainly worth the effort.Partly an acidic take on the Hollywood machine (cynicism, drugabuse,deference) but also a film about a man (Ivan) desperately seekingmeaning in a world where he can find none. The final scenes, where Ivanseems to come to terms with his end take on a strange beauty.The decision to run all the credits up front, save for the music and an'inmemory of' add to the final poignancy.
The film begins with Ivan Beckman's death. He says, in a phone call heard aswe see various hazy images of Los Angeles, that the pain was so great thathe took every pill in the house. He also says that he tried to think of oneimage that could help him get through it.He does *not* get through it. So next we see his funeral, at which a fightbreaks out between a screenwriter, who has recently been fired from hisfilm, and the star of the film. We also hear people questioning the cause ofdeath. They have been told that Ivan died of lung cancer, but they allassume that it was really drugs that brought him down.And then suddenly we have jumped back in time, to the last part of Ivan'slife. Ivan (played by Danny Huston, son of John Huston) is a Hollywoodagent. He's trying to make a movie happen and to land the star, Don West(Peter Weller), as a client. The actual content of the script isn'timportant to Ivan, but the deal is. Other significant characters include thescreenwriter Danny McTeague (played by James Merendino, who really is awriter) and Ivan's girlfriend Charlotte White (Lisa Enos, who also helpedwrite and produce the film).This is not a Hollywood film. It was shot on high definition video anddoesn't look as good as some other high definition films I've seen. Thisplus the so-so acting of some of the minor character actors made the filmfeel amateurish at first, but after a while I was able to forget about themechanics and get inside the story.It is also clearly not a Hollywood film because of its very negativeportrayal of the people in show business. Ivan is seen as a heavy drug userwho doesn't really care about the film, and Don West (the star) is even lesslikable.But while the characters may not be likable, they are all quite interesting.And the lessons about life and death and what happens in between also makethis a film I was glad to have seen.Credits: There's a new trend these days of saving all of the credits for theend, including the names of the stars and even the title. This film is thecomplete opposite - all of the credits are at the beginning of the film,leaving only the soundtrack credits for the end. I don't think this meansanything, unless the filmmakers thought people would be walking out early,but it seemed worth mentioning. The credits do affect the feel of afilm.Seen on 8/21/2002.
What is most telling about this film is the director's use of overwroughtmusic for the film's beginning and end which seems like a desperate andfailed attempt to inject some emotion and gravity into the movie. This isakin to laying down a laughtrack in a lifeless comedy. The director choseto use Wagner and plays it really long and loud and hard. Granted thispicture has a very smart lead performer, it's not enough that yourcharacters be smart. Wouldn't it be nice or simply better if they couldjust make you feel?