James Deen

Paul Schrader The Canyons

In The Canyons Schrader has the camera zero in on abandoned movie theaters while Bret Easton Ellis’s script has its characters discussing whether they actually “like movies” anymore. What all that has to do with the plot is up for interpretation, but it doesn’t take a genius to see Schrader and Ellis are talking about the emergence of VOD and new media amidst the piles of old curtains and velvet-backed chairs. Schrader won’t let his camera show hopping movie theaters and audiences eating up popcorn, because that’s not the world Ellis’s characters see. They’re cold, monotone 20-somethings who could care less about today’s movies or movies in general (even as they make one). Maybe Schrader also feels that way about today’s major theatrical releases, but, one thing is for sure: The Canyons is a movie that wasn’t made for 2,000 screens. It’s true low-budget, crowdsourced  indie filmmaking, and because of that (and some other obvious reasons), it didn’t have the smoothest production. That chaotic frenzy was all fuel for the media, and Schrader was holding the match.

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Schrader

You can’t hold a world premiere event for a film inside a television, or over the Internet, or as ordered through a remote control. Sure, you can stream it, or you can record it to watch later, and you can even have someone FaceTime you in, but you can’t hold a true event for a film without getting some butts into some seats, some snacks onto a tray, and a movie onto the big screen. Director Paul Schrader may have made his The Canyons alongside screenwriter Bret Easton Ellis and producer Braxton Pope with the full intent to bow the film on the VOD-enabled small screen, but that doesn’t change the fact that the film was entered into film festivals, or that later this month you can see it in a theater near you in limited release, or even that its world premiere was held in a theater. Last night actually, at the Walter Reade Theater at the Film Society of Lincoln Center, a real theater for real cinephiles, and I was in attendance to take it all in. There was a lot to take in.

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Lindsay Lohan The Canyons

The trailer for The Canyons looks like it will give you a neon-colored STD. There’s no escaping that brash aesthetic element, but the far more common commentary that seems to be happening is the funeral dirge being sung for movies. Some of the first promo imagery for the Paul Schrader-directed sexual thriller featured the crumbling insides of a theater; he recently spoke at length about the “systemic change” facing the filmmaking industry; and the meta nature of a producer (James Deen) and his actress girlfriend (Lindsay Lohan) anchoring the story brings it all home. So it’s not surprising that the latest trailer for the film opens with Lohan’s character rhetorically asking if we still like movies before admitting that she’s just not that into them anymore. Beyond the darkness and forced shock to be expected from anything Bret Easton Ellis is involved in, the quiet death of movies might be something we’ll be getting a lot of in this one. That, and a whole host of bad acting. Wear protection and check out the trailer for yourself:

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The Canyons

After a fair bit of kerfuffle over its rejection from the SXSW Film Festival, Paul Schrader‘s The Canyons has managed to snag a distribution deal from IFC Films. Deadline Hollywood passes along word that the already-controversial film, penned by Bret Easton Ellis and “starring” porn star James Deen and perennial tabloid fodder Lindsay Lohan, will be getting quite the fancy release from the distributors, including a theatrical bow, a digital release, and a “Special Presentation” at the Film Society of Lincoln Center in New York City sometime this summer. Snark aside, if you’re in Gotham this summer, mark your calendars now, this sounds like it’s going to be the cinematic event of the season. Schrader has described the film as “cinema for the post-theatrical era,” and the project utilized a bevy of crowd-funding techniques to raise both funds and awareness (a campaign we’ve covered here, here, and here) so it is, at the very least, an innovative project that will be interesting to track even on the most basic of financial levels (i.e. is this thing going to make money?). The Film Society of Lincoln Center event will include a chat with Schrader and Kent Jones, Director of Programming of the New York Film Festival, so we’ll keep an eye and ear out for those details to pass along to all our New York Rejects.

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The Canyons

Paul Schrader’s next film, The Canyons, was written by famed author Bret Easton Ellis and stars Lindsay Lohan and some male porn star, which earned the project some hype right from the very moment it was announced that held straight through its production. But, despite all of its marquee talent, the movie put out a weird teaser trailer that didn’t seem to have any actual footage from the film and was mostly just a bunch of abstract images shot around L.A. Well, now the film has released a full trailer, and instead of being street photography stuff that doesn’t feature Lindsay Lohan, it’s…something else that’s completely weird as well. It would seem that either The Canyons was shot in black and white, its images have been altered to make this vintage-style trailer, or what we’re looking at still isn’t actual footage from the film. Which of these possibilities sounds most believable?

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Over the course of its pre-production, The Canyons has established itself as being something of a poster child for modern filmmaking. Besides its casting of a couple of recognizable names, like tabloid star Lindsay Lohan and porn star James Deen, the film searched for much of its talent through Facebook auditions. And instead of relying on studio backing to raise funds, the traditional way, its writer, Bret Easton Ellis, and its director, Paul Schrader, raised money through a Kickstarter project, that offered up a bevy of ridiculous prizes backers could win. So what have been the fruits of all of their ultra-modern labors? It’s still kind of hard to tell. A two-and-a-half minute trailer has been released, but it doesn’t seem to contain any actual footage from the film it’s supposed to be promoting. Instead, it just gives us a montage of images shot around L.A., set to a Dum Dum Girls song; no Lindsay, no James Deen, no nothing. Despite the film’s apparent tagline of “It’s not The Hills,” this promo looks like it could very much be the credit sequence of some sort of reality show shot in the city.

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The staff here at FSR have been tracking the development of The Canyons pretty closely. The reportedly microbudgeted film directed by Paul Schrader from a script by American Psycho/Less Than Zero novelist Bret Easton Ellis and guided by indie producer Braxton Pope, The Canyons has gained notice for utilizing social media outlets like Kickstarter to help finance it and Facebook to cast as-yet-undiscovered talent. Now, it appears that legendary acting veterans James Dean and Elizabeth Taylor porn star James Deen and postmodern performance art project Lindsay Lohan will star in the film, which ComingSoon describes as a “contemporary thriller that documents five twenty-somethings’ quest for power, love, sex and success in 2012 Hollywood.” Lohan is best-known for her starring roles in The Parent Trap, Mean Girls, and the Los Angeles district court. James Deen is best known for his roles at Jimmy Olsen in Superman XXX: A Porn Parody, Moe in Simpsons: The XXX Parody, and Egon Spengler in This Ain’t Ghostbusters XXX.

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published: 12.17.2014
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published: 12.15.2014
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published: 12.05.2014
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