The Canyons Blu-ray Review
THE CANYONS is filled with characters you’d rather not share even a county with, lest you catch a disease or wind up with a broken jaw.
One of the despicable creatures is Christian (James Deen, the porn star better known for his classics such as MILF MANIA and, uh, whatever that video where he fornicated with the Teen Mom is called), a trust-fund multimillionaire and producer. Another is his girlfriend, Tara (Lindsay Lohan), who Christian has cast in his latest effort, a made-on-the-ultra-cheap flick. By coincidence, Tara is sleeping with (that’s the polite term for what they’re actually doing) her costar, Ryan (Nolan Funk, HOUSE AT THE END OF THE STREET). It’s only a matter of time before Christian finds out and so only a matter of time before things turn uglier.
What follows is an incredibly sleazy piece of work that almost demands to be laughed at: there is a man masturbating to Tara and Christian’s foreplay, a greased-up male model introduced with a shot on his trunks, a foursome complete with neon lighting, and on and on. Most of this is incredibly awkward in the staging and delivery; Lohan acts as if she’s being told her dialogue off-camera, while Deen—well, to criticize his performance would be like mocking an AVN Award winner for his inability to read a line.
It really says something when the only one of the primary cast and crew that is actually and entirely relevant at this moment is the porn star (and even then, the circle is small). Schrader hasn’t directed a strong movie since 2002’s AUTO FOCUS and hasn’t written once since 1999’s BRINGING OUT THE DEAD; Ellis hasn’t penned a remarkable novel in over two decades; and Lohan hasn’t chosen any roles in years that would make the media think of her as anything but a punch line.
The primary reason the target crowd would want to see THE CANYONS is the opportunity to see Lohan and Deen, you know…But, dear perverts, there are easier ways to see both naked (like, say, 2013’s JAMES DEEN BANGS ‘EM ALL and the January/February 2012 issue of Playboy). And the scene (plus at least a half-dozen more) you want can likely be found on YouTube.
So, then, what are we left with? The opening shots of a decrepit movie theater, in addition to a handful of lines (“When was the last time you went to the movies?” asks Tara out of the blue) and interviews with the director, blatantly lay out that at least part of the movie is meant to criticize the state of cinema. But the commentary is less enlightening than it is a slice of hypocrisy: What does is say that a once-praiseworthy filmmaker has resorted to casting a porn star and a tabloid queen?
There’s a dialogue exchange early on in THE CANYONS that sums up the movie perfectly. Tara is puzzled by Christian’s pushy and crude behavior so asks, “What are you doing?” His response: “Just being transparent, baby.”
THE CANYONS BLU-RAY REVIEW
Video: 2.35:1 in 1080p with MPEG-4 AVC codec. This high-definition transfer of THE CANYONS is a hit-and-miss effort, as daytime scenes offer a fine amount of detail, while the nighttime scenes (both interior and exterior) are often too dark to see anything.
Audio: English 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio. Subtitles in English and Spanish. The audio is quite a bit more reliable, with clean dialogue and a natural ambience throughout.
Creating THE CANYONS (6:09) is divided into five brief featurettes: “The Cast,” “The Crew,” “The Locations,” “The Look,” and “The Style.”
Creating THE CANYONS Featurette (8:48): Director Paul Schrader, writer Bret Easton Ellis, star James Deen, and more discuss how the project came about.