Thursday, March 19, 2015

Hilarion Banks & Scott Fivelson's "industry" melodrama, 3 HOLES AND A SMOKING GUN

Having just recently viewed Maps to the Stars, the knock-out Hollywood satire/ melodrama/black comedy from David Cronenberg and Bruce Wagner, it is probably a bit unfair to compare it in any way to the film that opens this week, 3 HOLES AND A SMOKING GUN. And yet this little melodramatic, would-be black-comic look at screenwriting strivers here in New York City who are bent on taking credit for the creation of what, from the sound of everyone's reactions to it, must be the greatest screenplay ever written (something called, with no great originality, Hijack), is so full of supposed inside-the-industry knowledge, back-stabbing and thievery that comparisons can't be helped.

Written by a fellow named Scott Fivelson and directed by someone else called Hilarion Banks (shown above), this movie is so ridiculously bad in terms of plotting and believability, that it is little wonder its copyright date of 2012 would indicate a certain period of sitting on the shelf, waiting to be released. It is difficult to believe that anyone who viewed the final cut would not have immediately suggested, "Leave it there."  I am not so much knocking the work of Mr. Banks -- which is perfectly standard and OK -- as that of Mr. Fivelson, who has packed his story full of details that seem mostly wrong.

Consider the scene in which a man has been poisoned and sits coughing and dying in his car, in what is certainly one of the "extended death" scenes of all time. A passer-by appears to notice this -- from quite a distance away, at night, and with the car's windows rolled up -- and motions as though he might come and help. Yeah, right.

Or consider the scene in which we meet the actual writer of this great screenplay, who has typed it on an old Remington and neglected to make even a single copy of his script. In this day and age. Yeah, right again. (The actor at left, above, is probably the film's most noted performer, Joaquim de Almeida, who has a small role at the proprietor of a junk shop.)

The movie jumps back and forth in time, to no avail at all, because soon nothing seems remotely real. Nor is it funny or interesting or unusual enough to warrant our attention. The plot concerns a has-been screenwriter, Bobby (James Wilder, above), who now teaches a course in that art here in NYC, and what look initially like his star student, Jack (sexy, cute but so-so acting newcomer Zuher Kahn, below), who soon proves to be an even sleazier sort than his creepy teacher.

The men, it turns out, have shared the love of another student, Sailor (Rebecca Mae Palmer, below), not that this matters one whit -- except to pave the way for another corpse or two.

The film's funniest scene, though again totally unbelievable, concerns a mugger (the very good Rudolf Martin, below), who wants to make off with Jack's valuables but who instead stays to chat.

Well, the location shots are fine, as is the "look" of the film. Otherwise, 3 Holes and a Smoking Gun is little more than an inadequate time-waster.

The movie opens on cable VOD this Friday, March 20, via Comcast, Cox, Dish Network, and Verizon, and from Shaw on Tuesday, March 24. It will also be available for digital streaming on March 24 via Amazon Instant Video, Google, iTunes, Vudu and X-Box. A theatrical premiere will follow in Los Angeles at Laemmle's Music Hall 3 on Friday, March 27. 

No comments: