It’s day seven of Hot Docs 2011 and we’re still going strong with screenings and coverage. If you haven’t seen The Hollywood Complex yet, Brian McKechnie reviews it before the final screening on Sunday, and although The Bengali Detective and Conan O’Brien Can’t Stop are not screening again at the fest, Andrew Parker shares his thoughts on them as both will be in theatres later this year.
The Hollywood Complex
Directors: Dan Sturman and Dylan Nelson
The Hollywood Complex revolves around an apartment building in Hollywood where families with young wannabe actors stay during pilot season (when networks and studios cast for upcoming TV shows). It’s a yearly pilgrimage for some, and is a disturbing look at how obsessed children can be with celebrity and how parents will do anything for their little ones to become rich and famous (even if it nearly bankrupts them). The reality is that there are thousands of kids and parents wanting the same thing, and watching the few featured in the film have their hopes and dreams diminish onscreen is very eye-opening and sad to see. A must-watch for parents thinking about going down this path. – Brian McKechnie
Rating (out of five stars): ****
Sunday, May 8th at 1 p.m. at Cumberland 2
The Bengali Detective
Director: Philip Cox
On the streets of India’s inner cities, the police are ineffective and uncaring and private investigators like Rajesh Ji are the real heroes who attempt to bring justice and order to the people who seek it. In addition to taking on an unsolved triple homicide, Rajesh is also working on busting a hair oil counterfeiting ring, an infidelity case, caring for his son and extremely sick wife, and is making his entire staff of investigators audition for a television dance competition. Cox has a great eye for human drama and Rahesh is a thoroughly lovable person, but what Cox really needed was a better editor. The stuff with the murder case and the dance competition are exciting and fun to watch, but the counterfeiting case just sort of ends without going anywhere exciting and the infidelity case threatens to drag down an already slow middle of the film. The Bengali Detective is certainly entertaining, but there is a much tighter film waiting beneath the surface of this one. – Andrew Parker
Rating (out of five stars): ***
The Bengali Detective will release later this year through eOne Films.
Conan O’Brien Can’t Stop
Director: Rodman Flender
Rodman Flender tagged along with his friend Conan O’Brien shortly after losing his job hosting The Tonight Show and follows him around on his Legally Prohibited From Being Funny on Television tour. Team Coco fans will eat this stuff up, but others should seriously consider looking elsewhere as the film is incredibly dull at times. Why would anyone want to watch Conan rehearse musical numbers over and over again, and then subject themselves to the same performances over and over again for 90 minutes? There are some big laughs to be had, but a deathly slow start and the repetitive nature of the film nearly make it a chore to sit through unless the viewer to totally jazzed to be seeing Conan being Conan. What is refreshing and saves the film is Conan’s wonderful condor and self awareness. He knows that this tour is burning him out and his usually outgoing and personable nature are really being put to the test. In that respect, Conan O’Brien Can’t Stop is fascinating, but this really isn’t anything all that special. – Andrew Parker
Rating (out of five stars): **1/2
Conan O’Brien Can’t Stop will release this summer through filmswelike
Hot Docs 2011 runs until May 8. For more information, and to purchase tickets, visit hotdocs.ca.
Top image: A scene from The Hollywood Complex. Courtesy Hot Docs.