Wednesday, September 26, 2018

Hal Movie Review

Jeff Bridges stars in Hal

18 Loads of Super Double Dynamite Love

Rotten Tomatoes Plot: Although Hal Ashby directed a remarkable string of acclaimed, widely admired classics throughout the 1970s (Harold and Maude, The Last Detail, Shampoo, Coming Home, Being There) he is often overlooked amid the crowd of luminaries from his generation. Amy Scott's exuberant portrait explores that curious oversight, using rare archival materials, interviews, personal letters, and audio recordings to reveal a passionate, obsessive artist. Ashby was a Hollywood director who constantly clashed with Hollywood, but also a unique soul with an unprecedented insight into the human condition and an unmatched capacity for good. His films were an elusive blend of honesty, irreverence, humor, and humanity. Through the heartrending and inspiring Hal, you feel buoyed by Ashby's love of people and of cinema, a little like walking on water.

"Who in the hell wants to aim a film down the middle?" Certainly not Hal Ashby. His "astonishing string of masterpieces" featured a who's who of Hollywood royalty (Warren Beatty, Jane Fonda, Jack Nicholson, among others) but it's his bohemian/humanistic lifestyle off camera that helps Amy Scott's Hal stand out from this year's lauded documentary crowd. Rumors of illicit drug use and a penchant to go "against the grain" led to a stark decline in his career, culminating with Ashby's untimely death at age 59. It's fascinating stuff, despite Scott's decision to focus on Hal's filmography over Hal himself.

Grade: B

Catch Hal exclusively at Landmark E Street Cinema, starting Friday, September 28th. Click here for showtimes/tickets.