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Southland Tales (2007) When Southland Tales , Richard Kelly's apocalyptic futureshock age-of-terror satire, played at the 2006 Cannes Film Festival, it received such an unholy critical drubbing that… 2007-11-14 R PT144M Comedy Drama Sci-fi and Fantasy Sarah Michelle Gellar Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson Curtis Armstrong Samuel Goldwyn Films
Movie Review

Southland Tales (2007)

MPAA Rating: R

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Sarah Michelle Gellar, Dwayne ''The Rock'' Johnson, ... | APOCALYPSE WOW Dwayne Johnson and Sarah Michelle Gellar
APOCALYPSE WOW Dwayne Johnson and Sarah Michelle Gellar
EW's GRADE
B-

Details Release Date: Nov 14, 2007; Rated: R; Length: 144 Minutes; Genres: Comedy, Drama, Sci-fi and Fantasy; With: Sarah Michelle Gellar and Dwayne ''The Rock'' Johnson; Distributor: Samuel Goldwyn Films

When Southland Tales, Richard Kelly's apocalyptic futureshock age-of-terror satire, played at the 2006 Cannes Film Festival, it received such an unholy critical drubbing that the bad reviews actually made me want to see it. (So did the egghead minority who hailed it as a masterpiece.) The movie, which begins with a nuclear attack on Abilene, TX, is set in a rancid, paranoid-crackdown America where porn, news, reality TV, and music videos have merged into an omnipresent media glob; where the Internet has become a fascist tool of corporate/government control; and where the Venice Beach party culture remains — big laugh! — more or less the same. Familiar stars keep popping up in bizarro-world roles, like Jon Lovitz as a brutal cop, Seann William Scott as a man who may be the Messiah, and Dwayne Johnson as an amnesiac who twiddles his fingers with anxiety. It sounds like the brainiac Idiocracy, and pretty much is, except that Kelly, in his first feature since Donnie Darko, is also working in the visionary scorched-earth mode of William Burroughs, Don DeLillo, and Infinite Jest. Southland Tales has a mood unlike anything I've seen: dread that morphs into kitsch and then back again. It's a film that tried my patience, and one I couldn't shake off. B-

Originally posted Nov 07, 2007 Published in issue #964 Nov 16, 2007 Order article reprints