Low-budget indie veteran Kirk Harris wrote and stars in "Intoxicating," a tiresome addiction drama about a hard-driving heart surgeon with an ex-boxer father who's suffering from pugilistic dementia. Dr. Dorian Shanley (Harris) careens around L.A. in his pharmaceutically accessorized Corvette, squeezing surgical procedures in between coke binges, bar-hopping, uninspired sex and visits with his down-for-the-count pop (John Savage). Harris is at times affecting but his performance often falls into clichés. Eric Roberts is impressively low-key in a supporting role as Dorian's drug-dealer pal. Director Mark David, who served as his own cinematographer, squeezes a lot of visual bang out of his limited budget, with realistic locations making for a convincing backdrop. His stylistic flourishes, however, overdo the druggie effects, and can render some of the darkest scenes laughable.
"Intoxicating," unrated. Abundant drug and alcohol abuse, brief sex and nudity, and a bloody barroom fight. Running time: 1 hour, 47 minutes. At Loews Cineplex at the Beverly Center, L.A., (310) 652-7760; AMC Rolling Hills 20, Rolling Hills Plaza, Crenshaw and Pacific Coast Highway, Torrance, (310) 289-4AMC; and Edwards University 6, 4245 Campus Drive, Irvine, (949) 854-8818.
Jay-Z, other music stars in concertIf you're disappointed that the Jay-Z and R. Kelly tour will not feature the R&B star when it hits town later this month, fret not, you can still experience the "Best of Both Worlds" in the concert documentary "Fade to Black." The film is a celebration of Jay-Z's November 2003 show at Madison Square Garden where the hip-hop superstar-slash-mogul marked his "retirement" from solo performing, giving and receiving shout-outs from his fans and friends.
The movie, directed by Michael John Warren (though Jay-Z takes the possessive "a film by" credit using his given name, Shawn Carter), begins promisingly enough with the sound of a helicopter à la "Apocalypse Now," and soon we are hovering high over a beautifully lighted Manhattan skyline.
It's clear early on, however, that this is standard concert-film fare geared to the faithful. It's rightfully heavy on performance, with backstage and recording studio footage mixed with an all-star jam of hip-hop and R&B performers, but does little to give any insight into Jay-Z. In addition to Mr. Kelly, Beyoncé, Missy Elliott, Mary J. Blige and Foxy Brown are among those sharing the stage for a night of bling-bling-fueled fireworks.
"Fade to Black," R for pervasive language including sexual lyrics. Running time: 1 hour, 49 minutes. In general release.
Paean to love takes its timeEric Schaeffer's "Mind the Gap" is an earnest but overly contrived and overly long tale about five people, each faced with a different goal or challenge, whose lives converge, more or less, in Manhattan. There are a couple of affecting moments here and there, but they are lost amid more than two snail-paced hours of often maudlin tedium.
In this paean to the all-importance of love, served up with occasionally cloying cutesy-poo touches, Elizabeth Reaser plays Malissa, a small-town North Carolina beauty eager to get out but tied down to a dying, unloving mother. The late Alan King's Sam is an elderly Manhattan widower who decides to walk all seven miles from his midtown apartment to the northernmost tip of Manhattan, where he used to go swimming with a boyhood pal. And Sam (Schaeffer) is a single rural Vermont dad longing for a wife. Meanwhile, in Tucson, John (Charles Parnell) is contemplating suicide. And in Queens, Jody (Jill Sobule), a folk singer-guitarist, performs by an elevated train station, afraid to try her luck in Manhattan — and arguably not without reason.
"Mind the Gap," unrated. Mature themes. Running time: 2 hours, 7 minutes. Exclusively at the Laemmle's Sunset 5, 8000 Sunset Blvd., West Hollywood, (323) 848-3500.
Deadpan comedy in 'Scumrock'Ever-subversive San Francisco independent filmmaker Jon Moritsugu is back with "Scumrock," a deadpan comedy that relies on a sense of spot-on accuracy to capture the lives of a would-be filmmaker (Kyp Malone of the band TV on the Radio) and his friend, a rock performer striving for a comeback (Amy Davis, who also shot the film).
In a movie shot entirely on an analog Hi8 video with a $300 nonprofessional video camera, Moritsugu and Davis unleash a flood of fragmented, often jerky images that express perfectly the deluded, disintegrating lives of Malone's Miles and Davis' Roxxy and their friends, most of whom were or are students, scraping by on occasional minimum-wage gigs, perhaps augmented by handouts from parents. While Miles is stupefyingly pretentious, Roxxy is utterly ruthless. On the surface, the film seems incoherent but its images connect and illuminate. "Scumrock" is as fast and energetic as it is funny. Moritsugu is a true visionary who knows how to meld images and sound —in this case a sensational soundtrack featuring a score by jazz trumpeter Mel Davis and selections from several alternative rock bands.
"Scumrock," unrated. Some language. Running time: 1 hour, 19 minutes. Exclusively at the Fairfax Cinemas, 7907 Beverly Blvd. (at Fairfax Ave.), (323) 656-4010.Copyright © 2015, Los Angeles Times