Allen Coulter makes his feature debut but has an impressive small-screen resume, regularly helming episodes of acclaimed HBO series such as “The Sopranos” and “Six Feet Under.” “Hollywoodland” is, on its surface, a solid start to his film career. As much credit for that belongs to the production and wardrobe design departments as it does to him: “Hollywoodland” looks great. But the multiple storylines Coulter worked with on the aforementined shows have the advantage of many episodes over which to grow and coalesce, whereas here numerous plots feel incomplete--most notably that of Simo's familial struggle--and compete against each other for valuable time.
Other than as eye candy, “Hollywoodland” works best, if not so subtly, as a cold look at the entertainment industry's obsession with youth and the fatality brought on by an errant wrinkle or gray hair, impressively encapsulated by Diane Lane's strong showing as the past-her-prime Toni. Lane is bound to get the most attention here, and will likely receive another Oscar nomination for her performance. She's beginning to maintain the gravitas of a sexy Joan Allen, and one can only hope that her future roles manage to make the most of her talent as she inevitably falls victim to Hollywood's shortsighted ageism. Starring Adrien Brody, Diane Lane and Ben Affleck. Directed by Allen Coulter. Written by Paul Bernbaum. Produced by Glenn Williamson. A Focus release. Drama. Rated R for language, some violence and sexual content. Running time: 126 min.