(Release Info London schedule; October 23rd, 2018, Picturehouse Central, 18:30)
"An Evening With Beverly Luff Linn"
Beverly Luff Linn (Craig Robinson) arrives at a hotel in a small American town for a performance. But the real hero in the strange world is Lulu Danger (Aubrey Plaza). Her marriage is already on the rocks. After being fired by her scheming husband Shane Danger (Emile Hirsch) from his cappuccino shop, it doesn’t exactly help. Nor does the arrival of Luff Linn, with whom Lulu shares a mysterious past. Dissatisfied Lulu is stunned when a TV commercial for 'An Evening With Beverly Luff Linn' reveals a mysterious man from her past. When Shane and his bumbling cohorts steal the cash box from Lulu’s adopted vegan brother, Adjay (Sam Dissanayake), specialist Colin Threadener (Jemaine Clement) enters the fray to retrieve the stolen funds. But Lulu seizes the opportunity to run off in search of her mystery man, and events only become stranger from there. This is a story of love, theft, athletic swimming and a magical event. Even though Linn is only in town for 'One Magical Night'.
The crux of that ensemble is Lulu Danger. Lulu is a very complicated character. She's a woman who's profoundly unsatisfied with her life and willing to go to great lengths to capture a freedom she once had. A kind of depressed housewife, but also there's just something in Lulu, that you can see that she has this fun, silly love for people and life, but it seems repressed because of her depression and her terrible, abusive relationship. She has a really specific kind of style and energy. She dyes her hair orange, mixed with oversized coats, pastels and drab neutrals, stronger colors for later in the story, vintage boots. Lulu reminds us of older characters like Melanie Griffith’s in Jonathan Demme’s 1986 comedy "Something Wild". So it's something kind of old but also completely new. The three men circling Lulu’s orbit are Shane, Beverly and Colin. Lulu is surrounded by freaks but she loved it. Shane Danger is the first character conceived in "An Evening With Beverly Luff Linn", the somewhat preposterous Shane, a business owner and would-be criminal mastermind whose misplaced self-confidence sets into motion a chain of mishaps and mischief for all of the characters. There's something very tragic and self-important about this guy. Shane is a somewhat buffoonish character.
The object of Lulu’s fascination is Beverly Luff Linn, the title character with an enigmatic backstory and equally enigmatic career as a performer. Of the secrecy surrounding that 'One Magical Night', Beverly comes about in a number of ways. He's meant to be powerful and mysterious. He performs an event that's not the event that anyone expects. The script makes him laugh out loud, or feel something, or cry, whatever. He's a crazy and funny and weird character. Lulu’s unlikely partner in sometimes quite literally crime is Colin Threadener. Colin is a person that has a totally different way of inhabiting. He’s very inquisitive. Colin’s a tough guy, but he’s also very tender. There are some scenes where we see him with a kind of vulnerability and tenderness that he has in this. That's great, the way he really opened up. "An Evening With Beverly Luff Linn" is set in Fortuna, Northern California. The location becomes the focal point of the film, and indeed it's own character. 'The Eureka Inn', a four-story 1922 'Tudor Revival' historic hotel looks as quite Tim Burton-like. It's a poor man’s 'Overlook Hotel'. The hotel has a lot of architecture and geography. Everybody in this film is living out of step with themselves; they're all slightly lost and wanting to feel at home. So they needed to be in a place that's equally lost and out of step with itself, and these location fit the bill.
Fans will surely recognize Hosking’s offbeat sensibility in "An Evening With Beverly Luff Linn", but they may be surprised at the earnestness and warmth of the director’s second outing. It's still a comedy, but also an ensemble film with heart and love and still some relatively odd humor. The film aesthetic shares a colorfulness and a curated timelessness though with it's own original sense of place. That somewhat familiar aesthetic is likely due to the fact that Hosking used "The Greasy Strangler's" production and costume design. Everything in this film is possible, everything in this film exists now, it’s just that we weed out the things we don’t find interesting, and then we see what we're left with. Nothing is built, everything is found. The visual world of the film is a very unique place. The characters are tragic and funny and a little lost, but not without romance. So the color palette is muted and drab and candy-like at the same time. You don’t really know what year it's. There are elements from different eras and each character is in their own world in a way. Stuck in various other times, or seemingly out of touch, but distinct at the same time. In different ways, it’s true of all the characters.
There's no specific time or place. It's a time that exists for itself, and the one thing you can say about the place is that it's exhausting in it's self-importance. It's as insignificant as it's self-important. That color palette, muted, drab yet still candy-colored, marks most of the film’s cast, but Lulu stands out as the most saturated and visually interesting character of the film. The film goes into an almost dreamlike state and just let whatever comes to us come to us, so the ideas and consequently the films just sort of make their way into our brain and let them lead us up the road to wherever, trusting that if they come somehow from our brain then they must be something that we feel impelled to make, if that makes sense. That’s part of the the mystery and the risk. The end result, the singular look and feel of "An Evening With Beverly Luff Linn" is thanks to the collaboration of many strong voices with one uncompromising vision. Collaborating and finding out what the story is in the moment, it’s all part of it. Rather than just being instructed, being allowed to figure these things out. That’s what makes a film interesting. It's an awkward, peculiar film that exists on it's own plane.
"An Evening With Beverly Luff Linn" shows a innate gift for outrageous absurdity, and pushing the boundaries of storytelling into the wild unknowns of glorious outsider art. Cultivating a fine cast of comedic favorites thrown into places of great daring, and with a spirited sense of timing and unexpected emotion, this is a kind of cinema like no other. The new film from madman Jim Hosking is sure to make you laugh and cringe in equal measures.