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Little Ashes DVD Review: Robert Pattinson Defanged

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Looking more like 1950s pinup model Betty Page than flaky legendary surrealist painter Salvador Dali in Little Ashes, Robert Pattinson, through apparently no fault of his own, gets to be as silly as he is deranged here, and with artistic genius having next to nothing to do with any of it.

British director Paul Morrison, who last impressed with the remarkable Delroy Lindo Jamaician immigrant London odyssey, Wondrous Oblivion, is hardly wondrous here, and should dispatch this crudely conceived fantasy to the oblivion of the cinematic dust bin, hopefully sooner than later.

Twilight's recently hemoglobin famished Robert Pattinson, who seems to favor split personality roles combining vampires with humans and now males with females, or at least a transvestite version, plays Dali from his college years through to adulthood, and his deplorable embrace of Franco fascism.

Part of a trio of young party animal sexaholics, including communist Spanish Civil War poet and martyr Garcia Lorca (Javier Beltran) and famed filmmaker Luis Bunel (Matthew McNulty), Pattinson and pals frolic full time and never seem to be actually studying, in a Spanish college that resembles an antique vesion of Animal House.

There's hardly much more to impart about this tedious, badly Spanish accented, self-admitted historical fantasy about sexual orientation among famous Spaniards, in which art seems to take a back seat to libido. Save for quite elegant cinematography courtesy of Adam Suschitzky, and the disconnect between the occasional insertion of lines from Lorca's exquisite poetry or glimpses of Dali's magnificantly kooky works in progress. And, endless gay orgies interrupted here and there by horny, primarily faceless female intruders. It's just a guy thing, I guess.

Not sure whether the point here is the speculative, gossipy retroactive gay outing of supposedly closeted prominent historical figures. Along with a lurid tabloid cinema approach as to who in the filmmaker's far too fertile imagination may have been sleeping with whom, and exactly how they liked to do it behind closed door.

On the other hand, it may be one of those homosexual activist bids, which tend to claim that everyone is a little bit gay anyway and just sexually repressing the urge (but never a little bit straight when they happen to be gay). In any case, the tremendous significance of these three artistic legends, along with the historical meaning and importance of the entire tragic Spanish Civil War period, are rendered simply secondary to whatever was likely not even going on between those pretty naughty sheets.

Koch Vision
Rated R
1 star

DVD Features: Auditions: Javier Beltran And Marina Gatell; Interviews: Paul Morrison, Pilippa Goslett, Javier Beltran, Matthew Mcnulty, Marina Gatell, Arly Jover; Behind The Scenes Footage: The Shooting Of Seven Scenes.

Prairie Miller is a multimedia journalist online, in print and on radio. Contact her through NewsBlaze.

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