I saw Wonderland last night, and I thought it was terrible. It made me appreciate how great Boogie Nights is. One huge problem with Wonderland is it didn't capture 1981 very well -- for example, the hotel suite the LAPD kept Holmes in was decorated in a very modern way. No hotel rooms in 1981 looked like this. This is not a minor point, as the film spends a lot of time in this room. In Boogie Nights, PTA captured the most minor period details perfectly. That's one of the reasons it's a great film, because no detail is too small to get right.
Wonderland was basically a wallow in depravity, without any of the humor or unexpected tenderness found in Boogie Nights. Perhaps Wonderland was closer to Holmes' actual life, but movies are not documentaries.
....yo!!, playa.......i gotta disagree.......remeber i ain't saying this is a mastepiece or i don't think the film can be labeled as "bad".......judging from your agruements if i am understanding them correctly, so says.....that the film didn't capture the 1981 look or the disco/porn era as well as pta did.........but .....i don't think the film's intention was to do it like that.....it's all about the wonderland murders.....and seeing it from different sides.....(think stone's JFK).......but w/ the late 70''s early 80's background........this film shouldnt be comparee on par w/ boogie......b/c its totally different plot.......and theme/focus......
Simply recounting the unpleasant facts of Holmes' life is not art, no matter how much extraneous stylistic flourishes are deployed.
....thats too general or subjective of a statement.......you need to explain why......or rather how is it not art ........
If you're going to set a movie in 1981, I better not get taken out of the movie when I see decor, hairstyles and/or clothing that ain't from 1981. I remember 1981 vividly. That sidekick detective, can't recall his name, with the long sideburns -- nobody, and I mean nobody, had that look in 1981. If you made a movie about Prohibition in the 20's, would you have characters using Palm Pilots? What makes Boogie Nights awesome, among many reasons, is its attention to detail. For example, the scene with Alfred Molina, and "Sister Christian" plays. Wow, talk about the perfect late 83 - early 84 song. Then "99 Luftballoons" plays. If that ain't early 84, nothing is. That's why I loved Boogie Nights (well, I loved it for a number of reasons) -- it brought back very specific, long-buried memories of particular time frames. For example, I always associate "Best of My Love" with 1977, very specifically, and that song plays over the first scene, set in 1977.
To me, Wonderland was an example of "smoke and mirrors" filmmaking, in which the subject matter is rather simple, but the treatment of it is tricked up to seem complex. Split screens, disorienting cuts, and herky-jerky camera movement don't add up to profundity -- it is sound and fury signifying nothing.
Wonderland reminded me of a cable documentary about sleazy porn stars, giving us facts but no point of view, no poetic vision about the human condition.