Thursday, June 8, 2023

'Daliland' takes infamous painter to different and strange places

Former punk journo-turned gifted director Mary Harron once again goes off on the wacky eccentricities of the art world in the occasionally beguiling "Daliland," a film fully carried by a wonderfully wild performance from Ben Kingsley.

"Sir Ben" simply inhabits the persona -- and garish celebrity -- of Surrealist genius Salvador Dali and, if the movie itself might not be quite as totally fab as Harron's 25-year-old "I Shot Andy Warhol," she again creates her own sparkling canvas, complete with competent supporting players and landscapes from Spain to New York and beyond. 

The eventful screenplay, written by John Walsh, Harron's husband, itself neatly paints an '80s opening that mixes a key character watching an old clip of Dali's fun '50s guest bit on the then-popular "What's My Line" game show. 

Hit-and-miss glimpses into the artist's rich-and-infamous life then span decades both before and after, with Ezra Miller, whose resemblance to Kingsley seems uncanny, playing the younger Dali in a few nice flashback moments. (Nifty release coincidence or not, Miller returns to the big screen next week as "The Flash.")

Not rated by MPAA (but Dali did dally in drugs, sex, etc.): 1:37; $ $ $ out of $5

("Daliland," the closing night film at last September's 47th annual Toronto International Film Festival, opens Friday in select theaters, including the Cedar Lee in northeast Ohio.)

Also new Friday in theaters: "The Angry Black Girl and Her Monster" and "Transformers: Rise of the Beasts. Streaming only: "Flamin' Hot" (Disney+ and Hulu) and "You Do You" (exclusively on Netflix).   

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