» Full Dark, No Stars - Stephen King's new novella questions mankind's ability to trust others.
[02.21.2011 by Bridget Doyle]


 » The Top 30 Albums of 2010 - Fashionably, fabulously late, our favorite music (and believe me, there was a LOT) of 2010, the year that some have called the best year for music ever. And only some of those fools work here. Plenty of usual suspects, lots of ties and a few surprises that I won't spoil, including our unexpected #1.
[12.24.2010 by The LAS Staff]


 » Live: Surfer Blood/The Drums at Lincoln Hall, Chicago, IL - Remember when Weezer used to put together records that you could sing along to and rock out to? That's what Surfer Blood's show was like!
[11.04.2010 by Cory Tendering]

Music Reviews

Screaming Females - Castle Talk
»Screaming Females
Castle Talk
Don Giovanni
Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross - The Social Network [Original Soundtrack]
»Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross
The Social Network [Original Soundtrack]
The Null Corporation
Deerhunter - Halcyon Digest
Halcyon Digest
No Age - Everything in Between
»No Age
Everything in Between
Sub Pop
Robyn - Body Talk Pt. 1/ Body Talk Pt. 2
Body Talk Pt. 1/ Body Talk Pt. 2
The Walkmen - Lisbon
»The Walkmen
Fat Possum

March 26, 2008
RATING: 4/10
The most impressive thing about Jarrett Schaefer's new film, starring Jared Leto as Mark David Chapman, the man who murdered John Lennon, is that there is a website devoted to boycotting it. With its potential to be monumental, Chapter 27, based around the three days the Holden Caulfield-obsessed, lonely, mentally ill Chapman spent in New York City before killing a musical icon, feels unfocused and pointless in its structure and execution. Leto, who also served as an executive producer on the film, delivers what is supposed to be a career-defining performance, but his affectations and mannerisms feel forced and distracting.

When an actor undergoes some dramatic physical transformation for a role, it's usually supposed to mean an Oscar-worthy, groundbreaking performance. Take Robert De Niro's whirlwind turn in Raging Bull, for instance, where he bulked up and slimmed down to play boxer Jake LaMotta. For the role of Chapman, Leto gained some 60 pounds and became almost unrecognizable, developing a case of gout in the process. But simply putting on weight by gulping down liquified ice cream is not enough to get into character here. In addition to his physical disposition, throughout the film Leto seems to be attempting to channel De Niro in other ways as well. His creepy Southern drawl, often in voiceover, is like a bad Travis Bickle (Taxi Driver) impersonation, as is a scene in which he talks to a mirror in a hotel room while repeatedly whipping out his gun as practice. This voiceover is employed frequently throughout Chapter 27, with overlapping dialogue that is meant to indicate Chapman's deepening descent into madness. Along the way, he befriends and then creeps out Lindsay Lohan, who emerged from rehab long enough to play a fellow Lennon fan named Jude. Yes, Jude. Lohan is unremarkable but inoffensive in this minor role. Better is Judah Friedlander as Paul (yes, Paul), a photographer staking out the Dakota building, Lennon's residence, in the hopes of snapping a shot of Lennon arriving or leaving his home.

The film seems to suggest that Chapman's rejection by these two minor characters played at least some part in his ultimate decision to kill Lennon, although he is clearly insane from the get-go. Chapman is haunted by the filth of New York City and the YMCA he initially arrives at (again, shades of Bickle), but almost gives up on his plan to kill Lennon at the last moment. Of course, we all know how events turned out. The one thing that the film ultimately does right is to avoid going overboard on the actual shooting, taking an indirect approach rather than going for the low hanging fruit of a graphic execution. The murder takes place just off camera, the sequence instead lingering on Leto's face, both satisfied and horrified by his act, only a scream lingering in the ears of the audience. Fortunately, Chapter 27 is only 85 minutes long, which in actuality is somewhat of a feat considering the simple nature of Chapman and Lennon's murder. In the brief time it plays out on screen, though, one can't help but wish more thought had been put into the story and into the portrayal of Chapman, one of the most morbid and notorious footnotes in the history of pop culture iconography.

SEE ALSO: www.boycottchapter27.org

Jonah Flicker
Jonah Flicker writes, lives, drinks, eats, and consumes music in New York, via Los Angeles. He once received a fortune in a fortune cookie that stated the following: "Soon, a visitor shall delight you." He's still waiting.

See other articles by Jonah Flicker.



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