Pretension, in its own way, is a form of bravery. For this reason and this reason only -- the power of its own steadfast, hoity-toity convictions -- Chelsea Walls deserves a medal.
It is dead on the inside, never quite achieving the movements and emotional solidity the material demands.
| Original Score: 2/4
Hawke's actors are a talented troupe, and even when things get self-indulgent and fuzzy-headed (and boy, do they!), interesting stuff is going on.
| Original Score: 2.5/4
Movies like this do not grab you by the throat. You have to be receptive.
| Original Score: 3/4
Were Dylan Thomas alive to witness first-time director Ethan Hawke's strained Chelsea Walls, he might have been tempted to change his landmark poem to, 'Do Not Go Gentle Into That Good Theatre.'
| Original Score: 1/4
The movie is essentially a series of fleetingly interesting actors' moments.
Hampered -- no, paralyzed -- by a self-indulgent script ... that aims for poetry and ends up sounding like satire.
The cinematic equivalent of patronizing a bar favored by pretentious, untalented artistes who enjoy moaning about their cruel fate.
| Original Score: D
I liked this film a lot...
I'm not suggesting that you actually see it, unless you're the kind of person who has seen every Wim Wenders film of the '70s.
Like the Chelsea's denizens ... Burdette's collage-form scenario tends to over-romanticize the spiritual desolation of the struggling artiste.
Hawke draws out the best from his large cast in beautifully articulated portrayals that are subtle and so expressive they can sustain the poetic flights in Burdette's dialogue.
| Original Score: 4/5
Calling it pretentious doesn't do justice to the toxic faux-bohemianism and unearned self-regard that bubble and ooze out of every aspect of Chelsea Walls.
| Original Score: .5/4
Hawke achieves something special but less than industry-shaking.
If Chelsea Walls builds a mood of boozy poetic disorientation, a crucial ingredient is missing: the scent of genuine artistic genius.
| Original Score: 2/5
The ethos of the Chelsea Hotel may shape Hawke's artistic aspirations, but he hasn't yet coordinated his own DV poetry with the Beat he hears in his soul.
| Original Score: C-
The digital-video results play like a flatulent teenager's first discovery of jazz, cigarettes, and hooch.