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Movie Review: Masked and Anonymous

Alternate Title: Dazed and Confused

Story: Famed TV writer/producer Larry Charles (Mad About You, Seinfeld and Curb Your Enthusiasm) turns film director in this fascinating and what surely will become a cult phenom - film. The film credits writers Rene Fontaine and Sergei Petrov but there is a rumor that the film's star, Bob Dylan was the author. (Ahh - the mystery and cult devotion begins.)

Like most Dylan songs, the viewer doesn't have to totally understand what you are seeing or hearing to thoroughly enjoy this compelling, multilayered film. It is Coen-esque in story line (and cast).

Basically we see a familiar world (Los Angeles) that has been taken over by some kind of dictator. It reminds us of a central American banana republic filled with corruption, poverty and desperation. A benefit to aid the oppressed is the core of the story. A jailed legendary musician is released to star in this benefit. Each character seems to represent a social comment, the state of the world, freedom, justice, commercialism, politics, corruption and mysticism, but then again...maybe not.

I was toe-tapping, singing along (apologies to my fellow theater go-ers) laughing, smiling and head scratching throughout. If you like Bob Dylan you have got to see this film.

Acting: Bob Dylan was outstanding. He is chiseled, worn, wise and funny. His celluloid performances were more than worth the price of admission. The terrific cast includes John Goodman, Jeff Bridges, Jessica Lange, Luke Wilson, Val Kilmer, Ed Harris, Giovanni Ribisi, Angela Bassett, Mickey Rourke and Penelope Cruz.

Predilection: I have been a devoted Bob Dylan fan since time began.

Critters: In no particular order -- a chicken, dog, Honduran milk snake, rabbit, two donkeys and a goat.

Visual Art: Some wonderful posters and weird paintings. These are the kind of details that require a second viewing.

Blatant Product Placement: Jack Daniel's, Corona Beer.

Soundtrack: Absolutely wonderful to the ears.

Opening Titles: We are immediately witness to a montage of a planet under siege by civil war and file footage of upheaval. All credits are at the end.

Theater Audience: A fairly crowded theater with many folks who are still hoping the Woodstock revolution returns.

Quirky Meter: 5

Squirm Scale: Val Kilmer made me squirm (not in a good way).

Predictability Level: I had no idea what was going to happen.

Oscar Worthy: No.

Nit Picking: No its to pick.

Big Screen or Rental: Big screen for sure. For other films where Dylan's music is heard you can rent (thanks to MRQE.com for this search): Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood (2002) (song Waitin' For You), Vanilla Sky (2001) (song Fourth Time Around), Bandits (2001) (song Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Dum), Blow (2001) (song All The Tired Horses), Remember the Titans (2000) (song A Hard Rain's A-Gonna Fall) High Fidelity, (2000) (songs Tonight I'll Be Staying Here With You, Most of the Time and Shooting Star), Wonder Boys (2000) (song Things Have Changed) The Hurricane, The (1999) (song Hurricane), American Beauty (1999) (song All Along The Watchtower), Hope Floats (1998) (song To Make You Feel My Love), The Big Lebowski, (1998) (song The Man In Me), Jerry Maguire (1996) (song Shelter from the Storm), Breaking the Waves (1996) (song Blowin' in the Wind), Band of the Hand (1986) (song Band of the Hand), Renaldo and Clara (1978), Dont Look Back (1967) (songs Subterranean Homesick Blues, She Belongs To Me, All I Really Want to Do, Maggie's Farm, Only a Pawn In Their Game, The Times They Are A-Changin', To Ramona, The Lonesome Death of Hattie Carroll, Percy's Song, Love Is Just a Four-Letter Word, Don't Think Twice, It's All Right, It's All Over Now, Baby Blue, Talking World War III Blues, It's Alright, Ma , Gates of Eden, Love Minus Zero/No Limit)

Length: Under the two hour Lobo rule.