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Party Monster

  Party Monster
Seth Green experiences a "Buffy" flashback.

© 2003, Strand Releasing
All Rights Reserved

Get ready for the reinvention of Macaulay Culkin. After a long self-imposed hiatus, he returns to the screen playing the lead in the feature film adaptation of James St. James' book "Disco Bloodbath," the true story of New York City club promoter Michael Alig's phenomenal rise to fame and subsequent fall from grace. "Party Monster" (IMDb listing) is in your face and down to the bottom of your soul, a wild ride for audience and cast alike, and Culkin impeccably leads the way.

It"s the early 1990s and geeky kid Michael Alig (Culkin) arrives in New York eager to reinvent himself as one of the cool people, a dream he comes one step closer to realizing when he strikes up a friendship with the flamboyant James St. James (Seth Green). Through James' connections in the city's surreal club scene, Michael, with his enigmatic, larger-than-life public persona, quickly finds his place as the most revered of party promoters, worshiped by his devoted followers--all former geeks elevated by him to unprecedented levels of coolness as Club Kids with fantastical new identities. Financed by the Limelight's eccentric owner Peter Gatien (Dylan McDermott), the extravagant parties and Michael's increasingly outrageous lifestyle reach their frenzied peak when Michael brags openly of having killed Angel (Wilson Cruz), his drug dealer. Is it just another one of his publicity stunts, or does Michael know the identity of the body washed up in the East River?

Impressive performances from all involved, as well as tight direction and intriguing cinematography, make this one a must-see.

Seth Green fans should be most impressed after they get over their initial shock--his James St. James is as far as you're likely to get from "Buffy's" Oz or "Austin Powers'" Scott Evil, and it's not just because of the false eyelashes.

And finally getting his big screen dues is Cruz, who devotees may remember as Ricky from the sadly short-lived TV show "My So-Called Life."

With "Party Monster" writer/directors Fenton Bailey and Randy Barbato, who are also responsible for the Emmy-award-winning documentary of the same name, have created an incredibly seductive yet complex film that allows us a fascinating glimpse into Alig's mad world. Indeed, they immerse us in it to the point that extrication is impossible when the shit hits the fan--making us silent accomplices as much as horrified voyeurs.

So, are you ready to party?

Filmfodder Grade: A

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