by Scott Foundas

GO ! "HOLLYWOOD DREAMS" (USA) The 15th film in 35 years written and directed by Henry Jaglom, that love-him-or-hate-him iconoclast of American independent filmmaking, is also one of his warmest and most inviting. I found it touching and sweet and surprisingly optimistic about the business, given how cynical most movies about Hollywood are, and despite the potential for cynicism inherent in its premise -- that old saw about a would-be starlet (newcomer Tanna Frederick) living out of her car and scrounging for a gig. In one hilarious scene, she's even refused a role in an amateur video being made by schoolchildren (Jaglom's own children, Simon Orson Jaglom as a reluctant actor, Sabrina Jaglom as a determined and unsentimental director.)

The movie buzzes with the quirky rhythms of Jaglom's patented improvisational shooting style, and those of Frederick herself, whose go-for-broke zaniness recalls that of a former Jaglom ingˇnue, Karen Black. By the time Black appears here (as an actress musing with a mix of melancholy and acceptance about her former stardom), it's clear that "HOLLYWOOD DREAMS" is a walk down memory lane for its own maker, stuffed with references to earlier Jaglom films and appearances by many members of his longtime stock company, including Melissa Leo, Zack Norman and David Proval, all of whom shine. Co-starring with Ms.Frederick as her romantic lead is "Angels In America's" Justin Kirk and the film introduces talented newcomer singer/actor Keaton Simons. Consider "HOLLYWOOD DREAMS" a wistful contemplation of the fickle nature of movie success and the wonderful improbability of being Henry Jaglom.