Focus Features is screening Allen Coulter‘s Hollywoodland (9.6) on both coasts, and since I’ve written so much about its development (the death-of-Superman drama used to be called Truth, Justice and the American Way) over the past two years, it’s heartening to report that the reactions so far have been pretty good. “I thought it was a very solid piece of work, a noirish murder mystery with lots of Chinatown and L.A. Confidential influences,” says a Manhattan- based journalist. “Adrien Brody (who is excellent) plays a down-on-his-heels P.I. who is hired by the recently deceased George Reeves‘ mom (Lois Smith) to investigate whether he was murdered or committed suicide. Brody’s story is intercut with Reeves’ (Ben Affleck) back-story, particularly the latter’s frustrating attempts to be recognized as a serious actor, along with his affair with a wife (Diane Lane ) of a big MGM executive (Bob Hoskins). There’s also very solid character work from Robin Tunney as Reeves’ slutty fiancee, and Jeffrey DeMunn as his loyal agent. The film runs 126 minutes, with a pretty smart screenplay, and it could probably be cut a bit.” An L.A. correspondent agrees “it could be cut”, but says “it’s quite good and high entertaining…it definitely has that L.A. Confidential tone and delves into a lot of speculation about whether Reeves was killed by MGM, or maybe died accidentally, or commited suicide. Ben Affleck totally comes off the way George Reeves was, a nice, well-liked fellow who wasn’t Laurence Olivier, but the film belongs to Adrien Brody. There’s a subplot with Brody’s character trying to get closer to his son who is devastated by Superman’s death that pays off really well.” The New York guy adds that “Brody proves agains that he can definitely carry a whole picture.” He says that “the only thing I couldn’t figure out is Affleck’s performance? Is he just a bland actor without talent, or he is simply playing one? I’ve never had a problem with him in the past, but he seemed to be a black hole at the center of the film. Then again, maybe that was calculated.” The L.A. guy says, “I think that Affleck’s performance feelign that way is calculated…he’s playing a nice-guy actor who’s frustrated…there’s a great sequence in which Reeves is being watched by a preview audience as he acts in From Here to Eternity, and everyone goes ‘Oooohhh, there’s Superman! there’s Superman!’ and the director (or whoever it is) says to an assistant, “Cut him out.’ It’s a sad moment…you feel for him.”