A movie adaptation of Hunter S. Thompson's Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas could have been an unmitigated disaster in the hands of your average Hollywood filmmaker. As one of modern cinema's most mischievous mavericks, Terry Gilliam has a well-earned reputation for turning disastrous productions into dazzling visual masterpieces, even if budget and box-office receipts don't always even out. With as much of a blessing as could be expected from the historically ornery Thompson, Gilliam was able to create a film adaptation that was just as jarring, hilarious and smart as its source material. While the director has gone on record as never having dabbled in hallucinogenic drugs, you wouldn't know it from the way he infuses Thompson's spiraling narrative with authentically trippy scenes. But flocks of desert bats and lounge lizard orgies would just be an aimless spectacle without the film's chaotically reverent performances. Johnny Depp's Raoul Duke is an intimately researched character sketch of Thompson at his most frantic, while Benicio del Toro embodies the loquacious Dr. Gonzo with a sinister warmth. Buy the ticket and take the ride when Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas screens at the Inwood Theatre, 5458 W. Lovers Lane, this Friday and Saturday at midnight. Admission is $8. Call 214-764-9106 or visit landmarktheaters.com.
Fri., Aug. 4; Sat., Aug. 5