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      Chelsea on the Rocks

      R 2008 1 hr. 28 min. Documentary List
      71% 28 Reviews Tomatometer 44% 500+ Ratings Audience Score The history and mythology of Manhattan's Chelsea Hotel. Read More Read Less
      Chelsea on the Rocks

      What to Know

      Critics Consensus

      Abel Ferrara's loving portrait of New York's Chelsea Hotel is less interested in telling the story of its famous residents than in exploring the magic of the place that housed so many moments in rock history.

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      Audience Reviews

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      Audience Member Abel Ferrara is a weird character, yet there is no denying him as one of the more raw directors in the underground independent world of cinema. This is one of his weaker efforts (as many have been since the mid-90s onward). Only watch if you are aware of the history of the Chelsea Hotel or care about the characters....otherwise you'll just be watching a burnout try his hand in haphazardly creating a documentary that is really nothing more than a sloppy homage to a once seedy but historically important piece of culture that was snuffed out by greed and the holy grail of gentrification. Rated 2.5 out of 5 stars 02/17/23 Full Review Audience Member I would prefer a much better doc but I love the theme (Chelsea hotel) so I give it an extra star. Rated 4 out of 5 stars 01/24/23 Full Review Audience Member Didn't learn much about the hotel, but sad to see the end of an era when creative types could live in a supportive environment. I especially liked Stanley Bard's approach with people. When Ethan Hawke's marriage was on the rocks and asked to stay at the hotel, Stanely refused to take any money and said, "you can stay here for a month, rent free until you get back together with your wife." Wish there were more of those stories. Rated 2.5 out of 5 stars 01/22/23 Full Review walter m Throughout his stewardship of the venerable Chelsea Hotel, Stanley Bard aimed to encourage artists by either charging them cheap rents or deferring their rents but new management aims to run the hotel like a business, going so far as to evict some of its tenants. With his frustrating documentary "Chelsea on the Rocks," feature filmmaker Abel Ferrara aims to capture this end of an era while also proving that making a documentary is not as easy as it looks. First, the movie is unfortunately steeped in hazy nostalgia, even with the hotel's worst moments like the deaths of Nancy Spungen and Sid Vicious, here recreated with a little help from Giancarlo Esposito and Adam Goldberg which as always welcome as they are also ruin the illusion. For the most part, the movie tends not to otherwise identify its less famous subjects and it would have been nice to get to know some of them. Yes, we all know who Ethan Hawke is and the conversation between Stanley Bard and former tenant Milos Forman is fun to watch. That's a part of the anecdotal style of the film which ignores the historical details behind the hotel(except for a plaque). And bringing up 9/11 is not terribly relevant but it does lead to my favorite line in the movie about how it reinforced New Yorkers' willingness to stay. Rated 2.5 out of 5 stars 03/31/23 Full Review Audience Member Chelsea on the Rocks is a film that sounds like it should be an interesting and worthwhile film. Sadly, Abel Ferrara takes a setting and completely makes a mess of it. The film is so unfocused and unclear, that it ends up being story after story, in no particular order. It's unorganized to say the least. We, at times don't know who's talking or what in the fuck they are talking about. Unless, you recognized the person talking, good luck knowing who they are. There's no writing at the bottom telling us who they are. It's just endless "interviews" with people speaking about their personal experiences with the hotel. At one minute we will be hearing about the night of Sid and Nancy. The next minute, we hear about a guy having a stroke. Then we hear about the owner questioning a kid. Then about all the dealers. Then about ghosts. Alright a lot of shit happened in the hotel, I get it. Pick a fucking subject and go from there. I was extremely excited to watch this movie, but that initial excitement was gone after the first 15 minutes. For awhile, I thought the pointless interviews were just introductory stuff that Ferrara would dive deeper into later. Nope. He had no intention on letting the viewer have any idea on what was going on. He also had no intention on teaching us anything about the hotel. But worst, he had no intention on making a documentary. This is more like a lazy collage of video. Pointless. I respect Ferrara as a filmmaker. He's made some worthwhile movies in his career, but I have absolutely no idea what he was doing here. He's got an endless amount of people talking about their experiences, from Ethan Hawke to Milos Forman, with no clear idea on where he wants the movie to go or what he wants to say about it. An interesting subject is completely slaughtered here, and is instead made into a boring stream of consciousness. Rated 1 out of 5 stars 02/12/23 Full Review Audience Member Caòtic (com el director i la història que amaga, clar). Rated 3 out of 5 stars 01/16/23 Full Review Read all reviews Post a rating

      Cast & Crew

      This movie is featured in the following articles.

      Critics Reviews

      View All (28) Critics Reviews
      Moira MacDonald Seattle Times There's a great movie to be made about the Chelsea Hotel; unfortunately, this isn't it. Rated: 2/4 Oct 29, 2009 Full Review Joe Williams St. Louis Post-Dispatch It's a cheap, vicarious high to hear these unidentified denizens reminisce about the orgies and overdoses that seem to have been included with the rent. Rated: 2.5/4 Oct 29, 2009 Full Review Ty Burr Boston Globe You may not learn much about the hotel itself from Chelsea on the Rocks, but you come away knowing exactly what it was like to live there. Rated: 2.5/4 Oct 15, 2009 Full Review Ignatiy Vishnevetsky MUBI But Chelsea on the Rocks is a happy film-I find it hard to think of a movie released this year that's more optimistic. Dec 14, 2017 Full Review Sarah Boslaugh Playback:stl A creative community is as fragile an ecosystem as any salt marsh and just as easily destroyed: Chelsea on the Rocks celebrates a hotel which nurtured some of the greatest talents of the twentieth century. Rated: 6/10 Oct 30, 2009 Full Review Fernando F. Croce CinePassion Fond and funky elegy Oct 26, 2009 Full Review Read all reviews

      Movie Info

      Synopsis The history and mythology of Manhattan's Chelsea Hotel.
      Abel Ferrara
      Executive Producer
      Ovidio E. Diaz, Kris Haber, Jay Kubassek
      David Linter, Christ Zois
      Production Co
      Deerjen Films
      R (Some Sexual Material|Brief Violence|Language|Drug Content)
      Original Language
      Release Date (Streaming)
      Jan 25, 2017
      Box Office (Gross USA)