Archive for the Movies & Movie Stars Category

Oliver Stone’s “W” — A Talent-fueled Let Down.

Posted in Cinema & Filmmaking, Fame & Celebrity, Movies & Movie Stars, politics, Republicans scare me with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on October 17, 2008 by alphabetfiend

Like poppy Bush, I too am “deeply disappointed.”

Oliver Stone’s Bush biopic “W” was not the scathing gut-buster that I’ve been looking forward to for months. It wasn’t bad but it wasn’t satisfying. I ordered jalopeno chocolate cake and got apple pie. Flaky crust, tasty filling, not what I wanted.

The film opens in theatres tonight.

I got to see an early viewing of Oliver Stone’s much anticipated film at Austin’s Paramount Theatre. The film kicked off the Austin Film Festival. Stone was supposed to present it and do a Q & A but the lefty James Cromwell (Bush Senior) came in his stead. Cromwell quoted Aristotle — “Know thyself. An unexamined life is not worth living.” — and then quickly left the stage.

I settled in for two hours of hilarious illumination, already excited to write my “oh hell yea” review. I fully expected to love this movie. Now here I am and, yea, I’m just not feeling it. The subject matter provided plenty of depth to plumb, the premise was timely, the previews were promising. Josh Brolin was brilliant. He had Dub’s voice down and moved with uncanny perfection. It can’t be easy to play someone who we see so frequently. He wasn’t playing the man who was once Prez, he was playing the man who is Prez. His portrayal was so convincing that Brolin was erased and replaced by Bush. Richard Dreyfuss was absorbed by Dick Cheney. Jeffery Wright ached as Colin Powell, the Jimminy Cricket of the Oval Office. Thandie Newton was creepy as a stilted subservient Condoleeza Rice.  Toby Jones was a wonderfully stinky Turd Blossom. (Rove.) Elizabeth Banks was magnetic as Laura. There was so much talent involved in this project and so many outstanding performances. Yet I was bored. Bored and bummed.

In the story-telling, there were some egregiously missed opportunities. They skipped over some juicy real-life stuff — Condoleeza referring to Dubby as her hubby, Bushie massaging the shoulders of the German chancellor. Coulda had a nice close-up of her cringing in repulsion as he obliviously kneads away at her flesh. A young Bush snorting coke and making an ass of himself. Then there’s some rumored strange that could’ve had us fascinated. But instead of exploring the reported oddities of the Bush clan, the film was a glowing portrait of an patriotic family. Ma & Pa Bush were quite charming despite their supposed flaws. Bush senior was cold and curmudgeonly; Barbara was a sassy old broad; Jeb was the defensive little bro. Black sheep Bush was a pale gray good guy. Banks’ Laura was lovely. But so adoring of Dub that it sometimes felt like a love story rather than a political bio-pick of a problematic, troubled president. By a director who is known for being bold & ballsy.

Stone’s “W” didn’t tell me anything I didn’t already know and I’m no Bush aficionado. There was one thing, a scene that sums up Bush Junior’s success. In a fraternity hazing, when a paunchy pledge fumbles to recall the names of his potential frat bros, liquor is funneled into his throat. He chokes and sputters. Then comes Bushie (with Brolin’s hot bod) and he lists off first names, last names and nicknames. Superb memory + affable dumbass = Prez. Outside of nepotism, Bush’s genial social skills and memory for details are what made his presidency possible. W “makes nice” while a behind the scenes someone(s) feeds him intel. Dreyfuss’ Cheney is the clear villain. Brolin’s Bush is just a fumbling hobnobber with serious Daddy issues. 

The film is Bush-friendly. If it were a raunchy teen comedy, the Bush character would be the ditsy blond who despite here low IQ and shallow soul is somehow still a sweetie pie who tries to do right.

Afterwards, while the RobotBoy gooed and gaga-ed over pretty Elizabeth Banks, I struggled to find words for my dissatisfaction. Then the phone rang. Vince was anxious to know how it went.

So, how was it? Was it funny?

Um, yea, it was. Sometimes. But I’d already see all of the funny scenes on the trailer.

Ohhh. One of those.

And when it wasn’t funny it was sort of a human interest hallmark channel conservative fluff piece…. I dunno, maybe I’m just not in the mood to sit through the humanization of Dub-yoo right now. While we’re still in the thick of this mess, I guess I don’t much care how he hurts.

Yea? I saw something like that, somewhere, on someone’s blog, like ‘yea, really not so sure who this film is for.’

EXACTLY! I too am unsure. I only know that it’s not for me.

“This is just the beginning of a reconciliation of eight wretched years.” Oliver Stone

Punk Rock Gospel Blog: Hedwig’s “Origin of Love”

Posted in Art & Culture, Cinema & Filmmaking, Feminism (Shades of Gray), Friendship, Goof & Glamour, I Heart Funny Femmes, I Heart My Love-Tribe, I Heart Tricksters, Intuition & Gut Intelligence, Movies & Movie Stars, Music & Life & Sundays, Mythos, Psyche & Sexuality, Rock & Roll, Romance & Relationships, Spirituality & Religion with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on October 12, 2008 by alphabetfiend

We are always finding something once lost or newly discovered… some elusive idea, fragment of self, new friend, old friend, tribe member, ally, totem, trickster, co-inventor, muse, fellow hero, soul mate.

On the look out, always.

Origin of Love

When the earth was still flat,
And the clouds made of fire,
And mountains stretched up to the sky,
Sometimes higher,
Folks roamed the earth
Like big rolling kegs.
They had two sets of arms.
They had two sets of legs.
They had two faces peering
Out of one giant head
So they could watch all around them
As they talked; while they read.
And they never knew nothing of love.
It was before the origin of love.

The origin of love

And there were three sexes then,
One that looked like two men
Glued up back to back,
Called the children of the sun.
And similar in shape and girth
Were the children of the earth.
They looked like two girls
Rolled up in one.
And the children of the moon
Were like a fork shoved on a spoon.
They were part sun, part earth
Part daughter, part son.

The origin of love

Now the gods grew quite scared
Of our strength and defiance
And Thor said,
“I’m gonna kill them all
With my hammer,
Like I killed the giants.”
And Zeus said, “No,
You better let me
Use my lightening, like scissors,
Like I cut the legs off the whales
And dinosaurs into lizards.”
Then he grabbed up some bolts
And he let out a laugh,
Said, “I’ll split them right down the middle.
Gonna cut them right up in half.”
And then storm clouds gathered above
Into great balls of fire

And then fire shot down
From the sky in bolts
Like shining blades
Of a knife.
And it ripped
Right through the flesh
Of the children of the sun
And the moon
And the earth.
And some Indian god
Sewed the wound up into a hole,
Pulled it round to our belly
To remind us of the price we pay.
And Osiris and the gods of the Nile
Gathered up a big storm
To blow a hurricane,
To scatter us away,
In a flood of wind and rain,
And a sea of tidal waves,
To wash us all away,
And if we don’t behave
They’ll cut us down again
And we’ll be hopping round on one foot
And looking through one eye.

Last time I saw you
We had just split in two.
You were looking at me.
I was looking at you.
You had a way so familiar,
But I could not recognize,
Cause you had blood on your face;
I had blood in my eyes.
But I could swear by your expression
That the pain down in your soul
Was the same as the one down in mine.
That’s the pain,
Cuts a straight line
Down through the heart;
We called it love.
So we wrapped our arms around each other,
Trying to shove ourselves back together.
We were making love,
Making love.
It was a cold dark evening,
Such a long time ago,
When by the mighty hand of Jove,
It was the sad story
How we became
Lonely two-legged creatures,
It’s the story of
The origin of love.
That’s the origin of love.

Brad’s “Angelina” Portrait has Gentle Bedroom Intimacy

Posted in Art & Culture, Cinema & Filmmaking, Fame & Celebrity, Feminism (Shades of Gray), Movies & Movie Stars, Photography, Psyche & Sexuality, Romance & Relationships, Style & Fashion with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on October 11, 2008 by alphabetfiend
older than me now, more constant more real,
and the fur and the mouth and the innocence
turned to hair and contentment,
that hangs in abasement, a woman now standing where once there was only a girl.
–The Cure
****************************************
Angelina Jolie’s expression is sweetly victorious; her gaze, joyous. Three tiny digits reach for the starlet’s nipple. She smiles softly at the man behind the camera — father of her newborn twins and stolen soul mate, Brad Pitt. The actress who once wore a vial of genuine redneck blood around her neck is now the picture of maternal triumph. Blood’s washed away by milk. Milk reigns now; the new symbol of life-essence and vitality in this next page of Jolie’s open book.

angelina jolie

 The photo is hailed as “an astonishingly intimate portrait” and a  “stunningly candid moment” by The Daily Mail  (Donna McConnell and Natalie Trombetta.)

 “The Hollywood star sits with brunette locks tumbling over her shoulders, with the top of her blouse pulled down to expose her breast – which is somewhat covered by the tiny fingers which just reveal the presence of one of her suckling twins.” (Daily Mail)

Jolie seems to be developing a new ease of being that once eluded the frenetic actress. Insulated by the family she’s built with Pitt, Jolie knows a new comfort and sense of safety. She’s more at home in her own bones. Her skin has become a record of family and future: tattoos mark the latitude and longitude of her children’s birth places; scars & stretchmarks speak of pregnancy and birth. For such a renowned beauty, it’s a welcome escape from the vanity of Hollywood.

‘I’m with a man who’s evolved enough to look at my body and see it as more beautiful, because of the journey it has taken and what it has created. He genuinely sees it that way.’

It’s this evolved eye that found her fulsome face in the viewfinder. With a decisive click, Pitt captured a butterfly in the net that so many transitory moments escape. Photography has long been a passion of Pitts, along with architecture. Pitt is clearly interested in shape, form, structure — this comes through in the spectacular photo which graces the cover of the forthcoming issue of W. Jolie’s pillow lips look comfy, at home in this scene of domestic bliss.  Angelina looks to be wearing a classic cotton nightgown, a “Laura Ingall’s nightie” in cotton as soft as grannie bed linens. The black and white portrait has a dreamy quality and a purity that is due, no doubt, to the privacy of the moment. 

The Camera Man

For his birthday, Jolie presented Pitt with a Littman 45. Lucky man. He’s also fortunate to have such a stunning face as a subject. It is Pitt’s first time shooting a cover. In W‘s July 2005 issue, Pitt collaborated with Steven Klein to create a series of photos that cast him and Jolie as a married couple in the cozy turbulence of the 1960’s .

In Filmmaker magazine’s filmmaker blog, Scott Macaulay described the evocative cinematic experience of the Klein-Pitt project:

In a world where so many movies just don’t deliver, sometimes you have to find cinematic pleasures elsewhere — in music, in a videogame, or in a fashion magazine. And while I wouldn’t have thought to compare the pages to “a small independent film” (“It wasn’t a photography shoot. It wasn’t a celebrity shoot,” Klein said. “We looked at it like a small, independent film, an investigation into the breakdown of a family.”), I did find in this spread the artful compositions, sneaking subtext, and yes, celebrity star power of good cinema. If you haven’t seen it, the portfolio, which Pitt co-edited with Klein, features the stars as an all-American couple with family circa 1963 living alienated lives in a cold-war neo-paradise. Having recently watched Antonioni’s L’Eclisse, I thought back on that film’s fractured couplings in an H-bomb-fearing age as I turned the pages of this strange new form of celebrity portraiture. No disrespect to Doug Liman, but, in fact, Klein’s Wspread is more arrestingly cinematic than anything in Mr. and Mrs. Smith.

Not everyone loved the 58-page spread. Newly dumped Jennifer Aniston found it hurtful and in poor taste. Of Pitt’s horrendous timing, Aniston told Vanity Fair,  

“There’s a sensitivity chip that’s missing.”

I bought that issue of W but, unlike Macaulay, I was never able to savor the spread. It was just too sad. I’m not a big Jen-fan but damn that had to hurt. If strangers were thinking of Aniston’s feelings, it must’ve crossed Pitt’s mind. Or should have. For Pitt, Angelina and art came before Aniston’s heartbreak. But the hurt is old and time has told. This issue of W should be less guilt-inducing and thus more enjoyable.

%d bloggers like this: