Thighs Wide Shut Thighs Wide Shut

Friday, October 17

His Stories, Repeating Itself

The Fortunate Son Also Rises and Falls
Trailers & Mo

We know what yer thinking, George W. Bush's life and crimes, told thru the cracked glass eye of Oliver Stone, a slam-dunk of left-wing filmmaking that would make Michael Moore's Fahrenheit 9/11 look like a walk in a 7-11, right? Well, believe it or snot, the sword remains in the Stone, as the olde blowhard holds himself back a little in sending up our reviled 43rd President. There's even a bit of respect and humility to be found within, and you might juss find yerself sympathizing with the man who improbably followed in his father's giant footsteps, even if he wasn't remotely qualified or interested in the first place. Of course Bush doesn't get off easy (this is Oliver Stone flick we're talking about here), but the Cowboy Prez has given us all so many lay-ups throughout his two terms filled with poor policies, decision making and infinite amount o' malapropisms that it's impossible to make a GWB flick that doesn't skewer him... although we'd love to see David Zucker give it a try. The result ends up being one of Stone's most pleasurable, hilarious and rewatchable films to date. Not saying it's close to being one his best, but this one's a bit easier to digest than say Born On The 4th of July, Natural Born Killers or the headache that was U-Turn, which we saw on a plane and made us so sick that we almos jumped off the plane

They've never had an Academy Award category for best casting, but if they did W. would mos definitely win in less than a heartbeat. You've never seen so many spot on picks of look-a-likes (with a lotta help in the make-up dept) and the performances to back it up. James Brolin as Bush is beyond yumcrecible, and from Toby Jones slicking it up as Karl Rove to Richard Dreyfuss frightening us to death as Dick Cheney to Jeffrey Wright honoring the dishonored Colin Powell to Elizabeth Banks finally acting in a real movie as Laura Bush to Thandie Newton hamazingly sticking a pole up her butt to stiff it up like Condoleezza Rice, it's one humongo treat to see such a display of near-perfect mimicry (SNL doesn't count, especially since Darrell Hammond does 98% of the impressions). Everyone else in the cast is mad dandy, from Ellen Burstyn as Barbara Bush to James Cromwell as George Sr (Brolin suggested him for the role) to Scott Glenn as Donald Rumsfeld to Ioan Gruffudd as Tony Blair (what, Michael Sheen wasn't available?) to Bruce McGill as George Tenet, but they merely appear, while the others mentioned above disappear into their real-life roles

After about an hour into the film, which shuttles back and forth between his wild and crazy salad days (although no mention of his coke habit?) leading up to being born again and the infancy of his presidency that dealt with selling WMD rumors to the World (and on the internets), the OMG novelty of the imitations wears off on the audience, even if the actors continue to ham it up. Since Bush's story isn't even close to being fully written, this premature take on his life, without the benefit of looking back (in anger), really has no where to go, other than wagging a no-no and uh-no finger over and over. We were eggspecting another bout of depression, like what happens when a Democrat watches HBO's Recount, but the film ends up in a state exactly where our Commander in Chief currently resides, lame duckdom. Nonetheless, it was a duck worth shooting (filmwise, not bullet you sick fork!)

Stiller The One: would somebody please turn Ben Stiller's Oliver Stone Land skit into a reality already?

Verdictgo: Jeepers Worth A Peepers

What Just Happened
Barely Levinson
Trailers & Mo

Besides a few decent bit parts here and there, Robert De Niro hasn't shined dramawise since 1997, the year that saw the triple golden release of Jackie Brown, Wag The Dog and Cop Land. So many films in between have wasted his talents, turning the next cunning young Brando into the next sloppy old Brando. With Barry Levinson's What Just Happened, De Niro finally has a movie where he can be cool and not act the fool. Based off of Hollywood producer Art Linson's tell all book What Just Happened? Bitter Hollywood Tales from the Front Line DeNiro walks a marathon in his shoes, hand-holding needy actors, dealing with ex-wives (Robin Wright Penn?) and his offspring, and trying to convince a director (the always throaty, always amusing Michael Wincott) that having a dog shot on screen in the closing moments of a movie is probably not the recipe for box office success. De Niro as Linson makes perfect sense, considering he produced a bunch of Bobby's films, including but not limited to The Untouchables, Heat and We're No Angels, which also starred Sean Penn, who plays himself in the dog gets shot movie within the Happened movie. There's plenty o' insider jokes strewn about (like Bruce Willis, also playing himself, who vehemently refuses to shave his beard before production begins on a film, juss like what happened with Alec Baldwin and the Linson produced movie The Edge), but most of them will go straight over the heads of any Hollywood outsider. The film plays out like a more mature, realistic season of Entourage, De Niro acting as an Ari & E composite, yet without all the glitz and glam and gams, it doesn't even come close to being as delectable as the way too guilty pleasured HBO show. Entourage makes you want to jump in on the fun, but Happened makes you want to run away from it. We should probably follow the advice of the later, yet we'd rather keep watching Entourage. Wait, what just happened?

More Good Than Meagan?: Moon Bloodgood, so darn bloody good. we pray she MOONS us. and oh yeah, she shows one of her brestestestest to Bobby D in Happened

Verdictgo: Sum Merit But No Stinking Badges

Filth and Wisdom
Crazy/Beautiful Strangers
Trailers & Mo

There aren't many out there who are fans of Madonna's work in front of a camera, us included, and for the non-believers we should all be pleasantly sirprized at what she can do behind the camera. Filth and Wisdom is her first foray into directing, and while it definitely reeks of someone's first try, it's promising enuff that we certainly hope she tries again. The film is visually bare, and the script, by her recently divorced hubby's EPK maker, Dan Cadan (she also snatched Tyrone, and Thigh fav Tommy The Tit from his Snatch), is overly trite (we coulda done w/o the looking into the camera narration with deep 'wisdom'), but her characters, a pharmacist who steals drugs and wants to save starving kids in Africa (bright eyed Vicky McClure, see below), a ballet dancer turned stripper (hottie Holly Weston, but not this Holly Weston? [NSFW]), a formerly abused child now making cash as a S&M master to support his gypsy band (Gogol Bordello ringleader Eugene Hutz, a long overdue follow-up to his incredible work in Everything Is Illuminated), and a writer who lost his lust after going blind (Madonna pal Richard E Grant), are so colorful that you'll want to see how the painting turns out

SeeQuest: is it juss us or does Vicky McClure look an awful lot like dearly departed Jonathan Brandis? you be the judge (dreads)

Verdictgo: Jeepers Worth A Peepers

W. opens wide, while Happened hits up limited theaters and Filth rocks out only in NY today

Rental Round-Up Dawg, Billy Donovan Edition:

You know how we feel about Donovan, don't you? Well, if you didn't, he's probably the mos unappreciated living musician in the world today. While his 60s contemporaries like the Beatles and Bob Dylan have rightfully reached iconic status, Donovan's extraordinary wealth of work has been hiding in the shadows for decades (having one's songs in commercials don't count). A crying shame if you ask us. And unlike the Beatles and Dylan, Donovan's never had a documentary chronicling it all... until now. Juss released a week ago was Sunshine Superman - The Journey Of Donovan, a 3 hour + (!!!!) look back and forward on the folky Scottish troubadour that wants you to wear your love like heaven. Donovan himself does a majority of the talking here, and although it would have benefited from a few more outside sources (we wanted to hear Jimmy Page talk all about playing guitar on 'Hurdy Gurdy Man'), his tales are worth listening to. This is a perfect DVD to get to know him and then some, especially for the diehards, and probably best watched in two sittings. There's an additional bonus disc chock full o' goodies including music videos, TV appearances and concert footage, unreleased songs and much much much much much much more. Go on now, take the journey!

Odds are pretty high that you missed last year's absorbing and deeply tender doc Billy The Kid, about a wonderfully energetic and slightly off centered kid named... Billy. We loved it like crazy (it's like American Teen, but with one teen, who has more problems then all them teens combined!), and you will too, if you ever give it the chance. Had we seen it a bit earlier in 2007, it woulda most likely cracked our top ten of that year, and not juss been an Honor Blackmanable Mention. Sure, the disc may be a bit late in arriving, but we're rewarded with a nice lil special feature of what Billy's been up to and how the attention from the movie has affected him. Also, be sure to czech out the interviews with director Jennifer Venditti, which only enhances second viewings of this mos honest doc. The DVD will be released on 10/28

until next thyme the balcony is clothed...