Anyone interested in how movies get made will love this feisty behind-the-scenes documentary, which uses sharp comedy to explore the messy business side of cinema. Both smart and very funny, it may not tell us much that we don't know (mainly that it's almost impossible to get a film financed unless it's a blockbuster with bankable stars), but it reveals things in ways that make us wonder about the future of the movies.
The film follows actor Alec Baldwin and director James Toback as they head to the Cannes Film Festival to secure funding for their planned Iraq-set riff on Last Tango in Paris. They meet with a variety of experts who tell them that their hoped-for budget is three times too high for a movie starring Baldwin and Neve Campbell. So they talk to Chastain, Bejo and Kruger about taking over the lead role. They also consult with a range of prominent filmmakers including Scorsese, Coppola, Polanski and the Last Tango maestro himself, Bertolucci. But the more time they spend with the people who control the money, the more they wonder if their movie will ever get made.
It's fairly clear from the start that Last Tango in Tikrit is a joke project, but everyone takes it seriously. And as they talk to prospective investors, Baldwin and Toback consider adjusting the film to get more cash by, for example, shooting scenes in Russia or China. It's fascinating to hear these billionaires offer advice on how to get their movie made. And hilariously, no one worries about Baldwin's insistence that the story requires explicit sexual scenes.
Continue reading: Seduced And Abandoned Review
Yet there are similarities worth mentioning. Both rest on characters tolerating their "golden" years. And both offer television-sized entertainment.
Continue reading: The Golden Boys Review
Now writer/director David Ondaatje has come along with a contemporary version of the story, updated to the mean streets of L.A. in 2009. And this new version of The Lodger also has atmosphere in spades.
Continue reading: The Lodger Review
In the calm but provocative agitprop film The End of America, author Wolf -- still best-known for her 1991 college-feminist masterwork The Beauty Myth -- stands on a stage before a studio audience and delivers a 10-point plan by which we shall know that democracy in America is no more. With her large wave of elaborately-permed hair, sensibly stylish suit, and colloquial manner, Wolf seems more like a particularly engaged PTA mom than the protest-marching Mother Jones-reading raconteur that her speech brings to mind. Probably that's for the best, as the proto-fascist program enumerated by Wolf is more disturbing than just about anything dreamed up in today's run-of-the-mill leftie documentary. Better a messenger she than Michael Moore.
Continue reading: The End Of America Review
Emily Stoll (Sedgwick) is in her late 20s and roaming the Midwest and just about everywhere else for the right ejaculate. After a miscarriage from a "no father," multi-partner pregnancy, she meets Paul (Campbell Scott) and in one night of passion, a child is conceived. The son, Paul aka Loverboy (Dominic Scott Kay), quickly becomes Emily's entire life, trying to make life a magical, ongoing discovery. Emily has nightmarish flashbacks of her lovebird parents (Bacon and Marisa Tomei) who were too busy being in love to take care of a child properly, and she daydreams of her fantasy mother, Mrs. Harker (Sandra Bullock). Loverboy eventually becomes wise to his mother's obsessive grasp on him and begins to revolt, especially when she tries to seduce Mark (Matt Dillon), a father figure. This, of course, can't end well.
Continue reading: Loverboy Review
Played by John Leguizamo, Victor Rosa is a Latino gangsta with all the ambition of a young Godfather and all the attitude of a taller Joe Pesci. He spends his days violently whacking errant drug dealers and monitoring the sales of his own designer "street pharmaceutical" not so subtly labeled Empire -- which is exactly what Vic thinks he's building in his little bit of the South Bronx. But when his girlfriend (Delilah Cotto) announces that she's pregnant, he thinks it might be time to go legit.
Continue reading: Empire Review
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