The film: Young People Fucking. Major distribution problems in the
United States because of that word in the title. But the UK DVD
release is June 30.
This film covers 22 years of Anna Nicole Smith's life in 88
minutes. If you are particularly cynical you might note: (1) that's
because she never did anything important; (2) enough time has been
devoted to her already. Those are superficial comments. Anna Nicole's
life was, in fact, full and interesting. One day she was working in a
fast food joint in East Noplace, Texas, and a short time later she was
the spokesperson for Guess Jeans, a Playmate of the Year, a
billionaire's wife, and an actress in some feature-length films. Not
too long after that, she was monstrously overweight. Then she lost 69
pounds and looked
great again. Then we looked away for a few seconds, and when our gaze
returned to her, she and her grown son were both dead. In the background were several legal contests between her and
family, plus a sexual harassment suit filed against her by a former
employee. An aspect of one of her cases even made it to the Supreme
Court! That was just while she lived. The end of her life was followed by various
additional legal complications
relating to the circumstances of her death, the custody of her infant
daughter, and the disposition of her estate, with all of the legal
maneuverings chronicled daily by the cable news networks.
While Anna painted no masterpieces and brought no peace to the
Middle East, her life fascinated us in its own way, and there is
probably enough material there to make several interesting movies,
with several different possible perspectives, because Anna's public
life was larger than ours, was both innocent and sleazy, both a comedy and a tragedy.
- On the comic side, there was her ridiculous movie career in the
notoriously dim-witted public comments, her obese phase, and the
ridicule she received from stand-up comics and shock-jock Howard
- On the tragic side, she lost her billionaire (she really did
seem to love that old geezer, and he her) and totally fell apart. Then just
when she seemed on the verge of a comeback by regaining her figure
and producing a new baby, she lost her grown son and her own life, all
before her 40th birthday.
Unfortunately, the script has no focus and no point of view. It's a
broad-brush bio, and there is too much material in Anna's life to
cover in a docudrama. This film just walks through her life, checking
off the highlights and taking no time to reflect upon any of it. The
center of the film, to the extent it has one, is the relationship
between Anna and her son Daniel, but even that feels half-finished.
The only part of the film I liked at all was the brief part that
explored the relationship between Anna and her billionaire. As
portrayed in this film, they were two completely ingenuous people who
genuinely brought pleasure to each other in an atypical way. When the
film concentrated on their offbeat love story, it was interesting.
Unfortunately, that relationship was given the surface treatment, like
everything else in the film. The rest of the film ... well, it's got
In her everyday appearance and using her natural voice, Willa Ford
doesn't look or sound like Anna Nicole, but she did deliver a
reasonably convincing impersonation. Unfortunately, all of the other
characters are virtually anonymous, excepting her son. As I watched, I kept thinking to
myself, "Now who is this character again?" Even the familiar
characters like Larry Birkhead and Howard K. Stern are just
undeveloped background players in this broadly painted treatment. If I
had not known a bit about Stern and Birkhead in advance from various
Larry King Shows, I would not have understood their significance in
Anna's life by watching this film. In fact, I wouldn't even have known
their last names.
With a sensationalized choice of excerpts and some really bad
background music, the trailer below makes the film seem like a 1970s
porno flick, or maybe a surreal Ken Russell biopic. That's utterly
misleading. If the film had really gone for some Ken Russell decadence, it would
have been more fun. Or it could have ridiculed Anna Nicole. Or it
could have treated her as a tragic victim of the lust for fame created
by her culture. Any of those positions might have worked effectively,
but the actual film took no position at all and created no hook, so it
plays out like a network TV "movie
of the week" from the 1980s.
Here's all the nudity.
This is considerably more comprehensive that the material in yesterday's
edition, but the real topless shots are from background
actresses and an obvious body double in the strip club audition. Willa Ford herself showed virtually
nothing, as seen in the caps below. (A bit of areola and the bottom of
her butt.) Samples below:
Every once in a while, the practice of looking through every new release
produces some unexpected pleasures. I had no special expectations for The
Take, but this low budget indie turned out to be an excellent crime drama.
John Leguizamo plays a family man who is a straight-arrow guard for an
armored car company. One Friday there is an is ambush and the guard is shown
proof that the robber's accomplices are holding his family hostage, just in
case there are any lapses in his co-operation. He dutifully executes his
normal daily run, and helps the baddies unload the truck full of cash, but the
robber turns out to be a homicidal maniac who blows away everyone at the
armored car HQ, including Leguizamo.
No, not quite. The guard lives, despite a bullet in his brain. That's the
good news. The bad news is that he is the one who has been framed for the
crime. A sharp FBI agent (Bobby Cannavale) smells something fishy, and does
not arrest the guard, but he decides to keep a close eye on him because he
seems to be keeping secrets. The guard is keeping secrets, in a sense, but
they are also secrets from himself. The bullet in his brain impaired several
of his normal brain functions, including short-term memory and reasoning
skills. As the investigation begins, the guard is not really capable of
understanding exactly what happened, or that a dangerous psychopath still
lurks in the shadows, waiting for a chance to remove a witness who has seen
The other key brain function which the guard can't gain control of is his
temper, so he's not pleasant to be around, and his wife ends up leaving him.
In danger of losing his family permanently, being killed by a sociopath,
and/or and ending up in prison for a crime he doesn't think he committed, the
guard must somehow try to piece together enough dribs and drabs of memory to
convince the FBI that he's an honest man and is probably in danger himself.
The premise is difficult to accept. There's the overworked memory loss
gimmick plus the ol' "accused man solving the crime on his own to prove his
own innocence" cliché, so the film requires a great deal of "suspension of
disbelief." Despite those liabilities, this film is quite satisfying,
absorbing, and three dimensional, so much so that I completely forgot that it
had some problems to begin with. The director did a helluva job for his first
feature-length drama, and showed how a well-crafted film with some good actors
can deliver a lot of bang for a small buck. Scene after scene crackles with
tension, and the three main performances (Rosie Perez, John Leguizamo and
Bobby Cannavale) are absolutely natural and spot-on, which really helps to
make the contrived premise seem credible. Rosie Perez has talked about how
difficult it was to do the graphic sex scene with her platonic friend John
Leguizamo, but the two of them seemed to deliver the scene with just the right
Since the film functions both as a psychodrama and a police procedural, and
since the guard is faced with constant threats from so many directions, there
is no possibility to lose interest. Once we are put inside the guard's
situation, we will see it through with him, particularly since we know even
more about his innocence than he himself knows. He gets ornery and crazy from
time to time, and even beats his beloved wife when he gets a particularly
painful headache, but we don't turn against him or start to dislike him
because our identification with him and his situation is so complete that we
accept it as valid character development. He's a complex character forced by
his situation into certain forms of unacceptable behavior.
In fact, I enjoyed the screener so much that I pre-ordered the commercial
DVD, so I'll be doing all of this again in better quality on May 25th or so,
but here's what we have so far.
The film clips of Rosie Perez and John
Leguizamo. (More or less the same as what you saw in yesterday's edition
from somebody else. If you looked at those, there's no reason to download
Catch the deluxe
version of Other Crap in real time, with all the bells and whistles,
Charlie Wilson's War
Some biographical dramas can be pretty dull, but this true story
of congressman Charlie Wilson's efforts to kick the Russians out of
Afghanistan in the early 1980s is a lot of fun, and extremely interesting.
Charlie Wilson (Tom Hanks) was at the time a member of the U. S. House
of Representatives, from Texas. He was a womanizer and not especially well
known or highly regarded, and with seemingly little power except that he
was a member of two major foreign policy and covert-operations committees.
With a lot of pressure from a rich conservative supporter, Joanne
Herring (Julia Roberts), Charlie takes a trip to Pakistan and learns of
the plight of the people of Afghanistan, who are suffering from the brutal
Soviet occupation. Children are being especially hard-hit, since the
Soviets figured out that it takes more resources for the parents to take
care of wounded children, than to deal with dead ones. Explosive pieces of
candy and explosive glittery toys are left in fields to wound the kids
that pick them up.
Once Charlie becomes convinced that the Soviets could be kicked out of
the country by clandestine help from the U.S., he starts using his
numerous political skills to drum up the multiple millions that the effort
will take. Along the way, Charlie also learns a valuable lesson in
Well done but also quite humorous, this is a fascinating story that
held my interest throughout.
|Cyia Batten and Hillary Angelo
I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry
No nudity in I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry, but we still have a very sexy Jessica Biel showing off her new bra and is there a sexier derriere in Hollywood than Jessica's? I don't
Also Chandra West who appeared in yesterday's "The Tooth Fairy" is back still keeping her clothes on, but sexy in her lingerie.
We also have a "Babe in Bondage" with Olga Kurylenko all strung up stark
naked in Hitman.
Notes and collages
From Movies.Yahoo.com: "Mandy Lane. Beautiful. Untouched. High
school royalty waiting to be crowned. Since the dawn of Junior year, men
have tried to possess her. Some have even died in reckless pursuit of this
16-year-old Texas angel. Chloe and Red invite Mandy out to Red's family
ranch for the weekend. Mandy sees it as an excellent opportunity to cement
her new friendships. The boys see it as an opportunity to finally get with
Mandy Lane. Driving across the Texas landscape, the kids begin to gently
chip away at the wall that surrounds her. Joints are smoked. A keg is
stolen off a beer truck. Pills are crushed to fine powder and inhaled.
Mandy observes it all with the gentle interest of a foreign tourist. And
they love her for it. At the ranch, all the boys start to make their
move--each one hoping to be the first to attain the unattainable Mandy
Lane. However, as night falls and the booze, drugs, and hormones take
over, things are said and advances made which can never be reversed.
Suddenly, sweet Mandy finds herself pit in a brutal struggle for survival
against someone whose interest she has rejected. Forget reading, writing
and arithmetic; in high school, learning to be yourself and not succumbing
to peer pressure is the ultimate test. And this is one exam that Mandy is
determined not to fail."