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May 22, 2008

OLIVER STON'E'S W

So I generally have tried to stay away from posting reviews on this blog, keeping it strictly for insights, news and commentary and instead posting my reviews on my Facebook page using the "Flixster" application -- and I'm guessing most people have linked to this blog via my MySpace or Facebook page. But since I did put that very long-winded Indiana Jones post on here last night, I feel I should follow it up with my review of the film which I just posted on Facebook moments ago...but I'm going to wait until the movie has been out for a while so people who don't want to know have a chance to see it first (anyone wanting to read the review now can of course see it via my page on Facebook). I've seen the film once already this morning, and am getting ready to head out later in the day to see it again.

However, I do want to touch on another bit of casting news on a film that I think could be utterly genius or an absolute disaster. It will probably come as a shock to many that one of my favorite modern filmmakers is Oliver Stone (especially considering where my political allegiances lie, something that I wish to keep this blog free of -- this is a film blog, not a political soapbox). No matter what you think of his point of view, Stone has a way of engaging his audience -- either preaching to the choir, making them think or angering them beyond belief -- that no other filmmaker has come close to. So that is why I am very excited for W, his bio-pic about President Bush.

I noticed today that Richard Dreyfus was just cast as Vice President Dick Cheney which further has me intrigued about this movie as the casting has been top notch so far (Josh Brolin as the Pres, Elizabeth Banks as First Lady Laura Bush, James Cromwell as President Bush Sr., Ellen Burstyn as Former First Lady Barbara Bush, etc.). My guess is that you couldn't get any farther from being a Republican than Richard Dreyfus, so I would almost think that accepting this role for him is like agreeing to play the devil. The more I read about this movie, the more I can't wait to see it.

Mr. Stone has had an interesting relationship with the press when it comes to his movies as back in 1990/1991 his script for JFK was leaked, and several critics jumped all over the movie even before it was completely in the can. So when the script for W was leaked, again the press was all over him including the Hollywood Reporter which went so far as to print details about specific scenes. Pages of the script leaked to the net, and every wire service reported on them, and a show on NPR even went so far as to do a dramatic reading of the pages! When in the history of cinema can you think of this happening, the legit news (not talking online reumor services like AIN'T IT COOL HERE but NPR, Reuters, CNN, etc.) revealing full details of a script while the movie is still in production? Of course, this movie is a very different affair in that it's a bio-pic about a President that is going to be released to theaters while its subject is still in the White House! So again, controversy surrounds Mr. Stone's movie and he's only just started shooting it.

When Mr. Stone went about making NIXON, many people believed that the very liberal Oliver Stone would of course rake the image of President Nixon over the coals. However NIXON for me is one of the best made most fair and balanced political-leader bio-pics ever made. Instead of focusing on all the negative acts, Mr. Stone paints President Nixon as a very complicated and troubled individual, and not only that, a smart one. Mr. Stone did not shy away from any of President Nixon's shining achievements (like opening up China to the U.S.) and his focus on Watergate shifts to President Nixon worrying about how his legacy is going to hold up, and a man constantly haunted by his quaker past and the image of the youthful (and dead) President Kennedy to whom he narrowly lost the Presidency to in 1960 (which Nixon could have challenged easily and turned that year into a 2000-like fiasco but didn't). With that in mind, I am very anxious to see how Mr. Stone treats President Bush, another troubled and complicated figure living in the shadow of his ex-President Father, and with a lot of demons in his past...and whose legacy is well considered to be VERY much in question as a lot of people think that looking back, he will probably be remembered as the worst President in American History (please note, I am not in any way posting my personal views by saying that...but am also keeping those to myself). Regardless, in Stone I trust...even after seeing ALEXANDER which is truly a disaster of a movie.