DVD: What Just Happened? (15)
Friday 24 April 2009
Barry Levinson's finest films – Diner and Tin Men – preyed on the anxieties of small-time operators in his native Baltimore.
This droll satire dwells on the insecurities, cruelties and vanities of "big-time" LA movie folk. Robert De Niro's producer, Ben, is one of the top movers and shakers in Hollywood, according to Variety; however his life is slowly unravelling. He's involved in a turkey, a bleak thriller called Fiercely, with Sean Penn, which disgusts test audiences – in the final reel South London gangsters shoot a dog. "The dog has to die," moans Michael Wincott's precious director. A weary Ben has to persuade him otherwise. He is also charged with cajoling Bruce Willis (playing himself) into shaving off his wild, "Grizzly Adams" beard. Willis, amusingly, moans about losing his "artistic integrity".
To increase his blood pressure further Ben has two former wives, one (Robin Wright Penn) he still has "feelings" for. Plus, he discovers his 17-year-old daughter (Kristen Stewart) has been bonking a sleazy agent, who has just blown his brains out.
Levinson's languorous, slightly flimsy hatchet job of Hollywood doesn't have the white-shark teeth of Altman's exquisite The Player, but it has a few tangy lines, a rare decent role for De Niro and John Turturro is watchable as Willis's neurotic agent – "I'm not scared of him, I'm scared of all of them." Actors, that is.
Game of Thrones
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 If you're not already angry about the migrant crisis, here's a history lesson to remind you why you really should be
- 2 David De Gea: Manchester United goalkeeper's £29m move to Real Madrid off - because paperwork 'not done in time'
- 3 Pansexual: What is it - and when did the term gain popularity?
- 4 A Chinese journalist has appeared on state television 'confessing' to causing the stock market chaos
- 5 Blood Moon and Supermoon: September to bring brightest – and dimmest – full Moon of the year on same night
X Factor hopeful Mason Noise: 'How is Cheryl Fernandez-Versini in the music business, let alone a judge on the show?'
Wes Craven dead: Why Johnny Depp owes his career to director’s 13-year-old daughter
Trevor Noah, Edinburgh Fringe review: New Daily Show host warms up in inspired style
VMAs 2015: You can already buy ‘Kanye West for president’ t-shirts
VMAs 2015: Taylor Swift and her buddy Kendrick Lamar clean-up at awards - full list of winners
Climate change: 2015 will be the hottest year on record 'by a mile', experts say
Jeremy Corbyn calls Osama bin Laden's killing a 'tragedy' - but was it taken out of context?
Tony Blair attacks Jeremy Corbyn's 'Alice In Wonderland' politics
Theresa May says migrants should be banned from entering the UK unless they have jobs lined up
Iain Duncan Smith 'should resign over disability benefit death figures', says Jeremy Corbyn
UN investigating British Government over human rights abuses caused by IDS welfare reforms