Wednesday, August 13, 2008

This Week at the Movies

Woody Allen's Babes in Barcelona
Woody Allen is continuing his reemergence by releasing the comedy Vicky Christina Barcelona this Friday, August 15. VCB is about Vicky, the engaged girl on her way to stability and happiness, and Christina, the free-spirit filmmaker, getting sexually and romantically tangled up with a spicy Spaniard and his lunatic ex-wife. I'd heard about this movie a while back, but in typical Woody Allen fashion, the movie was more or less a secret until recently. It was shown at Cannes and has gotten good reviews, especially Penelope Cruz's performance as the whackjob ex. I'm hoping it's great, despite the cliche of the hot Spaniard and loose Americans out for holiday fun; some are calling it the best Woody Allen comedy in years. VCB better be good since it has a great cast: Scarlett Johansson, Scarlett Johansson's boobs, Javier Bardem, Rebecca Hall, Patricia Hall, and of course, the beautiful Penelope Cruz. There's supposedly a threesome in the movie as well, so look out for that. I love that Scarlet Johansson keeps popping up in Woody Allen movies (Match Point, Scoop, and now this one), even though she swears she's not his muse. She's not a terrible muse to have, if you ask me, but that's between the two of them.

Vicky Christina Barcelona on IMDb

OMG, Ben Stiller's a Bigot!
Ben Stiller's 'Tropic Thunder' opens today. As you probably know, Tropic Thunder is the story of actors shooting a big budget but shenanigans and setbacks ensue, forcing the actors to become who they're supposed to be portraying in the movie. I saw the trailer for this the night I went to see The Dark Knight, and it looked hilarious. This looks like the best Ben Stiller movie in a while, a movie where isn't the same awkward everyman he tends to play. And movie without *gasp!* Owen Wilson or Will Ferrell! I didn't think it possible, but I'm glad it finally happened.

Tropic Thunder is opening admist protest, but not for Robert Downey Jr.'s somewhat uncomfortable portrayal of an actor who puts on blackface for his role. Groups for the rights of the mentally handicapped are in an uproar because Ben Stiller's character, called Simple Jack in the movie with in a movie, is called a retard on several occassions. Come on, people. You're just now getting riled up over this? I think you'd be hard pressed to even account for all the times people are called retards in comedies like this. Or faggots, or any number of generally offensive things. Stiller says the real point is to lampoon the self-absorbed actors who take mentally handicapped characters and make them warm, fuzzy caricatures to boost their own careers. Joke's on you, Tom Hanks. As for the blackface, I'm suprised, a bit pleasantly at that, that no one has really said anything. Perhaps after the New Yorker's Obama spoof cover, people are taking a second look and appreciating satire. I'll admit that when I saw the blackface bit in the theatre, I had to watch a bit more to make sure it wasn't offensive before I laughed, because of course, blackface has a very ugly history. It's hilarious, though, and I plan to go see the movie, Special Olympics committee be damned. I have a new respect for Mr. Stiller for putting out this movie.


  1. You know, I have to agree completely. I thought the blackface would have cause a lot more commotion. It makes me laugh that this is even an issue, but it brought around people like myself that didnt like ben stiller, but who are now willing to give him a chance. I will be seeing this for sure.


  2. Saw it Saturday. Clever. Funny. Sometimes a bit hard to watch, like a train wreck. Worth the ticket price for sure. Curious bout what you'll think. E


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