Everybody’s got a hungry heart
If Michael Moore’s films possess the weight of an editorial page cartoon, Oliver Stone’s play like Mad magazine parodies of themselves. Case in point: W (2008), an eleventh-hour reflection on G.W. Bush, played as a cheeseball by Josh Brolin. There’s little point in discussing Stone’s frenetic style — it’s like watching Costa-Gavras’s Z with every other frame missing — but I’ll give him points for the attempt at humanizing a mentally defective bourgeois who replaced substance abuse with political misuse and confused ideology. Richard Dreyfuss has one of his best recent experiences playing Dick Cheney playing Julius Caesar, but Jeffrey Wright’s Colin Powell and Thandie Newton’s Condoleeza Rice come off as a timid, tight-lipped Steppin’ Fetchit and a mousy hausfrau. This must be a dream.
I’m sure I’d need a treatise to guide me through the lofty intentions percolating between the lines of Yasuzo Masumura’s Blind Beast (1969) — and wouldn’t its following demand I call it Môjû? — but what’s there on the screen I found less than inspiring. Not to diminish the germ of an intriguing premise in the blind sculptor striving to create a physical art that transcends the limits of vision. But the two-character study, Eiji Funakoshi as the artist and Mako Midori as a prisoner model, suffocates in his dank studio with all those molded body parts lining the walls. There’s a third character, his mother (Noriko Sengoku), a Freudian threat standing by as ready subtext. The three of them are as dumb as a sack of doorknobs, wandering in an uncanny prediction of things to come: La Belle noiseuse, Cronenberg’s Crash, and, most curiously, Boxing Helena.
Labels: Capsule reviews