Today is November 8TH and that can only mean one thing in the United States Of American and that it’s Election Day 2016. So to help celebrate the fact that it’s Election Day, I decided to watch a film that had to do with campaigns and such and that film is 1997’s Wag The Dog. It’s election time and the President of the United States has landed himself in hot water when a scandal breaks out. To try and help keep away the backlash of the scandal, the presidents trusted aides decide to hire famous spin doctor Conrad Brean (Robert De Niro). Brean will come up with a brilliant scheme to take away the attention with eccentric producer Stanley Motss (Dustin Hoffman), but the question is can they pull it off? The film also stars Anne Heche (Volcano) as Winifred Ames, Denis Leary (Suicide Kings) as Fad King, Willie Nelson as Johnnie Dean, Andrea Martin (My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2) as Liz Butsky, Kirsten Dunst (Melancholia) as Stacey Lime, William H. Macy (Fargo) as CIA Agent Young, John Michael Higgins (Bad Teacher) as John Levy, Woody Harrelson (Rampart) as SGT. Schumann, Suzanne Cryer (Two Guys, A Girl And A Pizza Place) as Amy Cain, David Koechner (Paul) as Director, and the film was directed by Barry Levinson (Rock The Kasbah).
I have to say that putting Robert De Niro and Dustin Hoffman on the same screen was a brilliant idea. They played off of each other so well and you could definitely see the chemistry between them. I had to look it up for myself, but these two have only been in four films together (Sleepers, Meet The Fockers, and Little Fockers). The idea of the film is actually an interesting look at what happens behind the scenes of an election campaign. I mean think about it, how much information that gets passed on to the media that you see is 100% true? Don’t you think something like that could be happening now with this election and we don’t even know about it? I think politics is a dirty game anyways and this film shows you just that. I just didn’t really like the ending because I loved Dustin Hoffman’s character, but I won’t give that away to you. The acting in the film is great and a lot of today’s stars are featured in this film and Woody Harrelson was perfect in the film as a crazed nut that they use to their advantage. The cinematography in the film was great, the editing was amazing as well. I wish I had seen this movie way back when I decided to watch Bulworth because this was a great film. I am going to give Wag The Dog an A for a final grade.
Ever since the Dogme 95 movement from Denmark (which only lasted ten years in total), there is no denying that Lars von Trier (Melancholia) was the true visionary and cinematic daredevil to come out of that. The Danish director returned in 2013 with a daring vision with his next film Nymphomaniac Vol. 1 (one of two released) which stars Stellan Skarsgård (Thor: Dark World) as Seligman, a regular man who while on his way home from the market finds a young woman named Joe (Charlotte Gainsbourg) lying on the ground beaten. Seligman brings the girl home and he listens to her as she recounts all of her erotic sexual encounters that have happened in her life that brought her to that point in time. The film also stars Christian Slater (Pump Up The Volume) as Joe’s Father, Connie Nielsen (The Devil’s Advocate) as Joe’s Mother, Stacy Martin (Tale Of Tales) as Young Joe, Shia LaBeouf (Transformers: Revenge Of The Fallen) as Jerome, Uma Thurman (Kill Bill: Vol. 1) as Mrs. H, Sophie Kennedy Clark (Dark Shadows) as B, Anders Hove (Mifune) as Odin, Clayton Nemrow (Speed Racer) as Married Man, Jens Albinus (The Idiots) as S., Hugo Speer (The Full Monty) as Mr. H., and Jesper Christensen (Quantum Of Solace) as Jerome’s Uncle.
First off, I am going to say that this is definitely a film that would have been rated NC-17 had they tried to enter this into theaters here in America. Sex is still a little taboo here in the states while it’s not in Europe. There is a lot of sex in this film and a lot of male body parts as well as the female, but the thing that got me was that in some scenes the sex looked authentic. One scene shows Joe having intercourse with a male on the train which blew my mind that it looked that real. The film is divided into five chapters with the first one being her sexual experiences being compared to fly fishing, one chapter comparing her father’s death to Edgar Allen Poe’s or how similar they were. One chapter deals with Joe being confronted with the wife of one her lovers in Mrs. H (Uma Thurman). What happens next was absolutely brilliant. Uma Thurman stood out like a champ in that chapter and was the highlight of the film in my opinion. You’re thinking the whole time that she is going to feel bad and she just carries on using sex as a way to cope with reality. The film and it’s other volume are the last films in the depression trilogy that also included Antichrist and Melancholia. I probably should have watched Antichrist first, but oh well. Lars von Trier is a true cinematic hero and visionary in my opinion and I look forward to the next volume. The film definitely ends on a cliffhanger which leaves me no choice, but to catch the next film and see Shia once again. I am going to give the film an A- for a final grade.