We don’t say things like this every day, but we really think Oliver Stone needs to start taking some liberties.
You’ve probably heard about W, Stone’s upcoming dramatization of the life and times of our notorious outgoing president. And you may have heard that Dubya’s hagiographers, having taken a look at some initial script pages, are dismissing the project as a fanciful cheap shot. But what has us perturbed is that it doesn’t seem cheap enough. For instance, the film allegedly kowtows to the official line that the Great Decider once lost consciousness in the White House after choking on a pretzel. Meanwhile, everyone we know with the slightest understanding of public relations had immediately identified that story as flimsy cover for a chief executive who had likely resumed hitting the sauce on Sept. 12, 2001 (and maybe even Nov. 8, 2000).
Where is the Stone of JFK, who spun an assassination conspiracy that seemed to number every living American save the lower leadership of the Kiwanis Club and Hoppity Hooper? This sounds like the Stone of Nixon, who was so desperate to appear fair and balanced that he painted the Quaker Hitler as a generally well-intended patriot with a few minor personal problems. In contrast, any remotely appropriate tribute to Bush II needs to be two things: unfair and unbalanced. Let the treatment fit the subject, Oliver, and don’t get caught on the wrong side of history. Because when the truth about this administration finally starts to trickle out, it’s going to make Dr. Strangelove look like Legally Blonde 2.
Opening Friday, June 6
Kung Fu Panda What’s black and white and willing to make a fool of itself for your cinematic enjoyment? Halle Berry, of course! But an acceptable second answer is the Kung Fu Panda, who, as voiced by Jack Black, is ready to open up a can of martial-arts whup-ass on a bad old snow leopard. Also presented in IMAX, because it worked like such a goddamn charm for Speed Racer. (PG; DreamWorks Animation)
You Don’t Mess With the Zohan Adam Sandler plays a Mossad agent gone undercover as a New York hairdresser. Love with a foxy Palestinian (Emmanuelle Chriqui) helps tear down the walls of sociopolitical difference. Make sense to us: The first time we saw Happy Gilmore, we said, “That guy’s going to bring about Middle East peace someday.” (PG-13; Columbia Pictures)
Roman de Gare French filmmaker Claude Lelouch ladles out the twisty-turny in a three-character mystery that’s been described as an ode to the literary genre of the “train-station novel.” Hey, it isn’t every day you can enjoy a flick and strike a blow for public transportation. (at Enzian Theater, Maitland; R; Samuel Goldwyn Films)
Available Tuesday, June 10
The Bucket List Things we resolve to do before we snuff it: 1) Adopt an abused greyhound; 2) never watch another Jack Nicholson comedy. (Warner Home Video)
The Signal Netflix Nation is primed to discover the cult favorite about a mysterious transmission that inspires mass barbarism. Between this release and A&E’s recent remake of the tangentially themed The Andromeda Strain, your reasons to watch M. Night Shyamalan do his own version of the apocalypse boogie in the forthcoming The Happening are evaporating by the minute. If you had reasons to begin with. (Magnolia; also for Blu-ray)
Available Thursday, June 5
The Incredible Hulk At first, there might not appear to be much difference between the digitized version of the green-Skinned Goliath you’ll encounter in this game and the one that’ll be rampaging across America’s movie screens next week. But there is: one magnifying projector and a whole lot of embarrassment. (Sega)
Available Tuesday, June 10
Doris Day: The Untold Story of the Girl Next Door Strange as it may seem to a generation weaned on Angelina Jolie, Doris Day built her success as a leading lady on the idea that she was sexually unattainable. But author David Kaufman’s book allegedly reveals some dark corners to the lily-white image Day maintained through 39 movies, more than 500 recordings and five years of network-TV stardom. Oh, and check out the moniker of the lucky publisher. (Virgin Books)firstname.lastname@example.org