A week in the life of Ben, a powerful Hollywood producer, as he juggles negotiations with a studio head so that his newest picture can open at Cannes in two weeks, with a high-strung director who must make edits to the film, with an actor and his agent because the star has arrived on the set of a new picture with a full beard, and with his most recent ex-wife, Kelly, whom he discovers may have a lover. He also notices that his 17-year old daughter, from another marriage, has probably been crying. What's up? Can Ben keep it all together, get the green light from the studio to go to Cannes, move his new picture past the beard crisis, and maybe return to Kelly's good graces?Written by
Vanity Fair named me as one of the 30 most powerful producers in the business. Power is an elusive term, but in Hollywood it's everything, I don't care what they say, you either have it, want it, or you're afraid of losing it. Where you stand at these things, or who you may be standing next to, may not seem like the most important thing, but it *really* matters.
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I can applaud the effort here, it really wants to say something, I'm just not certain that the director had the balls or the producer the guts to give it both barrels! Which I suppose is ironic given the subject matter! (Though I don't think intentional) Robert De Nero plays an ailing producer on the decline in the business, he has two ex wives and stress from egotistical stars and their demands, whether it be high maintenance directors or attention seeking actors.
The core of the problem I have with the film is that the main character is completely unsympathetic.
You'll hate him, he's shallow, selfish, egotistical and devoid of any passion. Whilst this may be the point of the character, and I think it is, it doesn't make for a good film! I went away from the film thinking that they were trying to tell me that Hollywood is full of artists, but that the system breaks them down into nothing more that monkeys who turn out dross films that appeal to the mass market because focus groups tell them too.
Well if the artists are going to produce films like this then maybe there should be some editorial control, away from the hands of the artists because this missed, in my opinion, on just about every level.
The film that this will be compared to most is The Player by Robert Altman, a much better film and I highly recommend, the main difference between these two films however is in The Player everyone is in on the joke, Altman never speaks down to the audience and has fun with the story.
Tim Robbins (in The Player) is just as much of a shallow and hollow character and you'll dislike him as much as De Nero in this but because you are included in the joke, because you can see how distanced from reality he has become, by being a part of the Hollywood system, you can feel sorry for him.
Sadly for De Nero in this I couldn't.
I can't recommend this title to anyone but the dedicated film fan who will see a lot of the in jokes about Hollywood, everyone else should give it a miss.
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Get to know the fractured films of Yorgos Lanthimos, director of Oscar-nominee The Favourite. And join us here for the IMDb LIVE at the Elton John AIDS Foundation Academy Awards Viewing Party, streaming at 7:30 p.m. EST/4:30 p.m. PST on Sunday, Feb. 24.