Brangelina Twins May Be Coming Soon | Che Guevara's 4-Hour Revolution
Brangelina Twins May Be Coming Soon
Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt's twin girls may be coming sooner rather than later.
Jolie recently issued a press release stating her due date as August 19. But sources tell me that she was already pregnant during the last days of filming Clint Eastwood's "Changeling."
Indeed, during some of the movie her face appears almost gaunt. But in other scenes you can see that she's gained a little weight, and there's a fullness that didn't exist before.
In one scene toward the end of the movie, Jolie's character walks hurriedly through a town square holding a large book over her belly. It's not the way you'd carry a book unless you were self-conscious.
Do the math: the first news that she was pregnant came on January 11, just two weeks after principal photography was completed on "Changeling." On February 23, Jolie appeared at the Independent Spirit Awards and showed off a large bump indicating that she was at least four months pregnant.
Her appearances in the last week at the Cannes Film Festival showed her large with children. And I mean, very large. She and her brood have taken up residence nearby in Paul Allen's villa. Jolie, sources tell me, has engaged an ob/gyn in Grasse, an adjacent village. Just from her appearance, it's probably unlikely she can fly anywhere now.
Jolie's mother was French, which adds to the theory that she's here in the south of France now until her bundles of joy arrive — and that could be any time in the next month. By then, the paparazzi at least will be mostly gone, off to St. Tropez and other locales once the film festival has concluded on Sunday.
Meanwhile, with the film "Che" seen as out of the running, Jolie's "Changeling" looks like a lock for the Palme D'or on Sunday as Best Film. And Jolie should have no problem receiving the acting honor for Best Actress. If only she could give birth during the closing ceremony! Then it would all be perfect.
Che Guevara’s 4-Hour Revolution
How much Che Guevara can anyone take? Director Steven Soderbergh — who’s made a lot of great movies and some awful ones over two decades — obviously thought more was more. Wednesday night he debuted his four-and-a-half-hour two-film epic called, maybe, "Che" and "The Argentine."
There’s no other way to put this, but Soderbergh delivered to the 61st annual Cannes Film Festival an incredibly ambitious, highly detailed mess of a film or two that might be saved if it’s re-thought. We haven’t seen so much genius and tedium in one place since "Heaven’s Gate."
The problem is basically that Soderbergh made the second film first, a retelling of Guevara’s failed attempt to overthrow Bolivia in 1966. He was sent there and funded by Fidel Castro, who thought Che would spread communism to South America. Soderbergh and his producers spent $30 million making that film, which is possibly titled "The Argentine."
This is when good sense should have prevailed. Enough was enough. But not in Hollywood. So they made another $30 million movie, a kind of documentary with the same actors including Benicio Del Toro continuing as Che. This movie told the story of the Cuban revolutionary starting with his arrival from Argentina through a visit in December 1964 to America as a folk hero.
Considering there are two movies here covering four-and-a-half hours, you’d think that Che’s life in Cuba after Castro took power would have been explored more, but that part has been skipped.
The first film, perhaps called "Che" (no one seems to know), spends most of its Cuban time in the woods where Che recruited revolutionary soldiers. If Havana circa 1959 had great music or culture, it’s not here. Too bad, since a really cool group of Cuban dancers and musicians entertained us on the red carpet at Cannes Wednesday night prior to and after the screening.
"Che" — the two films — was filmed almost entirely outdoors in Puerto Rico, Bolivia and Spain. There are barely any interiors. As one wag near me said, "It’s like one ugly cookout."
Soderbergh used all natural light, too. There are virtually no close-ups. This all means that faces are largely obscured or shrouded in darkness. The actors get no individual time, and they are largely indistinguishable from each other, since they all wear drab green-gray and grew big beards for the occasion. If Castro didn’t hold a stogie between his fingers, you wouldn’t be sure it was him.
In addition to the production problem, the script doesn’t do anyone any favors. Che, himself, is so poorly drawn it’s unclear what exactly makes him so charismatic. He has no storyline; he just "is," take it or leave it. He marries, has children, leaves them to live like a scavenger in the woods and attempts to overthrow countries.
Whatever impact this had on his life, loves, relationships — none of it is explored. Del Toro fights to make Che memorable against enormous odds. (But when he loses quite a bit of weight, he resembles Brad Pitt. Weird.)
That’s not all: In all those hours, no subplots develop among the other characters. Not one of them is particularly drawn out or filled in. At many points in the action — many shootouts, skirmishes, etc. — you can’t figure out who’s who, whom they’re fighting or why they’re against each other. No sympathies are built for any of the characters. It’s literally a film in which there is no one to root for. At this enormous length, that’s not good.
"Che" does carry what seems to be a heavy anti-communism theme, although I’m not sure why. The romance of communism, no matter how misguided, is what attracted people to it. We never know what the magnet was that brought Che so many followers.
There’s also no context for him now: When Guevara was killed by the CIA in 1967, he became an instant rock star to the counter-culture and anti-war movement in the U.S. The timing of his death and rise to popularity was superb. But again, there’s no mention of what’s made him endure on T-shirts, tattoos and memorabilia.
Except for Del Toro, who manages to make "Che" incredibly watchable, there are only two other name actors in this marathon. Lou Diamond Phillips makes an effective turn in an extended cameo as a communist party leader. Matt Damon is in one scene looking like he walked out of "The Good Shepherd" to say hello. Rodrigo Santoro is squandered as Castro’s brother.
So what to do? As it stands now, "Che" would be best delivered to audiences as a mini-series on either HBO or Showtime. If the producers, whom I like and respect, want to forge ahead with a theatrical release, I think the solution is a one-film, two-and-a-half-hour cut, rethought to highlight Guevara’s story arc. This two-film version — the director’s cut — would best be found in a DVD set.
Don’t count out "Che" as any kind of unreleasable disaster. It just needs some rethinking. Soderbergh and company were very courageous to show a work in progress in front of such demanding audiences. With the right work, a really terrific film could be — and will be — wrought from this material.