“I’d like to believe that the people that have supported me in my work or identified with me in films, the people that feel they know me, they do and they don’t have misconceptions – they understand. I believe that.”
Looking at Angelina Jolie it’s easy to forget that she is an Academy Award winning actress. I’m sure that’s not the first thought on people’s minds. It’s the package the talent comes in that usually makes the news and tabloid headlines. She has been voted time and again by various publications as either “The Most Beautiful Woman Of The Year,” or “The Most Beautiful Woman Alive.” There is proof she’s not just a pretty face.
Angelina Jolie has much to celebrate these days. She turned 31 in June, her film, “MR. AND MRS. SMITH,” co-starring media darling, demi-God and boyfriend, Brad Pitt, opened at #1, making $50.1 Million dollars in its opening weekend, a first for both superstars. It far surpassed the $100 million dollar mark, adding even more revenue with its releases on DVD (rated and unrated versions.) Not to mention it’s actually a good movie. It does live up to that hype. Angie is still heavily involved with the United Nations Commission for Refugees and is its Goodwill Ambassador.
She continued to travel the world meeting with dignitaries and Washington, D.C. heavyweights this past year while pregnant with her first child with Pitt. It’s hard to imagine when she was a child she wasn’t necessarily interested in the movie business. Born in Los Angeles, her father is Oscar winning actor Jon Voight, her mother Marcheline Bertrand. Her mother was an acting student under Lee Strasberg. Angie later trained and performed at the Lee Strasberg Theater Institute. At the age of 14, she began her professional modeling career.
That led her into the world of music videos. She appeared with Meat Loaf in his video for “Rock And Roll Dreams Come Through,” from his smash CD “Bat Out Of Hell 2: Back Into Hell.” She has also appeared in other music videos with Lenny Kravitz, Antonello Venditti and The Lemonheads. Her first credited ‘starring role’ came in the B-Movie sci-fi film “CYBORG 2,” in 1993. Angie only appeared in one film with her father, the original “LARA CROFT: TOMB RAIDER.” They had a falling out after the films release. Jolie has said in retrospect, it was their “hello and goodbye,” and mirrored the essence of their real life relationship.
Now , with that chapter behind her, 2 adopted children, Maddox (5 years old), Zaharah (19 months) and biological child, Shiloh (3 months – with Pitt) her movie career seems to be moving full steam ahead, on DVD anyway. She took a bit of a sabbatical from her film career for family life. She is scheduled to report back to work in the next few months on a variety of films: She is currently in talks to star with Pitt in “Atlas Shrugged,” and rumored to be joining the cast of “Sin City 2.”
The definite ‘go,’ projects are “The Good Shepard,” with Matt Damon and Robert DeNiro (filming ended last year – it will be released this winter), “A Mighty Heart,” (2007 release) and 2 animated features “Kung Fu Panda,” (2008 release) and “Beowulf,” (2007 release). And there are rumblings of a new Lara Croft chapter in the distance. The following are 3 DVD’s I’ve decided to highlight for different reasons The following are 3 DVD’s I’ve decided to highlight for different reasons, mainly because 2 out of the 3 are award winners. I’m trying to give you all a bit of variety, Angelina Jolie style.
Warner Brothers released Oliver Stone’s “ALEXANDER,” on DVD in August of last year. It was indeed a stellar cast of Hollywood’s elite acting talent. Colin Farrell, Sir Anthony Hopkins, Val Kilmer and Jolie. How could “ALEXANDER,” miss? It’s filming budget past the $120 Million dollar mark. It fared far less better at the box office, not even taking back a quarter of the cost. “ALEXANDER,” was an amazing movie to watch.
The battle scenes alone were in true Stone style. He not only directed the film but also wrote the script. Controversy surrounded the film from the onslaught. Not only was the casting of Farrell under fire, but the script itself was bombarded by historians and novices alike questioning the authenticity of the story.
The movie traces the short life of the Macedonian conqueror, Alexander The Great. Son of King Philip (played by Kilmer) he ascended the thrown at the age of 20 after his father’s murder. Jolie played his mother Olympias (one of the arguments was Jolie and Farrell are only a year apart in age). Nevertheless, it didn’t seem to matter once the movie started and the house lights went down. Hopkins mostly narrates the film as an older and wiser Plotemy, Alexander’s childhood friend. By the time of his death at the age of 32, Alexander had conquered 90% of the world, ruling over parts of three continents and several countries.
The problem most historians debated with Stone was the fact that Alexander was a known bi-sexual and that was to be portrayed in the film. Which by some accounts, can prove to be box office poison. The portrayal was not demeaning and took nothing away from the story which for me was more centered around the relationship between mother and son and the lengths his mother would go to protect and smother him. Check out the DVD for yourself and decide. “ALEXANDER,” for all its glory, was a fine film made by a master craftsman.
It was for this film that Angelina won the Academy Award for Best Actress. Portraying Lisa, a sociopath, who likes nothing more than to drive the staff crazy at Claymoore, a private mental hospital. Here is where she meets and befriends Susanna, played by Winona Ryder, who has problems of her own. She has been suffering from delusions, and made an attempt of suicide combining a bottle of aspirin and vodka. The cast of characters make up a wonderful on screen ensemble. Lisa, of course has the biggest influence over the other girls and is certainly good at pushing people’s buttons.
She has a history of escapes and seems to have uncanny access to everything in the place. Georgina, the pathological liar; Daisy is a victim of sexual abuse; Polly is the badly disfigured burn victim; Daisy won’t eat in front of people; but it is Susanna who falls under Lisa’s hypnotic spell and at times shows signs of ‘acting out’ like Lisa. Nurse Valerie (brilliantly played with humor by Whoopi Goldberg) obviously has her hands full, but never gives up on any of them. The film is a gem in Jolie’s repertoire and rightfully so.
If you know someone who has any doubts about Jolie’s chops as an actor, I recommend “GIA.” It is an incredible film. Angie won a Golden Globe for the title role. It is the story of real life fashion model Gia Marie Carangi. The movie follows her humble beginnings working for her father in his diner at the age of 17 and explores quite effectively her relationship with her mother, played by Mercedes Ruehl, to her stratosphere rise as one of the top fashion models of the 1980’s.
Faye Dunaway plays her manager/agent. Gia was a woman who loved women and turned her idealic life upside down with drug abuse and a heroine addiction. She was one of the first women in America whose death was attributed to AIDS.
She died at the age of 26 in 1986. Jolie’s portrayal is smooth as glass, yet you feel the edginess of Gia’s struggle. The struggle to love and be loved, the struggle to live, the struggle to die, and finally the struggle to make sense of it all. This is definitely not a ‘feel good movie,’ but it is amazing to watch. There are those roles and actors that fit like a glove. Perhaps for Jolie, “GIA,” was a bit too close to home. After the movie, Jolie stopped acting and moved to New York to work on her own life and priorities. There is a rated and unrated version of the film on DVD.
“Therapy? I don’t need that. The roles that I choose are my therapy.”
SKY CAPTAIN AND THE WORLD OF TOMORROW
LARA CROFT TOMB RAIDER: THE CRADLE OF LIFE
LIFE OR SOMETHING LIKE IT
LARA CROFT: TOMB RAIDER
GONE IN SIXTY SECONDS
THE BONE COLLECTOR
PLAYING BY HEART
LOVE IS ALL THERE IS