There's an inherent problem with fictionalizing a true story: The audience doesn't know what's true and what isn't. In the case of SEAL Team Six: The Raid on Osama Bin Laden , how much you believe to be true might well depend on your political leanings. Fans of President Obama will see the film as a chronicle of his finest hour; others will see it as barely disguised propaganda meant to shore up the president's waning appeal.
Our take? We don't really care which it is; we just wish it was a better film.
The controversy over SEAL Team Six began when producer Harvey Weinstein gave director John Stockwell an infusion of cash reportedly to boost Obama's onscreen presence. Stock images of the president and voice-overs taken from his previous television interviews were all supposedly added to the film. Then the timing of the air date on the National Geographic Channel was changed to coincide with the presidential election. Filmmakers denied they were trying to make the president look good, saying they just wanted as much attention for the film as possible. Guess what, we still don't care. We just wish it was a better film.
Stockwell, who directed Into the Blue, mixes re-enactments, documentary footage and supposition about the events during the fateful raid, shakes them all together and gives viewers an extremely uneven war film. It could have been one of the most exciting, thrilling stories ever to hit the screen. Obama vs Osama, a group of brave SEALS out to dispense justice. And while the SEALS all come across as honorable men worthy of our admiration, the framing is so clumsy, in the end, even the heroes fail to really move us. Extras on the Blu-ray release include a special Making of SEAL Team Six: the raid on Osama Bin Laden.
Also out today is Enlightened, the HBO series starring Laura Dern, who shares created-by credit with Mike White. We like Dern and we especially like her in Enlightened. Dern plays Amy Jellicoe, a business exec who does a stint in a holistic rehab center after having a breakdown. Back at work armed with a new attitude and a new dedication to "inner healing," Jellicoe is still a mess. She moves in with her mother (played by Diane Ladd, Dern's real-life mom), attempts some sort of reconnection with her ex-husband (Luke Wilson) and takes a low-level job at the company where she was once an exec. "I'm different," she keeps telling people, but even she doesn't quite believe it. The people around her know all too well that "different" could very well be another way to say "worse." Dern is wonderful as the manic, much put-upon Jellicoe. Especially delightful are her scenes with Ladd. The second season of Enlightened starts this month on HBO. Extras on the DVD release are limited to audio commentaries and behind-the-scenes featurettes.
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It would be easy to think that comedian George Lopez's latest HBO special, It's Not Me, It's You, is a jab at his now ex-wife. It is and it isn't. True, Lopez and his wife of 17 years got a divorce in 2011 amid rumors of his infidelity and use of escorts. And yes, there may have been some acrimony behind closed doors, but the couple managed to keep most of it out of the spotlight. There was a bit of a backlash by fans for perceived ill treatment of his wife -- especially since she donated a kidney to him in 2005 and saved his life -- but in show business years, 2011 was eons ago. All anybody cares about now is the jokes. And philanderer or not, Lopez is funny.
The HBO special was filmed live in Los Angeles and Lopez definitely enjoys home-court advantage. He riffs on marriage: "If you want a dude that don't drink, make it easy on yourself and date a dude that don't drink...That way, you're not at the wedding counting his drinks...(imitating bride) 'I don't like you when you're drunk!' (imitating a drunk groom) 'Well, sabes que? I don't like you when I'm sober.'" He outs Latinas who try to pass for white: "You know you dye your hair, don't make me turn the lights on...Leave your hair the natural color. No one will ever [believe] you being blond, please. You got blond hair [on your head] and black fucking underarm hair."
Extras on the DVD release are minimal, just a behind-the-scenes featurette.