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What Just Happened
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Product Details:

Format: Blu-Ray DVD
Sku: 210401189
UPC: 876964001724
UPC 14: 00876964001724
Rating: Game Rating Code
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Admit Nothing.
Two weeks in the life of a fading hollywood producer who's having a rough time trying to get his new picture made.

"A finely observed and occasionally outright hilarious glimpse at the most treacherous inner workings of Tinseltown.  Ann Hornaday, The Washington Post
"De Niro has never been more sneakily inventive.  Michael Sragow, Baltimore Sun
"Makes Hollywood looks like a very expensive, lethal version of high school, but lots of fun from a safe distance.  Mick LaSalle, San Francisco Chronicle
"...it has dryly obscene, laugh-out-loud lines, and its portrait of Hollywood as a giant anxiety attack is fused by De Niro.  Owen Gleiberman, Entertainment Weekly
"...a pitch-perfect sendup of the movie colony..."What Just Happened" raises the tantrum to the level of an art form.  Peter Rainer, Christian Science Monitor

Editor's Note
How have the internal machinations of the film industry changed since Robert Altman expertly dissected them with the biting satire of THE PLAYER (1992)? Not a whole lot, according to this witty picture from Barry Levinson, which has been crafted from Hollywood producer Art Linson's memoir of the same name. WHAT JUST HAPPENED? follows film producer Ben (Robert De Niro) as he deals with precocious directors and stars, tends to the needs of various ex-wives, and makes multi-million-dollar deals from his car. The film mixes fantasy and reality, with Sean Penn and Bruce Willis playing themselves, while a fictional director (played by Michael Wincott) and producer (played by Catherine Keener) feud over the editing of a new feature. Ben finds himself stuck in the middle of their wrangling while also striving to persuade the cantankerous Willis to shave off a newly grown beard, or else face the cancellation of a huge-budget feature.

Levinson's film proficiently highlights the behind-the-scenes absurdities of the film industry. De Niro is perfectly cast as Ben, a sympathetic figure whose personal life has been obliterated by the demands of the job. John Turturro's scene-stealing appearances as a goofy agent are among the many highlights, and prove how remarkably adept he is at playing off-the-wall cameos (see also: THE BIG LEBOWSKI). The film frequently returns to the duplicitous nature of the industry, particularly in Ben's dealings with his scriptwriting friend, Scott (Stanley Tucci), who is simultaneously sleeping with the beleaguered producer's ex-wife and trying to persuade him to find funding for a movie. Levinson skillfully prevents his feature from becoming too downbeat, ultimately turning in a tragicomic dissection of the film industry that leaves little doubt that nice guys finish last and the demands of the industry will always trump those of the artist.

Features
Video Features Widescreen, Dolby Digital (5.1), English, Spanish, Subtitled
Technical Info

Release Information
Video Mfg Name Studio: Magnolia Pict Hm Ent
Video Release Date Release Date: 2/24/2009
Video Play Time Running Time: 104 minutes
Video Release Year Original Release Date: 2008
Video CategoryId Catalog ID: 10172
Video UPC UPC: 00876964001724
Video Number of Discs Number of Discs: 1

Audio & Video
Video Original Language Original Language: English
Video Audio Spec Available Audio Tracks: English
Video Color Spec Video: Color

Aspect Ratio
Video Aspect Ratio Widescreen  
Cast & Crew
Video Cast Info Robin Wright
Video Cast Info John Turturro
Video Cast Info Robert De Niro
Video Cast Info Bruce Willis
Video Cast Info Michael Wincott
Video Cast Info Sean Penn
Video Cast Info Stanley Tucci
Video Cast Info Kristen Stewart
Video Cast Info Catherine Keener
Video Cast Info Marcelo Zarvos - Composer
Video Cast Info Art Linson - Producer
Video Cast Info Mark Cuban - Executive Producer
Video Cast Info Stephane Fontaine - Director of Photography
Video Cast Info Art Linson - Screenwriter
Video Cast Info Jane Rosenthal - Producer
Video Cast Info Todd Wagner - Executive Producer
Video Cast Info Eric Kopeloff - Executive Producer
Video Cast Info Barry Levinson - Producer
Video Cast Info Robert De Niro - Producer
Video Cast Info Barry Levinson - Director

Professional Reviews

Film Comment
"Robert De Niro gives his most natural, non-self-parodying performance in a decade as the Linson figure Ben, striking a fine balance of cosmopolitan bemusement, low-intensity terror, and almost-controlled, repeatedly displaced jealousy." 09/01/2008 p.69

Total Film
3 stars out of 5 -- "Its universe is a cracked mirror of Hollywood....Robert De Niro is ideally suited to playing his harassed alter-ego Ben..." 11/01/2008 p.56

Entertainment Weekly
"[The film] has dryly obscene, laugh-out-loud lines, and its portrait of Hollywood as a giant anxiety attack is fused by De Niro, who musters a desperate, nagging warmth beneath his grumbly facade." -- Grade: B 10/24/2008 p.53

USA Today
"The performances are good (some scarily realistic), and the movie is enjoyable....W. is absorbing and amusing to ruminate over." 10/17/2008

Sight and Sound
"De Niro's effortless, engaging performance -- striding around trying to please everyone...ensures that Levinson's film is a more affectionate kick in Tinseltown's ribs." 11/01/2008 p.77

Rolling Stone
"Willis is a hoot as a nightmare version of himself. There are funny scenes, nicely directed by Barry Levinson." 11/30/2008 p.136

Premiere
"If you're into the behind-the-scenes working of Hollywood, then you'll enjoy it; It's really keyed into the insecurity and tenuous nature of showbiz; De Niro is solid as usual..." 02/23/2009

Entertainment Weekly
"[De Niro] shines as a frazzled producer who two exes and a pair of celluloid nightmares....The message is: Everyone in Hollywood lies...mostly to themselves." 02/27/2009

ReelViews 7 of 10
Barry Levinson's Wag the Dog was as pointed, funny, and intelligent a political satire as there has been in the last 15 years. Now, with Robert De Niro once again on board, Levinson has turned his camera toward his own backyard. What Just Happened?, based on the nonfiction memoirs of producer Art Linson, is a satirical jab to Hollywood's solar plexus that proves the argument that sometimes the most absurd things in life are the true ones. While this movie is fiction, there's so much fact in it that it's more real than many of today's so-called "documentaries." The problem is that the movie plays like one long in-joke. Who really cares about all this stuff? Hollywood types. They'll gobble this up while the rest of us yawn. If someone made a movie about your place of work, you'd probably be engrossed but anyone without a close association would likely be unimpressed. So it is with What Just Happened? This isn't a bad movie; it simply makes the mistake of believing that it has a wider appeal than is actually the case...Since I'm a film critic, it may be that the behind-the-scenes machinations of Hollywood are of more interest to me than they may be to the average viewer. Even taking that into account, I was no more than variably diverted by What Just Happened? Despite being satirical in nature, the movie is rarely funny. In fact, there's something a little sad about seeing how seriously Hollywood types take themselves. If The Player set the bar high for this sub-genre, Levinson's attempt, which too often falls prey to self-indulgence and tedium, comes up significantly short. Those who work in the movie industry or live in Los Angeles may be close enough to this material for it to have resonance, but the rest of the world is more likely to be bored than entertained. - James Berardinelli

Chicago Sun-Times 6 of 10
Julia Phillips' famous autobiography was titled, You' ll Never Eat Lunch in This Town Again. Barry Levinson and Art Linson will. At this point, if you're going to make a film about Hollywood greed, hypocrisy and lust, you have to be willing to burn your bridges. There's not a whole lot in "What Just Happened?" that would be out of place in a good "SNL" skit...Linson is an A-list producer ("Fight Club," "Into the Wild") who wrote this screenplay based on his memoir, subtitled Bitter Hollywood Tales From the Front Line. He knows where the bodies are buried and who buried them, but he doesn't dig anybody up or turn anybody in. If you want to see a movie that Rips the Lid Off Tinseltown, just go ahead and watch Robert Altman's "The Player" (1992). Altman took no hostages. He didn't give a damn. And the book and screenplay he started with were by Michael Tolkin, who was closer to the front line and a lot more bitter. He didn't give a damn, either...This isn't a Hollywood satire, it's a sitcom. The flywheels of the plot machine keep it churning around, but it chugs off onto the back lot and doesn't hit anybody in management. Only Penn and Willis are really funny, poking fun not at themselves but at stars they no doubt hate to work with. Wincott is great as the Brit director who wants to end with the dead dog; one wonders if Linson was inspired by Lee Tamahori, the fiery New Zealand-born director of "The Edge," who stepped on the astonishing implications of Mamet's brilliant last scene by fading to black and immediately popping up a big credit for Bart the Bear. - Roger Ebert

Product Attributes
Product attributeVideo Format:   DVD
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