Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Philippe Diaz's NOW & LATER: hot stuff that wears heart/social conscience on its sleeve

Making its Blu-ray debut just yesterday, NOW & LATER -- a little 2009 movie from filmmaker Philippe Diaz (shown below), who earlier gave us the documentary The End of Poverty -- is quite a different kettle of fish. Full of hardcore sex scenes (five of 'em, plus one more -- maybe the hardest -- as part of the DVD Extras), the movie also tells an interesting story of a predatory Los Angeles-based banker named Bill, now disgraced and on-the-run after jumping bail, who finds an "outlet," not to mention a liberal/socialist education in the arms (and an orifice or three) of a very unusual young woman.

Played by Shari Solanis (below, bare-breasted), Angela is one ministering angel, all right. She takes in our poor hero -- who has nowhere to go, having been kicked out by wife and family -- and proceeds to "nurture" him like nobody's business, teaching him a quickie version of The People's History of the United States (and for that matter, the world), putting him in touch with his feelings (and her body) and in general turning the guy into a liberal, left-wing prince. Now, I have nothing against liberal, left-wing princes. In fact, I wish there were many more of them. But I'd like to be able to believe that what I'm seeing is real. And it's here that Mr Diaz's movie fumbles badly.

As good a little actress as Ms Solanis proves herself, and as hunky and hard as her co-star James Worthham (above, pointing) proves himself (both are making their screen debut), and as believable as their "Honey, let me educate you" dialog sometimes is, there is just too much of it, finally, to be at all credible. For all its hot, hardcore sex, the movie is patently an exercise in consciousness-raising.

But it's an exercise that stretches its vaginal and penile muscles as often as its gray matter, and this actually makes the experience pretty damned enjoyable. It is indeed liberating to see love scenes in which the guy is full frontal, as well as the gal, and in which he's erect, to boot. In addition to the missionary positions, we get some voyeurism, masturbation, and finally a threesome (below) with another guy, a former-and-still-burning flame of Angela. It seems that our big-dicked banker is getting quite an education from his little angel.

The movie's title takes on more meaning than you might initially imagine, with the characters co-opting "Now" and "Later" as monikers, though the screenplay finally beats this notion to near-death. And even though events would seem to necessitate it (after all, Bill must get out of the country fast), too much change is packed into too little time for any of it -- except the sex -- to register as entirely credible.

Still, it is an encouraging thing to see a filmmaker attempt to combine a strong political statement with decent story/dialog and some good-to-acceptable acting (Mr. Wortham is more believable as the newly-changed "leftie" than as a bad-boy banker) with sex scenes that are portrayed realistically and yet, for all their hardcore status, do not seem pornographic. I hope we'll see more of this sort of thing, as well as seeing these two leading actors again. (I notice on the IMDB that neither of them seems to have anything pending.) It would be a shame if their appearance here were to in any way stunt their careers.

Now & Later, 99 minutes, is available now on Blu-ray and DVD from Cinema Libre Studio -- for sale or rental. The Blu-ray transfer, by the way, is quite nicely done -- with the two "extra" scenes adding some oomph to the proceedings. One of them is extremely hot, as noted earlier; the other is all dialog, and both would have made, for my money, fine additions to the film. But they also would have pushed the running time to nearly two hours, which may have been thought to be too lengthy for this sort of movie.


Anonymous said...

Any idea how to access the extras. I can't figure it out.

James van Maanen, said...

If you "streamed" the movie, then there ARE no extras, so far as I know. You have to be watching the actual DVD or Blu-ray to be able to have access to any extra stuff. (And maybe it is only on the Blu-ray that the deleted scenes are available.) I saw NOW AND LATER on Blu-ray, and I guess I lucked out. I just clicked on EXTRAS and then on each of the two scenes.

If you do actually have the DVD or Blu-ray and you can't get the extras, then contact whomever provided you the disc and tell them that it doesn't work correctly. (That one hot scene is simply too good to miss!)