Posts tagged with “jon hamm”
Come join us for a discussion of the trailers we’ve been privileged to experience over the last month or so. Are they tantalizing nuggets of the hits of tomorrow? Or harbingers of Gnomeo and Juliets to come? We do not know! But we will assume that we do, because it is our way. Have YOU seen a trailer lately? Do tell. In the Comments, please—we can’t hear you from our cubicles.
Sarah: Hello Kimberly! Happy Oscars Eve Eve Week to you! Shall we distract ourselves from the For Your Consideration ads with a little Trailer Trash? I’ll lead off with Rubber, a movie about a killer tire. I, um, well…it’s a movie about a tire that kills people. So. That’s all there really is to say? I think I want to see it?
HOWL (2010/ IN SELECT THEATERS) As I was leaving a crowded showing of Howl in Taos, one woman asked her friend: “Did you ever read this whole poem?” Good question! I certainly had not, but now, thanks to this very creative film, we can all answer yes. James Franco turns in yet another solid performance as a young Allen Ginsberg, the poet laureate of the Beat Generation. The film essentially (and cleverly) divides into three inter-woven parts: there’s Franco as Ginsberg (in B&W) reading the poem to a rapt coffee house audience in San Francisco on October 7, 1955; there’s Ginsberg in 1957 (this time in full color) giving an unseen interviewer the background on how he wrote the poem, while awaiting the results of an obscenity trial focused on the work; and finally there’s the trial itself against Lawrence Ferlinghetti who published Howl as part of his 4th in the Pocket Poets Series from his bookstore and publishing house, City Lights—happily still operating in San Francisco . Ferlinghetti was arrested and charged with publishing “obscenity”—Howl is full of it and also full of explicitly homosexual depictions and drug-induced rantings. It paints the Beat Generation in vivid colors for us and brings famous characters like Jack Kerouac and Neal Cassady to life. The court section of the movie also brings us some sweet, small performances from a wonderful group: Bob Balaban as the judge, Jon Hamm as the defending attorney, David Strathairn as the prosecutor, Mary Louise Parker as the prim “expert” denouncing the work, Jeff Daniels as the scholarly “expert” also denouncing the work in a wonderfully convoluted use of words—based on the actual script from the trial, as I understand it. Also appearing as witnesses are Treat Williams and Alessandro Nivola. The movie sucks you right into the period, with music from Carter Burwell. And the topic of freedom of speech and tolerance in general is certainly a topical one for this post-election U.S. This movie will be hard to catch in theaters, but hopefully will be out soon on DVD. Watch for it!
Grade: A- The minus is for the weird animations chosen by the filmmakers. These have been widely criticized and while they were strange, I didn’t think they damaged the film materially.
BTW: This film was nominated for the Grand Jury Prize at this year’s Sundance
A SINGLE MAN (2009/IN THEATERS) Colin Firth won the Acting Award at the Venice Film Festival in September for his portrayal of the “single man” of the title—George, a 60s gay college professor who has lost his partner of 16 years– in this stunning first feature directed by Tom Ford, famous fashion designer known for his classic and clean lines. Not a film for everyone, A Single Man is Ford’s first film and focuses on one particular day in George’s life. According to numerous reports, Ford put his own money up and wrote the screenplay (with David Scearce) from the novel of the same name by Christopher Isherwood. The film is sleek and beautiful—visually stunning—not unlike a gorgeous fashion ad that has come to life. The cinematography makes use of color to black and white as well as slow motion/ almost still frames giving the film a first person point of view—allowing us to see this day and related incidents through George’s eyes. Jullianne Moore is perfect as George’s boozy buddy. The sets are perfect as well with fabulous attention to detail; no surprise, the same team who create Mad Men’s sets are credited here. In fact, it’s Jon Hamm’s voice on the phone at the opening of the film—delivering some very bad news. This is the kind of film that was definitely buried, no matter its nominations, at yesterday’s Golden Globe celebration of big box office winners. No matter. It’s up for 3 Independent Spirit Awards: Best Male Lead, Best First Feature and Best First Screenplay. Let’s hope something comes its way.
[Ed. note: Since our review was posted, Stolen Lives was renamed Stolen. Smoke and mirrors, people--don't be fooled!]
STOLEN LIVES (2009/SLIFF PRE-RELEASE) St. Louisans curious about local boy turned Mad Man Jon Hamm‘s new feature film turned out in sell-out crowds for both SLIFF screenings of director Anders Anderson‘s debut, Stolen Lives. The good news is that Hamm did his family (some of whom were in attendance) proud by grounding what would otherwise be a pretty but routine basic cable crime melodrama with an intense, raw performance as a present day small town police detective investigating a child murder in 1958 that might be connected to the disappearance of his own son nine years ago.
While Hamm’s intense performance, first-time director Anderson’s deft pacing (he knows how to put a scene together), and the ace camera work of director of photography/producer Andy Steinman, help Stolen Lives open powerfully, cracks in the implausible script show early and often. (Hamm’s detective’s jogging route takes him by the working crime scene where the 1958 victim was recovered AND the prison where the man he believes to be the prime suspect for his own child’s disappearance is serving time? And that very suspect/dude just happens to be sitting in the prison courtyard as he just happens to be jogging by? Huh?) Read more »