The best way to look at this movie is not as the story of Alfred Hitchcock making Psycho. This movie is about what it was like to be married to Alfred Hitchcock while he was making Psycho. While Helen Mirren receives second billing behind Anthony Hopkins, she is very much in the foreground as Alma, the woman behind the Master of Suspense through much of his career, and it is her performance that carries this movie.
I don’t know exactly where Thor rates on the pecking order of Marvel characters, but judging from the press coverage, few if any of the cast had heard of the comic book version of the Norse thunder god before they started working on this film. I suspect that, ten years ago, if you had told even the most ardent Thor-head that a movie version would star two Oscar-winning actors and would be the work of a director known for his Shakespearean films, that person would have backed away slowly and warily.
Fortunately, the top-notch talent in front of and behind the camera elevates the material well past what it rated in terms of cultural penetration before the film was announced. Kenneth Branagh may be slumming but he is not doing it grudgingly, not just cashing a check. Continue reading
The high-tech motion capture technique that director Robert Zemeckis uses here has improved considerably since 2004’s The Polar Express, but not enough to recommend that he use it again. True, the creepy thousand-yard stares have been cut down to about a hundred-and-seventy-five yards, but when it comes to inserting lifelike characters into fantastical environments, there is more effective technique called using actors, that worked much better in little film called 300.
In this movie, Anthony Hopkins does not rehash his portrayal of Hannibal Lecter in Silence of the Lambs, but you could be forgiven for thinking that he does based on the marketing campaign for this entertaining if illogical courtroom thriller.
Don’t get me wrong, this movie features some smartly written scenes and some genuinely clever plot twists, but the success of the villain’s scheme depends on some truly mind boggling coincidences. Vegas hookers have been forced to swallow far less during your average spring break.
Patton will lead the assault. I would prefer Montgomery, but even Eisenhower isn’t that stupid.
This movie serves as both an unofficial sequel and thematic bookend to The Longest Day. It has an undeserved reputation for being overlong, ponderous and dull. It’s none of those things but I can understand how it could appear that way to people expecting a more conventional war movie.
A Bridge Too Far details, at great length and in exacting detail, the Allied debacle known as Operation Market Garden, an over-ambitious plan by General Sir Bernard Law Montgomery to end World War II by Christmas, 1944, by kicking down the undefended back door of Germany. The main problem with the battle plan was that it depended entirely on Murphy’s Law being repealed. Continue reading
Perhaps a better title for this movie would The Martyrdom of Saint Robert. This movie spends most of its two hours genuflecting before the memory of JFK’s little brother. While it’s not hard to believe that Bobby Kennedy was the most interesting person at the Ambassador Hotel on the night of the California primary, this movie would have you believe that the Senator was the only interesting person present that night.
John Madden’s adaptation of David Auburn’s stage play examines the situation of a young woman (Gwyneth Paltrow) living under two long shadows cast by her recently deceased father (Anthony Hopkins). Robert, the father, was a unparalleled math genius and Catherine, the daughter seems paralyzed by the pressure to follow in his footsteps. Robert was also crippled by severe schizophrenia that virtually ended his teaching career and Catherine fears the genetic legacy of her father’s mental illness.
Silence of the Lambs was a rule breaker from the start. Contrary to convention, its primary relationship is between its diminutive female heroine and an urbane serial killer. It cleaned up at the Academy Awards despite being essentially a highbrow horror film that was released in mid-February, approximately eight months before the start of “Oscar season.” Moreover, Anthony Hopkins won Best Actor despite being on screen for about 16 minutes.