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 suspect that the Avengers exists as a comic book series because, despite their dominant position in that arena and broad portfolio of characters, only one, Spider-Man, really counts as an A-List superhero to the world beyond the fringes of comic book fandom. The rest of the major league franchises, Batman and Superman, belong to DC Comics.
Recent movies have changed that pecking order, but let’s face it: No one really gave a rat’s ass about Iron Man until Robert Downey, Jr. strapped on the suit and when most people hear “Incredible Hulk,” they think Bill Bixby and Lou Ferrigno before they think of Eric Bana, Edward Norton, or Mark Ruffalo.
Take several parts Logan’s Run, add a few teaspoons of THX-1138 and shake it all together with a atypically restrained helping of Michael Bay, and you come up with The Island. This is a not-altogether original science fiction action movie that manages not to egregiously insult the intelligence of its audience. In other words, it’s not Armageddon, which is the minimum that I ask from a movie.
Sophia Coppola’s Lost in Translation has been a frustrating little movie for those of us who have championed it. I saw this movie in the theater when it first came out and loved it. I recommended it to friends and family members, most of whom saw it on video. Their response was almost unanimous: it sucked, nothing happened, the two main characters were a couple of passive lumps who never did anything. First I checked the obvious alternatives. Either my friends and family had all seen the wrong movie or they had been replaced by alien pod people. How could such intelligent, rational people take such a passionate dislike to this little gem of a movie.