Tom Hanks is giving way better performances recently (Captain Phillips, Bridge of Spies) than the ones he used to win Oscars for.
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Tom Hanks is giving way better performances recently (Captain Phillips, Bridge of Spies) than the ones he used to win Oscars for.
Manuel reporting from the New York Film Festival on Steven Spielberg's latest Cold War film.
Bridge of Spies opens with a man working on a self-portrait. There’s a weariness to his features that he’s ably translating from his mirrored reflection onto his canvas. There’s a purpose to every brush stroke he takes. He works methodically. Silently.
Spielberg, long admired for large-scale adventures and expertly crafted action sequences, seems to have entered a quieter phase of his career. While War Horse seemed to play to his strengths, while trying John Ford on for size, the talky Lincoln showed that the director could create a kinetic urgency even in what was, for the most part, a chamber piece about laws and votes. Bridge of Spies pushes further still in this direction. Yes, we’re dealing with spies, and fallen aircrafts, government agents and tense phone calls, but at its heart, this is yet another installment of the Cold War-as-bureaucracy genre. [More...]
Kieran, here. Ellar Coltrane, the boy at the center of Richard Linklater's much heralded Boyhood has landed his next role, a supporting part in The Circle, an adaptation of Dave Eggers' novel about privacy paranoia in the age of social media. Tom Hanks is already attached to star in the thriller, which will be directed by James Ponsoldt (The Spectacular Now). Coltrane will reportedly play Emma Watson's boyfriend who wants to go off the grid, out of the grasp of the eponymous Circle (which is not, repeat NOT Google). That's kind of funny, considering Mason's somewhat self-conscious, adolescent arrogance screed against social media and smart phones in Boyhood.
The Spectacular Now suggested that Ponsoldt has a gift for pulling great performances from young actors, stretching our imaginations as to what they're capable of. Can he do that again for Ellar Coltrane?
Let me just say that I was an enthusiastic fan of Boyhood and I quite liked Coltrane in it. Er...maybe that's an entirely honest appraisal of my feelings about Coltrane's performance. I thought the movie acquitted itself well while working around a performance with very clear peaks and valleys. Coltrane's doe-eyed befuddlement works really well in certain key moments of the film, as when he witnesses the domestic abuse inflicted on his mother. That same blankness (and the role of Mason does require him to be somewhat blank) tends to fail him in moments when he's expected to communicate a clear persepctive, like the aforementioned scene where he's railing against Facebook. I didn't leave Boyhood with a clear idea of his acting chops in either direction. Boyhood was such a specialized project in conception and execution that it's hard to extrapolate how someone might perform beyond that. (Especially with very little frame of reference. Other than a very brief appearance in Fast Food Nation, Coltrane hasn't appeared in anything else.)
Are you curious to see what we get from Coltrane going forward?
From Quinn Cummings (The Goodbye Girl) and Justin Henry (Kramer vs. Kramer) to more recent examples of Haley Joel Osment (The Sixth Sense) and Dev Patel (Slumdog Millionaire) it's rare that young actors who have their debuts or breakthroughs in heralded projects go on to have careers that match that initial acclaim. One can certainly debate the merits of each (and my opinion ranges from very warm to very cold), but these famous examples all demonstrate that it can be very hard to crawl out from under the weight of a culturally resonant breakthrough performance.
Manuel here. I had to check but it strikes me that for a film that ranked #8 in TFE’s collective “We Can’t Wait!” list, we haven’t really discussed the upcoming Tom Hanks/Steven Spielberg film, Bridge of Spies. I saw this poster displayed at my local multiplex and well, I had to share some of my thoughts on it.
• Floating head? Noooooo!
• It is a bit of an improvement over that floating head/flag one from a few months back.
• Hanks does give good furrowed brow.
• Red and black and white makes for a clean design and the typography clearly alludes to the film’s Cold War themes but this poster really isn’t helping you figure out the plot other than reminding you that Hanks is (yet again) playing an “honest man." To be fair, from the trailer, it looks like a hard one to boil down to a simple plot synopsis.
• Why isn’t Spielberg’s name more prominently displayed? Even those Daniel Day-Lewis-heavy posters for Lincoln had the “A Steven Spielberg” line a tad more visible.
• No “Academy Award Winner”? (but then Hanks has never been one to brag)
• At least the bottom of the film aims to remind you of that other Hanks/Spielberg’s collaboration, Catch Me If You Can, and its amazing opening titles. Still one of the best Spielbergs and just think of its young actressy roster: Amy Adams, Ellen Pompeo, Jennifer Garner, Elizabeth Banks, even a blink-and-you’ll-miss-her Amy Acker!
• That bottom half is also slightly Hitchcockian (and by that, I mean it’s a Saul Bassian riff on North by Northwest, no?)
• It’s also giving off The International vibes.
• Are the red I's… bridges? I’m baffled by that design choice but maybe that’s why I’m not in movie poster designing business since I’d have squeezed in Amy Ryan into this poster and somehow made sure to remind you that Mark Rylance and Billy Magnussen are also in it.
Does this poster boost or dim your excitement?
The Playlist Stop the presses! Nicole Kidman is working with Jane Campion again, probably on her adaptation of The Flame Throwers
Variety interviews Jurassic World's mini-star Ty Simpkins who has quite a resume for a 13 year-old
Kenneth in the (212) Fred MacMurray was once quite a hunk. How did this escape me?
MNPP Finn Wittrock joins the cast of AHS: Hotel. So after years of supplying only major diva thrills (not complaining), Ryan Murphy is finally supplying massive hunkiness... all of the dark haired pale skin variety: Cheyenne, Finn, Bomer
MNPP reminds us that Starz is greenlighting potentially great stuff to series: Evil Dead and Neil Gaiman's American Gods (have you read that book? So good.)
THR interview with editor on Inside Out
Birth. Movies. Death. on the strangely cruel deaths of Jurassic World
Playbill composer Andrew Lippa (I saw his oratorio "I Am Harvey Milk" last fall and it was magnificent) is writing a song for Kristin Chenoweth's Maleficent for that Disney series Descendants
LA Times looks at the Emmy races for Best Comedy - can Modern Family finally be dethroned?
Empire In news that won't surprise anyone anywhere Clint Eastwood and Tom Hanks are joining forces for a heroic Oscarbait biopic Captain Sully
Lots o' Fun
Den of Geek "Cats are not Capable of Understanding Rambo: First Blood Part II"
Jezebel "Damn, Meryl Streep is Great at Turning Off the Lights"
Pajiba Annie Golden, mute Norma on Orange is the New Black, used to be a 70s punk rocker
Hero of the Month!
I have to bow down to my friend Tim Brayton (of Tim's Toons right here) whose site Antagony & Ecstasy has always been one of the very best strictly-movie-reviews sites around. As previously noted Tim, who is a cancer survivor, held a fundraiser for the American Cancer Society -- anyone who donated to them via his fundraiser got a review of their choice -- and he raised nearly $5,000 this year! He's not done with all the reviews yet so I don't know what some TFE readers who donated chose but I can see your names in the list. My requested review was this one for Love With the Proper Stranger (1963) starring Natalie Wood. But he reviews whatever is requested so there's lots of variety: The Iron Giant, Evita, Ball of Fire, Meet the Feebles, Grosse Pointe Blank, you name it.
Bitch I'm Madonna
Here is the Queen's newest video with a slew of guest stars*, yes, but the most exciting thing is unquestionably Madonna herself, still flipping off the the ageist and haters -- "we go hard or we go home" and Madonna aint ever goin home, duh! -- with that ombre trashy pink hair, making out with random partygoers, throwing a drink down Jon Kortajarena's throat (as one does), dancing with naked Asian girls. My favorite part is that awesome collapse at the tail end of the video twice over as the party continues to rage on all around and above her. That final long shot when the hotel's candy colored lights go from garish to dreamy with a single cut is also a keeper. Nice work Jonas Akerlund.
*Beyonce looks like she doesn't want to do it -- so they shoulda cut her -- but everyone else gets into it. My least favorite part is the extended Nicki Minaj rap... if only because Nicki isn't actually there. If you're going do a "featuring" role, commit, damnit! Still, I heart "The Snap"'s take on How Madonna convinced these stars to do it.
Alexa here. This past Saturday, Gallery 1988 opened its newest group show of pop-culture inspired art, and it's a happy one: NO SAD STUFF includes paintings, prints, and sculptures influenced by Tom Hanks films from 1984-1994. This means pieces celebrating the likes of The Money Pit, Big, The Burbs, Turner & Hooch and, of course, Splash and Forrest Gump (among others).
Seven pieces from the collection after the jump...
Variety several distributors want the Sally Field vehicle Hello My Name is Doris, an indie hit at SXSW. But neither of the big Oscar dogs want it (no interest from Weinsteins or Fox Searchlight. Hmmm)
Teenage Bedrooms on Screen a tumblr celebrating movie sets from teen films. I thought this was appropriate to share after...
TFE a discussion of interesting / fun film sets
Variety our favorite Israeli actress Ronit Elkabetz will serve as president of Cannes' "Critics Week" the festival's sidebar focused on newer filmmakers (That's often where the best movies are anyway!)
My New Plaid Pants on a current rumor about the "toxic" set of Alejandro González Iñárritu's The Revenant
Vanity Fair looks back at Pretty Woman for its 25th, specifically it's originally much darker screenplay
TFE in case you missed it Manuel also looked back on the nation's (and his) 25 year old Julia Roberts obsession
Daily Mail Lauren Bacall's estate auctioning off collections. Her Manhattan partment is also for sale for (gulp) $26 million
The Guardian match the evil quote to the Disney villain - I got a few of these wrong. The Shame!
CHUD Marvel has reportedly cast Carol Danvers (aka Captain Marvel) already and she might even be added to The Avengers: Age of Ultron. WTH... how many actors can be in that one movie and shouldn't they have finished it already given that it opens in a month?
Film School Rejects Anthony Russo & Joe Russo, who did such a great job on Captain America: Winter Soldier have been adopted by Marvel and will now direct all of their movies (not really but they're locked up for awhile)
The Film Stage a one hour conversation with Jessica Chastain
The Playlist Viggo Mortensen turned down Hateful Eight? Sad. He'd be great in a Tarantino and could use a hit
In Contention Sandy Powell talks Cinderella costumes
ET Online and speaking of costumes, Billy Magnussen talks about his unmissably tight leather pants in Into the Woods
Tom Hanks reenacts his filmography's greatest hits in seven minutes with James Corden. Hanks seems to be having a lot of fun with himself lately, right?
Coming Soon The X-Files stars David Duchovny and Gillian Anderson are returning to their iconic roles for a miniseries. The original series lasted 9 years and was revived in two feature films so it's had quite a shelf-life.
Variety I find BAFTA so confusing. They have so many different awards branches and different announcement times. But the TV craft nominations are out with Penny Dreadful doing well
Ryan Murphy Chloe Sevigny returning to American Horror Story next season. She was a pleasant surprise for me on Netflix's Bloodline. I forget sometimes how totally watchable she is
Towleroad rumors circulating that HBO is cancelling Looking albeit with a wrap up film *sniffle*
Salon Jon Hamm just out of rehab for alcohol addiction. With Mad Men wrapped hopefully he won't be reminded of the glass in hand for a while. Best wishes!
Three Must Reads To Go
1. If you're a fan of Buffy the Vampire Slayer (and who isn't) you'll LOL all through The Toast's "Every Argument about Buffy on the Internet, From 1998 Until Now." It's blissfully true to its title.
2. This doesn't have a movie connection apart from a well earned dig at that awful Flawless movie starring Philip Seymour Hoffman but The New York Times has an essay on the feminist evolution of the word "flawless" that is really something. A great read.
3. David Poland has said these things before and will say them again. And we've also harped on his underlying theme / advice to the Academy - 'Embrace the fact that you're THE movie institution. be proud, not worried.' But it's always worth repeating and he does a great job in "48 Weeks to Oscar: Academy in Crisis (?)" at highlighting all the problems... which don't have to be problems! Read it (if you've ever bitched about or defended the Oscars). Live it (if you're AMPAS). Love it (if you love the Oscars).
That's a lot to read and discuss, so have at it!