Tag Archives: Sarah Paulson

Ocean’s 8 Trailer #1 (2018) “Every Con Has Its Pros”

My question about Ocean’s 8 is: is there any other reason for its existence other than a gender swap?  This ensemble has a stellar cast of some of the best actresses alive, and is the best Hollywood can do is to write them a gender flopped version of something that worked really well with guys (this IS related to the Ocean’s franchise, though Matt Damon’s part in the film is now in jeopardy given his involvement in what we’ll call for brevity “The Weinstein Vortex of Ick”)?  Apparently, from the trailer at least, yes, all Hollywood has the brains to do is make an Ocean’s film with actresses and not deviate even a little from that template.  I hope it’s better than the first look, because these women are better than hand me downs.  Ocean’s 8 will open June 8, 2018.

Ocean's 8 Poster

The Post Trailer #1 (2017) “If The Government Wins, The Washington Post Will Cease to Exist.”

Before The Washington Post and Watergate brought the Nixon administration down, they faced an issue just as daunting when, in 1971, they found themselves in possession of thousands of classified documents on the Vietnam War.  If the name Ben Bradlee sounds familiar to you, its because Jason Robards won an Oscar for playing the Post’s editor in the classic All the President’s Men.  Stepping into his shoes would be daunting, but if you’re going to have an actor do it, you want Tom Hanks.  He’ll be teaming with director Steven Spielberg for the fifth time, and while I’ve had my issues with Spielberg in the last 15 years, none of his collaborations with Hanks have ever been less than stellar.  If that weren’t enough, Meryl Streep will be playing the Post’s owner Katharine Graham.  In a time where the media has never been more important as the nation’s Fourth Estate, this film and the issues it will examine feel worthy of bringing together arguably the greatest actor, actress, and director of our age.  The Post will open December 22, 2017.  For the official synopsis, read below. Continue reading The Post Trailer #1 (2017) “If The Government Wins, The Washington Post Will Cease to Exist.”

Rebel in the Rye Trailer #1 (2017) “Imagine a Book You’d Want to Read; Then Go Write It!”

*Text from Coming Soon
Rebel in the Rye is the story of the life and mind of the legendary and secretive author J.D. Salinger. Through his rebellious youth, the bloody front lines of World War II, enduring great love and terrible loss, a life of rejection to the pages of The New Yorker, and the PTSD-fueled writer’s block that led to the birth of his iconic book “The Catcher in the Rye.”

The cast includes Nicholas Hoult (Mad Max: Fury RoadX-Men: Days of Futures Past), Kevin Spacey (House of CardsAmerican Beauty), Sarah Paulson (American Horror StoryCarol), Brian D’Arcy James (SpotlightMozart in the Jungle), Victor Garber (SicarioMilk), Zoey Deutch (Before I FallWhy Him?) and Hope Davis (American CrimeReal Steel).

Written and Directed by Danny Strong and adapted from Kenneth Slawenski’s biography, “J.D. Salinger: A Life,” Rebel in the Rye is financed by Black Label Media with Molly Smith, Trent Luckinbill and Thad Luckinbill producing alongside Academy Award winner Bruce Cohen, Jason Shuman, and Strong.

The film is set to open on September 15, 2017.
Rebel in the Rye

Movie Review: 12 Years as a Slave (2013)


12 Years as a Slave tells the powerful story of Solomon Northup (Chiwetel Ejiofor) who was kidnapped by slavers and sold into bondage in the South from 1841-1853.  The film tells the story of those 12 years  as Northup  is sold from a master with about the maximum morals a Southern slave-owning plantation runner had in 1841 (Benedict Cumberbatch, now officially in all movies) to his polar opposite: a maniacal monster (played with vicious abandon by Michael Fassbender).  It’s an incredible story of the human will to survive in deepest scar on the soul of our country’s history.  The performances are stellar (especially Ejiofor and Fassbender), but the movie as a whole was…wierd.


It’s hard to be critical at all of the story of someone who has gone through Hell’s fires on Earth like Northup did and I in NO way want to give the impression that this is not an important film or one that shouldn’t be compulsion viewing for every American.  We did this.  Maybe it wasn’t us, personally.  Maybe it wasn’t even our ancestors.  Mine, at that time, were eating a high-potato diet in Ireland and having a mini-version of all this being done to us by the English (thanks for that).  Part of being an American, though, is taking on the responsibility of the country past, present and future.  As we are responsible for interpreting the Founding Fathers’ wisdom, so are we responsible for their sins and their legacy.  We need to be reminded of history so it doesn’t repeat itself.  That goes for the Holocaust, slavery, the Inquisition and war.  I am of the opinion that these reminders need to be stark and accurate.  War movies where a guy clutches his chest and falls over, sicken me.  That’s not war.  War is the first 30 minutes of Saving Private Ryan (and even that cannot convey the smell, the tactile trauma, etc.).

This film is firmly of the opinion I hold as well.  In fact, one of my problems is I think it goes overboard.  Every manner of human cruelty and degradation was doled out to Solomon and his companions.  From roughly 15 minutes in through the end of the film, it’s nearly non-stop horror and cruelty.  My problem with that is not showing it.  My problem is that it’s basically all the film shows.

12 years as a slaveI spent 2 hours and 21 minutes with Solomon and all I learned about him as a person is that he loved his family, he was a survivor above all and he was a talented fiddle player.  That’s it.  The film makes no effort to make Northup anything more than the vehicle for showing the cruelty of the plantation system.  It’s not like there’s no information on Northup.  He wrote the account the film is based upon.  I wanted to know him.  I wanted to get to know what kind of man this was, beyond-clearly-an extraordinary survivor.  There is no character development and the reason why that is so important in a film like this is that eventually any human becomes inured to horror.  It’s a survival mechanism.  It’s how people survive thinks like Solomon did on a much smaller scale, but if all the viewer sees is Solomon beaten, betrayed, sold, mistreated and degraded, the viewer has to have some context for caring about him; connecting with him or the fabric of the film has nothing to bind it together.

I also thought McQueen’s direction was …odd.  Scenes were just thrown out there.  No more so is this evident in the beginning of the film in which a strange and disturbing event happens and then has no relevance later in the film.  It’s just out there.  There were too many star cameos where a big star would come in, have one scene, drop a bunch of N-bombs and you never see them again.  It’s distracting from the narrative.

The strong point of this film are the performances, most especially by Solomon and Epps (Fassbender), both of whom more than deserve Oscar consideration.  This isn’t a classic, though.  It’s a film whose craft is flawed and is ultimately redeemed by the quality of the performances it contains.  Something like this should stick with me forever, but I’m afraid it’s already fading from my consciousness and that’s a missed opportunity for impacting American film goers that’s irredeemable.
12 Years as a Slave, Brad Pitt

Movie Review: Mud (2013)

Mud, Matthew McConaughey

If you like Matthew McConaughey, Mud is the best thing that is ever going to happen to you.  At no time in his film career has McConaughey been so McConaughey as he is in Mud.  It is….maximum McConaughey.

Mud is the story of two best friends in the SOUTH (we’ll put that all in caps because one of the two is named “Neck Bone” so we’re damn SOUTH) who run across a boat stuck in a tree by a hurricane and a bundle of McConaughey living in it.  The boys strike up a friendship of sorts with the wanderer who is not what he seems.  Mud is less about the titular character than it is Ellis (played by Tye Sheridan who carries the whole film).  Ellis is losing his family, his home on the river and at 14 sits poised on that awkward cusp between childhood and adolescence.  He latches on to Mud because he needs something to believe in, and given that Mud is a wanted murderer, that belief becomes a very dangerous thing.

The main criticism I can level against Mud is that the pacing of the movie is about as fast as the title.  It is a looooong two hours and ten minutes of movie.  The cast is great, when things finally get moving the story is gripping, but the journey to get there is at times extremely trying.

Since there was plenty of time to think as the boys kept motoring across the Mississippi to Mud’s island and back, I kept thinking that I have no problem believing this IS how Matthew McConaughey actually lives.  That his part was just filmed by documentary crew outside his tree/boat house he lives in between films where he has to shower.  I mean, what screams McConaughey more to you?  This:
orrrrrrrrrrr this
Mud, Matthew McConaughey
You know I’m right.  Mud is a good rental if you have the patience for it.  Good performances (especially by Tye Sheridan) and, like I said, whole lot of maximized McConaughey (that is really difficult to type over and over…I’m programming a macro).