CHICAGO – With the larger-than-life acting tics that have invaded most of Al Pacino’s performances in the last twenty years, it seemed inevitable that the actor was the only person who could possibly play a notable loon like Phil Spector. In tonight’s HBO movie named after the legendary producer, Pacino chews the scenery as one would expect but it’s Helen Mirren who steals the piece from the Oscar winner.
CHICAGO – In this HollywoodChicago.com Hookup: Film, we have 25 pairs of run-of-engagement, guaranteed, anytime movie passes up for grabs for “Hitchcock” starring Anthony Hopkins as Alfred Hitchcock and Helen Mirren as his wife!
CHICAGO – The great director Alfred Hitchcock had morphed to legend rather than a man, so it’s interesting that two films have recently been released about his all-too-human foibles. The feature film, starring Sir Anthony Hopkins as the director, gets inside the man’s relationships in “Hitchcock.”
CHICAGO – Graham Greene’s haunting 1938 crime novel doesn’t deserve to be uttered in the same breath as Stephenie Meyer’s tween phenomenon, “Twilight.” Yet in the hands of British filmmaker Rowan Joffe, Greene’s masterwork loses its theological intrigue and becomes a self-conscious melodrama fueled by two grim lovers who could be dead ringers for Bella Swan and Edward Cullen.
CHICAGO – It’s little surprise that Jessica Chastain has received so much attention during this year’s awards season. Thanks to a series of release date delays, six of her films were released in 2011, each featuring an entirely different role for the strikingly versatile actress. From her slapstick pratfalls in “The Help” to her ethereal grace in “The Tree of Life,” Chastain displayed a remarkable range that has made it impossible for moviegoers to tear their eyes away from her.
CHICAGO – Risk-taking visionaries are always exciting to watch in action, even when their gambles don’t quite pay off. Yet while the recent projects tackled by Julie Taymor have sported great promise on paper, their externalized metaphors often work against the material she’s aiming to enhance. In her Beatles musical “Across the Universe,” soldiers were seen carrying the Statue of Liberty into Vietnam while singing, “She’s so heavy.”
CHICAGO – Watching the premiere of NBC’s “Prime Suspect” again, I was struck by something undeniable — this feels like a TNT show. Yes, we’ve officially reached the point where basic cable is influencing network TV more than the other way around.
CHICAGO – Re-imagining, almost re-engaging the evil of the Holocaust has been thoroughly examined in film for years. “The Debt” looks at another angle, that of revenge and how much that revenge can wreak havoc on the truth.
CHICAGO – Rowan Joffe’s long-gestating remake of “Brighton Rock” (the 1947 noir classic was based on the beloved book by Graham Greene) raises the question least-desired in one of these situations – why bother? Sure, the story is a nifty little tale of a rising criminal undone by his own avarice and the love of a girl and the cast assembled for the remake is an undeniably talented ensemble.
CHICAGO – Have we reached such a politically-correct place in our culture that drinking excessively can’t be seen as humorous even in a dumb comedy? How else to explain the boneheaded decision to basically make the legendary character of Arthur Bach (played by Dudley Moore in the Oscar-winning original and Russell Brand in the potential-Razzie-winning remake) into a man-child instead of an actual drunk? That decision (along with a few others) sunk “Arthur,” recently released on Blu-ray and DVD, before it even shot a frame. Although the actual production didn’t help.