Frank Langella and Ron Howard - Frank Langella and Ron Howard Palm Springs, California - attends the 2009 Palm Springs International Film Festival Awards Gala held at the Convention Center Tuesday 6th January 2009
Howard's spellbinding adaptation of Peter Morgan's Tony-nominated stage drama understands the politics that manipulate Washington and Hollywood. It comprehends how many interviews are won and lost long before the Q&A begins. It figures out the best way to transition an airtight theatrical production to the roomier silver screen (giving the elements plenty of room to breathe). And -- most importantly -- it illustrates the intimidating power of television, which creates and destroys legacies on a daily basis.
Continue reading: Frost/Nixon Review
Cynthia Nixon and Frank Langella - Cynthia Nixon and Chris Noth New York City, USA - Opening Night of 'Frank Langella - A Man For All Seasons' on Broadway at the American Airlines Theatre Tuesday 7th October 2008
Starting Out in the Evening unveils the final chapter in the life of Schiller (Frank Langella), an aging novelist whose health deteriorates as he races to complete one last book. Since his existing novels are out of print, Leonard needs the next one be a success if he wants to be fondly remembered in the literary world. He's been working on the book for over a decade now, however, and has failed to capture interest from publishers. His shortcomings are not due to laziness, though. Leonard used to be a more prolific writer, but has never been the same since his wife died years prior, and neither has his work.
Continue reading: Starting Out In The Evening Review
You are bound to leave Superman Returns buzzing about "the scene." It's our first real glimpse in the film of the Man of Steel in action, the first genuine indication that the spandex-clad savior has, indeed, returned.
Here's setting for the scene: Intrepid Daily Planet reporter Lois Lane (Kate Bosworth), now a Pulitzer Prize winner, is covering a groundbreaking, mid-air shuttle launch. The spacecraft is poised to detach from a jumbo jet miles over the East coast and continue its jaunt through the stratosphere. But a massive power outage caused by Lex Luthor (Kevin Spacey) prevents a smooth transition, so Superman (newcomer Brandon Routh) must quickly separate the speeding crafts, catapult the rocket through the stars, then rush back to earth to catch the now-burning airliner before it lands on the pitcher's mound of a populated baseball diamond.
Continue reading: Superman Returns Review
Although McKay - whose irritating narration, the usual guff about moving to New York from Indiana and just how exciting it all was, brackets the film - never really posits what exactly he's on about with "The Golden Age," two things quickly become clear: The time period he and his subjects want to talk about is Broadway theater from the 1930s to the 1950s, and that period really would have been something to behold. The cavalcade of interviewees all point to not just the embarrassment of riches that were around then in terms of both the material (Lerner & Lowe and Rodgers & Hammerstein were like musical hit factories, not to mention the new dramatic work being produced by the likes of Tennessee Williams and Arthur Miller) and the talent, but another very simple factor: It was cheap. In a time of $480 The Producers tickets, it's partially nice but mostly infuriating to know that not so long ago it could cost less to go to a Broadway show than the movies.
Continue reading: Broadway: The Golden Age, By The Legends Who Were There Review
The story of the witch-hunt has endlessly retold, usually laden with the same self-satisfied 20/20 hindsight that afflicts stories of the civil rights movement, and fortunately Clooney and co-writer Grant Heslov see no need to go through it all again. With admirable precision, they've sliced away most all the accoutrements often used to open up the era for the modern viewer, ala Quiz Show. This is a film that takes place almost entirely inside a CBS studio and newsroom, with occasional trips to hallways, elevators, and a network executive's wood-paneled office. Once, they all go out to a bar. It's best in the studio, because that's where we find Murrow - incarnated with almost indecent accuracy by David Strathairn - looking and sounding like as though Rod Serling had decided to rejoin the human race, his manner clipped and astringent, cigarette cocked in one hand like a talisman warding off evil.
Continue reading: Good Night, And Good Luck Review
Stardom tells the story of an unknown female hockey player named Tina (Jessica Paré) who finds celebrity in the modeling biz when a happenstance candid photo of her on the ice becomes all the rage. Soon enough she's an up-and-comer in Montreal, jetting off to Europe for photo shoots and parties, and indulging in the usual trappings of the supermodel race.
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Fortunately, The Ninth Gate is neither of these. In actuality, it's a mystery with Johnny Depp as the unlikely hero, Frank Langella as the perfectly-cast antagonist, and Lena Olin and Emmanuelle Seigner as the femmes fatale. Under the direction of Roman Polanski, you can rest assured that these characters get mixed up quite a bit en route through a serpentine plot that is far more interesting than its subject matter would imply: The search for a couple of rare books.
Continue reading: The Ninth Gate Review
It's a testament then to Williams's fine acting, and debut writer-director David Duchovny, that the motor-mouth's co-starring turn in House of D isn't a turn-off. Far from it. Williams and 15-year-old Anton Yelchin (Hearts in Atlantis) make up the unlikely duo in this coming-of-age drama about the friendship between Pappass, a mentally retarded janitor (Williams), and Tommy, a single-parent teen (Yelchin) in 1973 Greenwich Village. Williams displays, as he does in most of his dramatic films, a welcome appropriateness, a delivery of action and reaction that helps give House of D a good heart and some laugh-out-loud nuggets of wisdom.
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"Sweet November" may be a work of romantic hokum about a savage power-yuppie who learns to slow down and discover love in the arms of a quirky, perky girl with a tragic secret -- but as such sappy movies go, this is one that hits all the right notes.
Keanu Reeves and Charlize Theron proved they have couples chemistry as husband and wife in "The Devil's Advocate." Here they do the opposites-attract thing with great success and use their charisma to overcome what by all rights should be a script full of romantic clichés.
Reeves plays shallow, ruthless, arrogant ad industry hotshot Nelson Moss, who shows his astronomical self-centeredness in the picture's opening scene. It's early morning and he's having sex with his girlfriend -- until his alarm clock goes off. The second it does, he says "thanks, that was great" before jumping up, walking across his uber-modern high-rent loft, turning on his entire wall of high-tech TVs and brainstorming an ad campaign for a major client.
Continue reading: Sweet November Review
The rise-and-fall of a fictional supermodel is the topic of "Stardom," an irritatingly over-conceptualized yet blandly under-realized documentary-style satire-drama.
Narrated to death by a parade of invariably obnoxious hairdressers, photographers, agents, talk show hosts and Much Music VJs (it takes place in Canada), it's the story of an 18-year-old knockout brunette (newcomer Jessica Paré) spotted by a sports photographer while playing hockey and rapidly whisked into a pampered, jet-setting lifestyle.
Half mocumentary and half an insincere, tisk-tisk condemnation of beauty as a commodity and a social currency, the picture is a ripe idea corrupted by its own self-satisfaction and made worthless by the fact that the girl at its axis is wildly uninteresting.
Continue reading: Stardom Review
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