Tom Noonan

Tom Noonan

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Synecdoche, New York Trailer


Watch the trailer for Synecdoche, New York

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Snow Angels Review


OK
There are about two or three different films fighting for control of the screen during David Gordon Green's powerful but flawed Snow Angels, and in the end none of them win. An adaptation by Green (All the Real Girls) from the novel by Stewart O'Nan, the film is at its core a dispiriting domestic drama in which single mother and waitress Annie (Kate Beckinsale) is trying to raise her daughter and deal with the encroaching return of her ex-husband, Glenn (Sam Rockwell), a onetime suicide case and drunk who has now found Jesus and wants back into Annie's life. Set to swirling all around this ugly and embittered core are several stories that never quite seem to plug into each other dramatically, no matter that their characters are closely interrelated via love, friendship, family, and the shockingly violent turn everything takes in the closing minutes.

Set in a small and snowbound Pennsylvania town, Snow Angels at the very least looks like a town from reality, as opposed to the idyllic villages filmmakers create when they want to tell moral fables about violence and family (see Reservation Road, In the Bedroom, and so on). It starts with a high school marching band practicing in the cold, performing in a lackluster fashion that brings about a hilariously stern lecture from their instructor (played to icy perfection by Tom Noonan). Then a pair of gunshots are heard cracking through the cold air and the film flashes back to "weeks earlier."

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Picture - Tom Noonan, Guests New York City, USA, Tuesday 4th March 2008

Tom Noonan and Guests - Tom Noonan, Guests New York City, USA - Special screening of 'Snow Angels' at the Museum of Modern Art Tuesday 4th March 2008

The Monster Squad Review


Good
The concept alone is enough to have every 10-year old boy within a 10 mile radius salivating: all the classic monsters -- Dracula, Frankenstein's Monster, the Mummy, the Wolfman, and the Gillman -- converge on suburbia and it's up to a cadre of kids to defeat them. Thrilled by the antics of the Frog brothers in The Lost Boys? Then The Monster Squad will be 82 minutes of bliss.

Horror fanatic Sean (Andre Gower) and his pals Patrick (Robby Kiger) and Horace (the late Brent Chalem) spend every waking hour obsessing over fright films and playing monster hunter games. Ah, if only a real ghoulie would stumble into their neighborhood! When the kids come into possession of Van Helsing's (the original vampire hunter) diary, the Squad gets more than it bargained for: Dracula has arrived in town looking for the book and he's brought a rag-tag collection of creeps with him. Let the monster rumble begin!

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The Roost Review


Excellent
The great thing about early John Carpenter films is their purposeful, deliberate intention of setting up and paying off genuinely scary moments. Ti West's The Roost embraces that spirit, eschewing extensive character and plot development in favor of delivering a series of scary set pieces. West, a recent film school graduate embarking on his first feature, shows an uncanny knack for camera placement, eerie and evocative lighting, and timing. In much the same way the good comedian knows how to time out a joke, West understands the nature of fright.

The Roost follows four kids en route to a wedding, lost during the dead of night in some rural backwoods. In time-honored horror movie tradition, their car breaks down and they're left near an abandoned farmhouse and barn with no resources at their disposal -- their cell phone is dead from over-use. West dallies a bit too much during this part of the movie, since we never really get to know any of these characters very well.

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What Happened Was... Review


Extraordinary
The first date is not a coming of age ritual. It is not a step in a relationship. It is not a beginning. It is a period of immense awkwardness and trepidation that, no matter what excuse one makes to work around the first date atmosphere, will still exist. However, in case you decide you wish to volley for the worst first date award (which is tantamount to the Old Woman claiming the worst life in Candide), you should first pick up the film What Happened Was...

What Happened Was... a film directed, written by, and starring Tom Noonan, and dedicated to his wife. Having watched the film, I now wonder if he and his wife have suffered a divorce as a result or if they simply had something close to the complete nightmare of a first date illustrated in the film.

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Mystery Train Review


Weak
Another oddity odyssey courtesy of Jim Jarmusch, Mystery Train is actually his first color film and hardly his best work. Following a triptych of stories in a sleepy, run-down Memphis hotel (the train itself is considerably less important to the story), while the movie has a number of gigglish moments, on the whole it's a disappointment of squandered story ideas that plod on without much happening. Pretty typical of Jarmusch's characters' on-screen chattiness.

Wolfen Review


OK
Check out Diane Venora, before she got weird and scary looking like Jessica Lange. Wolfen offers an interesting spin on the werewolf movie (these ones have ESP and can (perhaps) shapeshift at will), but it's got one too many negativized tracking shots and a few too many male frontal nudity glimpses to merit classic status. Albert Finney is exceptional, though, as a NYC detective who doesn't believe any of it and who desperately needs a haircut. Falls apart, alas, in the end.

The Roost Review


Excellent
The great thing about early John Carpenter films is their purposeful, deliberate intention of setting up and paying off genuinely scary moments. Ti West's The Roost embraces that spirit, eschewing extensive character and plot development in favor of delivering a series of scary set pieces. West, a recent film school graduate embarking on his first feature, shows an uncanny knack for camera placement, eerie and evocative lighting, and timing. In much the same way the good comedian knows how to time out a joke, West understands the nature of fright.

The Roost follows four kids en route to a wedding, lost during the dead of night in some rural backwoods. In time-honored horror movie tradition, their car breaks down and they're left near an abandoned farmhouse and barn with no resources at their disposal -- their cell phone is dead from over-use. West dallies a bit too much during this part of the movie, since we never really get to know any of these characters very well.

Continue reading: The Roost Review

Knockaround Guys Review


Grim
Warning to Vin Diesel fans: Regardless of what the marketing surrounding the crime drama Knockaround Guys may tell you, Diesel, Hollywood's new action hero, is not the star of this film. He, of the deep voice and bulging biceps, is a featured player but has only moderate screen time -- he's even billed after Barry Pepper (*61, Saving Private Ryan). If you're hoping or expecting to see something like XXX, well... then see XXX again.

What you'll get with Knockaround Guys is another knock-off of a gangster film, 90 minutes of phony tough guy bravado, stagy dialogue, laughably inaccurate accents and, most inexcusably, a slow-moving story. This may all explain why Diesel isn't the lead in this chest-thumper: The film was made before his breakout success and has reportedly been sitting on the shelf at New Line. It must now be time to take advantage of his star -- and box office -- power.

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RoboCop 2 Review


Terrible
George Orwell has to be turning over in his grave. Current political climate aside, something within Orwell just has to be annoyed at the endless procession of utterly stupid dystopia chic. The massive flow of filmmakers that have turned out sad sci-fi epics with worlds think they are honoring Orwell but instead are making a mockery of him.

RoboCop 2 is one of those grave-turners.

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The Astronaut's Wife Review


Unbearable
A few days ago I saw The Sixth Sense. I thought the problem with that movie was that it lost most of my interest before the movie got interesting. In The Astronaut's Wife, the new, excruciating thriller from New Line, it never got interesting. What it did was steal from other movies. The basic concept smells like Species, and they even stole that "glass slowly falling from the hand of the person and shattering on the floor shot" from The Usual Suspects.

Johnny Depp stars as Spencer Armacost, an astronaut who loses communication with NASA while fixing a satellite. Upon his return, strange occurrences begin with Spencer's partner, who was up there with him, and his partner's wife. This, of course, starts up the paranoia with Spencer's wife Jillian (Charlize Theron).

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Tom Noonan

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