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Arrival Review

Extraordinary

This sci-fi drama has an enjoyably brain-bending plot that leaves the audience almost stunned with the weight of its themes. It may be fiction, but the film's exploration of the power of language raises fascinating ideas about the human mind. It's also produced to an extremely high standard, with striking effects and sumptuous cinematography and editing. And as played by Amy Adams, the movie also carries a surprising emotional kick.

Adams plays linguistics expert Louise, who is asked by the American government to help decode the language of aliens who occupy gigantic monolithic ships that appear suddenly, floating over various locations around the globe. So she heads to the American site in Montana and begins working with scientist Ian (Jeremy Renner) under the watchful eye of Colonel Weber (Forrest Whitaker). And of course she's taken aback by these seven-legged creatures who communicate with odd tones and swirling symbols. When coordinated efforts with other teams around the world begin to descend into mistrust, everyone stops sharing their data, and the military leaders decide to take matters into their own hands and destroy the ships. But Louise begins to believe she is onto something important, and she tenaciously pursues a course of action that terrifies everyone, including her.

Expertly directed by Denis Villeneuve (Sicario), the film never lapses into sensationalistic action, and it's even more gripping as a result. Several scenes generate goosebumps for their inventive visual flourishes, including the surprising gravitational twists and the face-to-face interaction with two freaky but oddly endearing aliens Louise and Ian name Abbott and Costello. Special effects are seamless, grounding everything that happens as something eerily believable. But the emphasis is on the emotional drama surging within Louise, and the huge implications it has for the entire world.

Continue reading: Arrival Review

Doctor Strange Trailer


Stephen Strange is one of the most talented neurosurgeons in the world, he's still relatively young and has saved the lives of thousands of people. When he's in a serious car accident, his most important assets, his hands are damaged beyond intricate repair and it's an abrupt end to his most loved profession.

Continue: Doctor Strange Trailer

Miles Ahead Trailer


Miles Davis' music made him a household name, loved by millions around the world, yet not many people know what the real Miles was like. The story of the man behind the Jazz - sorry 'social' music. When music journalist Dave Braden turns up at Davis' house unannounced looking to speak with the musician about his new material, he's obviously shocked. 

As Miles eventually warms to the Rolling Stone writer, the two find themselves on a quest neither ever thought they'd undertake. Miles realises that his new and unreleased material has been stolen - they must identify and track down the thief in order to return the demos to their rightful home. 

Cheadle said of the project: "To make an entertaining, "rock and roll" movie about a multi-talented musician in a non-traditional, subversive way. To attempt to DO Miles Davis rather than simply chronicle the highlights and lowlights of his life. That process felt like Miles to me."

Trumbo Review

Excellent

An entertaining film about sobering true events, this is the story of notorious screenwriter Dalton Trumbo, who defied McCarthy's communist witch-hunt hearings in the late-1940s and was blacklisted by Hollywood for more than a decade. As written by John McNamara and directed by Jay Roach, the film is bright, funny and emotionally resonant, clearly simplified to make it more involving. And with such a terrific cast on board, it's both revealing and a lot of fun.

In 1947, Dalton (Bryan Cranston) is the film industry's top-paid screenwriter, so of course Senator McCarthy's House Un-American Activities Commission goes after him about his rumoured links to the communist party during the war. But he and nine fellow writers refuse to testify, so they're imprisoned for contempt, denied work by the Hollywood studios and targeted personally by the powerful gossip columnist Hedda Hopper (Helen Mirren). To survive, Dalton begins writing under a series of pseudonyms for the B-movie producer Frank King (John Goodman), creating a script factory in his home with the help of his wife Cleo (Diane Lane) and daughter Niki (Elle Fanning). Two of these screenplays win Oscars, and it isn't until Dalton begins writing Spartacus in 1960 that actor Kirk Douglas (Dean O'Gorman) breaks the studio blacklist.

Roach directs this story in a sunny, snappy way that includes lots of smart wordplay and a clear sense of the us-or-them mentality that has defined America since the Cold War. People need a villain to hiss at, so anyone with even a passing connection to communism will do. And Mirren hisses better than most. Her performance is riotously funny and relentlessly nasty at the same time. More textured characters include Louis C.K. as a fellow writer and Michael Stuhlbarg as conflicted actor Edward G. Robinson. All of the actors are excellent, anchored by Cranston's wonderfully prickly Oscar-nominated turn as a bullheaded man who hilariously seizes every opportunity to make an inspiring speech.

Continue reading: Trumbo Review

Trumbo - Trailer Trailer


'Dalton Trumbo had gone from novelist to a successful career as a Hollywood screenwriter which saw him become one of the town's highest paid writers and even earn an Academy Award nomination. But his bright career came to a crushing end in 1947 after he was one of nine people who refused to testify in front of the House Committee on Un-American Activities. This led to Trumbo being blacklisted from Hollywood and effectively ending his movie career. But despite being blacklisted Trumbo refused to give up and instead continued to write, often under pseudonyms, working on films such as Oscar winner Roman Holiday. His fight against the U.S. government and studio bosses over his freedom to write and work entangled everyone in Hollywood from gossip writer Hedda Hopper to Kirk Douglas who would call on Trumbo to pen the scrip for his epic drama 'Spartacus' and help bring about the end of the Hollywood blacklist.

Continue: Trumbo - Trailer Trailer

Pawn Sacrifice Trailer


Sometimes, the greatest conflicts and clash with smaller and internal conflicts in a major way. Bobby Fischer (Tobey Maguire) is the greatest chess player in the United States, and he is desperate to seek out the greatest players in the world. The problem is, they happen to be Russian, and with the Cold War at its height, the American government steps in to inform him that his game will be used as propaganda. This sends him down a path of introspection, as the pressure of a simple chess match holds the weight of the Cold War upon his shoulders.

Continue: Pawn Sacrifice Trailer

Steve Jobs - First Look Trailer


Steve Jobs was an entrepreneur from the day of his birth and became one of the biggest technology pioneers the world has ever seen. Without any prior knowledge of programming, engineering or, indeed, any technical/computing experience of any kind, he set out to launch a computer with bucket loads of promise - all with the help and expertise of his friend Steve Wozniak. Little did they know of the tumultuous times that lay ahead, of how the resulting business would shape and damage Jobs' social and family life, and indeed his health.

Continue: Steve Jobs - First Look Trailer

Cut Bank Trailer


Dwayne McLaren is an ambitious high school graduate, whose success on the football field led him to hope for a bright future. However, his dreams are far from reached and he now works as a car mechanic in the sleepy town of Cut Bank, Montana. Nothing of interest ever seems to happen there, but his life is set to change forever when he unwittingly films an apparently fatal shooting in the middle of a field, where an elderly mailman is seemingly murdered. Meanwhile, a man of deceptively timid disposition named Derby Milton is expecting a package, and he'll do just about anything to get it. While Dwayne decides to search for the murderer (and the mainman's body) himself in a bid to win the $100,000 reward and start afresh in another town, it becomes clear that this case is a lot more complicated (and dangerous) than it initially appeared.

Continue: Cut Bank Trailer

Video - Minor Cast Members Arrive For The New York Premiere Of 'Noah' - Part 1


Various minor cast members were spotted attending the premiere of 'Noah' at the Ziegfeld Theater in New York City. Among them were Nolan Gross, Skylar Burke and Gavin Casalegno, who played the younger selves of the characters Ham, Ila and Shem respectively.

Continue: Video - Minor Cast Members Arrive For The New York Premiere Of 'Noah' - Part 1

Blue Jasmine Review


Extraordinary

With a riveting performance, Cate Blanchett creates one of Woody Allen's most memorable movie characters in years. And it's also the writer-director's strongest film in recent memory, as it balances comedy and drama in an engaging story that has a kick of resonance as it explores fall-out from the current economical recession.

Blanchett is Jasmine, a New York socialite who has fallen from grace after her husband Hal (Baldwin) lost control of his dodgy financial empire. So Jasmine is forced to move across the country to live with her sister Ginger (Hawkins) in San Francisco. Although she misses her high-society lifestyle, Jasmine gets on with things, finding a job with a local dentist (Stuhlbarg) and a flicker of romance with a rising-star politician (Sarsgaard). But living in Ginger's small apartment with her two kids and her blue-collar boyfriend Chili (Cannavale) takes its toll. And while smoothing the edges with alcohol and Xanax, Jasmine begins to lie to herself and others about her past.

All of the characters here are jaggedly complex, interacting with hilariously observant dialog as their relationships get increasingly messy. But while Jasmine is snobby and prickly, Blanchett also reveals her fragility as she tries to get back on her feet. And Hawkins is just as revelatory as the tenacious and much more generous Ginger. The men around them are just as complicated: Cannavale is hot-tempered but charming, Sarsgaard is kind but a bit slippery, Baldwin is charismatic and over-confident. No one fits into a simple box, which keeps us on our toes and lets the characters worm their way deep under the skin.

Continue reading: Blue Jasmine Review

Blue Jasmine Trailer


Jasmine is an aristocratic New York housewife whose luxurious lifestyle and marriage to the wealthy Hal has been snatched away from her leaving her with quite literally nothing but the clothes on her back. She is forced to fly to San Francisco to move in with her sister Ginger whose apartment is well below her usual standards, as is her boyfriend Chili who is equally as resentful of Jasmine. It doesn't take long before Jasmine starts to plummet emotionally and mentally and only just manages to keep herself sane with several handfuls of anti-depressants a day. In a bid to get her life back on track, she takes a job as a dental receptionist while pursuing a career in interior design. Suffering from a serious breakdown, things are looking dark for Jasmine's future, but do things begin to look up when she meets the sophisticated Dwight?

Continue: Blue Jasmine Trailer

Hitchcock Review


Good

What could have been an intriguing look at how Alfred Hitchcock created one of his most iconic masterpieces is instead turned into a gently entertaining romp. We may enjoy watching the twists and turns as this troubled project takes shape, but the script simply never breaks the surface or gives its stars any real depth to play with. So in the end, the most engaging thing about the film ends up being the portrayal of Hitchcock's marriage.

The story starts with the 1959 premiere of North by Northwest, a hit that critics dismissed as more of the same from a master resting on his laurels. So Hitchcock (Hopkins) decides to give them something unexpected, and takes his first foray into horror based on the little-known novel Psycho, a fictionalised story about a real serial killer. Working closely with his wife Alma (Mirren) on every aspect of the film, he is in constant conflict with the studio chief (Portnow) and the chief censor (Smith), who both believe the material is too strong. Meanwhile, Alma is tired of him flirting with his leading ladies (Johansson and Biel), so she takes a side job with a writer (Huston) who wants to be more than friends.

Oddly, neither director Gervasi (Anvil) nor writer McLaughlin (Black Swan) seems interested in getting beneath the surface of their central character, so Hitchcock is little more than the jovial caricature we saw in his TV anthology series. Hiding under layers of prosthetic face and body fat, Hopkins is good but never seems to break a sweat in the role. Which leaves Mirren to steal the film as Alma, mainly by departing from reality to create a more intriguing movie character instead. And Collette adds some spice as Hitchcock's assistant. But as the cast of Psycho, Johansson (as Janet Leigh), Biel (Vera Miles) and D'Arcy (Anthony Perkins) are only given small details to define them, which leaves them lurking uninterestingly around the edges.

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Seven Psychopaths Review


Excellent

Martin McDonagh gleefully plays with both the gang thriller genre and the moviemaking process with this enjoyably absurd action comedy. It's a little self-indulgent, acknowledging how difficult he found it to follow up his acclaimed film In Bruges. But a continual stream of hilariously clever gags make it thoroughly entertaining, and the seriously great actors are so playful that it's infectious.

At the centre, naturally, is an Irish writer named Marty (Farrell), living in Hollywood and struggling to write his next screenplay. He settles on the title Seven Psychopaths, and decides that his lead character will be a nonviolent Buddhist killer. Otherwise he's stuck. Then he discovers that his hyperactive pal Billy (Rockwell) is running a scam with Hans (Walken), kidnapping dogs and claiming the rewards from their owners. This all goes terribly wrong when they grab the beloved shitzu of the mercurial thug Charlie (Harrelson), sending him into a murderous rampage. And as Marty finds himself in the middle of it, his script starts to take shape.

McDonagh is adept at combining freewheeling wackiness with more astute observational comedy. This film isn't as emotionally resonant as In Bruges, but it crackles with the same sharp dialog and offhanded violent silliness. Most of this plays up the amusing shock value of sudden death, although there are moments that are surprisingly touching, mainly due to a wonderfully textured turn from Walken. Rockwell is the other standout as the manic, unpredictable Billy, an enthusiastic mischief-maker. And Harrelson has a great presence as the funny-terrifying Charlie.

Continue reading: Seven Psychopaths Review

Hitchcock Trailer


Alfred Hitchcock was in his sixties and struggling to come up with a fresh idea for a new movie; that was until the notoriously terrifying story of 'Psycho' by Robert Bloch came along in 1959. Arguably one of his best ideas for a movie to date, the Oscar nominated Hitchcock set to work pulling it together despite the extreme scepticism of his wife Alma Reville and Paramount Pictures who disapproved of the degree of horror the movie maker was planning to utilise. In fact, he was so confident that he was willing to pour in thousands of dollars for the film to be made when he was refused his usual budget from the studio; an action that Alma found irresponsible and rather worrying.

'Hitchcock' is drama biopic strongly focused on Alfred's often strained though very loving relationship with his wife and has been based on the book 'Alfred Hitchcock and the Making of Psycho' by Stephen Rebello. Directed by Sacha Gervasi ('Anvil: The Story of Anvil' documentary) and written by BAFTA nominee John J. McLaughlin ('Man of the House', 'Black Swan'), this is story of how 'Psycho', one of the greatest films of all time, was made including its inspiration from real-life Winconsin murderer and grave robber Ed Gein. It is set for release on February 8th 2013 in the UK.

Starring: Scarlett Johansson, Anthony Hopkins, James D'Arcy, Jessica Biel, Michael Stuhlbarg, Ralph Macchio, Toni Collette, Judith Hoag, Danny Huston, Michael Wincott, Kurtwood Smith, Richard Portnow, John Rothman, Tara Summers, Helen Mirren.

Continue: Hitchcock Trailer

Lincoln - Trailer Trailer


'Lincoln' will show the last four months of President Abraham Lincoln's life as he campaigned for freedom before he was tragically assassinated in 1865. It will reveal in detail the extent of his conflict with various members of the cabinet over his decision to abolish the slave trade towards the end of the American Civil War. His very close success in the House of Representatives over the proposition of the Thirteenth Amendment which outlawed slavery is portrayed as one of the most crucial steps in his work against the trade. The last months of his life also saw him fail to negotiate an end to the War and saw the Union's ultimate victory.

This drama-fuelled biopic is the important story of one of the most influential and inspiring presidents of the United States that have ever been in office. It has been based on some of the biography 'Team of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln' by Doris Kearns Goodwin with an adapted screenplay by Oscar nominee Tony Kushner ('Munich') and the directing genius of the legendary Steven Spielberg ('Jaws', 'E.T.', 'Jurassic Park', 'Schindler's List', 'War of the Worlds') who wanted to show Lincoln 'at work' and not just 'posing for the history books'. Spielberg has described the former president as 'arguably the greatest working President in American history'. The movie is set for release in the UK on January 25th 2013.

Starring: Daniel Day Lewis, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Tommy Lee Jones , Michael Stuhlbarg, Jackie Earle Haley, Jared Harris, Lee Pace, Sally Field, James Spader, Julie White, John Hawkes, David Strathairn, Bruce McGill, Hal Holbrook and Adam Driver.

Men In Black 3 Review


Good
A decade after Men in Black II, the cast and crew attempt to rekindle that blend of dry humour and outrageous silliness. But instead of ramping up the hilarity, as in part 2, this movie is weighed down with a messy plot and jokes that are amusing if not actually funny.

One day Agent J (Smith) wakes up to find that his partner Agent K (Jones) has been dead for more than 40 years. It turns out that evil alien Boris (Clement) has travelled back to 1969 to stop K from capturing him so he can conquer Earth. So J has little choice but to follow him. First, he must convince new boss O (Thompson) to let him go, and then he has to explain everything to the younger K (Brolin) and work with another alien (Stuhlbarg) who can see multiple futures.

Continue reading: Men In Black 3 Review

Men In Black 3 Trailer


Agents K and J work for the Men In Black, an organisation specialising in hunting down aliens. Agent J used to be known as James Darrell Edwards III and was recruited by Agent K, after the latter observed the former hunting down an alien in disguise while working for the NYPD.

Continue: Men In Black 3 Trailer

Men In Black III Trailer


Agents K and J work for the Men In Black, an organisation specialising in hunting down aliens. Agent J used to be known as James Darrell Edwards III and was recruited by Agent K, after the latter observed the former hunting down an alien in disguise while working for the NYPD.

Continue: Men In Black III Trailer

Hugo Review


Excellent

Based on the Brian Selznick novel The Invention of Hugo Cabret, Scorsese's first family movie combines a young boy's adventure with a cinematic history lesson. It's a celebration of wide-eyed wonder that's a joy to watch, although the title isn't the only thing that's dumbed-down.

In early 1930s Paris, the orphaned Hugo (Butterfield) lives in Montparnasse station, where he scurries through forgotten passageways maintaining the clocks. He learned this skill from his late father (Law), but an automaton they were fixing is his only reminder of his happier childhood. Dodging the tenacious station inspector (Baron Cohen), Hugo worms his way into the life of grouchy shopkeeper Georges (Kingsley), and has a series of adventures with his goddaughter Isabelle (Moretz). When they learn that Georges is forgotten pioneer filmmaker Georges Melies, they decide to help bring him back to life.

Scorsese tells this story with bravura moviemaking trickery, from whooshing tracking shots to wonderfully inventive uses of 3D. He also peppers the screen with witty references to film history from Modern Times to Vertigo, clips from early cinema and flashbacks to the Lumiere brothers' exhibition and Melies' busy studio. Meanwhile, the main plot unfolds with a warmly inviting glow, sharply telling details and a colourful cast of memorable side characters.
Intriguingly, everyone is a bit opaque; like the automaton, the gears turn but we never really understand them.

Butterfield's Hugo may be consumed by an inner yearning, but he's always on guard, providing a watchful pair of eyes through which we see the drama, romance and slapstick of the station. And it's in these details that Scorsese and his cast draw us in. Standouts are Baron Cohen, who adds layers of comedy and pathos to every scene, and McCrory (as Mrs Melies), with her barely suppressed enthusiasm. As usual, Kingsley never lets his guard down: he invests this broken man with a bit too much dignity.

As the film progresses, the passion for the movies is infectious. Scorsese's gorgeous visual approach and writer Logan's controlled cleverness never overwhelm the human story. And even if Melies' life and Paris' geography are adjusted for no real reason, the film's warm drama and delightful imagery really get under the skin, making us fall in love with the movies all over again.

Hugo Trailer


Hugo is a twelve year old boy who lives in Paris and loves mysteries. One day, in 1930, his father presents him with a wind up figure. His father tells him it's a music box that a magician probably built. The only thing missing is the key used to wind up the music box. The keyhole is in the shape of a heart. Hugo and his father want to find the heart shaped key - whose whereabouts is a mystery - so they can make their music box work.

Continue: Hugo Trailer

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Michael Stuhlbarg Movies

Call Me By Your Name Movie Review

Call Me By Your Name Movie Review

Set in northern Italy in the summer of 1983, this internationally flavoured drama is a...

Call Me By Your Name Trailer

Call Me By Your Name Trailer

It's the summer of 1983 and 24-year-old Oliver has returned from his studies in America...

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Miss Sloane Trailer

Miss Sloane Trailer

Elizabeth Sloane is a lobbyist and often finds herself facing off against some of the...

Arrival Trailer

Arrival Trailer

Louise Banks is a communications expert, she's spent years studying linguists and is considered the...

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