On Adam Driver and Michael Shannon, 'Frances Ha' and 'The Iceman'
TELLURIDE - I'm not the Noah Baumbach subscriber many of my colleagues are. I even choked a little bit yesterday at the premiere of "Frances Ha" when Scott Foundas, in introducing the director, called him "the voice of his generation." But I do think a case may have been made in his latest.
The film is Woody Allen by way of Williamsburg, "Girls" by way of...well, Baumbach. And it's easily his best yet, his most thematically refined outing. And it's been interesting to see some call it his least essential, others his best effort. But few have bad words for it. At the center is a fantastic, flighty portrayal from Greta Gerwig, continuing her indie star rise, but I was once again charmed right out of my seat by Adam Driver.
You'll probably recall him for his work in Lena Dunham's aforementioned HBO series, and yes, he's treading similar waters here. But there's something so charismatic and easy, assured and magnetic about the actor. I'd say when he was on screen, I was most invested in the film. And I hope he gets more and more work.
But while some have already disagreed with me here, I think there's a versatility lurking underneath there. He's been tapped for similar stuff lately, but this is an actor who just worked with Clint Eastwood ("J. Edgar") and has collaborations with Steven Spielberg ("Lincoln") and the Coen brothers ("Inside Llewyn Davis") on the horizon. That's a pretty stellar start, and I'm hoping we see more and more of him in the coming years.
Speaking of charisma, Michael Shannon is certainly a different breed where that is concerned. I caught up with Ariel Vromen's "The Iceman" last night. The movie is on the commercial side and isn't overly compelling in and of itself. It tells an interesting but somewhat rote story of mob hitman Richard "The Iceman" Kuklinski, a cold and ruthless killer who was nevertheless a committed family man.
Shannon absolutely kills in the title role (no pun intended). It's one of his best performances to date. We've really come to expect no less of him, but he seethes and explodes in equal portion in the film, crafting a fabulous arc and popping out from an awesome cast. Though on that front, I'd say Chris Evans almost steals it. He's unrecognizable for most of the film under facial hair and long locks, but he's a live wire and a great sparring partner for Shannon. Ray Liotta (who was on hand), David Schwimmer, Winona Ryder, Robert Davi and -- in fleeting cameos -- James Franco and Stephen Dorff also star.
Getting back to Shannon, the guy is unbelievably prolific lately. I bumped into his personal publicist at a dinner last night and got excited for a moment thinking maybe he made the journey. But I knew that was wishful thinking. He went straight from Venice to New York for rehearsals on "Grace," his big Broadway debut that's going into previews later this month. Add to that another play (the off-Broadway "Uncle Vanya"), the production schedule for "Boardwalk Empire," the recently wrapped "Man of Steel," next year's "Mud" and the just-released "Premium Rush," the guy clearly loves to work. We're the lucky ones in that equation.
Both "The Iceman" and "Frances Ha" will hit the Toronto Film Festival next. They're both looking for buyers on these shores.
That's just a little clean-up. Today I'm going to catch up with Pablo Larraín's "No" and then see where the wind takes me. I can already feel things winding down.
1994 | Documentary | PG-13Summary: One of the best sports films ever made, and maybe one of the best, period, this documentary follows two top high school basketball prospects in Chicago as they face the moment where their dreams give way to reality.Director: Steve James
Cast: William Gates, Arthur Agee, Emma Gates
2008 | Comedy | RSummary: Ray and Ken, two hit men, are in Bruges, Belgium, waiting for their next mission. While they are there they have time to think and discuss their previous assignment. When the mission is revealed to Ken, it is not what he expected.Director: Martin McDonagh
Cast: Colin Farrell, Brendan Gleeson, Ralph Fiennes, Clémence Poésy
1941 | Animation | GSummary: Humorist Robert Benchley attempts to find Walt Disney to ask him to adapt a short story about a gentle dragon who would rather recite poetry than be ferocious. Along the way, he is given a tour of Walt Disney Studios, and learns about the animation process.Director: Hamilton Luske
Cast: Robert Benchley, Frances Gifford, Buddy Pepper, Nana Bryant
1977 | Fantasy | GSummary: What can two little mice possibly do to save an orphan girl who's fallen into evil hands? With a little cooperation and faith in oneself, anything is possible! As members of the mouse-run International Rescue Aid Society, Bernard and Miss Bianca respond to orphan Penny's call for help. The two mi...Director: John Lounsbery, Wolfgang Reitherman, Art Stevens
Cast: Bob Newhart, Eva Gabor, Geraldine Page, Joe Flynn
1940 | Comedy | NRSummary: One of the greatest and most radiant comedies from classical Hollywood features Cary Grant, Katherine Hepburn, and Jimmy Stewart in the tale of a woman whose ex-husband walks back into her life just as she’s about to marry someone else.Director: George Cukor
Cast: Cary Grant, Katharine Hepburn, James Stewart
2013 | Drama | RSummary: Jack O’Connell commands attention as a violent young man sent up to an adult prison, where he finds help from his also-incarcerated father when trying to survive amongst this whole new class of criminals.Director: David Mackenzie
Cast: Jack O'Connell, Ben Mendelsohn, Rupert Friend
2010 | Drama | TV-MASummary: Timothy Olyphant is spectacular as a US Maarshall transferred back to his Kentucky home town in this excellent modern western.Director: Graham Yost (creator)
Cast: Timothy Olyphant, Nick Searcy, Joelle Carter, Walton Goggins
1954 | Thriller | NRSummary: Shadowy film noir featuring a murdered G-man and the FBI agent who takes on the murdered man’s unsolved cases -- which may just be related.Director: Arnold Laven
Cast: Broderick Crawford, Ruth Roman, Martha Hyer
1986 | Family | GSummary: In Victorian London, England, a little mouse girl's toymaker father is abducted by a peg-legged bat. She enlists the aid of Basil of Baker Street, the rodent world's answer to Sherlock Holmes. The case expands as Basil uncovers the crime's link to a plot against the Crown itself.Director: Ron Clements, Burny Mattinson, David Michener, John Musker
Cast: Barrie Ingham, Val Bettin, Vincent Price, Susanne Pollatschek
Let Streaming Genie help you.