Thursday, February 28, 2008
Director Ben Affleck tries to bring to the screen a very moving novel by Dennis Lehane. Unfortunately much like Mystic River, the book doesn't translate as well here. The young daughter of a coke whore Helene (Amy Ryan from The Wire) is taken from her while she is out getting high with her boyfriend. Her brother Lionel (Deadwood's Titus Welliver) and his wife Beatrice (Amy Madigan) look to out investigators for help. They turn to Patrick Kenzie (Casey Affleck) and his partner Angie Gennero (Michelle Monaghan) as a last gasp attempt to find their niece. Patrick starts poking his nose around the case while forming an uneasy relationship with the two cops (Ed Harris and John Aston) assigned to the case. Also, Morgan Freeman is the head of the task force trying to find the missing girl. Of course everything is not as it seems or else why would there be a movie?
Ok I wanted to get all that plot out of the way so I can talk about the problems and there are many. The first problem is that since Gone Baby Gone is not the first book in the series, you don't have a real idea of Patrick and Angie's relationship is like. Ben Affleck never really gives you that since of it which is key in the book towards their effects felt by the case.
Secondly, the two leads are horribly miscast here. Casey Affleck doesn't have the physicality that the character needs and Monaghan seems completely lost here. In the book, Patrick is a presence as soon as he walks into a room and much better dressed. Apparently (Ben) Affleck feels like trotting out his extra wardrobe from Good Will Hunting. Monaghan has had one solid performance in Kiss Kiss Bang Bang and filled up her resume with craptastic parts in MI3 and The Heartbreak Kid.
But for the mistakes in the leads, casting Ashton and Harris as the cops is dead on. Both of these wonderful actors haven't had a chance to do something this juicy in a long time. Finally, the tone is all wrong. Anyone who has read the Kenzie novels knows that while the cases can be very dramatic the overall tone is much more light. Ben Affleck seems to try and milk the story for drama and completely throw out everything else.
The revelations in the book just does not translate onto the screen. Most of that could be blamed on Affleck since he adapted the screenplay. Like Mystic River (the film version is overrated), the people behind the camera do not seem to get what is compelling about the books. Martin Scorsese is taking a crack at Lehane's novel Shutter Island in '09 so we will see what he can do.
* Wire fans should look for a cameo from Omar.
A "Baxter" is classified as a fellow likely to get hay fever, have an aversion to dancing, and is ultimately the guy a woman ends up settling for instead of true love. Or as Cecil (Michelle Williams) says in the film, "Something is better than nothing." Ah but I get ahead of myself. The Baxter is a creation of writer/directer/actor Michael Showalter of the sketch shows The State and Stella.
Showalter plays Elliot Sherman, a man seeminly in the prime of his life who seems to have finally found the right gal in Caroline Swann (Elizabeth Banks). Their pending nuptials are put in down when her old boyfriend Blake (Justin Theroux) comes back into the picture. Elliot finds solace in his former secretary Cecil. He explains his sad-sack life of woman never quite falling for him and ultimately his disappointment. Cecil seems to identify with him as her own relationship to Dan (Paul Rudd again) seems a sham. So the question is will Elliot figure out he wants and go after it?
Showalter gives quite an earnest performance here that smacks a bit of an obsessive compulsive rather than a nerd. He gives Elliot some very defined mannerisms that might drive some crazy. The two female leads are in the spotlight here. Showalter's acting and direction really lend themselves to letting his fellow actors shine. Banks has been delivering quality performances for the last 5 years in small parts so it is no surprise there. Although, Michelle Williams is quite a revelation here. I've never seen her get a chance to really shine in a role.
So if like something different in your romantic comedies, you'll probably greatly appreciate The Baxter. The third act drags a bit as you go through the normal rom/com headaches, but Michelle Williams in particular makes you forget about that.
* Is Paul Rudd in every movie now? Not that I'm complaining.
Tuesday, February 26, 2008
I was very critical of the last Bourne entry after the directing chair was handed over to Paul Greengrass, but I had no idea was he had planned for Bourne 3. The movie starts off as Bourne (Matt Damon) continues to have partial flashbacks of how he when he was recruited. Bourne sets out on an attempt to reclaim his identity and runs right into the plans of the Deputy Director of the CIA played by David Strathairn. Obviously shit hits the fan as Strathairn tries to cover his ass and his project Operaton Blackbriar.
Blackbriar built on the Treadstone Project of which Bourne was a participant. Joan Allen is back Pamela Landy. Landy thinks that maybe Bourne isn't who she thought he was and tries to help him. Also back is perpetually wooden Julia Stiles (she lost some thigh weight)and their are hints to a possibly relationship between her character Nicky and Bourne. Thank God Bourne couldn't remember that - I don't need any flashbacks to sex scenes with Julia Stiles. Scott Glenn joins the cast as the head of the CIA and unfortunately doesn't get to do much.
The Bourne Ultimatum gives you about 45 minutes of setup that is nicely paced and well acted. The next hour gives you as solid as of an action film as you can get these days. Greengrass seems to have heeded my advice (impossible, but it inflates my ego) and goes all out here. The budget clearly shows for example on the sweeping motorcycle chase through Tangiers. Spectacular sound and editing show you why this film picked up three Oscars on Sunday. Greengrass still has that shaky cam, but does a much better job of pulling out and showing the bigger picture.
I was very impressed with this film overall. It isn't too often that you get a film in the sequel category that winds up as good or maybe even better than the orginal. Wisely casting David Strathairn helps too with the loss of the indispensible Chris Cooper of the first film. Greengrass goes out guns blazing here with an exciting film that neither lags or lacks. This film feels like how Crank should have been.
* Eventually I'll get through all the films I want to watch from 2007 and get the best list out there. This will no doubt be on it.
In the 1980's, Billy Mitchell set several video game records that transformed him into a nerd God. He liked the notoriety it brought and used it as a side project from his successful restaurant/wings sauce line. By 2006, most of his records had been broken except for his Donkey Kong score.
Steve Wiebe lost his job working for Boeing (sound familar). Weibe decided that he was going to break the Kong record. Mitchell learns of his challenger and starts trying to discredit Wiebe's record breaking attempt. When one of Weibe's attempts breaks the record, a crew from Twin Galaxies (a reknowned website that verifies and tallies up video game records) comes out to investigate. They find a substance on the game board (more nerd references) in Weibe's machine that they feel could be compromised since it came from Mitchell's rival Roy Shildt.
TKOK is at it's heart an underdog story of the unemployed father Wiebe trying for once to succeed at something. Wiebe's backstory is heartbreaking and inspiring. Mitchell has since fired back at the makers of the film charging them with painting him in a unfavorable light. Whether or not that is the case, TKOK is a breezy film that never overly complicates things. It has a clear story and does a nice job of showing you a world that most of us didn't know existed. The dvd is loaded with lots of extras as well as what has happened to the rivalry since the filming.
After just having sat through the thoroughly uninspired Talledega Nights, I was a little reluctant to catch Blades of Glory. Then something happened after I put it in the dvd player: I laughed... a lot.
Will Ferrell plays Chazz Michael Michaels and (assclown) Jon Heder plays his rival Jimmy MacElroy in this tale of two male figure skaters forced to compete as a doubles team. Their rivalry led to an embarrassing incident at their last gold medal event. We pick up their characters 3.5 years later as Ferrell is performing in a kid's show on ice and Heder is working a sporting goods store.
Craig T. Nelson costars as the simply named (and inside joke) Coach. Nelson is perfect here as the somewhat batshit crazy obsessive who feels they can compete with anyone with his "Iron Lotus." Ferrell and Heder are at their best here. Heder plays the straight man off of Ferrell's great improvisation. You also get William Fichtner, Will Arnett, Jenna Fischer, and Amy Poehler for added punch.
Blades of Glory is from first time feature directors Josh Gordon and Will Speck. They are veterans of commercials and some short films, but this is their first time trying to tell a full story. What makes this work is their full on over the top stupidity that radiates from every scene. The film wouldn't work if it was somewhat based in reality and the directors know it.
Saturday, February 23, 2008
The Bourne Identity was pretty much the perfect action movie and it set the expectations very high for a sequel. Unfortunately, the bastards at the studio couldn't convince Doug Liman (Swingers, Go) to come back and follow up his masterpiece - enter Paul Greengrass (Bloody Sunday). Greengrass is a departure from the skillful camera shots of Doug Liman. Liman would set up and do these clean sweeping shots that captured everything. Greengrass tends to do that annoying steadicam crap because he isn't used to working with the budget of something like The Bourne Supremacy. Lots of critics seem to be lauding him for it although when I watch an action picture with some dollars behind it I want to see everything. If I wanted quick cuts and half shots I'll watch some shitty Seagal film.
That being said... Greengrass manages to not completely ruin the film. Watching now on a tv instead of the big screen, you don't get quite as jarred from the constant cuts. Bourne finds himself the target of Abbott (Brian Cox) who is trying to tie up the loose ends from the Treadstone project. Abbot sends an assassin (Karl Urban) to kill Bourne, but he fails and instead kills Marie (Franka Potente). This provokes Bourne to come out of hiding to find out what is going on.
Damon is still up to the psysical task, although when the hack director Greengrass... you don't really see everything. In fact, all the action sequences are toned down. There is a ridiculously boring car chase late in the picture that has you checking your watch.
Practically the only thing that saves this mess is the actors. Joan Allen is quite effective as an agent trying to get to the bottom of the mystery surrounding Bourne. Brian Cox always classes up a film - heck if he can do that with Super Troopers he can do anything. Urban is always better when he doesn't talk unlike the Chronicles of Riddick - which exposed his terrible acting. But you do feel the lack of Chris Cooper here. Cooper is that rare actor who always gives you more than what is in the script.
So bottom line... the film is watchable, but hardly worthy of the accolades given to it. I thought it would be wise to rewatch the second installment so I can try to enjoy the third one. Hopefully, Greengrass learns you can do more with an $80 million budget than the half-assed effort he gives here.
Friday, February 22, 2008
Jake Bridges (William Peterson) is a down and out writer who has just lost his job at his paper. Bridges was once one of the top journalists out there, but seems to have lost his drive along with his wife. Bridges finds her in bed with another man one day and decides to move to where the losers can turn into turn into winners or wind up dead.
In Atlantic City, Bridges befriends Frankie (Michael Wincott) and his lovely girlfriend Melissa (Diane Lane). Frankie wants to help Jake by getting him a job as his assistant... it's just that Frankie is the muscle for a small time mob crew. All Frankie wants in return is for Jake to teach him a little bit of culture. Frankie longs for his break out of Jersey to experience more of what life has to offer. Needless to say, things aren't what they seem plus Jake falls in love with Melissa.
There are a lot of cliches floating around in this film from director Jeff Celentano. The setup is tremendously boring and a mess, but once you get in you do find some good stuff. The relationship between Frankie and Jake gives you at least 30 solid minutes of unique interplay. Peterson reminds you that he is heads and tails the best actor in the cast with a solid performance here. Wincott is stuck doing a cheap accent while lousy Springsteen wannabe music plays in the background. Lane sleepwalks through most of the film. It almost feels like a few scenes were written for the leads while a craptacular plot was added on to make it a movie.
Gunshy tries to toe the line of drama and dark comedy. It would have been much better if it wouldn't have pulled it's punches and went all out dark. To see Peterson go into a downward moral spiral would've been hella interesting considering his substantial acting chops (See Manhunter or To Live and Die in LA). You get a sense of Jake starting to like the life of Frankie, but by the time you get to the good stuff you've sat through a hour of setup.
I've put off watching this film for some reason. I didn't have the greatest expectations for it despite it featuring John C. Reilly as second fiddle to Will Ferrell. Anyway...Ferrell is Ricky Bobby - a Nascar driver who believes that winning is the only thing that matters. He has a tendency to wreck his car trying and eventually he has a bad enough crash that causes him to re-examine his life.
Reilly is quite good as Ricky Bobby's best friend. He has a sense of comic timing that that only makes his costar Sacha Baron Cohen look worse. Cohen has to be the most untalented assclown working in films today. His work here is atrocious... but he is hardly the only one to blame for this film. Adam McKay (Anchorman) lets Ferrell roll on the improve and while that worked for Anchorman, it seems to fall flat here. Even Amy Adams (pre-Enchanted) as Ricky Bobby's assistant can't make this completely unwritten script funny. Only Gary Cole (Office Space) as the patriarch of the Bobby family can elicit a laugh here and there.
I don't watch Will Ferrell for plot and escapism, but I do expect to laugh. Talladega Nights barely kept me from falling asleep... the funny stuff is in the trailer... in fact some of that didn't even make the movie.
Thursday, February 21, 2008
Michael Clayton (George Clooney) is the so-called janitor for a giant law firm representing some of the biggest companies in the world. Clayton gets called in to clean up the problems real lawyers don't want to touch. In the case of this film, Clayton is out to fix a problem when their top litigator Artur Edens (Tom Wilkinson) strips down during a deposition. It seems Edens has gone off his medication and could compromise the defense of a class action lawsuit against the makers of a weed killer. It seems multiple people have died from complications from it, although those are never really gone into in any great detail.
Clayton's other subplots for strickly for subplot sake. There is a mess with his loser brother and the debt they incurred over the failed opening of a restaurant. Money is further complicated as he has a giant apartment left over from before his divorce and a gambling problem. All of these elements are completely unnecesary for the plot. It is just all padding in an attempt to try and make this simple story seem like there is more going on.
The underlying plot is straight forward with director Tony Gilroy aping producer Steven Soderbergh's style down to a T. Robert Elswit (Oscar nominated for There Will Be Blood) is called on to class up the film with his DOP work. Elswit does what he can with what he has... the cinematography is tremendous for a movie of this limited depth. His work almost feels wasted here.
The actors are fine - Clooney for Best Actor is quite the stretch though. I found his turn as a man who regrets his past 17 years and wants to get out to be quite pedestrian. There's nothing extra he brings to the table, which can also be said of the rest of the cast sans Tilda Swinton. Swinton is the head of the legal team for the lawyers representing the company in trouble. The problem with Swinton is that there just isn't enough of her.
Gilroy spends way too time setting this film up with extraneous characters and back story for Clooney. By the time you do get to a solid ending, you are just left wishing it had come earlier. Saved by the last 20 minutes.
Christian Bale plays a down on his luck rancher named Dan Evans. His spread is getting ready to be foreclosed on and sold. So Evans decides to take his chances in bringing outlaw Ben Wade (Russell Crowe) to justice for $200 promised to him by an official from the stage coach line Wade has brutally victimized. The bad news is no one wants to help Evans out of fear of reprisal from his gang led by Charlie Prince (Ben Foster). Evans soon finds himself in over his head.
Crowe plays Wade as a charming, somewhat intelligent man even flirts with the idea of running off to Mexico with barmaid (Vinessa Shaw from the legendary Ladybugs). Crowe is at the top of his game, but there isn't a whole lot he or Bale can do with their characters. For such a long film (two hours... and it feels longer), you neither learn anything remarkable about them nor do you get a lot of action. Ben Foster has the flashy role of the expert gunfighter, but it is hard to take someone serious in that way when he looks like a stiff breeze could knock him off his horse. Peter Fonda is a highlight though as the cagey old hired mercenary assigned to guarding the stage line.
Director James Mangold (Walk the Line, Copland) seems trapped in the narrow restraints of the original. This movie begs for the streamlined approach. There is way too much exposition in the story, which causes a lag in several spots. Couple that with an idiot ending and you are forced to not really enjoy the experience. Mangold echoed this film in modern times for Copland, but he gets lost here. I wanted to like this film...
Daniel Plainview (Daniel Day-Lewis) is working a few wells in the Coyote Hills when he gets an unexpected visit from a young man named Paul Sunday(Paul Dano). Paul tells the story of how the oil is so abundant in his small town that it is leaking onto the surface soil. Daniel quickly grabs his son H.W.(Dillon Freasier and goes to investigate the claim.
Plainview finds what he has dreamed of... oil in close proximity to water so he can avoid the transportation charges that shipping by train takes up. Quickly, he buys up all the ground he can after convincing the community he wants to help all of their lives with this discovery. Paul's twin brother Eli (also played by Paul Dano) makes it perfectly clear that the key to the people in the town is through his church. Plainview finds the church to be only a distraction to his employees and wants nothing to do with it personally.
Eli wants to do a blessing for the opening of the first well, but Plainview snubs him. This seems the key moment for the rest of the film. When it is all said and done, you will look back at this as the start to the main theme of the film: greed.
All of the acting is top notch and it would be hard to believe that anyone other than Daniel Day-Lewis taking home the Best Actor on Sunday. His performances always are meticulously crafted with an attention to every little detail. Something also has to be said about the cinematography of There Will Be Blood. DOP Robert Elswit does a remarkable job framing each shot while editor Richard Tichoner does wonders putting the sequences together. None of the shots are flashy just extraordinarily captured. Elswit and Tichoner should be set to pick up Oscars as well.
P.T. Anderson has crafted a third great film alongside his debut of Hard Eight and his masterpiece Boogie Nights. Anderson seems to be back on track after the uneven, but inspired Magnolia and the mess of Punch Drunk Love. It is obvious that this filmmaker is going to have a long, brilliant career ahead of him.
90/100 - this could change in time.
Generally when I go into a movie like this, I like to set my expectations low. That way I can just sit back and try to enjoy a big budget special effects monster like Transformers. However, the entire film is a mess of Michael Bay like proportions. Director Michael Bay has been bringing you shite since 1995's Bad Boys crapped onto big screens. Bay's films rarely have an once of reality in them and often feel like the dialogue was made up by frat boys on a bender.
Transformers does little to disinguish itself either with special effects or story. The plot revolves around the two warring races of robots trying to find the "all spark" which is said to create new Transformers through some sort of mystical power. The "all spark" was thought to have crash landed on Earth and now both sides are trying to retrieve it. Shia Labeouf and Megan Fox play teenagers who get caught up in the struggle. Their scenes together are some of the most excrutiating I've ever endured. Fox is completely wooden and Shia just clowns his way through depending on the effects to save him.
Oh but wait... the effects are awful. I can't think of a film with the kind of budget Transformers had that just out and out had lousy visual effects. All the Transformers look similar when in their robot form not counting Bumblebee or Optimus Prime. And wtf Megatron is an airplane now? The CGI is obviously spliced in with the scenes to an almost comical way.
Ugh that's enough... if you are a fan of the old series or the comic books, you will be sorely disappointed. There is nothing here to like except for John Turturro. He manages to achieve a frantic level of comedy that is lacking throughout the rest of the film. If I could though, I would give this a negative score.
Friday, February 15, 2008
King of California is from first time writer/director Mike Cahill... and you can tell that. The uniqueness of his voice is balanced out by the somewhat unpolished script. We shall get to that later...
Evan Rachel Wood plays Miranda as a 16 y/o that has had to grow up much too soon. Her mother ran off when she was little and her father Charlie (Michael Douglas) is just getting out of the psychiatric hospital after a 2 year stay. Miranda has had to drop out of high school to work in order to barely hold onto the family house. She has no one else in her life and seem a little excited to finally have some interaction even if it comes with consequences.
Charlie is a washed up blues musician that wasn't there as much as he probably should have during Miranda's childhood. He feels the guilt and wants to make it all right by finding a lost bounty of gold that he learns about through a priest's diary from the 17th century. Charlie becomes convinced he has cracked a code and takes Miranda on the hunt with him. Clearly this is the most bonding they've ever done and Miranda seems okay with humoring him.
King of California sounds like a breezy comic adventure and in some ways it is, however there are some very serious moments mixed in from Miranda's childhood along with a darkly comic scene involving an alternative lifestyle. There is an unexplained scene of Charlie trying to committ suicide that is never fully explained or addressed. That is where some of the inexperience seems to show in Mike Cahill. Several passages seem to be the victim of the cutting room with the whole film at barely 93 mins.
The two lead actors are quite experienced with these types of roles. Michael Douglas could do this role in his sleep with that being a compliment. He does succeed in giving Charlie that little twinkle that he needs to have to keep this story from being kind of a sad fable. Wood is marvelous as always even if she has a momentary bout of Kirsten Dunst Syndrome (AKA I can't act well enough to emote this scene so I'll just talk louder and move my hands a lot) during an intimate scene with Douglas in the middle of the film. For the most part though, she is quite good.
The film could have been better... but it has a lot of charming things about it. It almost feels like one of those Project Greenlight films that no doubt looks a lot strong in scripted form. Then the film gets made you start noticing the little imperfections in it. King of California has got a few of those sure...but Cahill gets a pass this time. Time will tell if he can truly stand out in this world as a filmmaker. It was probably using the Woody Guthrie/Wilco track "California Stars" that did it, but who knows...
Thursday, February 14, 2008
Richard Benjamin has never impressed me with either his acting or directing. He earned some early aclaim in acting with maybe his best turn in Westworld. Benjamin's directing resume reads like a list of flops and never-should-have-been-made messes. So call me surprised to find that he just gets out of the way of his three leads and lets them go in Racing with the Moon.
Racing with the Moon is about two friends in 1942 who are about to turn 18 and ship out to WWII. Hopper(Sean Penn) and Nicky (Nicolas Cage) seem to be content with working at the bowling alley while waiting for their destiny in the war. That changes when the two find women in their lives. Hopper sees the lovely Caddie (Elizabeth McGovern) dancing one day in a meadow. She works at the movie theatre, but somehow lives in one of the houses on the hill. Needless to say, this will provide some tension later on.
Most of the plot is just recycled cliches, but Benjamin doesn't let that slow the film down. He keeps things straight-forward and lets the film hang on his young actors. Penn is always game for a angsty role and fits into the role of Hopper like an old pair of shoes. Cage gives a glimpse of his potential as the one friend who always seems to be getting Hopper into bad situations. McGovern continued her run of token cute girl roles here, but does manage to add a little something to the part.
Racing with the Moon is still at the heart a sappy, sentimental indulgence from Benjamin. The flow of the film does make it superior to many of the same trite studio crap that was thrust upon movie goers om the 80's. Not a bad film overall. Benjamin's directorial career would reach its apex with 1988's Little Nikita - a minor masterpiece starring River Phoenix and Sidney Poitier.
* It is worth noting here that this was Steve Kloves's first screenplay. He would later go to adapt a masterpiece (Wonder Boys) and all the Harry Potters for the big screen. Kloves would also do the much heralded 1989 film The Fabulous Baker Boys.
Tuesday, February 12, 2008
Few films these days manage to create an intense desire to watch them. The Hunting Party just sounded like a great film to watch. Based on an article in Esquire, THP is a story about three journalists who go to post-war Bosnia to hunt for one of the biggest war criminals in the world. The lead, Duck (Terrence Howard), gets guilted into helping his old partner Simon (Richard Gere) go on this crazy journey. The two used to share a bond in war torn situations with Duck being that cameraman who always got the shot. Now Simon is down on his luck and needs a favor. Jesse Eisenberg is the comic relief going along with the duo because his dad is a vice president.
The journalists are all shocked when it seems that the U.N. personnel that are supposed to be looking for the criminals after the war seem to be turning a blind eye. An exchange with the U.N. creates a side story that is very well done. Along the way, the audience learns that Simon has an altogether different motive for his madness.
I certainly wasn't bored at any point during THP, but I had a nagging feeling that this could have been presented better. Writer/director Richard Shepard directed a marvelous film in The Matador that did a great job juxtaposing the different tones in the story. The Hunting Party seems to lack that touch. One never gets a sense of the journalists life's being at stake until much later in the film.
Terrence Howard is an immensely likeable actor. He never tries to do too much and rolls with the situations his characters are placed in. Richard Gere has the flashy role which seems to fit into his repetoire of asshole roles quite well. Gere does manage to squeeze some feeling into a guy who no doubt regrets his mistakes as his life went off track during the Bosnian war.
Not a bad watch by any means, but The Hunting Party never really hits the full potential. Look for a cameo from Diane Kruger late in the film.
It is amazing how bad sequels can be when all the same creative talent is in place for follow ups as were in place for the original movie. Ocean's 12 was one of the biggest wastes of time I'm ever seen in a theatre. My hopes for this one were slight at best. What I got was at least a return to Danny Ocean's stomping ground of Vegas. Unfortunately, the magic among the actors isn't there anymore. The snappy dialogue has gone the way of the Stardust. Everybody is going through the motions here.
The plot revolves around their friend Reuben (Elliot Gould) getting screwed over on his partnership with Willie Bank (Al Pacino) involving a new casino being built. Ocean (Clooney) vows to get revenge on Bank. Blah blah blah. Two hours later the film thankfully ends.
Kudos has to go to Ellen Barkin who does manage to show at 50 you can still be a fine looking woman. Not much else to praise here. Pacino continues his paycheck collecting and only a cameo from Super Dave Osbourne could elicit a smile from me. This isn't a terrible movie, but a joyless exercise that left me watching the clock
Monday, February 11, 2008
Actor Roy Scheider Dies at 75
Actor Roy Scheider, a two-time Oscar nominee best known for his leading role as the water-phobic police chief in the smash blockbuster Jaws, died Sunday in Little Rock, Arkansas, at the University of Arkansas Medical Sciences hospital; he was 75. Though an official cause of death was not released at press time, a hospital spokeswoman stated that the actor had been treated for multiple myeloma at the hospital's research center for the past two years. Born in New Jersey, Scheider pursued a career in boxing before turning to acting, and won an Obie award for his work with the New York Shakespeare Festival in the late '60s. His first major film appearances also began in the late '60s in such movies as Star! and Paper Lion, and it was in 1971 that he truly gained fame for his roles two popular thrillers, Klute and The French Connection; the latter earned him an Oscar nomination for Best Supporting Actor. However, it was his role four years later in the Steven Spielberg thriller Jaws for which he became most well-known, playing a local lawman in a tourist beach town who must contend with the sudden appearance of a great white shark; his line, "You're gonna need a bigger boat," became one of the most well-known lines in contemporary film. Scheider also appeared in the ill-fated sequel Jaws 2 (after dropping out of the lead role in The Deer Hunter and in order to be let out of his Universal Studios contract) and the thriller Marathon Man before embarking on his most acclaimed performance, that of Broadway director and choreographer Joe Gideon in Bob Fosse's All That Jazz. The role, closely based on Fosse's life, brought Scheider his second Academy Award nomination in 1979, this time for Best Actor. Though none of Scheider's later films would reach the heights of his movies from the '70s, he continued to work steadily in both film and television, with diverse roles in such films as Still Of The Night, Blue Thunder, 2010, The Russia House, Naked Lunch, The Peacekeeper, The Myth Of Fingerprints (for which he received an Independent Spirit Award nomination) and the TV series SeaQuest DSV and Third Watch. Scheider is survived by his three children and his second wife, actress Brenda King.
- from www.imdb.com
Roy was quite a nontraditional actor. He wasn't your normal leading man, yet he found himself in some of the biggest films around. I'll remember him best as Popeye Doyle's partner in The French Connection. The last thing I saw him in was The Punisher as Frank Castle's dad. The acting world has just lost one of it's best. I feel as if one of my very old friends has past away. My heartfelt condolences go out to his family as another great man finds his way home.
Sunday, February 3, 2008
Troy Duffy was an "overnight" success after he met Harvey Weinstein. Harvery liked his screenplay pitch at the bar so much he signed him. Troy would never make his movie at Miramax because he let it all go to his head and became an asshole. Troy would later snap up financing to make The Boondock Saints, but the damage had been done. The collegues that he alienated had recorded it to be shown as this documentary.
Troy Duffy is an asshole and no one has worked with hims since TBS. We get that... but the filmmakers think we should care about it more coz they got screwed out of profits. The real loser is Duffy - who didn't sign a contract that gave him residuals from rentals or sales from the dvd, which is where TBS made as shit ton of money. Couldn't happen to a nicer moron.
This documentary is nothing more than a thinly veiled attack on a jerk filmmaker that was an asshole to the makers of the movie. A waste of time for everyone including me. Can I sue to get that 85 minutes back?