The Great is a rowdy and ribald comedy based very loosely on the story of Catherine the Great of Russia. It bills itself as “an occasionally true story.” There really was a Catherine the Great of Russia. Stop there. That was the true part.Continue reading “Review: The Great”
All the Bright Places looks at some very serious topics through the eyes of young people. It’s a touching, powerful film about grief, mental health, and suicide. Heavy stuff, but dealt with in sensitive and ultimately hopeful ways.Continue reading “Review: All the Bright Places”
For all the problems and rebranding involved in bringing 3 Generations to the screen, I expected it to be a mess. It was actually quite good. The emotions were real and alive. The performances were excellent. Continue reading “Review: 3 Generations”
The only thing I remember about the first The Beguiled is that Clint Eastwood was in it. I wouldn’t even guarantee that memory. Now there’s a new The Beguiled directed by Sophia Coppola that promises to be a more female version of the story. Continue reading “Watch This: Trailer for The Beguiled”
Set for a December 25 release, 20th Century Women stars Annette Bening, Elle Fanning, Greta Gerwig, and Billy Crudup in a story set in 1979. Jimmy Carter is on the TV talking about a “crisis of confidence” – he was sure right about that one – and a group of women team up to raise a troubled teen (Lucas Jade Zumann). Continue reading “Watch This: Trailer for 20th Century Women”
Trumbo is a fact-based story about Dalton Trumbo, a screenwriter who was blacklisted during the Communist scare of the 1940s and 50s. Bryan Cranston is brilliant as the chain-smoking, hard-drinking writer who lead other Hollywood writers in a quiet but effective revolt against blacklisting.
Trumbo served time in prison for his liberal beliefs, as did many others during the hysterical fear-based Communist scourge of the 1950s. The 1st Amendment was under attack by many who sought to control the remarks and opinions of others – and throw them in prison if they disagreed. Continue reading “Review: Trumbo”
Trumbo is a slice of American history written through the lens of pop culture and Hollywood. The film details the life of Hollywood screenwriter Dalton Trumbo, who was blacklisted as a Hollywood writer in the 1940s for being a Communist. It’s based on the biography Dalton Trumbo by Bruce Cook.
The film stars Bryan Cranston as Dalton Trumbo. Louis C.K., John Goodman, Michael Stuhlbarg, Alan Tudyk and Helen Mirren are also in the film. Trumbo’s wife is played by Diane Lane with Elle Fanning as his daughter.
When Trumbo and many other Hollywood writers were called before House Un-American Activities Committee in Washington, D.C. and then blacklisted for their political beliefs, Trumbo orchestrated a fight against the U.S. government and studio bosses in a war over words and freedom. The blacklisting scandal eventually entangled everyone in Hollywood from Hedda Hopper (Helen Mirren) and John Wayne (David James Elliott) to Kirk Douglas (Dean O’Gorman) and Otto Preminger (Christian Berkel).
Trumbo was one of several hundred writers, directors, producers, and actors who were denied the opportunity to work in the motion picture industry from 1947 to 1960 because of blacklisting over the Communist scare. Trumbo managed to win two Oscars for films written under other names during this time: Roman Holiday and The Brave One. His struggle ended when he finally saw his name on the screen again for the film Exodus.
Trumbo was directed by Jay Roach and written by John McNamara. It is set for a November release. Early reviews from film festival viewers have been mixed. I think the topic is interesting enough, and relevant to still occurring witch hunts in American life today, to merit giving it a chance and making up my own mind about it.