Shirley is about Shirley Jackson and the year in her life when she wrote Hangsaman (1951). It paints her writing life as a Gothic tale of horror and madness similar to the novels and short stories she produced. Writing fiction is indeed a kind of madness as imagination takes over the writer’s waking life. In this Shirley Jackson story, that statement is taken literally.Continue reading “Review: Shirley”
It’s fair to say I’m enthusiastic about The Shape of Water. This fantastical love story was beautiful and unique. Continue reading “Review: The Shape of Water”
Are you old enough to remember The Pentagon Papers? Just in case that was before your time, they were 700 pages of secret government documents about the Viet Nam War. They made the government look very bad. Very bad. Meryl Streep and Tom Hanks star in The Post to tell the story of how those pages were published creating the biggest news story of the 1970s. Continue reading “Watch This: Trailer for The Post”
Miss Sloane is a story about guns and gun control. Only in the United States could a story like this be told. Every other country in the world has better sense where guns are concerned. Continue reading “Review: Miss Sloane”
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.