Tag Archives: David Strathairn

Dolores Claiborne: Island of Misery

SOMETIMES, AN ACCIDENT CAN BE AN UNHAPPY WOMAN’S BEST FRIEND. 

During a critical scene between Dolores Claiborne (Kathy Bates) and her abusive husband Joe (David Strathairn), she tells him that he’s likely to end up in Shawshank Prison. Fans of Stephen King will recognize this as a typical sign that the story takes place in his universe, a device he frequently uses in his books. The prison was obviously featured in the movie The Shawshank Redemption (1994), which according to the IMDb has become the most popular Stephen King adaptation ever made. It’s a good movie, but Dolores Claiborne is even better, topped only by The Shining (1980).

After being caught by the mailman just as she was about to deal her elderly, paralyzed employer Vera Donovan (Judy Parfitt) a killing blow with a rolling pin, Dolores Claiborne finds herself under police investigation. Donovan had fallen down the stairs and died of her injuries before Dolores had the chance to finish her off. This isn’t the first time she’s the subject of a murder investigation and Detective John Mackey (Christopher Plummer) returns to the Maine island where she lives to make sure that this time Dolores serves time. Her daughter Selena (Jennifer Jason Leigh), a successful New York journalist, also comes back home to help her mother, but their relationship is not good for a number of reasons. As they’re forced to spend some time together in the house where Selena grew up, both women are frequently reminded of the past…

Horrifying emotional scars
This isn’t strictly speaking a horror movie, but one could argue that it isn’t far removed from the genre. The story deals with emotional scars that come across as horrifying, and there’s even a very disturbing hallucination that Selena has on the ferry from the island where she no longer can see her face in a mirror. There are many visual touches in the film, courtesy of cinematographer Gabriel Beristain, that makes it stand out from most of Taylor Hackford’s movies. The story is full of flashbacks that slowly reveal what a terrible influence Joe had on his family, how he ultimately died, and the truth about the relationship between Dolores and Vera. Hackford and Beristain seem to really enjoy coming up with various ways to start those flashbacks and we are frequently transported back and forth between the chilly, blue light of the present drama to the warmer colors of the past (not that those were the good old days). Visually and dramatically, the film reaches its high point during an eclipse where Dolores and Joe square off for the last time, and the look of the sky above them is even more intense than what plays out below. Hackford expertly keeps the pot boiling throughout the film; at times we may feel that we already understand certain plot points, but when they’re finally revealed or fully discussed we don’t mind. One obvious reason is the acting. Bates has declared this to be her favorite film; she got her breakthrough in another Stephen King adaptation, Misery (1990), and the writer became such a fan that he wrote ”Dolores Claiborne” with her in mind. She’s a tower of strength in a role that initially isn’t easy to love, but as we get to know this tough lady we realize what a quietly amazing feminist symbol she is.

Bates is ably supported by Leigh as the resentful daughter who has blocked out the worst part of her adolescence and Strathairn as the drunken father and husband. But apart from Bates, the actor who stands out the most is British stage veteran Parfitt as Vera, another woman with a tough surface that hides secrets. The scene where she sternly comforts Dolores and tells her what must be done is spellbinding.

Dolores Claiborne 1995-U.S. 131 min. Color. Widescreen. Produced by Taylor Hackford, Charles Mulvehill. Directed by Taylor Hackford. Screenplay: Tony Gilroy. Novel: Stephen King. Cinematography: Gabriel Beristain. Cast: Kathy Bates (Dolores Claiborne), Jennifer Jason Leigh (Selena St. George), Judy Parfitt (Vera Donovan), Christopher Plummer, David Strathairn, Eric Bogosian… John C. Reilly.

Quote: “Sometimes, Dolores… sometimes, you have to be a high-riding bitch to survive. Sometimes, being a bitch is all a woman has to hang onto.” (Parfitt to Bates)

Last word: “My mother was very independent, very tough, very strong, certainly the overwhelming influence in my life. Tony Gilroy adapted the book and did an amazing thing. The Jennifer Jason Leigh character didn’t exist in the book. Only the past existed in the book. It opened with Dolores going into the police station, saying that she hadn’t killed her employer that day, but she did kill her husband 20 years earlier, and the remainder of the story was told by Dolores in flashback. Tony realized that wouldn’t be a very interesting cinematic story, so he created an original screenplay for half the film, and the other half was already there in the book, especially the character of Dolores, which was all Stephen King’s.” (Hackford, The Hollywood Interview)

 

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A League of Their Own

A WOMAN’S PLACE IS ON HOME, FIRST, SECOND, AND THIRD.

leagueoftheirownWhen America enters World War II, Major League Baseball is forced to change; a newly formed women’s league attracts unorthodox players… and one very reluctant coach (Tom Hanks). Big (1988) director Penny Marshall reunited with the star of that film for another charming comedy, this time a reality-based depiction of how women battled 1940s prejudice in a very male field. Done with a light touch that works in spite of the running time; the sentimentality of the final moments hits home because of how attached to the characters we’ve become. A great feel for the period helps, and this is a dynamite cast, including Hanks who’s hilarious as the drunken coach.

1992-U.S. 128 min. Color. Widescreen. Produced by Elliot Abbott, Robert Greenhut. Directed by Penny Marshall. Screenplay: Lowell Ganz, Babaloo Mandel. Song: “This Used to Be My Playground” (performed by Madonna). Cast: Tom Hanks (Jimmy Dugan), Geena Davis (Dorothy “Dottie” Hinson), Madonna (Mae Mordabito), Lori Petty, Jon Lovitz, David Strathairn… Garry Marshall, Rosie O’Donnell, Téa Leoni, Bill Pullman.

Trivia: Debra Winger was allegedly first cast as Dottie. Followed by a TV series in 1993.

Last word: “There was a big tryout where [the actresses) were judged on running, catching, hitting. Throwing is always the hardest for girls because they throw differently. But I would not read — and really good — actresses unless they could play ball, or were trainable.” (Penny Marshall, New York Daily News)

4 kopia

 

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The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel

secondbestexotic.jpThe whole gang (almost) is here for another round of love, intrigue and fun under the sun at that charming hotel for seniors near Jaipur, India. The sequel to The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel (2012) suffers from the same problems as so many others; it’s contrived, overlong and whatever points the concept has were made in the first film. Still, (aging) crowds will be pleased thanks to these wonderful actors, and Richard Gere is a welcome younger addition. As in the original, the luster of Bollywood culture is a vital part of the attraction.

2015-Britain. 122 min. Color. Widescreen. Directed by John Madden. Cast: Judi Dench (Evelyn Greenslade), Maggie Smith (Muriel Donnelly), Bill Nighy (Douglas Ainslie), Celia Imrie, Penelope Wilton… Dev Patel, Richard Gere, David Strathairn.

6 kopia

 

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The Firm

POWER CAN BE MURDER TO RESIST.

 

thefirmBrilliant Harvard law student Mitch McDeere (Tom Cruise) is recruited by a Memphis firm that is very generous to him and his wife (Jeanne Tripplehorn)… but they have much to hide. The first adaptation of a John Grisham novel had perfect roles for two major stars; Cruise and Gene Hackman are very good as the young attorney and the seasoned mentor who’s learned to live with his choices many years ago. Sydney Pollack takes his time not just building tension as we learn more about the law firm, but also turning some of the characters into more than just stereotypes. Long but engrossing, with Dave Grusin’s piano score a novel accompaniment.

1993-U.S. 154 min. Color. Produced by John Davis, Sydney Pollack, Scott Rudin. Directed by Sydney Pollack. Screenplay: Robert Towne, David Rabe, David Rayfiel. Novel: John Grisham. Music: Dave Grusin. Cast: Tom Cruise (Mitch McDeere), Gene Hackman (Avery Tolar), Jeanne Tripplehorn (Abby McDeere), Holly Hunter, Ed Harris, Hal Holbrook… David Strathairn, Gary Busey. Cameo: Paul Sorvino.

Trivia: Charlie Sheen, Jason Patric and Robin Wright were allegedly considered for lead roles. Followed by a TV series, The Firm (2012).

Last word: “I thought ‘The Firm’ as it was written by John Grisham was a very successful and exciting reading experience, but was always very concerned that it wouldn’t work as a viewing experience because the same standards don’t apply when you stand something up on its feet and see it as a reality rather than seeing it in your head when you read it. There were certain logic problems that I couldn’t talk myself out of when I stood it up on its feet. I couldn’t understand why he didn’t just leave the firm and go away if these were such bad guys. So I knew we needed to plug that up for the film. Number two, I felt that there was no sense of a love story in the book at all…and I wanted to make the wife a more active participant in the film.” (Pollack, The Hollywood Interview)

4 kopia

 

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Godzilla

godzilla1415 years after the death of his mother in a mysterious accident at a nuclear power plant in Japan, bomb technician Ford Brody (Aaron Taylor-Johnson) is told by his father (Bryan Cranston) that he expects a similar disaster to occur again. 60 years after the original Godzilla comes this 3D take that boasts just as impressive visual effects and mayhem as the maligned 1998 Hollywood version – only this time we’re served a better story and cast (where Cranston stands out). Pacing is uneven, but Gareth Edwards stages the action well, and the introduction of several monsters is a shot in the arm. Very lively score by Alexandre Desplat.

2014-U.S. 123 min. Color. Widescreen. Directed by Gareth Edwards. Music: Alexandre Desplat. Cast: Aaron Taylor-Johnson (Ford Brody), Ken Watanabe (Ishiro Serizawa), Elizabeth Olsen (Elle Brody), Bryan Cranston, Sally Hawkins, David Strathairn… Juliette Binoche.

Trivia: Kong: Skull Island (2017) takes place in the same cinematic universe as this film.

5 kopia

 

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Lincoln: Calamity in Congress

 

lincolnOn a visit to Washington D.C. last October, I made the obligatory visit to the Lincoln Memorial and found the experience of first taking in the huge marble statue of the 16th President and then reading the words from his second Inaugural Address and the Gettysburg Address that are engraved onto the walls of the chamber quite overwhelming. Lincoln has become a saintly figure in American history, and if a few deserve that status he certainly is one of them. Steven Spielberg’s epic doesn’t offer a challenging vision of the President, but as an adaptation of Doris Kearns Goodwin’s brilliant “Team of Rivals” it is sheer mastery.

In January, 1865, Abraham Lincoln (Daniel Day-Lewis) has just won reelection and the Civil War looks like it might finally draw to a close. At Gettysburg, Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation that declared all slaves in Confederate territories free, but it has no basis in law. Lincoln needs Congress to formally abolish slavery and this will happen if the two legislatures pass a 13th amendment to the Constitution. After sailing through the Senate, the proposal lands in the House where it meets fierce resistance from Congressmen who fear the consequences of such an amendment. The President and his supporters embark on a campaign to convince lame-duck Congressmen who have little to lose – as well as the conservative founder of the Republican Party. At the same time, Mary Todd Lincoln (Sally Field) has personal reasons to make sure that the amendment passes…

Never losing credibility or gravitas
One of the greatest achievements of this film belongs to Tony Kushner. There were several stabs at adapting Goodwin’s massive book about Lincoln and his closest men, but Kushner came up with the final draft that convinced not only Spielberg but also Day-Lewis who had had his doubts. The book is a not easily approached masterpiece, but Kushner chose to focus on the meaning of the 13th Amendment, the reasons why Lincoln fought so hard for it at that time, and the dirty horse-trading that went on behind the scenes in order to secure votes. Some critics of the film found it too talky and stagy, but the director uses every tool at his disposal to make the process as vivid and entertaining as possible, without losing credibility or gravitas; in supporting roles, James Spader steals every scene he’s in as one of the men hired to offer government jobs to get the necessary votes, and Tommy Lee Jones is perfect as Thaddeus Stevens, the Congressman who can trade insults on the House floor with the best of them. Day-Lewis delivers another bravura performance, virtually becoming the Lincoln Goodwin describes in her pages – gentle, firm, distant at times, sorrowful but with a knack for telling humorous stories whether you want to hear them or not. Field is also impressive as the First Lady who is almost overcome with grief from losing her son, but still finds enough strength to function. Spielberg has sometimes been accused of not caring about actors, but this is certainly an actors’ movie; watching this cast at work is fascinating… and so is observing every detail of the production and costume designs, knowing the kind of effort that lies behind this drive to get as close to history as possible.

Democracy is messy. As I write this, Obama has just begun his second term and Congress will likely clash once again over the debt ceiling. Lincoln shows politicians threatening each other and twisting arms. The process itself ain’t pretty; it wasn’t in 1865 and it isn’t in 2013. But who can remember if something truly decent comes out of it?

Lincoln 2012-U.S. 150 min. Color. Widescreen. Produced by Steven Spielberg, Kathleen Kennedy. Directed by Steven Spielberg. Screenplay: Tony Kushner. Book: Doris Kearns Goodwin (“Team of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln”). Cinematography: Janusz Kaminski. Music: John Williams. Production Design: Rick Carter, Jim Erickson. Costume Design: Joanna Johnston. Cast: Daniel Day-Lewis (Abraham Lincoln), Sally Field (Mary Todd Lincoln), David Strathairn (William Seward), Joseph Gordon-Levitt, James Spader, Hal Holbrook… Tommy Lee Jones, John Hawkes, Jackie Earle Haley, Tim Blake Nelson, Jared Harris, Dane DeHaan.

Trivia: Liam Neeson was considered for the part of Lincoln, at an early stage. Holbrook has himself played the President in several miniseries made for TV.

Oscars: Best Actor (Day-Lewis), Production Design. Golden Globe: Best Actor (Day-Lewis). BAFTA: Best Actor (Day-Lewis).

Last word: “What really, really did the trick was when [Day-Lewis] read the Tony Kushner script and I was able to get a take two. My good buddy Leo DiCaprio simply called him up one day and said ‘you need to reconsider this. Steven really wants you for this and he’s not willing to make the movie without you’. Based on Leo’s phone call to him, Daniel offered to read the Tony Kushner script, which he had never read, and also the Doris Kearns Goodwin book, which he had never read. That’s when the courtship part was over. Once he read the script, then he really had to come to terms with that big decision he would eventually have to make. Can I, with honor, equip this character in a way that I’ll be able to live with this the rest of my life?” (Spielberg, Deadline)

3 kopia

 

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Hemingway & Gellhorn

WE WERE GOOD IN WAR. AND WHEN THERE WAS NO WAR, WE MADE OUR OWN. 

In 1936, war correspondent Martha Gellhorn (Nicole Kidman) meets Ernest Hemingway (Clive Owen) in Key West; their subsequent relationship is marked by wars and a fiery romance. Another prestige project from HBO, directed by a famous filmmaker, with movie stars in the leads. Kidman and Owen are excellent as two very independent and stubborn writing talents, although it shouldn’t have to take two and a half hours to reach simple insights about the nature of their relationship. Still, the story moves quickly between its historic events and the film cleverly fuses newly-shot material with contemporary newsreels.

2012-U.S. Made for TV. 155 min. Color. Directed by Philip Kaufman. Teleplay: Jerry Stahl, Barbara Turner. Cast: Nicole Kidman (Martha Gellhorn), Clive Owen (Ernest Hemingway), David Strathairn (John Dos Passos), Molly Parker, Parker Posey, Rodrigo Santoro… Peter Coyote, Lars Ulrich, Robert Duvall, Tony Shalhoub, Jeffrey Jones, Joan Chen, Connie Nielsen.

Trivia: Co-executive-produced by James Gandolfini.

AVERAGE

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Harrison’s Flowers

Sometimes love is the only proof you need.

During the Croatian War of Independence in 1991, American war correspondent Harrison Lloyd (David Strathairn) is assumed to have been killed, but his wife (Andie MacDowell) refuses to believe it and goes looking for him. Mixed reviews for this intense drama that boasts fine performances and horrifying battle sequences from the killing fields of the former Yugoslavia. The story moves along briskly and the director makes sure that we keep worrying about every character’s safety as bullets fly over their heads. However, the depiction of how war correspondents work is less than convincing.

2000-France. 130 min. Color. Widescreen. Directed by Elie Chouraqui. Book: Isabel Ellsen. Cast: Andie MacDowell (Sarah Lloyd), David Strathairn (Harrison Lloyd), Elias Koteas (Yeager Pollack), Adrien Brody, Brendan Gleeson, Alun Armstrong.

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The HBO Bitter Republicans Project?

Coming on the heels of polls showing that Mitt Romney did not get much of a boost after the Republican National Convention and Barack Obama getting a substantial push forward after the Democratic equivalent, conservative pundits like Rush Limbaugh and Laura Ingraham are starting to look scared and confused on TV. In the Fox News clip above, the latter is attacking Romney for not doing better. Her recipe: “Start winning […] Look like you’re ahead in Ohio and Pennsylvania”. Exactly how this is to be achieved… well, Ingraham fails to inform the Romney campaign of the magical solution. According to her, a Romney win in November ought to be a slam-dunk, and she’s amazed that it doesn’t look like it. That goes for Rush Limbaugh as well, who predicted yesterday that an Obama win would mean the destruction of the Republican Party.

 

As for the presidential election, Republicans would have us believe that it’s 1980 all over again. They’re still searching for a TV soundbite moment like the one from the clip above, a debate between President Jimmy Carter and Governor Ronald Reagan. They might still get one. After all, we have the debates left. Still, as Steve Benen notes on The Rachel Maddow Show’s blog, this election is nothing like 1980. Instead, it looks very much like 2004.

A future HBO TV movie about this election should focus on the bitterness and extremism already boiling underneath the surface of the GOP, with perhaps Danny Glover as Herman Cain, Philip Seymour Hoffman as Newt Gingrich, David Strathairn as Ron Paul, Josh Brolin as Rick Perry… and here’s a bold suggestion: Jane Badler as Michele Bachmann?

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The Bourne Legacy

THERE WAS NEVER JUST ONE.

As the American intelligence community is being investigated after the events of The Bourne Ultimatum (2007), the CIA try to eliminate everyone tied to one of their clandestine programs… but there is a survivor. The fourth film in the franchise is a reboot of sorts, with Jeremy Renner stepping as a new Jason Bourne, another lethal weapon of a man. He’s an ideal replacement, and the action is exciting, but there’s far too many lulls and characters discussing technicalities. Albert Finney and Joan Allen only have glorified cameos.

2012-U.S. 135 min. Color. Widescreen. Directed by Tony Gilroy. Cast: Jeremy Renner (Aaron Cross), Rachel Weisz (Marta Shearing), Edward Norton (Eric Byer), Albert Finney, Joan Allen, David Strathairn … Stacy Keach, Scott Glenn, Oscar Isaac, Zeljko Ivanek.

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Fracture

I SHOT MY WIFE… PROVE IT. 

Architect Ted Crawford (Anthony Hopkins) shoots his wife and surrenders to the police, but Willy Beachum (Ryan Gosling), the cocky prosecutor, soon realizes that he doesn’t have the upper hand. The great joy of this film is watching the two stars play games. You start out rooting for the evil architect because the arrogant attorney needs to be taken down a notch or two. But after a while you switch sides and want the humbled young man to defeat his brilliant opponent. The actors rise above the material. The basic idea for the film, the murder scheme, keeps you guessing but few will believe that the killer is stupid enough to make his one mistake.

2007-U.S. 112 min. Color. Widescreen. Directed by Gregory Hoblit. Cast: Anthony Hopkins (Ted Crawford), Ryan Gosling (Willy Beachum), David Strathairn (Joe Lobruto), Rosamund Pike, Billy Burke, Fiona Shaw.

 

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The Spiderwick Chronicles

THEIR WORLD IS CLOSER THAN YOU THINK. 

Helen Grace (Mary-Louise Parker) moves with her children to the Spiderwick Estate in New England, where her twin sons (Freddie Highmore) soon discover that strange creatures wage a constant battle against even stranger, malevolent beings. Many fans of the popular books seemed to appreciate this screen adaptation; it is good entertainment (albeit scary for younger kids), but parents are more likely to note all the similarities to predecessors like The NeverEnding Story (1984). Still, exciting stuff featuring themes that appeal to children in a smart way. The talented Highmore pulls off the challenge of playing twins.

2008-U.S. 97 min. Color. Widescreen. Directed by Mark Waters. Screenplay: John Sayles, Karey Kirkpatrick, David Berenbaum. Books: Tony DiTerlizzi, Holly Black. Music: James Horner. Cast: Freddie Highmore (Jared Grace/Simon Grace), Mary-Louise Parker (Helen Grace), Nick Nolte (Mulgarath), Sarah Bolger, Andrew McCarthy, Joan Plowright… David Strathairn. Voices of Seth Rogen, Martin Short.

 

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L.A. Confidential: City of No Angels

EVERYTHING IS SUSPECT… EVERYONE IS FOR SALE… AND NOTHING IS WHAT IT SEEMS. 

In the case of L.A. Confidential, success was far from guaranteed. Director Curtis Hanson had made a few formulaic thrillers, screenwriter Brian Helgeland was not an established name in Hollywood and the two stars, Russell Crowe and Guy Pearce, were mostly known for Australian soap operas. In the end, all of them gathered to create the Untouchables of the 1990s. Once the studio agreed to take a chance with Crowe and Pearce, Hanson found the courage to approach stars like Danny DeVito, Kim Basinger and Kevin Spacey for key supporting roles. The game was on for a journey back to 1954.

It’s pretty clear that James Ellroy’s story portrays a Los Angeles Police Department in dire need of morale. Both the novel and the film include the real-life Bloody Christmas scandal where police officers beat up several Latinos on Christmas Day 1951. A lot of things are indeed rotten in this story. We are primarily introduced to two very different cops, Bud White (Crowe) who doesn’t mind cracking a few skulls and bending rules in order to achieve results, and Ed Exley (Pearce), the son of a renowned L.A. cop who wants to be everything his father wasn’t – an honest police officer. His by-the-books attitude quickly makes him a laughing stock among his peers. When White’s partner is found dead alongside several other people in a diner, Exley is the first detective on the scene, but Captain Dudley Smith (James Cromwell) takes charge. The initial suspects are three black men, but the case turns out to run much deeper…

A long gone Los Angeles
There are several other interesting characters that lend this exciting thriller depth, all of them related to the idea of a Los Angeles that is long gone, although they all probably have successors in modern-day L.A.. There’s Jack Vincennes (Spacey), the sunny detective who knows that the real clue to success in his trade is positive PR, which is why he’s also serving as an adviser on a popular TV show about cops and never refuses a bribe if it serves the right purpose. There’s also a high-end prostitute called Lynn Bracken (Basinger) who looks like Veronica Lake and constantly becomes involved with both powerful and dangerous men; and Sid Hudgens (DeVito), the shameless editor of a gossip rag called “Hush-Hush” who knows every secret there is in Hollywood. When Hanson read Ellroy’s novel, he became primarily interested in the characters, and it shows; the actors are given ample opportunity to shine. The veterans are great, including Basinger in a performance that likely will define her career, and the new guys, Crowe and Pearce, are not afraid to stand tall. The story is absolutely mesmerizing, well told by Helgeland and Hanson, first introducing us to the characters in effective ways and then throwing us into a massacre that seems to go away after a violent conclusion… until it resurfaces like a floater, with shocking consequences that finally make White, Exley and Vincennes reluctantly team up. The deeper we get into the conspiracy, the tougher it gets, with one major plot twist that is brilliantly revealed and a final shoot-out that has one at the edge of one’s seat. Hanson didn’t want the period details to dominate everything, but they are nevertheless irresistible, and Jerry Goldsmith’s music score fits the movie well, in spite of certain modern touches; all in all it’s a highly atmospheric vision of the city that pays tribute to 1940s film noir and hard-boiled 1950s dramas.

In the end, L.A. Confidential became one of the best reviewed films of 1997, and a box-office hit. Sometimes it pays off for the powers that be in the city of dreams to take a chance with lesser-known talents.

L.A. Confidential 1997-U.S. 136 min. Color. Widescreen. Produced by Arnon Milchan, Curtis Hanson, Michael Nathanson. Directed by Curtis Hanson. Screenplay: Brian Helgeland, Curtis Hanson. Novel: James Ellroy. Cinematography: Dante Spinotti. Music: Jerry Goldsmith. Editing: Peter Honess. Cast: Kevin Spacey (Jack Vincennes), Russell Crowe (Bud White), Guy Pearce (Ed Exley), James Cromwell, David Strathairn, Kim Basinger… Danny DeVito, Simon Baker.

Trivia: Originally meant to be a TV series starring Kiefer Sutherland.

Oscars: Best Supporting Actress (Basinger), Adapted Screenplay. BAFTA: Best Editing, Sound. Golden Globe: Best Supporting Actress (Basinger).

Trivia: “I had always wanted to tell a story that was set in Los Angeles in the ’50s, because that’s where I grew up, and it was the city of my childhood memories. I wanted to deal with that, and also pursue this theme that interested me, which is the difference between illusion and reality, the way people and things appear to be versus how they really are. And Hollywood, of course, is the city of illusion. So that was near and dear to me, and extremely personal. In terms of talking with my collaborators as they came onboard – Jeannine Oppewall, our production designer, Dante Spinotti, our cinematographer, and so forth – I said to them, ‘Let’s pretend that this is a place like Honolulu. Let’s ignore the fact that all these other movies have been made here for decades and try to come at it with a fresh eye, as if it were an exotic city that people aren’t that familiar with. And let’s present our own view of it, create a world that’s unique to this movie’.” (Hanson, The A.V. Club)

 

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