Archive for the ‘Jay Roach’ Category

Demonizing Dalton

Trumbo

trumbo_ver2

Director: Jay Roach

Cast: Bryan Cranston, Diane Lane, Elle Fanning, Louis C. K. Michael Stuhlbarg, Helen Mirren, John Goodman, Stephen Root, Roger Bart, Dean O’ Gorman, Alan Tudyk, Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje

Director Jay Roach really gives audiences an opportunity to witness Bryan Cranston’s acting talents first hand as Cranston plays the Oscar nominated role of blacklisted Hollywood screenwriter Dalton Trumbo in California in the late 1940s and throughout the 1950’s.

With the rise of McCarthyism in the early 1950’s and the vindictive Committee on Un-American Activities whose sole aim was to root out the perceived communist threat within Hollywood and many other facets of American society, the anti-communist witch hunt become notorious for ruining reputations and lives of artists, actors, directors and screenwriters. Even the famous playwright Arthur Miller was perceived as a threat and his persecution was illustrated in his classic play The Crucible.

trumbo

Dalton Trumbo, wonderfully played by Cranston, is an unconventional yet brilliant screenwriter who becomes one of the Hollywood Ten perceived by the Committee as harbouring Communist sympathies. Trumbo was, as his friend Arlen Hird played by Louis C. K. said, a Socialist with Champagne tastes. His flamboyant cigarette smoking, his unusual method of writing screenplays in the bath, his reliance on Benzedrine were all traits of a fierce creative genius who was ripe for prosecution.

Michael Stuhlbarg also gives an impressive performance as Edward G. Robinson who will do anything to maintain his lavish lifestyle.

In one of the great artistic injustices, Trumbo is found in contempt of the Supreme Court and sentenced to a Kentucky penitentiary for close to 18 months. Upon Trumbo’s release he is faced with the prospect of supporting his wife Cleo played by Diane Lane (Unfaithful) and three growing children, one of which is his feisty daughter Nicola superbly played by Elle Fanning (Maleficent).

Trumbo approaches a B-Grade studio, King pictures and soon does rewrites under a pseudonym under the guidance of the studio boss, Frank King boisterously played by John Goodman (The Gambler, Barton Fink). Helen Mirren (Woman in Gold, The Queen) pops up looking suitably glamorous as the Hollywood actress turned gossip columnist Hedda Hopper who ambivalently supports the Communist witch hunt and soon suspects that Trumbo is indeed writing Oscar winning screenplays under another screen writer’s name.

roman_holiday

The Audrey Hepburn and Gregory Peck romance Roman Holiday was credited to Ian McLellan Hunter, played by Alan Tudyk in Trumbo, but was actually written by the blacklisted Dalton Trumbo. Roman Holiday won an Oscar for Best Original Screenplay and went to McLellan Hunter acting as Trumbo’s front.

In steps Kirk Douglas played by Dean O’ Gorman who secretly approaches Trumbo to write a screenplay about a man taking on the world. That film was to become the blockbuster Spartacus.

spartacus_ver2

Besides the cinematic historical value of Trumbo, the injustices he suffered both personally and artistically, what carries Jay Roach’s film, is Bryan Cranston (Argo) who never falters in his brilliant portrayal of the legendary Dalton Trumbo.

Trumbo is a brilliant film, perhaps slightly uneven at times, but a fascinating portrayal of one man’s quest to get his name cleared and eventually receive the recognition from Hollywood that he deserves, especially for his talented contribution to film.

Trumbo is highly recommended viewing especially for cineastes and film historians, a brilliant portrayal of Hollywood in the 1950’s and the persecution of intellectuals by the American government of the time, whose paranoia concerning the cold war with Russia reached unreasonable proportions.

 

Film Directors & Festivals
Reviews and Awards
Review Calender
December 2017
M T W T F S S
« Nov    
 123
45678910
11121314151617
18192021222324
25262728293031
  • TV Review: ‘Godless’ on Netflix
    Look, there’s nothing wrong with making a Western. It’s gorgeous out there, and if you have a Netflix budget and Netflix runtime, why not put Scoot McNairy and Michelle Dockery out in the middle of New Mexico and film horses galloping to an endless horizon? There’s any number of ways to make that beautiful, and […]
    Sonia Saraiya
  • Russell Simmons Accused of Rape By Three Women
    Three women told the New York Times that they were raped by hip-hop mogul Russell Simmons in incidents dating back to 1988. Tina Baker, a singer, alleged that Simmons raped her in the early 1990s, when he was her manager. Drew Dixon claimed that Simmons sexually harassed and then raped her when she was an […]
    gmaddaus
  • TV News Roundup: Comedy Central Acquires All Nine Seasons of ‘The Office’
    In today’s roundup, “The Office” will air reruns on Comedy Central, while NBC sets an air date for “Red Nose Day.”  ACQUISITIONS Comedy Central has acquired all nine seasons of “The Office.” On Jan. 15, Comedy Central will kick off an all-day “Office” marathon.  Select episodes will be available to stream on Comedy Central’s website […]
    Rebecca Rubin
  • Curtis ’50 Cent’ Jackson Extends Overall Deal With Starz
    Curtis “50 Cent” Jackson has extended his overall deal with Starz into September 2019, the premium cabler announced Wednesday. “I am extremely pleased to expand my partnership with Starz and Lionsgate,” Jackson said. “This investment in my television and film ventures through G-Unit Film & Television will launch a wide range of new original scripted […]
    Joseph Otterson
  • Megyn Kelly Sees Ratings Lift With Donald Trump Accusers Interview
    “Megyn Kelly Today” saw a noticeable uptick in the ratings Monday, when Kelly hosted several women who are accusing President Donald Trump of sexual misconduct. According to Nielsen data, Kelly’s 9 a.m. hour of “Today” drew 2.91 million viewers on Monday, with 813,000 in the key adults 25-54 demographic. Those numbers come despite the fact […]
    Joseph Otterson