Home > Vulture News > THE WEEKEND MARQUEE: 70s Heavies Dominate As Martin Scorsese’s ‘Shutter Island’ Hopes To Scare Up Big Box Office; Roman Polanski’s ‘Ghost Writer’ Garners Rave Reviews

THE WEEKEND MARQUEE: 70s Heavies Dominate As Martin Scorsese’s ‘Shutter Island’ Hopes To Scare Up Big Box Office; Roman Polanski’s ‘Ghost Writer’ Garners Rave Reviews

SHUTTER-ISLAND

At the start of his directing career, Martin Scorsese‘s decision to follow his gritty and personal breakthrough drama, Mean Streets, with the story of a single mom in Alice Doesn’t Live Here Anymore, set the genre jumping template that’s been the driving force of his work ever since. In the last few year’s he’s continued the trend, following the Oscar winning thriller The Departed with the Rolling Stones‘ concert documentary Shine A Light. Paramount is hoping  his first attempt at horror, Shutter Island, which is finally getting a wide release after a schedule change from November to February, will attract moviegoers this weekend. When asked by the LA Times whether he thinks the date change will affect its box office Scorsese said:

I really don’t know. I go by what they really feel is important. They’re [Paramount] are behind the picture.

shutter_islandTHE BUZZ: Good, but not great. Paramount president Brad Grey‘s announcement about changing the release date, last September, caused media speculation that the reason behind the decision was that the movie had serious problems. Turns out it isn’t a disaster. Critical response has been positive, if a little unenthusiastic. With a third act suprise ending, Scorsese’s detour into M. Night Shyamalan territory should do well against last week’s repeats. The Wolfman certainly won’t be providing much competition since it will most likely fare even worse than its third place debut.

Salon‘s Andrew O’Hier admired the film, but considers it a noble failure on the part of Scorcese:

Maybe it’s admirable, on a personal level, for Scorsese to pursue something he’s not that good at. But that’s a little like saying that I should try writing romance novels. Hey, it’s just words on the screen, right? I do that already! He seems to have painted himself into a late-career pattern of making leaden, inflated genre pictures, all of them featuring DiCaprio in his unkempt, boiled-owl mode and all of them loaded with internal contradictions and at war with themselves.

Entertainment Weekly‘s Owen Glieberman also had mixed feelings about the movie:

Shutter Island is a mystery that’s out to summon a whiff of tabloid sensation, and at times it’s almost too stately, as if Scorsese thought the devices that propel the tale — 
visions of the Holocaust, murmurings of guilt and mind control — made this a ”personal” film. They don’t. The movie does have a payoff, though. And it works, shiveringly well. Shutter Island is hokum passing itself off as more than hokum, but it’s no accident that the resolution is so much better than the boggy middle. Only then can Scorsese stop pretending he’s making something important.

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In the past few months, Roman Polanski has gotten media attention in the worst way; due to his arrest in September in Switzerland stemming from 1977 sexual assault charges against a 13 year old girl. Polanksi has avoided prison time after posting $1.7 million bail and with the release of his latest directorial effort, The Ghost Writer, starring Ewan McGregor and Pierce Brosnan, he’s getting press for his work as opposed to his personal life.

The movie is based on the Robert Harris novel The Ghost, which can be described as a British Primary Colors. In other words, it’s a thinly veiled allusion to Tony Blair and his real life supporting cast of characters, about a writer hired to write the memoirs of a Prime Minister who puts the country into a war with Iraq. MacGregor has been supportive of the controversial director in interviews for the film. During an appearance on ABC’s Good Morning America, he said about Polanski:

He’s a legend. He’s one of the best living film directors there is. So I was excited to work with him.

Interviewer, George Stephanopoulos, asked him about Polanski’s recent arrest, to the which the actor responded:

It has nothing to do with me. It’s none of my business.

ghost_writer_ver2THE BUZZ: Good. Legal troubles aside, it seems Polanski’s choice of subject matter complements his filmmaking style and the result is, what critics are calling, one of his best movies in years.

The New York Times Manohla Dargis, writes:

Mr. Polanski is a master of menace and, working with a striking wintry palette that at times veers into the near-monochromatic — the blacks are strong and inky, the churning ocean the color of lead — he creates a wholly believable world rich in strange contradictions and ominous implications.

Rolling Stone‘s Peter Travers says:

You can feel Polanski’s excitement to be working on a film that echoes 1970s classics such as Three Days of the Condor and The Parallax View. Whatever happens to Polanski in real life, his reel life is in excellent shape. The Ghost Writer is one of his diabolical best.

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Just as former Gilmore Girls star Alexis Bledel‘s comedy, Post-Grad, arrives on video, her new movie, The Good Guy, in which Bledel plays, once again, a young woman pursuing her career and love life (in Manhattan this time) is arriving in theaters. After playing similar characters on TV and film, the actress may be starting to get worried about typecasting. She tells E! Online that she wouldn’t mind doing an action movie:

I’m sporty. But even if I’m not the action hero, I could be like one of the techies.

and theater:

I don’t know that I see myself belting one out on stage, like singing on Broadway. But I think a dramatic play would be really cool.

good_guy_xlgTHE BUZZ: So-so. Dealing with the high stakes world of stock trading, albeit amongst a cast of characters closer to the age of the cast of Gossip Girl than to Michael Douglas’ Gordon Gekko character from Oliver Stone‘s 1987 film Wall Street; the movie’s alternate title could be Wall Street Jr.

The Village Voice‘s Ella Taylor says:

I’d like to tell you it’s more complicated, but it really isn’t, despite the endless detours to Manhattan bars, bookstores, and trendy streets in pursuit of a love mystery that isn’t. [Julio] DePietro is no cynic, and he means well—but he also means to corner the coveted Dear John demographic, which, in turn, means that The Good Guy suffers from the dreary want of imagination about the specificity of twentysomething life that has sunk so many other specimens of this battered genre.

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