Archive for the ‘Timothy Hutton’ Category

How To Get Away With Murder

06 Aug

How To Get Away With Murder — Courtroom serial. 6 seasons Color 2014-2020
The Story: A defense attorney also teaches a class in a Philadelphia law school and nominates her five best students to apprentice her, and all of them and so many more, find their lives imperiled.
Why can’t I stop eating salted peanuts? It’s not because of the peanuts. It’s the salt. So it is that, for 60 episodes, I invite you to indulge in How To Get Away With Murder. I devoured it on Netflix.

You will find yourself in Raymond Chandler Land — which means that you’re teased forward by turns of plot and motivation and character that are impossible to follow — also by legalese. The salt is my not being able to understand a thing, and by it was held as by Gorilla Glue. This, therefore, is film noir at its best.

For motivations are so gnarled we are drawn down into the black depths as by a psychopomp. Each episode also shifts us forward as we notice that many of the characters are costumed slightly out of the frame of their characters — but only enough to achieve pleasure, not denunciation. I was lost.

Of course, I could say that two of the main male actors should stop doing all that stuff with their mouths — but it’s too late for that, not only because they played their parts for six years, but because they have come to take up rooms in my psyche.

The female actors do better, as do the Oscar winners Marcia Gay Harden, Timothy Hutton, and Cicely Tyson, the last of whom in her 90s is a pleasure to behold. Cicely Tyson is an actor of impeccable technique. Everything the right size, attentive, and there is nothing you can learn by watching her. She got it on her birthday and went into the right line of work — beauty at every stroke.

Completely different to her is Viola Davis as the main and focal character the attorney Annalise Keating.
What do we notice first about an actor — pay attention students — it’s how they walk — and Viola Davis takes over the movie with a formidable stride.

Viola Davis, well into her 50s, plays a woman well into her 50s. She is an actor right for the role, which means, she is well cast, which means that you do not sit back. You may lean forward to peer into the depths, but you’d better know your place. Viola Davis is a national treasure, a national wonder, a national park. Stand back in awe. It’s the proper response to such majesty of gifts.

How To Get Away With Murder is not a comedy — indeed I wonder if Viola Davis can play comedy at all — although that thought won’t trouble you one bit as she gives you your money’s worth with every breath she draws.


The Dark Half

25 Jan

The Dark Half — directed by George A. Romero. Horror. A college professor moonlighting as a horror story writer is pursued to the death by his doppelganger, his own nom de plume — 122 minutes color 1991.

* * * *

Julie Harris, costumed entirely in lunatic fringe and puffing a meerschaum pipe to boot, plays the college crony crone of our hero, and it’s lovely to see how Harris, a big star with big leading roles behind her, can right-size a role like this and bring to it no more that it will bear, while still giving full value. The original Sally Bowles in I Am A Camera and Frankie in The Member of the Wedding and Abra in East of Eden, here plays a small supporting role: watch, you young actors, what this feels like and how this is managed: no larger, no smaller than ordained: perfect. My view of our hero though is that Timothy Hutton cannot carry a movie, and it is not because of lack of talent or variety of skills with that talent, for his range is certainly demonstrated here. It is as though somewhere in midstream he loses his grip on — I don’t know which — the part the role? A certain doughiness takes over, as the bread starts to rise and then collapses in on itself, as though he could not seek deeper than his instinct. At 31 or so, he’s certainly good looking, even beautiful, and he’s certainly come a long way from Taps, and he certainly has acting in his blood. Nonetheless, this is one of the best pieces of work of his I’ve seen, and his double header as the evil twin is droolingly good. The work of Stephen King always repels me: we’ve a disaffinity of temperament. Always about some male writer, Depp, Richardson, Hutton, Caan, always some remote place in the Maine woods, always someone out to get him and take over. Although over-discursive, here, this version of the theme interests me more than usual: the writer himself as the psychopomp into the hell-realm, not just the wrens, although I liked the wrens a lot.


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