Sacha Gervasi

Hitchcock Review

Biopics take on a new personality when the subject is an admired figure or, worse still, a personal hero. Alfred Hitchcock’s well-deserved moniker, “The Master of Suspense,” does little to fully capture the elevated place of regard he holds with cinephiles who count themselves devoted fans, which is to say cinephiles. Sacha Gervasi‘s Hitchcock narrows the scope of the director’s life to the production of arguably his greatest film: Psycho. The film covers the lifespan of Psycho from inspirational inception to the labor pains of production, and finally its glorious delivery. Some may balk at the idea of a Hitchcock biopic covering such a short period of the man’s life and indeed only one movie from the intensely prolific director’s canon. However, this seemingly reductive approach is actually quite fitting considering the turning point that this one film represented and the inherent metaphors that can then be extrapolated from the production experience. Psycho was one of the riskiest endeavors of Hitch’s career. He was nearing the end of his professional life and wasn’t commanding as much studio confidence as he once was. It was at this precarious era that he decided to make, and self-fund, a film that not only challenged the conception of Hitchcock as an artist, but indeed changed the landscape of film itself. The studio refusing to fund the movie fed his lifelong insecurity and the tricks employed to sell Psycho to audiences were a function of his overarching commitment to publicity. So yes, the choice to […]

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Hitchcock AFI FEST

Alfred Hitchcock is, as the kids say, “having a moment” right now. On the heels of a HBO’s made-for-television film, The Girl, and a year before he’ll pop up in Olivier Dahan’s Grace of Monaco, ol’ Hitch is the subject of yet another feature. This one is simply named Hitchcock, and despite the promise such an eponymous title might deliver (“Hitchcock! That sounds like it will cover quite a bit of ground!”), Sacha Gervasi‘s film sticks to a slim (though important) period of the director’s life, focusing on the production of Psycho, a truly warts-and-all experience. And yet, despite working from intriguing material (the script, by John J. McLaughlin, has been adapted from Stephen Rebello‘s book, “Alfred Hitchcock and the Making of Psycho”) and with a tremendously talented cast (led by Anthony Hopkins and Helen Mirren), the final product is a disparate and shapeless film that never finds its footing or its focus. A Hitchcock film this is not. Hitchcock attempts to immediately introduce us to both “Hitch” (Hopkins) and his obsessions, opening with a mildly amusing vignette that features mass murderer Ed Gein (Michael Wincott), the inspiration behind the book that inspired Hitchcock’s Psycho, offing his first victim while Hitchcock himself wryly observes, coming into frame like some sort of grand master of ceremonies (Gein will reappear throughout the film, each appearance becoming more laughable and ineffective than the last). Hitchcock, it turns out, has just come off the tremendous success of his North By Northwest and is now […]

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Hitchcock

Whenever an iconic actor takes on an iconic real-life figure as their next role, the film that they do it in tends to be guaranteed a certain amount of hype. Questions of how much they were made to look like them and how much they ended up sounding like them are the first things that cross everyone’s minds, so we all run out and gobble up those initial trailers. That’s likely to be the case for this new trailer for Sacha Gervasi’s Hitchcock, as well, because it features acting legend Anthony Hopkins portraying directing legend Alfred Hitchcock. How is Anthony Hopkins as Alfred Hitchcock? Is he doing an impression of him, or kind of doing his own thing? Does his jowl makeup look believable? Luckily for us, the answers to all of these questions are contained here in this trailer, so our curiosity can be sated. When Hopkins is in the makeup, yes, he looks quite a bit like Hitchcock. He seems to be mimicking his mannerisms pretty broadly, but there’s also quite a bit of his own voice coming through in his performance. In a movie like this, where one celebrity plays another celebrity, complete with makeup and wardrobe, there’s always the possibility that after a while the whole thing will start to feel like an overly long SNL sketch and get ridiculous, but Hitchcock passes the initial sniff test.

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Hitchcock

As we draw ever closer to Hollywood’s own AFI FEST, the film festival’s little elves are hard at work issuing tantalizing press releases that clue us into some of the treats that await fest-goers this November. On the heels of announcing the festival’s Closing Night Film, Lincoln, last week, the fest has now announced which film will open the festivities, and it’s one hell of an appropriate pick. The world premiere of Sacha Gervasi‘s Anthony Hopkins-starring Hitchcock will open the festival on Thursday, November 1. The film centers on the making of Psycho and draws from Stephen Rebello‘s book “Alfred Hitchcock and the Making of Psycho” with a script by John J. McLaughlin. It also stars Helen Mirren, Scarlett Johansson, Jessica Biel, James D’Arcy, Toni Collette, Danny Huston, and Michael Stuhlbarg. Star-studded? You bet. Awards season fodder? You are two for two. Hitchcock himself was the recipient of the AFI Life Achievement Award in 1979, and four of his movies rank on AFI’s “100 Years…100 Movies” list: Vertigo (#9), Psycho (#14), Rear Window (#48), and North by Northwest (#55).

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Since we first heard about director Sacha Gervasi’s (Anvil!: The Story of Anvil) upcoming look at the life and work of legendary filmmaker Alfred Hitchcock, quite a bit of important casting has seemingly gone down. Variety reports that not only are age-old rumblings of Anthony Hopkins being attached to play the title character still holding up, but also that Helen Mirren has signed on to play Hitchcock’s wife, Alma. That’s a lot of pedigree for one movie to have, both in cast and subject matter, but the news doesn’t stop there. Apparently the sweetest role in the pic is that of Janet Leigh, Hitchcock’s Psycho leading lady. Inside sources are saying that this is the sort of role that’s going to be grubbing for awards attention, like Michelle Williams’ turn as Marilyn Monroe did last year, and whoever lands it is bound to see their career get an uptick. So who’s getting the chance to play such a choice part? An actress who already has little trouble getting attention on her own, Scarlett Johansson.

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Mark Wahlberg seems to be busier now than ever before, and while some people may find that news to be unfortunate I myself am happy to see it happening. (Not to be mistaken with me being happy to see The Happening…) He’s a charismatic actor, and his limited range rarely prevents him from being entertaining at the very least. He released the mild hit Contraband earlier this year, is in post-production on two films and is already potentially attached to another four including Michael Bay’s first non-robot movie in seven years, Pain and Gain. Headhunters is a blackly comic thriller from Norway about an insecure corporate headhunter who moonlights as an art thief. His casually extravagant life takes a dark turn when a robbery goes awry and he finds himself double-crossed and on the run. The film, based on the slim novel by Jo Nesbø, is a an absolutely fantastic ride and was one of my personal favorites from last year. It’s funny, violent, and constantly surprising…and Summit quickly snapped it up for a US remake with Sacha Gervasi attached to helm. According to Shortlist, Wahlberg recently fell in love with the Norwegian film and apparently made a personal appeal to Gervasi to be a part of the remake. It’s assumed Wahlberg is interested in playing the lead role for three reasons. One, it’s the lead. Two, he’s the closest thing there is to a sympathetic hero in the film. And three, a big part of the character’s motivation and […]

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Psycho was a major change in the way movies are viewed by filmmakers, audiences and studios. Overstating its role in movie history is incredibly difficult because of how influential it was and how it hit at the exact moment to join a tide of evolutionary ideas in the world of movies. Enter the long-gestating project of filming “Alfred Hitchcock and the Making of ‘Psycho.’ An iconic director at a turning point. It’s a great idea, and it needs a great director. I was fortunate enough to get to speak with director Sacha Gervasi during the press boost for Anvil!: The Story of Anvil. When I did, he was flying his way around twisting canyon roads while balancing a phone and effortlessly explaining his raw passion for the band Anvil and for the story he was telling. That’s exactly the man to take a small part of Hitchcock’s career and turn it into gold. Luckily, according to the LA Times, Gervasi is circling the project (probably while balancing a phone and screaming about his passions). The big question: who do you cast as Hitch?

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What is Movie News After Dark? This is a question that I am almost never asked, but I will answer it for you anyway. Movie News After Dark is FSR’s newest late-night secretion, a column dedicated to all of the news stories that slip past our daytime editorial staff and make it into my curiously chubby RSS ‘flagged’ box. It will (but is not guaranteed to) include relevant movie news, links to insightful commentary and other film-related shenanigans. I may also throw in a link to something TV-related here or there. It will also serve as my place of record for being both charming and sharp-witted, but most likely I will be neither of the two. I write this shit late at night, what do you expect?

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Anvil! The Fucking Story of Anvil

First we rock, then we go out and get those Oscar votes, then we rock Michel Gondry’s Green Hornet movie so hard that it explodes! That’s the plan for the aging rockers of Anvil…

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Anvil! The Fucking Story of Anvil

It’s a story about hope that all goes back to a life philosophy shared by the band members and director Sacha Gervasi: “The only way you can fail is if you give up.”

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FSR

Kevin Carr reviews this week’s new movies: Observe and Report, Hannah Montana: The Movie, Dragonball: Evolution and Anvil!: The Story of Anvil.

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Anvil will rock your face off.

The documentary’s popularity is feeding the band. The band’s popularity is feeding the doc. The two are building to be the cultural phenomenon of the year, and we got our hands on an exclusive clip.

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