The Iceman

discs stories we tell

Welcome back to This Week In Discs! As always, if you see something you like, click on the image to buy it. Stories We Tell Sarah Polley, best known for her work both in front of and behind the camera for feature films, turns her eye onto her own family in documentary form as she explores a part of their history from varying perspectives. Through interviews and home videos she goes back in time to explore her parents lives, her own childhood, and a secret they all think they know. What starts as a focus on a mystery becomes something more as stories, recollections, and memories differ from person to person. In a year filled with fantastic and powerful documentaries, Polley’s film remains the warmest and most wondrous thanks both to the content and the film’s structure. She’s on this journey with us, equally unsure of her own motivations and delighted by the results. It’s a personal story, even her family members wonder why anyone else would care, yet it speaks to a universal truth about how we share our stories and make them our own. Each person has their own tale as well as a piece of everyone else’s, and it’s amazing to see them play out onscreen. Plus, the stinger here puts Marvel films to shame. [DVD extras: Trailer]


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Michael Shannon has explored a great deal of history in the past few years: he got rowdy as Kim Fowley in The Runaways; stern as hell for Boardwalk Empire; and, who could forgot, supplied comic relief for Michael Bay in Pearl Harbor. He once again plays period in The Iceman, based on family man contract killer Richard Kuklinski, a.k.a. “The Iceman.” Shannon can be seen donning old man sweaters, thick mustaches, and, best of all, dancing to a Blondie song. If there were any reason for a period piece to exist, it’s for Michael Shannon to groove to “Heart of Glass.” Besides showing off some moves on the dance floor, Shannon infuses a surprising amount of empathy into a man who takes lives for a living. The movie and performance never approve or sensationalize his actions, but, for a guy who killed over 100 people, Shannon’s portrayal paints a portrait of a guy who isn’t pure evil at his core. He’s human, and a genuinely good family man. That dichotomy is the heart of The Iceman, and according to Shannon, that’s what convinced him to sign on. Here’s what else Shannon had to say about the film’s focused narrative, invoking period, and why us talking in our underwear wouldn’t make for a different conversation:


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When you see in a film synopsis that Michael Shannon is going to play a serial killer/hitman, it’s safe to assume that you are poised to see an amazing performance. And, yes, in Ariel Vromen’s The Iceman (Vromen co-wrote with Morgan Land), Shannon more than fulfills your hopes and dreams as real-life serial killer turned mob hitman Richard “The Iceman” Kuklinski. He claims to have killed over 100 men over the course of his killing career while at the same time being a fiercely devoted husband and father to his wife Deborah (Winona Ryder) and their daughters. The film perhaps suffers from some structuring issues, making Kuklinski’s story somewhat fuzzy at times, but on the whole, it delivers with its amazing performances from Shannon and the stellar ensemble cast, as well as with its beautiful, unrelentingly dark cinematography.


Star Trek Into Water

The Oscar season is long gone. Long gone, I say. Movies about old presidents and singing about your horrible life are over. As are the early dumping ground months, which weren’t all that horrible this year, thankfully. Now the summer movie season has begun. Marvel, once again, is starting things off on what won’t be a tough act to follow, but a pretty darn good one. Seeing Tony Stark crack jokes for two hours isn’t the only highlight of this month or this summer. Summer 2013 is packed with plenty of movies to act giddy over, both big and small. May represents what we should come to expect over the next three months with a nice amount of variety. There are ten films this month which are must-sees:


The Iceman TIFF

Writer/director Ariel Vromen (Rx) has chosen an interesting subject for his latest film, The Iceman; a New Jersey native named Richard Kuklinski who served as a mob hitman and killed somewhere between 100 and 250 people between the mid 50s and mid 80s, all without his wife and kids having any idea how he put food on the table. Vromen’s film follows Kuklinski from the point where he met his lady love and first got into organized crime back in the 50s, all the way to his capture and incarceration in 1986. It explores his psyche, his methods, and the way New Jersey fashions have gotten increasingly more ridiculous as the decades have gone on. Oh yeah, and one more thing… it’s got Michael Shannon playing the title role. Given what an intense, captivating actor Shannon has developed into over the years, any movie that puts him in a starring role is pretty explicitly setting up his performance as being its main attraction, so it feels necessary to spend a lot of time talking about how he does. Unsurprisingly, he’s good. Kuklinski was best known for being merciless and unflappable, and Shannon gets that across by doing a silent, stone-faced, De Niro type thing that feels authentic in its competence and menace. As his turn in Take Shelter proved, Shannon is best when he’s got repressed emotions boiling just beneath the surface of his skin, and the role of the dangerous killer playing wholesome family man gives him multiple chances […]


TIFF 2012 Header

Editor’s Note: We’ve asked a Jamaican to go to Canada to cover the movies of TIFF 2012. Andrew Robinson, whose work you can check out over at his blog, has obliged and will be filling us all in on the antics in the Great White North. Here’s his first missive. Any day now I’ll be on a plane heading to Toronto for the very first time in order to attend a film festival for the very first time. I’ve been excited to attend the Toronto International Film Festival (affectionately known as TIFF) for the past three years, and now it’s finally happening. Before we dive into this list, which honestly cannot do the festival’s amazing looking lineup any justice, I will give a couple caveats. It’s based on my confirmed schedule, and therefore two films which I’m genuinely excited for but will not be able to see (Rian Johnson’s Looper and Michael Haneke’s Amour) are not on it; it’s also in no sort of ordered preference. So with that out of the way and with all the excitement being thrown around, let’s take a quick look at the films that I’m most excited for:


Michael Shannon in The Iceman

t’s been a big week for Michael Shannon. Just seven days ago his latest film, Premium Rush, hit theaters and earned the man heaps of critical praise for his quirky, Dick Tracy villain performance as a dirty cop; and now the trailer for his latest starring vehicle, The Iceman, has hit the net. This is big news because, oh boy, does this true telling of the life of contract killer Richard Kuklinski look like it’s going to be a doozy. Detailing the life of a hired gun all the way from the late ’60s to the early ’80s, The Iceman doesn’t just give Shannon a chance to do that intense, conflicted, rolling sea of emotions just beneath the surface of his skin thing that he does so well, it also gives him the opportunity to experiment with all sorts of ridiculous facial hair combinations. Oh wait, and who’s that? Why, it’s Captain America himself, Chris Evans, and his sleazy Lemmy beard looks like it wants to get in on the action too.

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published: 01.26.2015
published: 01.26.2015
published: 01.26.2015
published: 01.26.2015

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