Tom McCarthy

James Franco and Anne Hathaway

Usually I’m quite cynical about end-of-year lists, as they demand a forced encapsulation of an arbitrary block of time that is not yet over into something simplified. I typically find end-of-year lists fun, but rarely useful. But 2011 is different. As Scott Tobias pointed out, while “quiet,” this was a surprisingly strong year for interesting and risk-taking films. What’s most interesting has been the variety: barely anything has emerged as a leading contender that tops either critics’ lists or dominates awards buzz. Quite honestly, at the end of 2010 I struggled to find compelling topics, trends, and events to define the year in cinema. The final days of 2011 brought a quite opposite struggle, for this year’s surprising glut of interesting and disparate films spoke to one another in a way that makes it difficult to isolate any of the year’s significant works. Arguments in the critical community actually led to insightful points as they addressed essential questions of what it means to be a filmgoer and a cinephile. Mainstream Hollywood machine-work and limited release arthouse fare defied expectations in several directions. New stars arose. Tired Hollywood rituals and ostensibly reliable technologies both met new breaking points. “2011” hangs over this year in cinema, and the interaction between the films – and the events and conversations that surrounded them – makes this year’s offerings particular to their time and subject to their context. This is what I took away from this surprising year:


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This week, on a very special episode of Reject Radio, screenwriter Marti Noxon discusses the lack of sparkles in Fright Night and writer/director Tom McCarthy talks good people doing bad things in Win Win. Plus, good old Rob Hunter faces off against Movies Editor Matt Patches in a grudge match that will be written about for hours to come. Listen Here: Download This Episode


SXSW Win Win

 Director Tom McCarthy is back with his third feature film, following the incredibly well received and reviewed films The Station Agent and The Visitor. I’m ashamed to say I’ve seen neither, but based on reactions from trusted colleagues, I have no doubt they are both great films. Unfortunately, Win Win didn’t bowl me over. It’s a fine film that has a good deal of warmth and charm, but it just doesn’t cross that line from good to great. Mike Flaherty (Paul Giamatti) is a typical family man. He has a nice home, a loving wife, and a few adorable kids. He spends his time working in a private law practice and coaching the local high school wrestling team. But lately the work has gone from steady flow to trickle. The office needs a new furnace, the kids need food and clothes and the mortgage isn’t going anywhere, but the money is starting to dry up. Mike reaches his breaking point, unable to tell his wife Jackie (Amy Ryan) about the financial troubles and admit to what he sees as a failure as the provider, and decides to take advantage of a situation with an elderly client. Leo Poplar (Burt Young) has been deemed incapacitated by the court and despite his strong desire to stay in his own home, he’s going to have to be moved to an assisted living facility. Leo has no family to speak of, only a daughter he hasn’t spoken to or heard from in years. […]



It’s Academy Awards time again, and even though we all know the awards are basically an irrelevant exercise in mutual masturbation it’s still fun to watch. This year sees a wide variety of films gain entry into Oscar history via nominations for Best Screenplay, Original and Adapted. Some deserve the honor, while others are based on the novel “Push” by Sapphire.



The diversely talented Tom McCarthy has done pretty much everything. Accomplished actor, Academy Award nominated screenwriter, excellent director. He co-wrote Pixar’s Oscar-nominated Up and wrote and directed The Visitor, the 2007 film that earned Richard Jenkins an Oscar nom. What’s next? Another film with Fox Searchlight, that’s what.



I typically save the boiling points for Robert Fure, aiming instead to frame my column as an observation of media rather than a critique, analyzing trends and their meaning in the context of film and television as an intersecting object of commerce and art. But there is something that has been getting under my skin in some films released in the past several months, and it’s the way that Hollywood deals with the subject infidelity.



There are few things these days that really manage to get me excited, and one is the adaptation of George R.R. Martin’s Game of Thrones for HBO. The pilot is almost finished and executives will get a look at it soon. So what did HBO’s Michael Lombardo have to say about how it’s coming along at today’s TCA event?



Since Peter Berg might possibly, maybe, could not be directing Dune, we’ve decided to throw a few hats into the ring. Who do you think could helm one of the hardest science fiction adaptations of all time?



In the first bit of casting news for HBO’s “Game of Thrones,” the production absolutely nails it with the addition of Peter Dinklage and Tom McCarthy.

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published: 01.28.2015
published: 01.28.2015
published: 01.28.2015
published: 01.27.2015

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