Tag Archives: Joan Allen

The Set of 400: #214 – My Favorite Big Screen Tuberculosis

Today! Because there’s a cancer in the presidency and it’s growing –

Nixon (1995)

Directed by Oliver Stone (x2)

Starring Anthony Hopkins (x5), Joan Allen (x2), James Woods (x2), Paul Sorvino, Ed Harris, Powers Boothe (x3), Bob Hoskins, E.G. Marshall, David Hyde Pierce, David Paymer (x3), J.T. Walsh (x3), Mary Steenburgen (x2), Kevin Dunn (x3), Brian Bedford, Fyvush Finkel (x2), Annabeth Gish, Tony Goldwyn (x2), Larry Hagman (x2), Edward Herrman, Madeline Kahn (x2), Dan Hedaya (x3), Tom Bower, Tony Lo Bianco, Saul Rubinek, John C. McGinley, Michael Chiklis, George Plimpton, Marley Shelton (x2), James Karen (x2), Donna Dixon (x2), Sam Waterston, John Diehl, Robert Beltran

The last good-to-great movie Oliver Stone has made, Nixon is a surprisingly sympathetic portrait of the beleaguered 37th president, even while taking him to task for his many shortcomings as a politician and as a person in general. Throw in a bit of wild Oliver Stone-esque conspiracy speculation and a run time so bloated it manages to encompass decades of Tricky Dick’s life rather effortlessly, and you get a bombastic, overblown, sorta wonderful, sorta insane biopic unlike any other.

The performances carry through some of the more gymnastic directing – it’s a movie drowning in technique and style – with Hopkins’ amazing transformation into Nixon at its center. Many others have taken on this idiosyncratic role – Langella is fine in Frost/Nixon, Spacey a little less so in Elvis & Nixon, Dan Aykroyd’s terrific SNL take – but none were able to capture the manic nuance of the man, while also attempting to physically resemble him, the way Hopkins did. It’s magnificent. Continue reading

Leave a comment

Filed under Movies

The Set of 400: #330 – My Favorite Dioscuri Homage

Today! Because I’m ready! Ready for the big ride, baby!

Face/Off (1997)

Directed by John Woo

Starring John Travolta, Nicholas Cage, Joan Allen, Gina Gershon, Dominique Swain, Alessandro Nivola, Colm Feore, Nick Cassavetes, John Carroll Lynch, CCH Pounder, Margaret Cho, Thomas Jane, Danny Masterson, Steve Hytner, Harve Presnell, Robert Wisdom

A ludicrously over-the-top action thriller, Face/Off is almost non-stop style over substance, explosions and gunfights over science, acting dialed up to 15, and doves – oh, so many doves. John Woo, baby! 1997 was reaching the end of this sort of action movie, a staple of the decade. An extension of ’80s action films, which mostly focused on blood and bullets and pointing a camera at it, the ’90s brought us slow-motion battles and vibrant fireballs and interspersed doves. Well, okay, that is just a Woo thing.

Film MVPs

Continue reading

Leave a comment

Filed under Movies