Tag Archives: iTunes

Tell-Tale (2010, Greg Williams)

I was kind of curious how the makers of Tell-Tale got such a fantastic cast-not Carla Gugino, who’s terrible and seemingly cast only for her willingness to strip down to lingerie (as usual), but Adam Arkin and Clifton Collins Jr. Even Jesse Spencer is way too good for this kind of thing.

Turns out it’s Gugino’s production (writer Sebastian Gutierrez is her boyfriend), not some short where the caliber of the script got it a great cast.

Gutierrez’s script is laughably bad, contriving all sorts of instances (Spencer is an undercover cop who disappears, meaning the police have to be involved instead). If the film had just been Arkin and Gugino, had Gutierrez understood how to layer a narrative, it might have worked.

Gugino would still be bad, but that one’s an inevitability.

Williams’s direction shows mild competence. Arkin and Collins are great.

But it’s a weak effort.

1/3Not Recommended

CREDITS

Directed by Greg Williams; screenplay by Sebastian Gutierrez, based on an idea by Gutierrez, Carla Gugino and Williams and inspired by a story by Edgar Allan Poe; directors of photography, Stephen J. Nelson and Williams; edited by Amir Heshmati; production designer, Danielle Clemenza; produced by Bob Ford and Gugino; released by iTunes.

Starring Carla Gugino (Wife), Adam Arkin (Husband), Jesse Spencer (Lover) and Clifton Collins Jr. (Detective).


RELATED

Advertisements

Purple Violets (2007, Edward Burns)

I’ve been avoiding seeing Purple Violets for almost four years–I thought it was going to be one of Burns’s lesser works. So, obviously, it shouldn’t be a surprise it’s his best film (it’s also his best film as a director).

I’m having some trouble trying to figure out how to start talking about it. It’s different from his usual approach to scripting, maybe because he has a clear protagonist here and it’s Selma Blair. It’s her film–even though the other three principals, Patrick Wilson, Burns and Debra Messing, get significant scenes to themselves.

For a while, there’s this juxtaposing of story lines–Blair and Messing opposite Wilson and Burns. Then the characters start crossing over and everything comes together in a completely organic way. Halfway through the film, the plot is still unpredictable. Even the last scene is, to some degree, unpredictable. It’s all incredibly delicate.

Blair’s great, which wasn’t a surprise. The surprise was Patrick Wilson. His part is a somewhat regular guy and he turns it into this constantly surprising, deep performance (Burns’s script helps). Burns gives maybe his best performance ever here. He’s kind of making fun of himself, but also not. Messing is another surprise. She takes what could be a sitcom harpy and turns it into a lovely performance.

And Donal Logue–as a Brit–is great.

The PT Walkley score and the William Rexer photography are amazing.

From the first shot–thanks to Walkley and Rexer–it’s clear Burns probably has something phenomenal here.

Then he delivers.

4/4★★★★

CREDITS

Written and directed by Edward Burns; director of photography, William Rexer; edited by Thom Zimny; music by PT Walkley; production designer, John Nyomarkay; produced by Margot Bridger, Burns, Aaron Lubin, Nicole Marra and Pamela Schein Murphy; released by iTunes.

Starring Selma Blair (Patti Petalson), Patrick Wilson (Brian Callahan), Edward Burns (Michael Murphy), Debra Messing (Kate Scott), Dennis Farina (Gilmore), Max Baker (Mark), Elizabeth Reaser (Bernie) and Donal Logue (Chazz Coleman).


RELATED


THIS FILM IS ALSO DISCUSSED IN SUM UP | EDWARD BURNS.