I'm such a purist that the thought of watching even so much as a trailer on my computer is hateful. As much as I love the damn things, critics seldom see coming attractions before press screenings. Fortunately, I attend enough movies as a civilian where catching up on trailers for upcoming releases is never a problem.
While awaiting the preview of the new Malick film, I noticed a title on the Hillcrest menu board that wasn't familiar. Why hadn't I heard about Upside Down, a new sci-fi drama starring Jim Sturgess and Kirsten Dunst? It's the one about the twinned worlds, one stacked upside down on top of the other, that barely lasted one week. It was closing night and I'm glad I went. The topsy-turvy production design alone justifies the price of a rental.
The pre-show festivities included a sneak peek at the new Michael Shannon mob drama, The Iceman. My pal, Erik Rosenbluh, asks, "So does Michael Shannon only have one crayon in his box, cuz I've never seen him play anyone different."
To date, Shannon has appeared in 54 movies and television shows. That leaves 18 crayons to go before the box is filled. Who cares if they're all the same troubled shade of red? He played the villain in Kangaroo Jack, for heaven's sake, what do you expect from the man? (Shannon would have made a sweet David Letterman in the crappy HBO tele-drama, The Late Shift.) And I wouldn't exactly call any of the man's performances "one note." Each and every one of Shannon's characters paints a veritable rainbow of mental instability. Suffice it to say, Shannon is his generation's Robert Ryan.
A woman once asked Cary Grant -- an actor accused of always playing himself if ever there was one -- what it must be like to be him. "Lady," he replied, "Even I don't know what it's like to be Cary Grant." One might only imagine what being Michael Shannon must be like.
The Iceman is the third feature, and first to play San Diego, for Israeli director, Ariel Vromen. It opens May 17 at Landmark Theatres Hillcrest Cinemas. Here's hoping the feature lives up to its trailer.