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Paul Newman RIP

Posted by: Matthew Turner 02/10/2008 @ 12:16
Subject: Film

Films seen so far this year: 357
Films seen this week: The Fall, Cry Baby, Inkheart, Brideshead Revisited, Goodbye Solo, Eagle Eye, Ghost Town, Surveillance, Clubbed

RIP Paul Newman
Like film fans everywhere, I was saddened by the death of Paul Newman this week. At 83, he had built up a big screen career that spanned fifty years, from his breakthrough role in Somebody Up There Likes Me (a part he reputedly got because of the death of James Dean) right up to voicing the part of Doc Hudson in Cars, two years ago. Admittedly, Cars isn't much of a swansong, but it's worth noting that he was still doing great work well into his 70s and 80s and he seemed to choose his projects and directors well (De Niro and Pacino should take note if their latest roles are anything to go by). In addition to all that, of course, he also did a huge amount of charity work and had one of Hollywood's longest marriages, to Joanne Woodward.

Personally my favourite Newman performances are The Hustler, Cool Hand Luke, The Hudsucker Proxy (as Sidney J. Mussburger), Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid and the little-seen Nobody's Fool, which is well worth seeking out. I also have a soft spot for the two detective movies he made based on Ross Macdonald's Lew Harper novels: Harper (aka The Moving Target) and The Drowning Pool. Here's an interview with Robert Redford talking about Newman, which is worth reading for page two, where he talks about the pranks they used to play on each other. He will be sadly missed. As a tribute, here's the terrific 50 hard-boiled eggs scene from Cool Hand Luke below: “If my boy says he can eat fifty eggs, he can eat fifty eggs!”

Trailerwatch: Choke (Red Band trailer)
I caught Choke a couple of weeks ago and really enjoyed it, but I thought it was worth posting the trailer, especially as the film just opened the Raindance Film Festival. Be warned that this is a Red Band trailer and therefore Not Safe For Work (or NSFW, as we web-savvy types like to say). It doesn't give away much of the plot, although it does give away one of the best scenes (and biggest laughs). Sam Rockwell's been one of my favourite actors ever since I saw him in Tom DiCillo's Box of Moonlight, but it was his performance in cult movie Lawn Dogs that really sealed it for me. Anyway, he's superb as sex-addict Victor Mancini in Choke (based on the novel by Chuck Palahniuk) and there's strong support from Angelica Huston, Kelly Macdonald and Brad William Henke, who almost steals the film as Victor's fellow sex-addict and best friend, Denny. I love the poster too. You can see the Red Band trailer here and the official, general audiences trailer below.

Top 10 Films On Release This Week (as recommended by me):
Only one new entry this week – the bizarre indie romcom Good Dick (don't be put off by the title). The Fall and How to Lose Friends and Alienate People would both be bubbling under at 11 and 12. Also, Man On Wire, Eden Lake and The Wave all look like they're heading towards the ends of their runs so catch them now while you still can.

1. The Dark Knight
2. I've Loved You So Long
3. Appaloosa
4. Man On Wire
5. Eden Lake
6. Pineapple Express
7. The Wave
8. Good Dick
9. Mamma Mia
10. Taken

DVD of the Week: Lonesome Jim (out now, RRP £17.99)
This week's DVD of the Week is Steve Buscemi's third film as director, indie comedy-drama Lonesome Jim. Casey Affleck stars as a depressed young man who comes back to Indiana to live with his parents and strikes up a tentative relationship with local nurse Liv Tyler and her young son. It was only given a limited theatrical release, which is a shame, as it's one of the best films of the year and is well worth seeking out. It has a superb, frequently funny script, several great scenes and some terrific performances, not just from Affleck and Tyler, but also from a superb supporting cast that includes Kevin Corrigan, Mary Kay Place and Buscemi buddy Mark Boone Jr as the scene-stealing Uncle Evil. It scores very badly in the extras department though – it only has a 5 minute Making Of featurette.

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