Tiny T.O.Ts (Temptation of Trumbo) with their eyes all aglow

Dear Academy

I know there’s a double halcyon temptation in giving Bryan Cranston the Oscar for Best Actor.
First, he’s an acting genius virtually putting on a second skin to play roles such as Dalton Trumbo in Jay Roach’s TRUMBO, not to mention, he’s probably the most iconic tv character since SEINFELD in BREAKING BAD. Second, how could the Academy not want to give the award to an actor playing a blacklisted screenwriter? Talk about posthumous salve!

But please, Academy, re-visit the film TRUMBO. While it had some laugh out loud one liners and the subject matter a sad commentary on a putrid and oppressed time in America, the film had an extremely predictable and cumbersome beat. Louis CK was the anachronism I suspected he’d be. He is LOUIS CK and there’s no hiding behind his giant comedian aura, nor can his cherubic physicality perform as a man stricken with lung cancer. That’s the biggest stretch since the fake baby in AMERICAN SNIPER.

I revisited STEVE JOBS with a friend who had yet to see it and I remain firm in my three favorite films of the year being the aforementioned, FAR FROM THE MADDING CROWD and LOVE & MERCY. These films had a pacing and undeniable emotive quality not present. I anxiously await O’Russell’s JOY and THE BIG SHORT to see if any last minute rivals come to the fore.

Signed your cinema lover,

Disgruntled and Disillusioned: Listen Up Philip

Upon consulting Alex Ross Perry, writer and director of “Listen Up Philip”, I immediately sighed, “oh that guy!”. He also wrote and directed “Color Wheel” which if you’ve never seen that film, rent it and buckle up, surely you’ll say, “Never saw that before!” Then again, if you’re a Game of Thrones fan, maybe you have. Anyway, Listen Up Philip is in the same out there mumble core genre, rough, somewhat disillusioned and certainly not possessing an ending wrapped and tied up with a pretty bow.

It stars Jason Schwartzman as you’ve never seen him before, not your bouncy insightful JS, but a grouchy, narcissistic guy. The trailer was pretty deceiving alluding to another Peter Pan guy tale who sleeps around on his girlfriend type…but that’s not quite the situation.

People who live alone will relate to this flick. For as much as I enjoy aspects of living alone (and No, please don’t picture an unshowered woman with many cats, I shower-JK! I don’t own cats AND I bathe daily:); there are aspects of despondency in my monthly solo journey. Fortunately my reading, writing and film life keep me buoyant, as well as the numbing fatigue after teaching middle schoolers all day as does …well…privacy, my dears.

Elisabeth Moss does a nice job as JS’s supposed girlfriend, but am I wrong in that if you haven’t seen or heard from a guy in more than a month that you no longer consider the person a love interest, unless they’re in the French Foreign Legion without a cell phone.

Jonathan Pryce does an excellent job as JS’s curmudgeonly mentor and I may end up paying to get a set of lips like his onscreen daughter Krysten Ritter.

So a rich New England chowder type soup of a film, definitely worth a watch via Netflix.