‘The Ides of March’ trailer

Posted by · 8:47 pm · July 27th, 2011

George Clooney’s “The Ides of March” is set for a Venice premiere in September. It may or may not make it to Telluride, but in any case, I’ve been hearing lately that Evan Rachel Wood and Philip Seymour Hoffman are killer in the film. (Marisa Tomei, I’m told, doesn’t figure in as much.) Anyway, judging by the new trailer at Yahoo! Movies, it has me at “Hello.” We might be talking about this one throughout the season.

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66 responses so far

  • 1 7-30-2011 at 3:18 am

    Shawn said...

    Hoffman totally deserved the Oscar for Doubt. He was nominated for more than a half dozen awards in that category because his performance was impressive, subtle and well-crafted.

    In my opinion Hoffman was over-exposed for a while so it’s to be expected that some film buffs would tire of him. (Familiarity breeds contempt.) Doubt, however, is not one of the films he shouldn’t have made. It’s up there with the Savages.

  • 2 7-30-2011 at 5:59 am

    The Other James D. said...


    And bullsh*t. Ledger should’ve won for Brokeback Mountain as it is. But I understood why Hoffman won. However, not even if Hoffman’s performance shouted the cancer out of everyone’s bodies would he have been more deserving of an Oscar than Ledger. You have a brilliant, intuitive, unforgettable performance like his in The Dark Knight….And then you have Hoffman’s completely unsubtle, surface-level histrionic stage acting.

    No comparison. Joker pwns pedopriest.

  • 3 7-30-2011 at 8:08 am

    Shawn said...

    @The Other James D

    What makes you so sure Father Flynn was a “pedopriest”? Far be it me from to suggest your subtlety detector could use a little fine-tuning, but I have a hunch that much of what you know about Father Flynn you know because Hoffman wanted you to know it.

    Ennis was a great portrayal and as much as Hoffman’s Capote was masterful, I wouldn’t have begrudged Ledger a win over Hoffman that year, but Father Flynn was a better performance than the Joker. I’ll give Ledger credit for making the Joker less campy than he could have been, but it was still a little arch–you know, a villain in a comic book movie and all that. Flynn, on the other hand, may or may not have been a villain. One is invited to doubt the accusation. Furthermore, Flynn embodies values which we are asked to regard, for a time, as ambivalent, even though we may be naturally disposed to associate them with either good or evil. If you do come to the conclusion that Flynn is a pedophile, it should make you very uncomfortable. It should make you question your core beliefs. In the hands of a lesser talent, Flynn might have been either too sympathetic or, conversely, too creepy. Hoffman sustained the ambivalence long enough and adroitly enough to permit a healthy interrogation of societal values and existential truths. And, of course, he did all this in partnership with Streep, whose Sister Aloysius, despite the fact that she raises her voice and gets angry, is also subtly brought to life. We learn to appreciate the depths of her character through an attitude of concerned, compassionate skepticism that Hoffman, as much as Streep, calls for.

  • 4 7-30-2011 at 8:11 am

    Drew said...

    Wow, you just lost your shit James lol. Personally I felt that Michael Shannon deserved that Oscar more than Ledger did. As inventive Ledger was, it was Shannon’s work that was much more frightening and effective with less screen time and less actory than Ledger was at tiems. Ledger’s performance is also that example of an actor who lost control and destroyed themselves for their art.

  • 5 7-30-2011 at 8:15 am

    Drew said...

    Yup Shawn nailed it.

  • 6 7-30-2011 at 8:22 am

    The Other James D. said...

    @Drew: And I’m not even a specific Ledger fanboy! I respect your affection for Shannon’s performance, although it did nothing for me personally. Actually, if you wanna talk about “actory” performances, I think Shannon’s by far exceeds both Ledger’s and Hoffman’s in that department. So many tics and whatnot. Yet I don’t deride him for it, or take points off. It was effective enough, and better than Hoffman.

    You should stop penalizing actors for their approaches, and focus on the actual results. Although some factors may have contributed, his performance shouldn’t be docked points because he died. Neither should Gosling’s or Bale’s brilliant performances from last year be disregarded, simply for their approach to their art.

  • 7 7-30-2011 at 8:35 am

    The Other James D. said...

    @Shawn: “Pedopriest” was a comment made in jest. It has nothing to do with what I believe was conveyed about his character’s guilt or innocence. And his character potentially being a pedophile has absolutely no bearing on my perception of his performance.

    Father Flynn was only better than Joker in your opinion, just as in my opinion, it is vice-versa. Objectively speaking, The Joker is by far the more memorable and legendary performance though, and still would have been if Ledger had not died. The cultural impact was simply maximized by that tragedy.

    You also belittle his character and performance for being in a “comic book movie”, despite it being such a film that elevated above that genre artistically. Yet I can and will easily do the same, by referring to Hoffman’s character and performance as a component of a glorified off-Broadway show. Moreover, while Hoffman did a decent job in maintaining ambivalence, there’s more to an acting performance. The dialogue delivery is highly significant, and he went overboard with it. It was bombastic and histrionic, as if he was more concerned with reading each line with force than on speaking the thoughts of his character in those moments. I felt a disconnect, which was mainly what caused his performance to suffer as a result.

    Raymond, I invite you to contribute to this debate when you have the chance. You saw the original play? I’m curious for you to elaborate on what you said farther up about his misguided portrayal.

  • 8 7-30-2011 at 9:00 am

    Afrika said...

    George Clooney playing George Clooney once again. How exciting *yawns*

    Philip Seymour Hoffman playing Philip Seymour Hoffman once again and of course, the fan boys will eat it up like fresh pie. If this was Meryl Streep, she would have been slapped with a billion “hammy performance” accusations. What else is new?

  • 9 7-30-2011 at 9:12 am

    Drew said...

    When the approach causes harm to someone else James that’s when I’m not able to suspend by disbelief therefore fail to see the realistic impression that the performer was striving for. Instead I feel as though I’m watching something exploitive and self-destructive and in some cases borderline pornographic. Shannon’s ticks feel more character appropriate for a brutally honest and volatile protrayal than Ledger’s more look at me look at me moments in Dark Knight. There’s also been this gross misconception about method acting from guys like Bale and unfortunatley Ledger as well.

  • 10 7-30-2011 at 9:27 am

    m1 said...

    Speaking of the 2008 Best Supp. Actor race, no love for Josh Brolin? He was so great in Milk that I actually wanted to see his character onscreen more in that film.

  • 11 7-30-2011 at 10:20 am

    Drew said...

    m1: Loved Brolin in Milk as well as Downey in Tropic Thunder. And I think we’ve covered each supporting actor nominee lol. I would actually put the latter above Ledger’s work as well. But that’s just me.

    For anyone interested, here’s a fine article that sort of sums up the current state “method” acting.http://www.safd.org/tce/07-2011/abuse-job

  • 12 7-30-2011 at 12:16 pm

    Raymond said...

    @Shawn, I completely respect your opinion because we all have different perceptions about these sort of thing but I have to say that the last word I’d use to describe Hoffman’s performance in Doubt is “subtle.” I thought he was hammy to no end, particularly in the last scene where he confuses a high-stakes fight and turns it into a screaming match instead. If you notice Streep’s performance during that scene (and I don’t think this ranks as Streep’s subtlest performance by any means), she’s screaming and fighting too but her mannerisms and her looks convey a certain kind of depth to her take on the role that I never saw in Hoffman’s performance.
    In terms of my comments regarding Hoffman being miscast, in the play Father Flynn is truly a question mark, he’s incredibly sweet and charismatic and smart, but he’s also someone with an edge. Casting Hoffman immediately tips the scale because he’s not someone who comes off as sweet or charismatic; some of his best performances have been playing people who have dubious intentions or who are just plain assholes (again I’m thinking of The Savages, Before the Devil Knows You’re Dead, Talented Mr.Ripley, Cold Mountain, Capote, etc). You are supposed to genuinely believe that Sister Aloysious could be in the wrong here. Hoffman comes across as creepy and like a moralizing, manipulative man from the first sermon on. The scene where he is laughing and making some obnoxious joke about fat women doesn’t help either (though I blame this more on John Patrick Shanley’s mediocre adaptation of his own fantastic play). And shouting every word as if everything is at stake including in scenes where he’s supposed to be low key like the scene where they are discussing the Christmas pageant is a misconceived approach, IMO. I thought Amy Adams was subtle, Hoffman was chewing the scenery all around him and hurting the dilemma that drives the play and should have been at the center of the film.
    I thought Ledger was great but really my favorite supporting actor performance that year was by Emile Hirsch in Milk who couldn’t even land a nod. Either way, I think Hoffman looks hammy as hell in this and completely agree with those who said that if this was Streep we were talking about everyone would be jumping in saying how hammy she is.

  • 13 8-01-2011 at 2:40 am

    Shawn said...

    Jack Nicholson was a memorable Joker, but he was arguably more memorable as Colonel Nathan Jessep, a role for which he received an Oscar nomination. As much as I appreciate Nolan’s films, and as much as I prefer cinema to theatre, I recognize that the category of “glorified off-Broadway film adaptations that may be just a little stagey” is rife with great acting performances, while such performances are relatively scarce in the category of comic book superhero adaptations. This isn’t particularly surprising, and shouldn’t be controversial. I don’t mean to belittle the actors who bring comic book heroes and villains to life, but by many measures, such as number of lines, characters in stage plays are more demanding and more complex. When done well, they’re typically more engaging. I certainly feel that way about Father Flynn in particular.

    This weekend a former Catholic told me that she instantly recognized Hoffman’s Flynn as a type: the pompous priest. Well, I don’t have those same experiences, but it does seem to me that the character’s pompousness should not be held against the actor. To the contrary, I feel Hoffman did an excellent job of portraying a pompous jerk who may or may not have been a monster, and I wouldn’t lump pompousness in with general villainy, or the other kinds of jerks Hoffman has played. Pompousness is a very specific character flaw that may be paired with recognizable virtues. In any case, Hoffman presented a character and a worldview and, for a short time, defended them admirably against an onslaught by Streep.

    I kind of understand those who were creeped out, irritated or turned off by Hoffman in this role early on in the story, but I felt some sympathy for Flynn and a reluctance to judge him until the very end (and even then…). Surely others must have had similar reactions, or Hoffman wouldn’t have been nominated for so many awards.

  • 14 8-01-2011 at 8:05 am

    The Other James D. said...

    He was nominated as part of the momentum for the film as a whole. And he never won for any of them.

    I still stand by Raymond’s assessment: he failed to portray the character properly.

    And being “creeped out, irritated, or turned off by” has no effect in how I interpret and perceive a performance or role, particularly if that is supposed to be the effect of said character. Not every character needs to have sympathy to be considered a brilliant performance by the one acting. If anything, I love performances in spite of feeling repulsed by their characters….That is, when they’re done well.

  • 15 8-03-2011 at 8:37 pm

    DylanS said...

    I say this as a George Clooney fan, but with the opening bit on the plane, the second he opened his mouth I thought “What’s Ryan Bingham doing in this movie?” This does look like a good example of a film where he’s playing to his strengths as an actor and not trying to stretch his limited range, like “The Descendants”.

  • 16 8-03-2011 at 8:42 pm

    DylanS said...

    Also, I had Evan Rachel-Wood pegged to be great in this before the trailer. Not sure why, but with the actual footage out, not to mention Kris’ blurb above, I’m feeling more confident about that.