Irene is a magazine editor living under the shadow of the Pinochet dictatorship in Chile. Francisco is a handsome photographer and he comes to Irene for a job. As a sympathizer with the ... See full summary »
Basquiat tells the story of the meteoric rise of youthful artist Jean-Michel Basquiat. Starting out as a street artist, living in Thompkins Square Park in a cardboard box, Jean-Michel is "... See full summary »
Benicio Del Toro
A sheriff sees his state senate bid slide out onto the ice when his daughter begins to date the son of a charming but psychologically disturbed woman with whom the sheriff has engaged in a two-decade-long affair.
Dustin Lance Black
Set in the world of mega-churches in which a former Deadhead-turned-born again-Christian finds himself on the run from fundamentalist members of his mega-church who will do anything to protect their larger-than-life pastor.
David Leader investigates a seemingly senseless murder, and in the course of it is drawn into the labyrinth of a sinisterly unique wealthy family. The family seems to revolve around its own... See full summary »
At the end of the 1940's, abstract expressionist Jackson Pollock (1912-1956) is featured in Life magazine. Flashback to 1941, he's living with his brother in a tiny apartment in New York City, drinking too much, and exhibiting an occasional painting in group shows. That's when he meets artist Lee Krasner, who puts her career on hold to be his companion, lover, champion, wife, and, in essence, caretaker. To get him away from booze, insecurity, and the stress of city life, they move to the Hamptons where nature and sobriety help Pollock achieve a breakthrough in style: a critic praises, then Life magazine calls. But so do old demons: the end is nasty, brutish, and short. Written by
Debbie Reynolds appears briefly as herself in several shots; her face appears on the cover of the August 8th, 1949 issue of "Life" magazine seen in several scenes. The cover was her first for "Life". For the filming, the real cover of the "Life" issue was used, but the pages of the Jackson Pollock article inside are reproductions of the original, with Ed Harris's image substituted for Pollock's. See more »
When the photographer is making the movie of Pollock he "zooms" in on the shoes. But the old 16 mm camera he is using has a three fixed lens turret. He should not be able to zoom. All his other shots are as expected from fixed lenses of different focal lengths. See more »
Films like "Pollock" always leave me at a loss when I have to describe them to others. For one thing, it's long been a labor of love for director / star Ed Harris, which maybe causes me to have more sympathy for the picture than I should -- after all, I'd hate to ream a project that he's spent so much time and energy developing. For another thing, I usually find biopics a bit crippled because, in most cases ("Pollock" included), I already know the plot, and without the plot to get lost in, I'm left to look at little things like, you know, the acting, writing and directing. Lucky for Harris (and my conscience), then, that the acting is uniformly great, the direction is mostly seamless (and downright kinetic at times), and the writing, while not being great in the "Casablanca" sense of the word, serves the story well. "Pollock" dodges all the pitfalls that often turn biopics into boring history lessons.
The film picks up with Jackson Pollock the Unsuccessful Drunk (Harris), dabbling in surrealist painting and proclaiming Picasso to be a fraud. There's enough promise in his work, though, for him to gain a girlfriend, Lee Krasner (Marcia Gay Harden); a benefactor, Peggy Guggenheim (Amy Madigan); and a professional critic, Clement Greenberg (Jeffrey Tambor), who champions his work in print. From there we watch Pollock take the express train to art world superstardom, becoming one of the world's foremost abstract painters.
The fly in the ointment, though, is Pollock's notorious temper, aided and abetted by his equally notorious alcoholism. Life in New York City is doing his personal life no favors, so he and Krasner move to the countryside, and it's here that he stumbles upon his "drip method" of painting, granting him another wave of fame and recognition. It is this sequence, in which Pollock makes his pivotal discovery, where Harris's talent as a director comes to the fore. Although we're aware that we're watching an actor perform a discovery that was made by someone else more than fifty years ago, it's an exciting, dynamic moment as Harris dances around his canvas, flicking paint from his brush in a blur of motion. It doesn't come off as staged or phony, but as a moment of genuine discovery, and for those moments we might as well actually be watching Jackson Pollock revolutionize the art world.
From there, though, ego, alcohol, and the mechanics of change all prove to be Pollock's undoing, leading, of course, to his untimely demise. Through it all, Harris seethes with a feral intensity, giving a performance that should rightfully win him an Oscar (and check out the dramatic weight gain at the end. Tom who?). Harden, his co-nominee, is also excellent (although she's stuck uttering lines like, "You've done it, Pollock. You've cracked it wide open."). In lesser hands, Krasner could be just another version of the screeching, wailing, put-upon wife, but Harden bolsters the anguish with a fine layer of anger; the torment of a woman who loves the person causing her misery, but who is unwilling to let go of the principles which led her to enter and maintain the relationship on her own terms.
"Pollock" ultimately succeeds because we know how it will end, we clearly see how unpleasant and deluded the artist had become, and still we can't look away. Harris's labor of love serves as an auspicious debut for someone who, at this stage, seems just as skilled behind the camera as he is in front of it.
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