Character actor Michael Shannon has been nominated for his second Oscar for his role in the 2016 thriller Nocturnal Animals. "No Small Parts" takes a look at some of the other characters he's played in the past.
On the day that a serial killer that he helped put away is supposed to be executed, a noted forensic psychologist and college professor receives a call informing him that he has 88 minutes left to live.
According to the newspaper article Simon reads about himself (titled "Shakespeare's Spiderman Returns to Broadway in King Lear"), he acted in an Elizabethan drama series by the name of "Red Moon Rising" opposite Marcia Gay Harden. See more »
There's a film about an aging actor who is having doubts about himself and his craft. He's thought of suicide and dreads having a flop on the Broadway stage. So, to help cope, the guy retreats into fantasy--and the audience often finds that they have a hard time separating out what's real and what is not throughout the picture. This is the synopsis for the multi-award nominated Birdman and, oddly, also for a brand new movie from director Barry Levinson (Rain Man, Sleepers, Wag the Dog) which stars Al Pacino! Had I not just seen both of these films recently, I wouldn't have believed two films would be so similar and come out independently of each other only a few months apart...but here we have it.
When the film begins, Simon Axler (Pacino) is falling apart during a performance of a play. He's forgotten his lines--mixing them up with another play he was in some time ago. In a panic, he throws himself off the stage. Soon, after attempting suicide, he ends up in a mental institution. After a brief stay, he's back home--home to an empty house and with few job prospects. Out of the blue, a woman from his past shows up and she wants him. The minor problem is that she's a lesbian...as well as his goddaughter. Sounds complicated? Sure...but it gets worse...much worse. Along with frequent retreats into his fantasy world, a suddenly super-problematic personal life as well as paralyzing stage fright comes one final chance to star in yet another Broadway play. What's to come of all this comeback...will it be a bust?
The biggest positive this film has over Birdman is its sense of humor. Birdman is awfully serious. The Humbling is serious but the film also pokes gentle fun at Pacino's character and his age--plus there are quite a few parallels to the real life Pacino. I particularly loved the scene at the vet...but that's just one you'll have to see for yourself. Is it better than Birdman? No. But if you liked one, you'll probably like the other...they are both well- crafted and offer some terrific acting.
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