Showing posts with label 'Pollack'. Show all posts
Showing posts with label 'Pollack'. Show all posts

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Summer Hibernating

Movietime again! I watched "Good Night and Good Luck", the 1950s story of newsman Edward R. Murrow's clash with Senator Joe McCarthy, the commie-chaser. Excellent. It's startling to see all the cigarettes in the movie, but that's the way it was back then. Murrow went on the air with his cigarette! David Strathairn is terrific as Murrow. It's obvious that George Clooney made the movie with a passionate drive to get it right - and he does.
In those days the news producers had to answer for their content to the corporate sponsors of the shows, but could still make their own decisions. Today the corporations own the networks and cable channels and give the orders. Back in the day, Morrow thought the standards for TV news had fallen to a low point in catering to folks who want their news easy and entertaining. Surely, he's rolling his grave at the state of news gathering and producing today. I look back and see his era as a golden age.
Joe McCarthy of the House Un-American Activities Committee, which was investigating Communist infiltration into the US Government, ruined and intimidated a goodly number of people before his downfall, and to take him on was a huge risk for Murrow. The movie uses actual footage of McCarthy instead of an actor. To see his accusations and bullying questioning of Annie Lee Moss, a Pentagon communication worker, is stomach-turning. Poor lady. She looks terrified. Ray Wise is excellent in the role of Don Hollenback, a journalist at CBS, who is smeared with charges of being a pinko. You can see the fear in his face as he waits for the ax to fall.
I liked the jazz soundtrack with music by Diana Reeves and a jazz combo. Scenes from performances by Reeves and her group are interspersed between scenes of the movie.
Next up was "Pollock", a film about the artist, Jackson Pollock. Depressing beyond depressing. It's well-done, but a real downer. Does all art involve this much angst? I don't think so. Pollock was an alcoholic, and it's always grim to watch that kind of tale of destruction play out. Along with telling Pollack's story, the moviemakers try to give the viewer insight into the artistic process.
Ed Harris directed the movie and played the role of Pollock. He and Marcia Gay Harden, playing Pollock's wife, Lee Krasner, also an artist, both do fine work in their roles. Pollock gives Lee a hell of a time of it. Amy Madigan is outstanding in the role of Peggy Guggenheim, an early patron of Pollock.
I'll never look at Pollock's paintings in quite the same way after seeing the movie. The photo above shows the real Pollock at work in his later technique of drip painting. I love the moment in the movie when an interviewer asks him what his paintings mean. He looks pained and says, (not a direct quote) "Look at the grass and the birds. Can't people just look at things and enjoy them?"